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What to visit in Varna and Bulgaria

The amazing Aladzha cave monastery

The unique “Holy Trinity” monastery, better known as Aladzha monastery is located 10km North of Varna and only 2km away from the “Golden Sands” (Zlatni Pyasuci) resort, so it can easily be reached by foot, bus or with a vehicle from a rent-a-car in Varna.

The monastery is located in the middle area of the Golden Sands National Park. It is one of the few cave monasteries in Bulgaria.

It dates back to the 11th-12th century, when it is believed it was first inhabited by ascetic monks. It is a medieval Christian Orthodox monastery. The most interesting feature is definitely the fact that the monastery is built in the rocks and existing caves on several different levels. These caves seem to have been inhabited since the Byzantine era, according to the archeological artifacts found on the spot. In 1912, the Aladzha monastery was declared a national historical monument, and in 1957 it was recognized as a cultural monument as well.

Currently, the monastery is a monument which is uninhabited. There are 20 different rooms locate on several different levels of the rocks. The main church is the most spacious, carved in the rocks on the second floor of the monastery. There is a small monastery and cemetery church on the first level of the monastery. In one of the smaller chapels on the lower level there is a well- preserved wall decoration with figures of monks and Christ, angels and evangelists painted on the ceiling. In the monastery are detached and monastic cells, kitchen and other rooms.

Аладжа манастир

At about 400-500m from the monastery, there are the so-called "catacombs" which included: living quarters, and below them an ossuary with 5 tombs. Archaeological finds in the catacombs suggest that they were inhabited in the early Christian era.

Overall, the monastery is a very famous tourist attraction. From 2009 a unique audio visual show called "Legends of Aladzha monastery” can be watched there.

Besides the monastery itself, the region is a good place to relax and walk around park, which has rare trees and beautiful untouched nature.

The monastery is an amazing place for cultural, natural and pilgrimage tourism, which you should not miss if you plan to rent a car from Varna and want to view local attractions.