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Moldova :: Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei)

Orheiul Vechi is best we have! This phrase will be pronounced each time the discussion reaches this subject. And this is the reality. The nature and history endowed Moldova with an amazing place, that international experts intend to include in the list of UNESCO World heritage property, and soon, Orheiul Vechi, and neighboring villages, will be granted the status of National park.

This is a piece of wonderful place. The River Reut smoothly turns to 180 degree here, enclosing the valleys. From their top, the scenery resembles a deep cup.This unusual natural monument is located between villages Butuceni and Trebujeni and in history is known as a point of particular attraction, as since their begining humans were always trying to reach a part of heaven.

Orheiul Vechi was inhabited in 13th century, that is why even nowadays treasures are still found — clay pots, silver coins, jewels. In the 14th century the town of Sehr al-Djedid was found here, with its specific caravanserais, mosqués, public bathrooms. By the way, the lower part of the walls still can be seen at the entrance to Trebujeni.

In 15th century the turkish establishment was replaced by a moldovan one. But, the tatar raids destroyed it, so that only small pieces of the fortress remained preserved.

Nowadays, at Orheiul Vechi cave monasteries can be visited. Some scientists believe one of them was built in 12th century, others promote the variant of 15th century. Willing to keep their belief, our ancestors hid in caves and formed hermitages. Today, the church of the monastery is active, and almost continuously inhabited by a monk.

According to history data, there were a few cave monasteries in Orheiul Vechi. Nobody knows how many exactly, but there are a lot of caves. There is oficial information about another holly place digged in rock in 1675 by the chief of district Bosie, not far from actual church.

When the enemies were no longer a threat, in the 19th century, on the top of a hill, the christians built a ground monastery with a big church, having the walls painted the colour of sun.

Another important location from Orheiul Vechi is the village of Butuceni, situated between two hills. This is piece of true monument that shows the way of life and architecture of 19th century. The village consists of one main street and couple of backstreets. Almost all the buildings here were built more than 100 years ago. The sensations created is as if by means of a time-machine you reached ancestors days. In Butuceni there is also a museum of christian handicraft from the period of 18th and 19th century. Not only the yard, but the house and cellar too is decorated in atmosphere of past years.

In Butuceni activates the homonymous boarding house — the rooms are hosted in a peasant house, the bread is baked in oven, the wine is made after „grandpa’s“ receipt, and traditional cuisine is served. Despite these, the boarding house has all modern conveniences available.

Peasant boarding houses can be found in Trebujeni in number of 8. The only difference is they were arranged in newer houses, built in the middle of 20th century. One can sleep here, have a dinner, ride a horse, sail on a boat, have a picnic on the bank of Reut. In other words — feel the atmosphere of countryside life on your own skin!

At the end of August, near the entrance to the village of Trebujeni, each year the Gustar festival is organized. Within the festival artists demonstrate the art of different peoples, the craftsmen — their masterpieces, chefs — their courses of moldavian cuisine. An unforgetable event in an unforgetable location! What else can be said... „Orheiul Vechi is best we have!“

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