Overnights in countryside – closer to the villagers and to the locals
Meeting with the locals
Meeting with the minorities’ representatives
Learn the country via folk performances and programs
Learn the country via its culinary traditions
Master-class in various fields (pottery, dances, weaving, wickerwork, pies baking, and traditional dishes cooking)
Mixture of traditions
Unique cave and rocky monasteries
Underground wine cities and cellars
Back to USSR
Duration: 10 days/9 nights
Period: April – October 2017
Type of the tour: Private and Group (up to 15 pax)
Tour Program and Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival at Chisinau International Airport – Chisinau Sightseeing (D)
Upon arrival meeting with an ESG/GSG and transfer to hotel. Check-in. Guided City tour of Chisinau.
The sites on the route: Central Square Stefan the Great and Saint with Monument to Stefan the Great and Saint; the Bell Tower; Lord Nativity Central Cathedral; the Triumph Arch; the Parliament; the Presidency; the City Hall; the Memorial Eternity; Jewish sites; the Souvenir’s shop and market; the Catholic Church; the Alley of Classics with sculptures of Romanian Classics; National Museum of History and Archeology.
Welcome dinner at Traditional Restaurant with live Music. Overnight Chisinau.
Day 2: North of Moldova: Sightseeing Soroca, fortress Soroca, Gypsies’ Quarter, Monument “Candle of Gratitude”. Visit to the village of Old-Russian Believers. (B/L/D)
Buffet Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive to the North of Moldova.
First stop-Soroca Fortress. Meet the local historian who’ll reveal all the secrets of Soroca fortress and tell about the historical events that had taken place around the fortress and not only.
The first recorded mention of Soroca fortress dates back to 1499. The fortress had captured many dramatic events including the invasions of the Tatars, Cossacks, Polish King Ian Sobesky troops, military actions of Bogdan Hmelnitskyi, anti-Ottoman campaign of the Russian Monarch Peter the Great.
Further, we continue to the Gypsy Quarter and meet the Baron of the Roma people in Soroca who’ll show his property, his glorious mansions and will tell about the life of Gypsies in Moldova, and will probably arrange some colorful performance and lunch at his house.
Lunch will be followed by the visit to the monument “The Candle of Gratitude” that has a shape of a candle and is overlooking the Nistru/Dniestr River offering an amazing view from the top.
Afternoon drive to the village of Old-Russian Believers – Pocrovca village to listen a local teacher about the way of life of Orthodox Old-Russian Believers of that locality.
The tour to the North will be finished by a dinner in Russian style in a local boarding house offering nice Russian cuisine and natural herbal tea from a real “samovar”. Overnight in Soroca.
Day 3: Exploring enigmatic Nistru River: Saharna village, Lalova village, Tipova village (B/L/D)
After breakfast drive to the village of Saharna to explore the area. Saharna village is famous for its rocky monastery, rich landscapes, and the curative spring that the Orthodox People believe to be healing; river Saharna with its numerous cascades; the Grimidon Hill opening fantastic view on Saharna surroundings, hills and woods and having a footprint in a rock left by the Mother’s God as the legend says, as well as the traces of Gheto-Dacian civilization marked by an ancient monument on the top of one of the huge hills of Saharna locality.
Further drive to Lalova village lying on the river Nistru for lunch in traditional local guest-house offering delicious Moldavian cuisine. Lunch on the open terrace overlooking the rocks of the enigmatic Nistru River. Check-in the local boarding house for night in the village of Lalova.
Afternoon drive to Tipova village to explore the monastic complex Tipova carved in a rock with lots of caves, galleries, monk cells that served as a refuge for the monks and other people from frequent Tatars invasions. It’s considered to be the largest cave monastery in Europe opening a very beautiful view to the Nistru/Dniestr. The oldest cave dates back centuries XII. The locality is very ideal for walking, hiking, trekking and having a perfect rest.
Evening drive back to Lalova village for dinner and overnight in countryside where you’ll possibly be woken up by the crow.
Overnight Lalova village.
Day 4: Orhei Region: Museum of Carpets and Handicraft, Chateau VARTELY Winery, Orhei town, Open-air Museum Complex “Orheiul Vechi” (B/L/D)
Eco-Breakfast at the boarding house in Lalova village and drive to Orhei region for the new discoveries and sensations.
First stop will be the village of Clisova Noua with a handicraft museum and studio of national carpets and other objects manufacture. The excursion around the studio (settled in an old abandoned school) is done be the master herself where she reveals the history and the origin of each object she managed to gather throughout Moldova preserving it carefully and with special love. Her collection includes numerous carpets from Bessarabia, from each corner of Moldova, old-fashioned machines for weaving, looms, old pottery, vestments, and wool and cotton articles. The ladies at work will show you the process of handicraft articles creation.
Further, we proceed on to the winery Chateu VARTELY, situated in the town of Orhei, for the excursion around the enterprise to see the process of wine-making in a relatively new winery and to have lunch in its restaurant and light wine tasting.
