Friday, 16 December 2011

Old Orhei

Old Orhei is one of the most beautiful places and rocky monasteries in Moldova. This archaeological complex is an open-air museum situated between the villages Trebujeni and Butuceni 60 km North East from Chistanau. 

The name Orhei means “fortification”. Earlier at the beginning of the XIV century the Golden Horde conquered this territory. But later inhabitants moved 18 km to the North, to the new Orhei and since then that medieval city Orhei was named «Old Orhei».
The museum complex Old Orhei is a system of historical monuments and natural landscapes. It consists of few promontories. The central promontory in Old Orhei is called Pestere. Its name derives from the many caves carved in it ('Pestere' is translated from Romanian as 'caves'). The Butuceni headland contributes to the Old Orhei very well. Together with the Pestere promontory it forms complete complex harmonizing from all points of view. The Butuceni promontory is great from both geological view and the view point of unique scenery. It has tens of calcareous slates, spacious caves, small grottos. The wonderful view and ancient traces impress every guest of this place.
 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 must have been smaller and bigger caves in the calcareous rocks cut by pre-historic tribes living on this territory. Christian life in the Old Orhei caves became eternal and saint. In the medieval period monastery life intensification made monks to deepen the caves. There also appeared new caves. Nowadays some caves are preserved well. Others were damaged, mainly by earthquakes which are frequent in this area. The researches show that tens of monasteries fell into waters of Raut River. However still many complexes are in good condition.
Another construction of great interest is the Turkish bath.  It appeared when the Golden Horde conquered this territory. The city existing here was turned into oriental one with the name Shehr al-Cedid.
 Adapted from:

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