If you have enough time you should consider a trip to the north of the country. And make sure you visit Soroca, where the famous Soroca Fortress is located.
It is in fact the only Moldavian Medieval Fortress you'll be able to see in our country. And it is amongst the best preserved Moldavian Fortresses. You see, the rest of them are either in Ukraine or Romania these days, or worst - used as a depo by russian army in Transnistria region.
And while you are in Soroca.. you can meet Gypses who live there, there's a part of the city densely populated by them. But they are rather different from the pikies you happened to know. They live in castles like villas on the nearby hill and they have their own Gypsy King.
During the past 10 years or so it became one of the top travel destinations. While being known in the past it gained boost when the monastery located here re-opened after long years of communists rule. Well, as a matter of fact, they still rule, but these plonkers are a bit different, caring just about the money. Well, anyway... so where was I?
Oh... paradise! Yeah... It might not look like paradise to you, but some people really do think so I used to say myself that it's a place from paradise!!! And the scenery is well worth it, especially if you happened to be there during autumn.
Saharna is a beautiful natural reservation on the right bank of the Nistru (Dniester) River and you can also find here:
- The Trinity Monastery and the old Monastery carved in stone.
- 11 waterfalls they say, well I would say about 3-5 bigger ones (tallest being 4,5 meteres). But it is nice, you can get underneath some of them and get all wet if you feel the mood.
- The Grimidon Rock. There's a whole story with that rock.... I'll explain later.
- Geto-Dacians fortress on the top of the hill... well the place where it used to be actually. You can still see the shape and pay the tribute near the monument on top of that hill.
- Gorgeous forest. Some nice picturesque sceneries.
If interested enough, try to find out more about this magnificent place on my Saharna page.
Day or night, you can get a bottle of cognac 24 hours a day. Well at this special shop you can. The KVINT (Kon'iaki, vina i napitki Tiraspol'ia – translates as Brandies, Wines and Beverages of Tiraspol) factory has this small shop just around the corner from the factory gates. How convenient is that? And just to make sure you and your friends never run out they are open 24 hours a day like it says on the sign. Although it also says ‘Dinner’ in Russian and notes the times of 2-3pm (14:00-15:00). So maybe a late lunch is not such a good time to be hunting down a quick bottle of cognac. Come in the morning just to be on the safe side and then again later in the evening. They will not run out!
PLEASE NOTE: YOU HAVE TO GO INTO TRANSDNIESTER TO GET THERE
You probably already heard of the underground wine cities we've got here in Moldova.
If you haven't yet just picture this: you're enter the network of hundreds of miles long interconnected underground illuminated tunnels and you don't just walk - you drive your car there, you may even drive a bus inside. And these are not just ordinary tunnels, this is a storage place for wines. Along the sides of the underground kingdom's roads barrels of wines are kept and the streets are named after the wines on it: Aligote, Merlot, Cabernet, etc.
The most popular underground cities of wine will be: Cricova, Milestii Mici and Cojusna.
My tip from 5 years ago reads:
"Nistru in the spring!
Beautiful as usual, but with another charm."
It sure is :) It is too early for swimming (well, for most of us) but is good for fishing! And admiring nature, maybe a good time for barbecue somewhere on the banks of the river.
Frankly speaking I don't know why I placed this tip here... I'm updating my tips now, most of them I wrote about 5 years ago and there are plenty of things I feel like rewriting now. I probably just wanted to share the photograph!
Anyway - Grimidon Rock!
Grimidon Rock - rocks! :) It is just a rather massive hill in Saharna (you must of read my tip on that one!) But! It's got it's story, there's a legend about this rock that everybody seemed to forget and there's a tiny little church on top of that rocky hill that was built recently on the place where Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to set footstep.
Explore a unique archiological and natural complex !
Colorful canyons Rudi and Arionesti, the cave and the monastery, situated in the neighbourhood of the village Rudi, the medieval settling “Falfuria Turceasca”, the narrow “La Trei Cruci” and the springs with the remedial water are waiting for you.