Afternoon visit of Orheiul Vechi Archeological Museum Complex (Old Orhei open-air museum) representing rich historical and cultural value situated between the villages Butuceni and Trebujeni. This area has been inhabited since early times and nowadays attracts many tourists by its incomparable landscapes, rocky surroundings, historical monuments, and grottoes, ruins of the old town and medieval fortress Shehr-al-Jedid and Turkish baths. The highlight of the locality is the unique orthodox cave monastery with one monk that was very good isolated from the outer world.
Another interesting place to be visited on the route is the Moldavian village Butuceni where the style and traditions of the Moldavian architecture of the 19th century are preserved and carefully maintained – ornamentally decorated houses, gates, fences, wells with potable water, old cellars and others.
Check-in a boarding house in the village of Butuceni for an overnight in this marvelous countryside surrounded by huge rocky hills. Master-class in baking traditional pies with various stuffing, done by the hostess herself, after which the guests eat the pies cooked by themselves and monitored by the cook.
Overnight in Butuceni village.
Day 5: Curchi Monastery, Hoginesti village – Pottery studio, Palanca village – House-Museum “Casa Parinteasca”, Raciula village – Museum of Honey (B/L/D)
After breakfast morning drive to the village of Buzesti for visiting the majestic monastery Curchi with a baroque winter church of the 18th cent.“St.Dumitru” and summer church of the 19th cent, and numerous monk cells.
Further drive to the Picturesque Reservation “Codrii” to breathe the freshest air and to take part in a master-class for pottery in the village of Hoginesti, where a very talented potter will share his art with the guests and tell interesting details about his ceramic and pottery articles. He’s a famous and an appreciated person who has been reviving the traditions of Moldovan pottery.
Later, we drive to a nearby village of Palanca for the lunch in countryside offered by the hostess of house-museum “Casa Parinteasca” where old national hand-made articles and embroidered towels are exposed.
The owner of this guest house will give an excursion around her museum, her household and small farms producing dairy, jam and juice with great pleasure. She will surprise her guests by her culinary specialties and serve wonderful tea from local “bible” herbs growing in her court.
Afternoon will be devoted to acquaintance with a small honey farm where the owner will show his property and give a short lection about this or that kind of honey produced on his farm and medicinal properties of honey, propolis and other products of beekeeping.
Departure to Chisinau for overnight. Upon arrival – dinner at a traditional Café in Chisinau. Check-in hotel in Chisinau and overnight.
Day 6: Cricova Underground Wine City, Museum of History and Archeology, Museum of Ethnography and History in Chisinau (B/L)
Buffet breakfast at hotel in Chisinau.
Visit the underground wine city and winery CRICOVA that lies under the town of Cricova and partially under the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. The cellars represent 60 km of labyrinths and galleries having constant temperature +10 – +12 C and the relative humidity of 97-98 %. Namely these natural and favorable conditions make possible the keeping and aging of wines. Cricova winery is proud for their excellent wines and famous for its collection, underground signs, streets having the names of the precious wines “Feteasca”, “Chardonnay”, “Cabernet”….. .
Lunch at a restaurant in Chisinau.
Afternoon visit to the museums of Archeology and Museum of Ethnography to better understand the essence of people living on the territory of present Moldova. (optional)
Time at leisure for personal discoveries. Free dinner. Overnight in Chisinau.
Day 7: Southward of Chisinau: Milestii Mici Winery, Manuc Bei Residence; Gagausia –autonomous land: Comrat town, Besalma village. (B/L/D)
After breakfast at hotel in Chisinau check-out and drive to Milestii Mici winery for a wine tour and light wine tasting.
The wines stored here are made of various years’ crops, beginning with the 1968 to 1991. The “Golden Collection” of Milestii Mici contains over two million bottles of harmonious wines dating from the period of Moldavian wine making prosperity “Pinot”, “Traminer”, “Muscat”, “Riesling”, “Feteasca”, “Codru”, “Negru de Purcari”, “Trandafirul Moldovei”, “Auriu” and others. The Mileştii Mici wine was repeatedly awarded and enters a Guinness Book for its large wine collection. The excursion around the wine galleries is done either by car or by a minibus depending on a number of people in a group.
Later, we drive to the town of Hincesti for visiting an estate and manor of MANUC BEI who was a prominent and wealthy Armenian merchant and inn-keeper during the Ottoman Empire. In 1812, he played an important role in helping to negotiate the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest between the Russian and Ottoman empires.
In spite of the fact he lived on the territory of Moldova for a rather short period of time, he managed to bring French wine-making technologies to Moldova. The mansion of Manuc Bei represents a castle in French style which houses hunting house, winter garden, present museum, parks and some watch towers. In 1970, Manuc Bei residence was transformed into a museum, which displays more than 20,000 artifacts.
Afterwards, departure to the autonomous land Gagausia within Moldova and first station will be Comrat town where a delicious lunch with Gagausian specialties will be served at a local restaurant.
Sightseeing of the capital Comrat, learn the way of life of this minority – Gagaus people – people of Turkish origin confessing Orthodox religion and speaking the language very common with the Turkish one.
