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Aladja Monastery

Photo and description: Aladja Monastery

The rocky Aladzha monastery is an Orthodox monastery located 15 kilometers from the city of Varna. In this area, in caves carved into sheer limestone cliff with the IV century was inhabited by Christian hermits. In XIII-XIV centuries the monastery became one of the centers of spiritual and moral teachings of Hesychasm, whose followers practiced severe asceticism and moral perfection. By the end of XIV century, after the Ottoman conquest, the Aladzha monastery was destroyed, but the caves it was inhabited by hermits until the XVIII century.

The monastic complex includes: 20 cells and utility rooms, kitchen, crypt, the refectory, the Church for the burial service, two chapels and a Catholicon (Cathedral monastery Church) of the Holy Trinity. From the Windows of the cells have a magnificent view of the sea. Previously, the premises were decorated with frescoes, remains of which visitors can observe in the monastery chapel (there is a partially preserved wall painting of XIII-XIV centuries, written in the new Testament story of the Resurrection of Christ). From these paintings came the name of the monastery ("Aladzha" in Turkish means "colorful").

All the rooms are arranged in two tiers of caves forty-meter cliff. The total length of the hollowed spaces within 500 metres.

Among the Bulgarians there are a lot of stories and legends associated with the monastery Aladja. The most interesting of them tells about a lonely monk who sometimes appears in the vicinity of the rock and asked random travelers about how people live. After receiving the response, the monk closes his eyes and disappears. Saying that a mysterious monk will ask questions as long as there is a monastery and the ancient forest around it.

Today the monastery is not functioning and is part of the Varna historical Museum and cultural monument of national importance (since 1957).