Sumela Monastery was founded in 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I. 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. 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. Following the conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1461, it was granted the sultan’s protection and given rights and privileges that were renewed by following sultans. The monastery remained a popular destination for monks and travellers through the years.