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Aladzha monastery

100 National Tourist Sites

Aladzha Monastery is the most famous medieval rock monastery along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, inhabited by hermit monks in the 13th – 14th centuries.

The beginning of systematic studies of this Christian monument was set at the end of the 19th century by the founders of Bulgarian archeology – brothers Karel and Hermin Shkorpil.

With the help of the Varna Archaeological Society, which they created in 1901, the two brothers laid the foundations of the first open-air museum in Bulgaria. In 1927, Aladzha Monastery was declared a national antiquities, and in 1968 – an architectural cultural monument of national importance.

The monastery premises are carved on two levels in almost 40 meters high limestone rock. On the first level are located the monastery church, the monastic cells, the dining room and the kitchen, a small cemetery church, the crypt (ossuary) and the utility rooms. The second level is a natural rock niche, at the eastern end of which the monastery chapel is built.

600-700 m west of the monastery there is a group of caves known as the Catacombs. Discovered finds – ceramics, coins, graffiti, etc. testify that “the Catacombs were inhabited during the early Christian era (V-VI centuries).

After the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman slavery at the end of the 14th century, the Aladzha monastery gradually declined and was probably completely abandoned by the 15th – 16th centuries.

The Christian name of the monastery is unknown. The name “alaja” is of Persian-Arabic origin and means “variegated, patterned”. At the beginning of the last century, K. Shkorpil recorded a tradition according to which the patron saint of the monastery was St. Spas (from Christ the Savior).

The unusual architectural forms and the numerous traditions and legends about hidden treasures and ghosts of monks wandering among the ruins create here an atmosphere of mystery and mysticism that has attracted numerous admirers for decades.

For a century, these facts confirmed Aladzha Monastery as one of the most interesting tourist destinations on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, included in almost all world guides.

In the 70s of the last century, a museum building was built near the monastery, where, along with the permanent exhibition presenting the past of the monastic monastery, various interesting exhibitions are organized annually. In the lobby, visitors can buy popular scientific publications, discs with Bulgarian church music, various souvenirs.

In 2009, with funds from the Municipality of Varna, the unique audiovisual spectacle “Legends from Aladzha Monastery” was created, winner of the BHRA “Cultural Attraction of 2010” award.

Work time:
Opening hours:
May – October: On site: 9.00 – 17.00 At the museum exhibition: 9.00 – 17.00 No day off November – April 9.00 – 16.00 Days off: Sunday and Monday

Regular ticket – adults: BGN 5.00 Reduced ticket – children: BGN 3.00 Admission for students for the Archeology department: BGN 5.00 Children up to 6 years: free Days specified by Order of the MK or Municipality of Varna: free

Phone: 052 355 460, 0889 013 471, 0887 841 492

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