Albotin monastery (or Albutinski Monastery) is an inactive medieval rock monastery included in Vidin diocese.
It lies in Albotin locality in the gorge of Topolovets River between the villages Rabrovo /3 km southwest/ and Gradec /6 km east/, and 19 km northwest of the town of Vidin.
The name of the monastery "Albotin" comes from an extinct village of the same name that is mentioned in the register of Vidin "kaaza" of 1560. The rocky temple was built in the limestone massif at 25-30 m hight, from the north side of the river. Natural caves were used, additional rooms were carved and exterior facades and walls were built. The complex is in an easily accessible place and this contributed to almost complete destruction.
The rooms of the monastery Albotin were located in chain and each premises had an access to the terrace, covered once with an unifying porch which hung over the river.
The monastery church is carved into the inner part of the cliff curve and is orientated according to the requirements of the canon from west to east. The remains of the church, which in the past was richly decorated with frescoes and decorative columns and cornices, attest diligent praying life and former splendor. It is unknown to whom the monastery temple was dedicated, but supposedly it is Easter, because of the preserved tradition for celebrating the holiday at the foot of the monastery.
The northwest part of the Albotin rock monastery was two storey and included the dining room, which was the second largest room after the church hall. At the east of the temple there is a larger room and the cells. The monastery was active in 14th century, as evidenced by preserved fragments of wall paintings and inscriptions and ornaments (earrings, ear, bracelets), found in 29 excavated Christian tombs of lay persons, donors of the monastery and members of the monastic brotherhood. The large number of lay burials among clergy ones shows that the monastery was revered and desired resting place of its donors.
The Albotin rock monastery can be reached by car from Vidin city or Kula town. It is located near 121 national road. The site is accessible along a steep, narrow sandy trail. At the foot of the rock is built Hajduk fountain.
The Albotin monastery is inactive and does not offer accommodation. The tourists can stay in Vidin.
Sources: http://www.bulgariamonasteries.com/, http://bg.wikipedia.org/, http://www.pravoslavieto.com/, http://www.visitvidin.net/
Photos: http://www.panoramio.com/, http://manastirite.blogspot.com/, http://commons.wikimedia.org/
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