Reference / link for this picture: http://www.ellopos.org/photoblog/1992/buildings/monasteries/panaghia-sumela-trebizond/
Sumela is a Byzantine Monastery at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altındere valley at an altitude of approximately 1200 metres in the region of Maçka in Trabzon Province, modern Turkey, dedicated to the Mother of God. It was founded in the year 386 AD during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I (375 – 395). It is said that two priests undertook the founding of the monastery on the site after having discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain.
During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various Emperors. During the 6th Century AD, it was restored and enlarged by General Belisarius at the behest of Justinian. It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the reign of Alexios III (1349 – 1390) of the Komnenian Empire of Trebizond (established in 1204, when Franks captured Constantinople). At that time, the monastery was granted an amount annually from imperial funds. During the time of Manuel III, son of Alexius III, and during the reigns of subsequent princes, Sumela gained further wealth from imperial grants.
Frescoes dating from the era of Alexios III line the inner wall of the Rock Church facing the courtyard. The frescoes of the Sumela Monastery are seriously damaged, having largely been moved from their original settings. The main subject of the frescoes are biblical scenes telling the story of Christ and the Virgin Mary.