Republic of Moldova – a surprising country
Crossing the border to this small but full of potential country, named “the number two of the beaten path destination in the world”, situated in South-East Europe, at a distance of approx. 400 km from Bucharest, you will get to see how the past, with his folklore, cultural heritage and traditional handicrafts mix perfectly with dynamic development of infrastructure and modern architecture.
What defines Moldova’s charm is definitely its unspoiled countryside, authentic villages, and unique historical monuments, making it the perfect place for spending a vacation far from the big city bustle. So, let’s see some examples of exceptional places to spend the holidays in the Republic of Moldova…
A great choice for cultural tourism in Moldova is the archeological complex “Orheiu Vechi” – “the place with the 1001 mysteries”, located in the Valley of the river Raut, in Orhei District, at a distance of 60 km from the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. Considered one of the most important historical sites in Moldova, and nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage list, is in fact an open-air rock complex, that has all together: rock ruins, old fortifications, cave monasteries, and karst caves.
The visit to the “Orheiu Vechi Complex” can start at the Orheiu Vechi Exhibition Center, near the village of Trebujeni, where you can also find a small museum, with old objects, found during archeological diggings, together with a tourist information center.
After visiting Orheiu Vechi Complex and spending some time in the area, you will find very near, in Butuceni Village – a rural treasure, also part of the Orhei District, the perfect place to discover and to taste authentic Moldavian dishes, “Agro Pensiunea Butuceni”, a restored traditional guest house. Here, the restaurant is more like an old and big room, with a “hay roof”, where the food and the wine are served in ceramic pots.
The pension is near the river Raut, in a green and intimate area, so recreation and fresh air are the major objectives. If we are still in Orhei district, we should pay a visit and discover the “Pearl of Bessarabian monasteries” – “Curchi Monastery”, located in the village with the same name, at 55 km away from Chisinau, surrounded by five beautiful churches and abbeys, an entrance surveillance tower and a small lake.
The monastery is completely renovated and it is visited by a growing number of foreign tourists every year, tourists in search of a peaceful and quiet place.
Besides exquisite and amazing places, Moldova has another potential to be proud of: its authentic wineries spread all over the country. If you will visit Moldova, you see that almost every household has his own small vineyard, where the wine is prepared carefully and stored in cellars, or sold to big wineries, to gain money for their families.
“Wine has been a part of civilized life for some seven thousand years. It is the only beverage that feeds the body, soul and spirit of man and at the same time stimulates the mind…” – Robert Mondavi
As a wine country well known internationally, the Republic of Moldova is known for its underground cellars and towns, where they produce different types of white wine, red wine and sparkling wine, and it is also part of the 10 big wine producers in the world, included in the cultural-touristic route of the European community.
There are 142 wineries all over the country, and 23 of them can be visited by tourists, where they can learn about the production processes, see how bottling is made, and of course, taste the final product (together with traditional cheese, pastries, olives or cheese pies).
Included also in the Guinness Book of Records, “Milestii Mici” Wine Complex, located at 20 km south from Chisinau, it is the oldest place of storage for the wines produced in Moldova, and has also the biggest wine collection in Europe, with over 1,5 millions of collection bottles.
The complex has also an underground gallery, with a length of almost 250 km, situated 80 meters underground, that can be visited with personal car, and you will have the pleasure to notice that the galleries have wine names, like: “Cabernet”, “Aligote”, “Feteasca”.
In the city of Cricova, situated at 20 km from the capital of Moldova, we will find one other famous winery, that wears the city’s name – “Cricova Winery” – very well known abroad for their sparkling wine products.
What is very interesting about this winery is the fact that it houses the only remaining sample of “Easter Jerusalem” liquor – “Ian Beher”, harvested in 1902. They refused many times very important persons trying to buy this bottle, even if they offered a lot of money or old collection cars in exchange.
The length of the cellars is over 120 km, in the shape of a champagne glass. It can be visited with a special little train, and you will see wine collections that belong to international personalities. You can even have a taste of their wines, in rooms called: “The European Room”, “The Seabed Tasting Room” or “The Presidential Room”.
The best period to visit the Moldavian wineries and to taste their wine and barely picked grapes, is from the end of September until the first week of October, when also the “National Wine Day” gathers almost 100 wine producers at a great festival, that takes place in the city center of Chisinau, with traditional dance, good live music, amazing food and authentic souvenirs.
Travelling all around the country, in search of cultural, religious, medieval, traditional or historical places, you will notice for sure, as long as the eye can see…vineyard landscapes.
Helped also by the perfect climate, winemaking is deeply ingrained in Moldova’s culture and history, tradition and, of course, economy, as their wines are exported over 30% to foreign countries.
Facts about the Republic of Moldova
Let’s find out some interesting facts about Moldova:
- Moldova is placed the 12th among the top world wine exporters.
- Vine growing and wine making in Moldova counts for almost 5,000 years.
- The largest underground wine cellar in the world is Cricova
- The Milestii Mici’s wine collection of 1.5 million bottles has been included in the Guinness World Records at the category The Largest Quality Wine Collection in the World.
So, if you will ever cross beside a shelf in a store or a supermarket in your country and you will see a wine or a sparkling wine with the name of “Cricova”, “Purcari”, “Chateau Vartely” or “Et Cetera” , be sure that the perfect place to taste it is right at their producer, located in the Republic of Moldova.