Soroca fortress – one of the many fortresses in Moldova who date back from the times of the legendary ruler of Moldova Stefan cel Mare (aka Stephen the Great), this is in fact the only fortress who remains within the borders of the former soviet republic of Moldova. The most impressive fortresses of Stefan (like Hotin) are currently in present-day Ukraine, while others (like Neamt) are in Romania..
The first fortress in Soroca was built by Stephen the Great in 1499, out of the need to defend the borders of the principality of Moldavia from foreign invasions of the Tatars, Turks or Polish kings. The actual stone fortress was built between 1543-1545 by the son of Stephen, Petru Rares. Thick walls 18m high surround the entrance tower (30,5 meters in diameter) and the other four tower bastions. The towers bastions have several levels: ground floor, where deposits have been; levels one and two, where the cannons have been placed (three cannons per each level); and the last level, for the archers and defenders. The garrison numbered 200 – 250 soldiers.
The last siege of the fortress took place in 1711 during the Russian – Ottoman war.
The fortress was opened for tourism in 1970, after reconstruction works.
The best views over the fortress are from the Ukrainian side of the river, but if you need a visa and don’t have one, then won’t be able to enjoy them.
Opened Wednesday - Sunday between 09.00 - 18.00 (Lunch break: 13.00 - 14.00)
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
One of the fortresses of Moldova situated along the river Nistru is SOROCA. Other fortresses: Hotin (in Ukraine after 'joining' USSR), Orhei, Tigina (right now 14th Occupational Russian Army is keeping tanks their) and Cetatea Alba (in Ukraine - see the upper comment). So the only one fortress left to see for tourists! The fortresses were built in the Middle Ages with the purpose of defending boundaries perpetually menaced by uninvited guests.
You can find more info about the fortress on the web-site!
The “candle of gratitude” as it is officially called was recently built, in 2004, on a rocky peak outside Soroca. While it is not clear what/who gratifies this monument,the candle has shortly become a landmark for Soroca.
Inside the 30m high “candle” there is a small church, and the platform nearby allows birds' eye views over the entire area. As it was weekend, weddings took place on this romantic spot.
The candle is easy to reach from Soroca, a 20 minutes walk on the road to Chisinau, with the 600 steps to actually reach the rocky cliff top being more difficult....
Stroll around the calm peaceful streets of Soroca and enjoy the “details” of a basically rural atmosphere, far from the day-to-day rush: colourful gardens with little cottages hidden behind the foliage, small kiosks and old-fashioned phones, very few cars or people in the mid day, some cows or horses here and there, a cat rushing to hide from sight.
This is the place where simple means beautiful!
This is the view from near the top of "Gypsy Hill", the gypsy area of Soroca. Some very interesting houses are located here, though many are under construction. Well worth a look!