Aladzha Monastery is a medieval Orthodox Christian cave monastery complex in northeastern Bulgaria, 17 km north of central Varna and 3 km west of Golden Sands beach resort, in a protected forest area adjacent to the Golden Sands Nature Park.
Aladzha Monastery was established 11-12th century when the hermits first inhabited it. However, its caves were inhabited early in the Byzantine period, as the monastery was under the influence of a religious teaching which was spread in Byzantine and Bulgaria at that time.
The first archaeological finds, coins and pottery pieces were found in the caves.
The life in Aladzha Monastery declined when Bulgaria fell under Ottoman Rule.
The name of Aladzha Monastery comes from the word of Turkish origin for colourful (“aladjha”, ” aladja”) due most probably to the bright colours of its wall paintings, dating back to the early Middle Ages.
Presumably all unique creations and frescoes in the monastery by the monks must have been bursting with colour at one time.
Differently coloured incredible frescoes dated back to 13th-14th century can be still seen on the walls of Aladzha Monastery, but only few of them are preserved. The monastery’s history fascinates all its visitors who always come back again. Aladzha Monastery was declared a national monument of culture and antiquity.
Nowadays Aladzha Monastery does not function, no monks live there and it is turned into a monument of culture and a museum. Due to demolition and tectonic processes, the present appearance and condition of the monastery is a bit different from its original one. At present, the remains of 20 residential premises and three churches, which were cut out on two levels in the almost 40-meter high limestone rock and connected via an external staircase dug into the rocks, will fascinate the visitor.