The Rudi monastery is one of the most representative edifices of the medieval architecture built in the Old Moldavian style of the XIVth century.
Over 1400 churches, 24 monasteries and 5 hermitages located all over the country represent a real evidence of national architecture and painting along the centuries.
This is a place blessed by God that becomes one of the biggest centers of religious pilgrimages in Moldova.
A natural background created by the most outstanding “architects”: Time, Water, Air and Sun.
As “eternity comes from village” (L.Blaga), I invite you to visit the places that preserve for ages culture, traditions and history.
“Old Orhei” is a place where reigns the magic descending from history and legend.
The natural and architectural monuments such as the ruins of a Dacian fortress and the cave monastery that dates back from the XIV century transfer you in another world, a world of speaking ruins.
Soroca fortress is an historic monument situated on the right bank of the Nistru river, 160 km North-East from the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. In the medieval period the fortress was part of a huge Moldovan defensive system, which comprised four fortresses on the Nistru river, two on the Danube and another three in the northern part of the country. In that way, the country borders were well protected.
Being in Moldova, don't forget about the well known wine cellars Cricova and Mileshtii Michi.
“Cricova” subterranean “wine town” that is known for its exceptional microclimate, length and depth. The fascination of the tasting halls will make you forget about time and depressing routine. The first cosmonaut Jurii Gagarin being in one of these halls said: „ It would be easier to take off into the space than to leave Cricova halls”.
Since you change buses in the town of Orhei and with the bus station a few meters from the centre, it is worth strolling around an hour, even during a heavy rain. A somnolent small town whose communist heritage mixes with the innocent flavours and tastes.
The archaeological complex of Old Orhei is located in a picturesque landscape between the villages of Trebujeni and Butuceni, half an hour by car from the town of Orhei and 60 km far from Chisinau.
The complex lies on the headlands formed by the serpent run of the Rani river, who built a natural fortress with the virgins in the sarmatian rocks.
With succeeding culture traces of all historic eras starting 30.000 years ago, Orheiul Vechi boasts as the “historical cradle of Moldova” – stone age, copper age, bronze age, iron age, antiquity and the middle ages – such as burials, settlements, fortifications, citadels, towns. The highlight among these are the Gaetic fortress, the Tatars town of Golden Horde (Sebr –sl-Djedid) and a 15th century church.
The preferred activity at Orheiul Vechi is to climb the rocks to look for the caves excavated in the limestone by the pilgrims centuries ago. Some of them still bear religious paintings.
An excellent page on the complex is at http://orhei.dnt.md/en.html
In the north eastern part of the former soviet republic of Moldova, near where Nistru (Dniester) river begins its descent, lays a charming forgotten town. Soroca is surrounded by a mountain with deep ravines, sheer rocks and luscious green foliage, so that the town evokes the image of a wide amphitheatre with slopes down into a picturesque landscape overlooking the Dniester river.
Out of the many fortresses in Moldova who date back from the times of the legendary ruler of Moldova Stefan cel Mare (see tip), the one in Soroca is in fact the only one who remains within the borders of the Former Soviet Republic of Moldova. (The most impressive fortresses of Stefan being currently in Ukraine lands).
For more info, pics and tips go to my Soroca page.
Going to Chisinau is a must, the same as with any other capitals around the world, as its’ one of the most straightforward way to “get the feeling” of the country. One of the greenest capitals in Europe, small and peaceful, Chisinau does not offer a lot in terms of monuments, despite the Russians efforts to develop “an imperial flavour” in the mid of 19th century.
On the other hand, there are lots of good restaurants with excellent cuisine, nice caffes in the parks, not to mention the wine cellars outside the city, enough to make a good reason to spend a few days in/around Chisinau.
For more info, pics and tips, go to my Chisinau page.
I booked one of the rooms on the floor where the rooms were meant to have been refurbed. You would...more
Trebujeni, Orhei, MD-3552, 300 meters from the bridge (entrance to the village) nearby Orheiul Vech
Good for: Couples
Was there for 10 days on business trip. It is a nice 3 1/2 star hotel showing a little wear and tear...more
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