Welcome to Moldova! First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your decision to explore this country, which is far from being a typical travel destination. However, this will mean only that you will feel really rewarded for your decision, because it is a rare case that the Creator lavished so many gifts on one land, as He did for Moldova. On a relatively small territory, which is still larger than, for example, Belgium, melded hilly landscapes, dreamy forests, very authentic-looking villages and inimitable hospitable people to create for the traveler a true concert of feelings and experiences. Once the famous Russian poet while exploring this country called it Southern fairy land, but today this South-European country can offer its guest even more and not only in terms of tourism. Better known, if known at all, as “the poorest country in Europe”, Moldova refuses today to live up to her reputation any more. You can experience a country on the rise, a country which is going to rouse soon from its sleep like a fairy tale figure. So, give it the decisive kiss. You arrive in Chisinău. After check-in at the hotel we still have a couple of hours for the first acquaintance with the city. The locals call the city “the white stone flower” , though the very name is derived from “chisla noua” – “a new spring”. During the city tour we will try to understand what has inspired people to resort to such a comparison. We will explore the center with the main street – Stefan cel Mare, which is the main artery of the Moldovan capital, we will see the government district and the Arc de Triomphe, we will walk in the Pushkin Park and down the “Avenue of the classics” of the Romanian Literature, visit the the Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity, Constantine and Helena Church, Armenian Church, Masaraki Church, which is the oldest building in town. In the evening we go to the local restaurant with Moldovan cuisine and enjoy there a folklore show.
It is a well-known fact, that the best way to comprehend the culture of a country is to get to know its people. The second day of our trip we start with the visit of the Central Market in Chisinau. In the huge market hall you can try and buy a wide range of country-specific specialties or just examine this oriental-style anthill and dwell upon the Mediterranean and Nordic appearance of the townsfolk.
Then we will visit the Museum of Archeology and History and complete thus our knowledge of the region. Walking through the spacious halls, we pass from one epoch into another and immerse into the turbulent history of Moldova.
The density of the well-preserved monasteries makes Moldova a desired country for pilgrimages. Most are interesting from both religious and architectural point of view. They look more like fortresses, for in course of their centuries-long history they often served as a protection for the inhabitants from invading hordes. In Codrus we visit the Capriana Monastery, which was
built in the 15th century and was once the residence of the Metropolitans. For many years, the monastery was closed and only after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was reopened. Thus, the monastery is considered as the symbol of the rebirth of the whole Moldova. In the village Condrita we visit the beautiful St. Nicholas Monastery and learn about the Hajduks – kind of Robin Good’s successors, who founded the monastery.
An obligatory motif of each trip to Moldova is wine. Wine-growing areas account for 25% of the total territory of the country. Even on the geographical map, the country has the form of a bunch of grapes. A stork with a bunch of grapes in its beak is the symbol of Moldova. In the afternoon of this day we have chosen for you a unique wine cellar in Milesti Mici. With its 1.5 million bottles it houses the largest wine collection in Europe, which was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. The corridors in the basement are almost 200 km long. Of course, an extensive wine tasting is waiting for you there.
We begin this day the way we finished yesterday. Our day will start with visiting of the Curci monastery, which is said to be founded owing to a beautiful story of the conversion of robber gang to Christianity. Our lunch we will enjoy in Trebujeni – a small village nearby. You will not only take delight in the Moldovan traditional cuisine, but also have a chance to visit a private household, which will give you an insight into the life style of ordinary Moldovans. We will continue our acquaintance with the Moldovan country life in the ethnographic museum in Butuceni. Subsequently we drive to Orheiul-Vechi (the Old Orhei), a 40,000 years old amphitheater. Traces of many ancient civilizations including those of the Dacians, to whom the present Moldovans are believed to be related, have been found there. The ruins of the Heto-Dacian fortress are also to be seen here. You will visit the ruins of a medieval town and the unique cave monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary from the 13th century carved high above the river Reut in the rocks. The river here flows through the S-shaped plateau, with the up to 60 m high slopes riddled like Swiss cheese. In the evening we reach the village Lalova that is situated on the Dnister bank.