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Monasteries tour in the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria

Monasteries tour in the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria

 Bessarabia – former part of Moldavian Principality, was taken by the Russian Empire first time in 1812, and a strong influence came from Russian Orthodox Church. 

The Church was used by the Russians to russificate the local population, as Romanian language was forbidden to be used for religious services. As a result, even today we have 2 Metropolis in Republic of Moldova, one under the Russian, and another under the Romanian Patriarchy. We will visit many monasteries, most of them not so known, but each of them having something interesting to show,  cave churches/monasteries, original Russian orthodox monasteries, Romanian monasteries changed into Russian ones, old believers monastery etc. And the most important we will have local contact, with people, monks and nuns, free and open discussions with high hierarchy people from both churches. It will be an interesting trip, may be not so impressive from art and history point of view , but for sure extremely impressive from the experience we will have interacting with local people and people from these monasteries 

Day 1: Arrival in Chisinau.
Arrival in Chisinau, welcome dinner and accommodation. Welcome dinner and tour program preview.


Day 2: Chisinau – Tiraspol – Noul Neamt Monastery – Causeni.
Departure to Transnistria, visit their capital Tiraspol, where you will see signs of communism and a strong Russian influence. Transnistria - is a breakaway territory within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova. Although not recognized by any state or international organization, it is de facto an independent state named the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The country’s national coat of arms still includes the traditional hammer and sickle and the Lenin statue hasn’t yet been pulled down. The Pridnestrovie today may still retain the look of a Communist state and it’s called “the last remaining Stalinist dictatorship in Europe”. Around lunch we will come at New Neamt Monastery, where we will have the possibility to stay at the same table together with the abbot of the monastery, and he will explain you how can an old Romanian monastery survive in a very aggressive environment. Later, a local monk will guide us around, showing the monastery library, give us wine from the Monastery Cellars and explain us how religion survives in the Last Soviet Frontier of Europe. After visiting the Monastery we will leave Transnistria and head back to Chisinau. On the way lets visit the 17th century Assumption of Our Lady Church, which is the oldest surviving building in Causeni town. Its paintings date to 1763 and exhibits wonderfull frescoes in byzantine style. The church is set into the ground – it is more than 3 feet (0.91 m) below ground level. Same accommodation, free dinner.


Day 3: Chisinau – Curchi Monastery – Old Orhei Monastery.
After breakfast let’s visit the world famous Moldovan Cellars - Cricova, which is a real underground wine city with wide streets, warehouses, tasting rooms. The total length of its galleries is 120 km. The constant annual temperature of + 12ºC and 82–95 % humidity are perfect conditions for aging quality wines there. Cricova is also well known for brilliant sparkling-wines produced by the classic French method.

Next stop – Curchi Monastery, the real pearl of our religious life. Here you’ll visit some churches, and among them - the “Virgin’s Assumption” Cathedral, built by the drawings of genius architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. For lunch we go to a local guesthouse, where we will enjoy not only tasty home-made food, but also talk to the principal of the local school about the community problems.

Later we shall visit  Old Orhei, Moldova’s most picturesque and fantastic historical site. Old Orhei is famous for the cave monasteries located there. This zone was ideal for the primary monasticism of early Christian community. It was isolated from the outer world. At the time when Christians came here there should have been smaller and bigger caves in the calcareous rocks cut by pre-historic tribes living on this territory. Today the monastery is inhabited by only one monk. Dinner and accommodation nearby to a local typical pension , with exceptionally good food.


Day 4: Old Orhei – Saharna Monastery – Cunicea and Japca Monasteries - Soroca.
Departure to the north, heading to Soroca. On the way we will visit Saharna monastery and enjoy lunch here. Saharna «Holy Trinity» monastery is the major pilgrimage center of Moldova, located among the picturesque steep valley, on the right bank of the Dniester River. The relics of St. Macarie are being preserved here and at the top of one of the rocks there is a chapel, where you can worship and see the foot print left by St. Mary according to the local legend. From the rocky peaks you will admire beautiful landscapes.  

Afternoon we will stop and visit the Cunicea monastery – the only old Russian believers monastery in Moldova, and we will end this beautiful day having a tea and cake at Japca monastery together with the abbot nun.

Japca is an impressive monastery and it’s famous for being the only convent to be allowed to function during the Soviet era. In the 17th century, the convent was not too different from a fortress in its structure and evidence of religious activity and hermits can be traced to 1693. Free dinner and accommodation in Soroca where we will stay for 2 days.


Day 5: Soroca – Calaraseuca Monastery – Pocrovca – Rudi Monastery.
After breakfast, you’ll visit the Soroca fortress, which is a unique monument of architecture, built in the Medieval Ages at the Nistru River bend as part of a huge Moldovan defensive system. Initially wooden, it was built of stone at the end of 15th century according to the “Golden Section” supreme law of harmony that made it unique among the examples of European military architecture. Later we depart along the Dniester road and visit the Calarauseuca monastery. On the way back we will meet the old believers in the village of Pocrovca. This Russian community lives quite isolated, trying to keep their traditions alive. They came about 200 years ago, settled down here and since then, they form a quite prosperous village. Here we will have lunch to a family, discuss about Old Russian traditions and taste several original dishes. For desert, we will get the highlight taste of the day, their homemade raspberry jam, unique in the world.  Afternoon we visit the Rudi monastery and continue back to Soroca. Rudi consists out of two churches: “The Holy Trinity”, founded in 1777 and “The Saint Dmitrii”. It is considered to be a bright example of Moldavian old architectural style. Free dinner, same accommodation


Day 6: Soroca – Calarasi Monasteries - Chisinau.
Today we go south towards Calarasi area, famous for its Codrii, representing secular forests - home to beautiful Monasteries and real pilgrimage centers. We will visit here: Frumoasa Monastery, Hirjauca, Hirbovat and Raciula.

At "Casa Parinteasca" Craft Centre from Palanca village, you will get to know the Moldovan traditional costumes and ethnographic customs, but also enjoy a traditional lunch with the best local wine, while the organic herbal tea, accompanied by quince jam will surprise you with its amazing taste.

Later we visit several families who produce different kind of liquors, one family who produces different kind of cheeses, and the third – producing different products made from the apples of their own orchard -red, yellow, sweet, aromatic, fizzy, fresh, baked or preserved, in cakes or tarts, juice or jam - we find here all kinds of apples, this being the house’s specialty. Arrival in Chisinau, check in and free dinner


Day 7: Capriana and Condrita Monasteries - Chisinau.
In the morning we shall visit the VIP and rich monastery of Capriana, and afterwords Condrita monastery. At lunch time we will arrive back Chisinau, free time and a city tour will be offered.

You will visit the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography, the Central Park and the Alley of Moldovan literature classics, the monument of Steven the Great and Saint, Great National Assembly Square, the Triumph Arch, the “Nativity” Cathedral, the Organ Hall, the Market of souvenirs, etc. Special farewell dinner in a local wine bar specialized in promoting quality Moldovan wines created by small producers.


Day 8: Departure home