For trips to Orheiul Vechi take the direct minibus 10.30 from the busstation in Chisinau, going back 17.00, then you will have time to explore the valley and its villages as well, which in many ways are a bigger experience than the monastery itself
Orheiul Vechi is probably the great sight of Moldova although it's hard to define exactly why the place is so fascinating. A series of cave monasteries cut into a ridge of rocky cliffs overlooking the river is, however, rather unusual, (although not unique even in Moldova). The main rock monastery was an empty shell until a decade ago but now contains a simple Orthodox church and monastery and a series of cells cut into the rock. (At least one of these pieces of 'accommodation' is still in use.) We were cheerfully told there were four and a half monks (and politely assumed one must have been part-time). The atmosphere of the whole place, though, needs to be experienced rather than explained.
Without a car (or arranged trip), the monastery is difficult to get to. If you do have a car, it allows you a little time to look at nearby villages like Brâneşti, with great examples of the imagination that goes into decorating colourful Moldovan houses. Also relatively close, is Curchi Monastery, of a more conventional 18th/19th century type with a number of churches and domestic buildings inside a walled enclosure. The interesting thing here is the enormous amount of restoration going on - after years of neglect - where you can see, for instance, the mechanics of how a copper dome is put in place and how crumbling stonework is repaired.
10 Reviews and Opinions
Trebujeni, Orhei, MD-3552, 300 meters from the bridge (entrance to the village) nearby Orheiul Vech
Good for: Couples