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Moldova

Main attractions

Valley of Dniester, Moldova
Valley of Dniester / Clay Gilliland, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

The heritage of Moldova is little known outside its borders but this does not mean that there is little to see. In fact Moldova has some nearly unique and impressive landmarks, such as Europe's earliest traces of human activity, unusual archaeological heritage and gargantuan wine cellars with hundreds of kilometres of passages and millions of wine bottles.

Natural landmarks

Răut Canyon at Butuceni, Moldova
Răut Canyon at Butuceni / Guttorm Flatabø, Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • Butesti Ravine - Glodeni. Impressive gorge, some 2 km long and 125 m wide. Here are found caves with rich finds of bones of bisons, mammoths, rhinos and other extinct animals. One cave was inhabited during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic, here are also traces of Neolithic fortress.
  • Jeloboc Spring - Orhei. Powerful spring with output of 150 l/s.
  • Popeliushka (Emil Racovita Cave, Zolushka) - Briceni and Ukraine, Chernivtsi. 91.05 km long cave, the 25th longest in the world. Cave has gorgeous speleothems.
  • Răut Canyon - Orhei. Up to 148 m deep river valley with exposed limestone steeps - the most impressive part stretches for 7 km. Especially impressive is Butuceni promontory with 3 km long and up to 120 m tall limestone exposure. Area has been rich with settlements since the Late Paleolithic (some 30 - 20 thouysand years ago).
  • Saharna Falls - Rezina. Group of 22 waterfalls, all on Saharna River. Tallest waterfall (Gipsy Hole) is some 5 - 8 m high and has formed a plunge pool under it.
  • Surprizelor Cave - Criuleni. Second longest natural cave in country, 1.7 km long, formed in limestone.
  • Ţipova Falls - Rezina. Some 16 m tall waterfall on a small stream in ravine near Ţipova monastery. There are several fairly tall waterfalls in these ravines.

Man made landmarks

Archaeological landmarks

  • Bayraki Paleolithic site - Transnistria. Oldest known traces of humans in Europe - flint tools from the Oldowan epoch, 1.1 - 1.2 million years old (Early Paleolithic).
  • Old Orhei - Orhei. Ancient settlement on the banks of the deep Răut Canyon, inhabited since the Paleolithic age. Site includes remnants of Geto-Dacian fortress (6th - 1st century BC), Golden Horde fort (Yangi-Shehr, 14th century) and other historical landmarks. Site includes rock cut dwellings.
Soroca Fort, Moldova
Soroca Fort / Ion Chibzil, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Forts

  • Soroca Fort - Soroca. Impressive and well preserved fort, built in 1543 - 1546. Its walls form a perfect circle with five bastions.

Monasteries and churches

  • Butuceni rock cut shrines - Orhei. Group of some 200 rock cut caves linked to Christian cult in the valley of Răut. In the walls of many caves have been carved religious texts and symbols.
  • Căpriana Monastery Church, Moldova
    Căpriana Monastery Church - example of Moldavian style in architecture / Andrey, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
    Căpriana Monastery Church - Strășeni. Historical stone church, built in Moldavian style in 1491 - 1496.
  • Căușeni Assumption of Our Lady Church - Căușeni. Old church building from the 17th century, partly under the ground. Contains the only medieval fresco in the country, in the late Byzantine - Romanian style.
  • Rudi St. Trinity Church - Soroca. Characteristic church in Rudi Monastery, good example of the traditional Moldovan architecture.
  • Saharna rock cut church - Rezina. Rock cut church of unknown age, devoted to Annunciation. Next to it are traditional monastic structures - St. Trinity monastery.
Cellars of the Cricova winery, Moldova
Cellars of the Cricova winery / Hans Pōldoja, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Wineries

  • Cricova winery - Rîșcani. Giant complex of wine cellars, with a total length of 120 km. Devlopment of these cellars started in the 15th century. Cellars developed as limestone quarries for the construction of the nearby Chișinău city. Winery has some 1.25 million bottles of wine.
  • Mileștii Mici winery - Ialoveni. Largest wine collection in the world. Wine is located in extensive underground galleries with a total length of some 200 - 250 km, "only" 55 km are in use now and some 120 km - accessible. Here are located more than 2 million wine bottles.

List of described attractions by districts

Moldova is divided into 37 districts, 3 municipalities, autonomous territory of Gagauzia and Transnistria - area which is occupied by Russia.

Anenii Noi
Bălți
Basarabeascu
Bender
Briceni
Cahul
Cantemir
Călărași
Căușeni
Chișinău
Cimișlia
Criuleni
Dondușeni
Drochia
Dubăsari
Edineț
Fălești
Florești
Gagauzia
Glodeni
Hîncești
Ialoveni
Leova
Nisporeni
Ocnița
Orhei
Rezina
ArrowSaharna FallsWaterfall
Rîșcani
Sîngerei
Soroca
Strășeni
Șoldănești
Ștefan Vodă
Taraclia
Telenești
Transnistria
Ungheni

Map of Moldova

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