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Claims of damage to ancient frescoes in Sumela Monastery debunked

An aerial view of Sumela Monastery, a historical Greek-Orthodox monastery carved into the Pontic Mountains in the Roman Imperial Period, during spring season in Trabzon, Türkiye, May 30, 2024. (AA Photo)
By Newsroom
June 10, 2024

The Center for Countering Disinformation, part of Türkiye’s Directorate of Communications, has firmly denied recent allegations on social media about fresco damage during the restoration of the historic Sumela Monastery.

The center declared, “The photos in question have been used in similar claims since 2012. Archaeological examinations then confirmed that the frescoes had not been touched since the 17th century.”

Ancient Christian frescoes inside the Rock Church at Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, Türkiye. (Adobe Stock Photo)

Sumela Monastery, an important cultural and historical site, closed to visitors on Sept. 22, 2015, for rock fortification and structural restoration. Restoration work started in February 2016. By July 28, 2020, 65% of the monastery reopened to the public. The inner courtyard followed on July 1, 2021.

Ancient Christian frescoes inside the Rock Church at Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, Türkiye. (Adobe Stock Photo)

Experts from regional Restoration and Conservation Laboratory Directorates documented the condition of several frescoes with detailed drawings and photographs. They took paint samples for analysis, which helped them identify the causes of the deterioration and develop intervention methods. Using this data, they restored the original colors of the frescoes.

The center emphasized, “No interventions were made to the frescoes in question as part of the restoration.” They also clarified that the images cited in the allegations have been repeatedly used in misinformation campaigns over the years.

By Newsroom Last Updated:  Jun 10, 2024 4:24 PM