Agrotourism, cave monasteries and medieval fortress

Trip description

This circuit takes you in part on the roads of northern Moldova and is a trip off the beaten tracks. So if you have a intrepid traveler's soul, you'll be willing to get lost in your journey and this will be part of your beautiful journey. If you wish, you can help yourself with a travel agency, the best in nature for a nature and sports adventure being Hai la ?ara, seasoned and specialized.

Day 1: The two most beautiful villages of Moldova

Day 2: Ativité outdoors

Day 3: Lalova Rural Pension and ?ipova Rock Monastery

Day 4: Mongona Monastery and Hiking

Day 5: Soroca, fortress and Gypsy hill

Day 6: Rudi Monastery and Stanca Jeloboc Nature Reserve

Day 1 : The two most beautiful villages of Moldova

Day1 : The two most beautiful villages of Moldova ©Mila PRELI

From Chisinau, go directly to Trebujeni and/or Butuceni for beautiful "drifts" on the Dniestr in perspective. The two villages are only 10 minutes away from each other and they are the most beautiful in Moldova. Don't miss the Orhei Vechi site, also in the same place, and the rock monastery still active in the cliff: the view is breathtaking. Two days is a minimum to soak up the scenery, sleep in one or two agrotourism pensions, and you will be spoilt for choice, really. From the simplest to the most luxurious, there is something for every taste and comfort. But for all of them, the key word remains "authenticity". Wherever you go, you will be welcomed like princes, you will be served the best cuisine and the best wine, in a typical environment and in no way overrated. It's pure happiness. Observe the beautiful traditional architecture of these village museums, the blue houses (the blue of Orhei), the majesty of the portals. It is often the facade that Moldovans attach the most importance to, one of the elements being the passageway, covered with beautifully carved pillars. The ridge of the house is decorated with fantastic animals borrowed from folklore or sacred representations of snakes, lions, turtledoves...

Day 2 : Ativité outdoors

Take the day of hiking, cycling or on the Winding affluent tributary, kayak or floating hammock. Guaranteed pleasures, especially in the spring or summer of course: From April to September, it is ideal. Certainly you want to stay longer, but continue...

Day 3 : Lalova Rural Pension and ?ipova Rock Monastery

In great shape and refreshed by the good breakfast you have just eaten, 1h20 will be needed to reach the village of Lalova where you will leave your luggage at the Hanul lui Hanganu pension. This pension on the banks of the Dniestr is a haven of peace and enchantment for lovers of agrotourism and culinary delights, local wines and homemade vodka! In summer, a terrace overlooking the Dniestr is very pleasant, moreover in mezzanine, a wooden ladder leads to a straw-covered floor forming a sleeping area. But you can also sleep in one of the pretty rooms of the house, heated by a wood fire. From there, you are ready for a mystical experience, the rock monastery of Tipova. Tipova is a small village located on the heights of the right bank of the Dniestr river which takes place in a sublime landscape, at the top of cliffs. The small stream that flows into the Dniestr has created gorges over time, some of which are more than 150 metres deep. This exceptional site has led to the establishment of a rock monastery, the largest in the country. To get there, you take a narrow path. At the top of the hill thrive vine fields and crops. This picturesque place is in perfect harmony with a bewitching nature, from which legends are inevitably born. Stefan cel Mare is said to have married Maria Voichita in the first church, but Orpheus, a hero and poet of Greek mythology, also died there and was buried near one of the waterfalls. Allow enough time for a hike around the monastery and along the gorges to the south of the village, the most imposing waterfall flows 15 metres high. This walk is inevitable to capture the magic and spirit of the place; let yourself be enchanted.

