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The Aladzha Monastery

The Aladzha Monastery is located about 15 km north of the city of Varna and is the most well-known cave monastery on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The name Aladzha is of mixed Persian and Turkish origin and means bright and colorful, possibly referring to the few remaining murals. The same type of soft rock-hewn monastery can also be found on other Black Sea coastlines, such as the Crimean Peninsula and in Georgia. Records of monastic life here date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. The murals in the remaining chambers are from the 14th century. The catacombs, the basilica and the entire cave complex are believed to have been among the earliest functioning Christian centers of the 4th-6th centuries on the sea coast.