Moldova is the region on the eastern border of the European Union. Throughout the time its land was desired and conquered by ottomans and Russians. In spite of these perils and influences, Moldavia preserved its Romanian identity. It is the land of painted monasteries, of good wine, of great poets and musicians. Moldavia is the home of Nadia Comăneci and George Enescu.

The names Moldavia and Moldova are derived from the name of the Moldova River.

Novelties on Moldavia

Ștefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) ruled Moldavia for 47 years (1457-1504), was in 36 battles which all ended in victory, except only two. He was the greatest ruler of Moldavia.

The “Zimbrul and Vulturul” (the Auroch and the Eagle) newspaper was printed in Moldavia in the 19th century. One of the newspaper editions became the world’s most expensive newspaper copies because of the eight Auroch head mail stamps dating back to 1858.

The aurochs head (dexter) and Wallachia’s eagle (sinister) were included as emblems on the tricolour adopted by Alexandru Ioan Cuza after the union of the Danubian Principalities in 1859.

Moldavians are the greatest alcohol consumers in Europe and ex-soviet countries. They annually drink an average of 18.2 liters of pure alcohol. The Czechs are second, with 16.45 liters.

The Church of Dragoș in Putna is the oldest wooden medieval church known till present in Europe.

Râșca Monastery was founded by Petru Rareș in 1542, during his second rule, for the monks of the old monastery Bogdănești.

Archaeologic sites

The Princely Residence in Suceava, also known as the The Citadel of Suceava, is the only citadel conquered by opening the gates from the inside. The Citadel of Suceava is a medieval stronghold in the east end of the city of Suceava (north-eastern Romania). It was built at the end of the 14th century by Petru 2nd Mușat, it was reinforced (fortified) in the 15th century by Ștefan cel Mare and it was destroyed in the 17th century by Dumitrașcu Cantacuzino.

The immensity underground holes, the labyrinth of thousand meters galleries, modern tourism base, Târgu Ocna Saline creates the impression of a “city in the deep”.

The Citadel of Batca Doamnei, known in the old ages as the Dacian Stronghold of Petrodava, is among the oldest historical monuments preserved in the region of Neamț County. The ruins of the ancient stronghold are located at an altitude of approximately 457 meters, atop a hill in the south-eastern part of the city of Piatra Neamț, 4 km far, known as Batca Doamnei Mountain.

The first document of the Royal Court of Piatra Neamț appears in a document issued in 1491

The Neamț Citadel is a medieval citadel from Moldavia, located 46 km north-wester of Târgu Neamț, on the Pleșului Ridge, at an altitude of 480 meters. The construction was part of a fortified buildings system built at the end of the 14th century to help face Ottoman attacks and is an important historical monument.

According to the papal bull of 1232 – the Teutonic Knights of Bârsa had built between 1211-1225 the Neamț Citadel on the eastern slope of the Carpathians a castrum muntissimum which was later identified as the citadel.

Monasteries in Modavia

Monasteries in Moldavia are some of the most beautiful and popular landmarks in our country. Each of them is unique and important to the local religious culture, as well as for tourism. A very surprising aspect for tourists abroad is the fact that all Moldavian monasteries have been inhabited by praying monks and nuns since they were built, in some worship places reaching hundreds.

Among the most picturesque treasures of Romania are the Painted Monasteries.

Agapia Monastery is an Orthodox nun monastery, located close to Târgu Neamț. It was built during 1641-1643 and has several landmarks, like the “Sfinții Voievozi” Church, the “Saint Ioan Bogoslov” wooden church, the tower bell and nun chambers, “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” Infirmary and many others. The most important landmarks, with both religious and artistic value, are the frescos painted by Nicolae Grigorescu. Currently, over 500 nuns lives in Agapia Monastery.

Voroneț Monastery is one of the most famous and popular monasteries of Moldavia, appreciated for its unique “Voroneț Blue” color. It was dubbed the Sistine Chapel of the East, because, beside the renowned color, the monastery also has an impressive painting collection. Built in 1488, Voroneț Monastery is Ștefan cel Mare’s most valuable creation.

Humor Monastery is located nearby Suceava, like Voroneț Monastery is, but it was built by Toader Bubuiog in 1530 and its patron is “Assumption of the Virgin Mary”. Ruins of the monastery houses here are extremely important and interesting landmarks, filling in the panorama created by the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” Church and “Saint George” Church, but also by the two impressive towers.

