Statue of Stefan cel Mare, Chisinau
Gradina Stefan cel Mare, formerly known as Pushkin Park, is the main city centre park. It was originally laid out, in the nineteenth century, by Russian military engineers during the reign of Alexander I.
Pushkin used to walk here in the early 1820s. In 1863 the park was surrounded by a cast iron fence, manufactured in Odessa. A statue of Pushkin was erected in 1885, followed by the statue of Stefan cel Mare at the park's entrance in 1928. In 1958 the Avenue of the Classics of Moldovan Literature was opened.
The statue of Ştefan cel Mare in the centre of Chisinau commemorates Moldova's greatest national hero (although he is also claimed by Romania). The bronze statue on a stone base was sculpted by Alexander Plamadeala and unveiled in 1928.
Ştefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) was born in 1403 and was Prince of Moldavia from 1457 until his death in 1504. He became famous for his many victories against the Ottoman Turks and was seen as the defender of Christian Europe against the invading Muslims. Hence in the statue he is depicted holding up a cross. He won 34 of the 36 battles he fought and following his victory in the Battle of Vaslui, where 40,000 Moldavians defeated 120,000 Ottoman troops, Pope Sixtus IV honoured him as true Champion of the Christian Faith.
This is one of the few monuments dating form the period when Chisinau was a Romanian town. At the front entrance of the Stefan cel Mare park, there is installed the monument to the famous Moldavian king Stefan cel Mare. The bronze statue unveiled in 1928 is one of the masterpieces of the sculptor Alexander Plamadiala.
it is believed that the destiny of the this statue is not less mysterious and dramatic, than destiny of the king itself.
In 1923 it was offered to A. Plamadiala to develop the project of Stefan cel Mare monument. Searching for a portrait of Stefan cel Mare, he had to travel through a number of monasteries and in the Humor, which is situated at the territory of modern Romania, he found out a miniature dated on 1475, where Stefan cel Mare is pictured from nature. This image Plamadiala has taken as a basis for work above the portrait.
In 1940 one of the Romanian generals, furious admirer of Stefan cel Mare, has insisted to remove the monument and transport it to Romania. The monument was mounted in the town of Vaslui, near the Saint John’s church, which was constructed by Stefan cel Mare. In Chisinau the pedestal manufactured by A. Plamadiala has been blown up.
In 1942 the monument has been returned to Chisinau, and in 1944 it has been sent back to Romania. In 1945 the apprentice of Plamadiala, accidentally found the statue in a park in Romania, informed a high rank colonel in the Soviet army, and in a short time the statue has been sent back to Chisinau once more.
The statue was among the first objects to be restored in post-war Chisinau.
Stefan cel Mare (Steven the Great) Monument is located near the main gate to the park of his name. Stefan cel Mare was a Moldavian leader who defended his people against invading armies in the 15th century. The Monument is in bronze and it is popular place to make a photo for Moldavian tourists.
The most glorious period in the history of Moldova Principality is connected with the reign of Stefan cel Mare (Steven the Great)—a national hero of Moldova. In the second half of XV century, Stefan cel Mare achieved the greatest victories over the Turkish, Polish, Hungarian and Tartar armies which successively invaded the territory of Moldova. Notwithstanding all the victories, in summer 1484 Stefan cel Mare was forced to cede to the Turks the Southern part of Moldova including Chilia and Cetatea Alba fortresses. Soon after his death, and namely in 1513, Moldova Principality was forced to accept Turkish suzerainties.