It is located between streams and on the very high levels of the valley. Its height from the sea level is 1150m. This monastery is under the protection of UNESCO. It was built as an Orthodox church and a church complex.
It is not known when the monastery was founded, but the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism places the date around AD 386, during the reign of the emperor Theodosius I (375 – 395). According to William Miller, two Athenian monks named Barnabas and Sophronios founded the monastery. It became famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary known as the Panagia Gorgoepekoos, said to have been painted by the Apostle Luke.
During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various emperors. During the 6th century, it was restored and enlarged by the Byzantine general Belisarius at the behest of emperor Justinian.
It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the existence of the Empire of Trebizond. While the emperors Basil and John II had endowed the monastery richly, it was during the reign of Alexios III (1349–1390) that Sumela received its most important largess: according to legend, the young Alexios was saved from a storm by the Virgin, and was bidden by her to restore the monastery. A chrysobull dated to 1365 confirms the freedom and autonomy of the monastery, together with all of its hereditary lands and dependents; exempts them from all taxes, except for one biannual tax; and restores to it the serfs whom the tax-collectors of Matzouka had illegally taken from it, listing 40 of the serfs by name. At that time, the monastery was granted an amount annually from imperial funds. During the time of Manuel III, son of Alexios III, and during the reigns of subsequent princes, Sumela gained further wealth from imperial grants.