Day 4 : Mongona Monastery and Hiking

Day4 : Mongona Monastery and Hiking ©Mila PRELI

And the poetry continues with the Saharna monastery, about 1 hour drive. A very beautiful walk along the river and its twenty-two waterfalls in the wooded gorges will be the logical follow-up to the visit of this jewel of the monastery, Saharna. For the small story, everything begins: The Virgin Mary, appeared on one of the cliffs, left a fingerprint there. Monks discover the place and conclude that this is the sign of the great purity of the site. A hermitage is created, with a church and a few cells. Today the monastery is built on three staircases. On the opposite slope of the monastery, a rock rises like a castle and bears the name Grimidon. In the morning, the monks look through the window in his direction and repeat an ancient word: " Grimidon is right, it means that all things are in their place. " " This rock represents the highest observation point of Saharna, we have to go. " This monastery is the country's most important pilgrimage place, so like Moldovans, put your wishes on small pieces of paper and trap them in the interstices of the rock. The monastic complex is also a natural reserve, a protected site conducive to hiking. Two small rivers, Saharna (10 kilometers long) and Stohnia (6 km). These rivers formed the twenty-two waterfalls, small lakes, but also deep canyons. The largest waterfall falls 4 meters high and is at the last corner of the river east, in front of the forest guard house and the cave monastery. Prepare to spend a very quiet and serene night at the monastery, the monks can host a few people, contact them beforehand. It is a very good experience because the monks are very communicative and welcoming.

Day 5 : Soroca, fortress and Gypsy hill

Day5 : Soroca, fortress and Gypsy hill ©Mila PRELI

On the way to Soroca, prepare yourself for a 1.5 hour drive and a little more urbanity, but all this remains relative. Go to the Hotel Central, it's one of the best places to spend a night - and two, considering the rest of the tour we offer. In Soroca, two visits are necessary, the medieval fortress and the Gypsy hill. Start with the fortress, which strikes with its imposing presence. Historical, architectural and tourist monument, it is the only medieval building so well preserved in Moldova, it has kept its original appearance since its construction in the 16th century. From the 15th century, Soroca was part of a defensive network along the Dniestr, a real defence belt in the east with three other fortresses, Hotin, Bender and Orhei, and two others on the Danube in the south. The fortress of Soroca is perfectly round, the main tower and the four secondary towers are distributed equidistantly over the circular surrounding wall. The rectangular main tower has three levels: the entrance courtyard, a chapel and an observation platform. From the chapel, there is a breathtaking view of the Dniestr on one side and the Gypsy hill on the other. Soroca is the "Roma capital". It is the largest concentration of Gypsies in Moldova, exceptionally sedentary, since the beginning of the 15th century. The hill is built with large, colourful and sparkling houses, true triumphant and ostentatious palaces, which are less distinguished by their architecture than by their dimensions, their extravagant lace roofs and decorum. Victorian palaces, Chinese pagodas, replicas of the White House, Greek-Roman palaces... The paradox and finally the paradox and the incredible charm and life of this hill is the anarchy of its urban planning in the midst of this luxury, the dirt roads and paths that serve the palaces, and the courtyards where ancient luxury cars sink into the ground by no longer rolling, where the clotheslines dry eternally beautiful coloured skirts. The most imposing palace is that of the "baron", Artur Cerari, leader of the Gypsies of Moldova. He looks like an Indian sage, a patriarch; he is a character, in short, he is a leader! Intelligent, respected, highly educated, he speaks several languages. He gives himself up easily, but for 1,000 lei for the interview!

Day 6 : Rudi Monastery and Stanca Jeloboc Nature Reserve

Day6 : Rudi Monastery and Stanca Jeloboc Nature Reserve ©Mila PRELI

After this first night at the Hotel Central, find your walking shoes and head for Rudi Monastery and its nature reserve (45 minutes by car). You will arrive in the Valley of the Wolves. The site is formed by steep slopes forming deep valleys, suitable for packs (in ancient times, of course). The monastery is surrounded by this natural reserve of strange shaped rocks that, on windy days, make melodious sounds; this place is called the "wind harp". This enigmatic place has attracted people since prehistoric times, archaeologists have also discovered fortifications dating back to the 10th century. But the jewel of Rudi is its monastic complex, one of the oldest in Moldova, on the banks of the Bulboaca River and not far from the great waterfall (10 metres). Walk down to the monastery by a path in the forest marked with small wooden panels that will take you on a detour, it will be a great hike of about 2 hours and a half. It's already morning, plan a picnic, there's not much around. On the way back to Soroca, are you ready for a second walk? If so, the Stanca Jeloboc reserve is on your way, 40 minutes away. Between the villages of Cosauti and Iorjnita, it is the remnant of a huge forest that was called "the Soroca Forest". Today, it covers 530 hectares and still shelters a very diversified fauna and flora. The forest abounds in water sources and gigantic rocks emerging at the surface. The river basin is home to a great diversity of animals: wild boars, hinds, foxes.. Well, the journey is coming to an end! After this good day outdoors, it will only take you about 20 minutes to get back to your hotel and the next day, to return to the capital, it will take you 2 hours and 30 minutes by highway.

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