Afternoon visit to Museum of Ethnography in Besalma village where a short film about Gagaus traditions will be shown and a detailed tour will be done. In order to make an acquaintance with customs and traditions of this folk a folk performance of national songs and dances will be offered. Dinner in the countryside.
Back to Comrat for an overnight.
Day 8: South-East of Moldova: Medieval Church in Causeni – EtCetera Winery – Purcari Winery (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel in Comrat. Check-out. Departure to the South-East of Moldova for further discoveries.
Visiting the Medieval Church from Causeni town with rich frescoes.
This is where an ancient architectural monument of a particular artistic and historical value is situated – a church built during the Tatar-Mongolian period of stay in Moldova in 15th century. The inner walls of the church are fully covered with antique frescoes. It seems that the church is lost among the centuries.
The fact that makes this church unique is its construction. The church is half-buried into the ground. The explanation of the fact is a legend that dates from the times when the Tatars were living on the territory. It is said that the Tatars admitted the construction of a Christian church with the condition that it would be the height of a man riding a horse.
Next, we leave for EtCetera winery for a tour, wine tasting and lunch. It’s a small family winery where you’ll be given a tour by the wine-maker himself and have the opportunity to taste some of the award winning wines from really great harvest. In 2005, right after the first harvest and bottling, the wine won the gold medal at the local competition.
Wine sampling will be followed by lunch on fresh air, on the open terrace with the view on the vineyards.
Afternoon visit to the touristic complex and winery Purcari in the village of Purcari. Purcari is the oldest wine-estate in Moldova that is a French-style castle with wine cellars established in 1827. This winery is famous all over the world for its legendary wines “Rosu de Purcari” and “Negru de Purcari” that is true masterpiece which Queen Elizabeth II preferred to savor.
Whilst there you’ll visit the production, grape processing and the wine storage areas, including bottle line. Walk into the cellars where the wine is matured in oak barrels and bottles, including the Purcari wine collection.
Enjoy tasting Purcari wines and dinner in the estate. Overnight in Purcari Touristic Complex and winery.
Day 9: Back to USSR: Transnistria: Tiraspol, Bendery (B/L/D)
Breakfast at touristic complex of Purcari.
Check-out in Purcari.
Morning drive to the self-proclaimed independent country within Moldova – Transnistria.
It’ll be full day trip to Transnistria where you’ll learn the history of this self-proclaimed independent and unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – Transnistria that has its own currency, border guards and policy.
After crossing the border you will explore the 16th century Tighina fortress-Turkish fortress and visit the on-site museum and the War Memorial in the city of Bender. The first documentary mention of “Tighina Fortress” was in 1408. Its walls have survived to the present and offer an example of classic Moldavian defensive construction.
Further we will continue onto the capital of Transnistria-Tiraspol for a city tour. Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova. The city is located on the Eastern bank of the Dniester River. It was founded by the Russian general Alexandr Suvorov in 1792 whose statue is rising on the central square in Tiraspol. During this tour you’ll see the Drama and Comedy theatre, the Lenin and Suvorov Monuments, the Parliament, the House of Sovjets and have a walking tour along the river Dniestr.
Lunch in a local restaurant in Tiraspol offering nice Ukrainian cuisine.
Afternoon visit to the wine and brandy factory “KVINT” in Tiraspol where a tour around this enterprise and brandy-divines sampling will be done. Locals consider Kvint a national symbol. Its factory is shown on the 5 Transnistrian Ruble banknote. Its annual production is approximately ten million liters of alcoholic drinks. Dinner at the factory.
Overnight at hotel in Tiraspol.
Day 10: Kitkani village, Flight back home. (B)
After breakfast check-out and drive to a nearby village of Chitkani (6 km from Tiraspol) for visiting its stately monastic complex. It’s the biggest religious complex in Transnistria. There are 4 churches on the territory of the monastery which house 18-20th century icons. In center of it, the wonderful Ascension cathedral is situated.
On its left there is the old church built in the honor of the Saint Hierarch Nicholas the Wonder-Worker. A real pearl of this monastery is the bell tower.
The monastery was founded in 1861, when some monks from the Neamt monastery in Romania escaped to the territory of Moldova and founded “Noul-Neamţ” in Chitcani. The founding of the new monastery was a protest against the measures taken in United Principalities of Romania to confiscate monastery estates and forbid the usage of Slavonic language in worship.
After the tour is finished – transfer to the International Airport Chisinau for the flight back home.
End of the program.
B- Breakfast, L-Lunch, D- Dinner
ESG – English speaking guide
GSG – German speaking guide
|Accommodation 3 nights in Chisinau+6 nights outside Chisinau, 1/2 TWIN, EUR||5 pax||10 pax||15 pax||SSUP|
|Hotel 4* in Chisinau (3 nights)+in countryside (6 nights)||1357||1070||949||193|
|Hotel 3* in Chisinau (3 nights)+in countryside (6 nights)||1317||1029||909||168|
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