Seven of the Painted Monasteries were placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1993.

Moldovița Monastery is one of the most important and oldest hermitages. It also has paintings on the exterior walls and it was built in 1532 by Petru Rareș. Here, the Byzantine and Gothic architectural styles were tied to create one of the most beautiful monasteries in Moldavia and a symbol of the Orthodox religious culture.

Sucevița Monastery was historically confirmed in 1582 and is located nearby Rădăuți. There’s a legend about the monastery; it says that, for absolution of her sins, a woman carried, for 30 years, stone for the construction of the monasteries with a cart pulled by oxen. Decorated with interior and exterior mural paintings, the monastery is one of the finest representations of the byzantine and gothic styles.

Putna Monastery is one of the most famous worship places of this kind in Moldova, it was built in 1466 by Ștefan cel Mare. The monk Orthodox monastery is an important cultural and artistic center, not only religion wise, it also possesses a museum with lots of works by monks.

“Decollation of Saint John the Baptist” Church in Arbore was built in 1502 by Hetman Luca Arbore. Like Voroneț Monastery, Arbore Church has numerous paintings on the exterior walls that have faded as time passed, but which still express a special beauty. The tower bell and the church form the Arbore worship ensemble.

Vineyards of Moldavia

Cotnari Vineyard. Cotnari Region is known for its vineyards, which give the most famous Romanian Wine: Grasă de Cotnari. The vineyards are located on the eastern slope of the Great hill of Hârlău. Going through the history documents, we find writings by Radu Rosetti with mentions about the Cotnari vineyard in 1250, even before Moldavia was established. But discoveries made inside Catalina stronghold take the grape vine cultivation beyond the Christian times and to the times of Burebista (82-44 B.C.), the Getae-Dacian king. The wines of Cotnari Company have been awarded 100 Gold medals at international contests, so Cotnari has become the golden wine of Romania, acknowledged accordingly by Romanian drinkers who placed it in their top local preferences in a study on the most representative Romanian brands.

Panciu Vineyard. It is considered the home of the sparkling wine in Romania. The first documented confirmation of the vineyard dates back to the 16th century, but the age of the grape vine cultivation on the area of the current vineyard is given by the Carpathian pot fragment, discovered in Pădureni, decorated with the design of vine branch holding two styled grapes. The exceptional soil, the hills bathing in the sunrays and the skillfulness of the wine growers made Panciu vineyard a respected name in the world of sparkling wine producers. Here, in 1958 the first champagne bottle was opened, and now the tradition of making this drink by the Champanoise method is carried on by the two companies in the wine segment.

One third of the wine growing surface of Romania is found in this part of the country.

Odobești Vineyards stretches over the areas of Bolotești, Jariștea and Odobești, covering 7,000 hectares. It is one of the most renowned and oldest Romanian vineyards, and it was first mentioned in historical documents in the 16th century. According to some research, new wine varieties are made here, like Șarba (a semi flavored wine, approved in 1972) and Băbeasca Gri (approved in 1975). By far, the most famous wine of the vineyard is Galbena de Odobești, produced from the Romanian wine variety, cultivated only here. Galbena de Odobești was known in Moldavia under different name like: Galbena de Căpătanu, Poamă Galbenă, Bucium de Poamă Galbenă.

Grape-growing began to develop and flourished in the 15th century during the kingdom of Stephen the Great.

Cotești Vineyard is situated between Milcovului Valley and Râmnicului Valley, 13 km far from the city of Focșani, alongside DN2 national roadway. Archaeological proof shows that grape vine has been cultivated here since the ancient times of the Dacians. The region was named Râmnicului Hills by French geographer Emmanuel De Martonn. Wines produced here are made in special conditions of controlled fermenting, under strict observation by specialists. The wine is stored in special conditions, for aging the wines the company uses oak barrels stored in underground cellars. Here you can also find a wine collection and inside the wine making center there’s a museum. The exhibits, that bear the marks of time, remind us the early production methods.

Because Moldova is a “wine country”, with lots of vineyards, high quality awarded wines it is worth mentioning the following vineyards: Dealurile Bujorului, Nicorești, Corvului, Ivești, Colinele Tutovei.

A visit to Moldavia can be complete only by taking a tour of the city of Iași, with its cultural vestiges, and of the city of Galați, the most important port on the Danube.