Saturday, December 26, 2015


The archaeological and ecclesiastical complex at Orheiul Vechi (‘Old Orhei’), about 20km southeast of the modern city of Orhei (60km northeast of Chişinău), is the country’s most important historical site and a place of stark natural beauty.
Occupying a remote, rocky ridge over the Răut River, the open-air complex includes ruins, fortifications, baths, caves and monasteries, ranging from the earliest days of the Dacian tribes more than 2000 years ago through the Mongol and Tatar invasions of the early Middle Ages and the time of Ştefan cel Mare, and all the way to the modern period.
The most impressive sight is arguably the Cave Monastery, built inside a cliff overlooking the gently meandering river. It’s marked by a small bell tower and a cross standing on the rocks. It was dug by Orthodox monks in the 13th century and remained inhabited until the 18th century. In 1996 a handful of monks returned to this secluded place of worship and are slowly restoring it. You can enter the cave via a brick archway, just below the hill from the bell tower.

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