Visit to an unifinished soviet-times military site in the Codru forest


We finally found the unfinished military site we had read about on Moldova Holiday.
We had walked around in the Orhei forest looking for it a few times with no success. At the end we found the right way thanks to Google Earth (see last photo below).
This is a weird site in the middle of the forest. The unfinished building was apparently meant to become the command centre for the Soviet Union’s anti-missile defence system, but construction works began in the late 1980s and were then abandoned with the fall of the Soviet Union.
The buildings are now totally overgrown with vegetation. According to Moldova Holiday, one of the buildings was intended to be living quarters, the other for offices. The site is well known to the local population who comes here for picnics and children parties (seriously!). There should be also some underground bunkers in the area, but we did not find them.


IMG_6947 IMG_6948-1 IMG_6950 IMG_6952 IMG_6954 IMG_6955 IMG_6957 IMG_6958earth view


Hiking in the Orhei forest

The Orhei forest

A few weeks ago some friends and I went for a trek between Donici, Curchi, Vatici and back to Donici: a circular hike of about 20km that took us from 10.30 am to 5 pm including a few stops and snack breaks.

Donici is a small Moldovan village in the Orhei rayon, some 40 minutes from Chisinau, with a beautiful church, a museum hosted in the house of Moldovan fable writer Alexandru Donici, and just a couple of small shops.

We started our walk from the church in Donici and started walking towards the Curchi monastery across the forest. We could not have done it without a GPS (on the phone) – marked paths in the forest often finished suddenly or took a totally different direction, so we ended up walking mostly off the path, just following the direction indicated on the map and using the phone’s compass (straight north from Donici to Curchi, and later south-south-east from Vatici to Donici).

The ground was rather wet (this was back in April), and sometimes we had to climb over broken trees, but in general it was not a difficult hike at all – and one full of beautiful views and interesting surprises.

The first part until the Curchi monastery took us two hours of steady walk. Arriving in Curchi is fantastic, with a sudden view on the churches and the lakes. We visited the monastery, used the restrooms, had our sandwiches in a nice gazebo overlooking the lake, and then continued to Vatici with an half-hour walk on a straight, easy path on the border of the forest.

In Vatici we walked around for a while before finding the main square with the museum, the shop-café, and a nice little table under a big tree, ideal for another short stop.

Then we climbed up on the other side of the main road and started crossing the forest again. After a couple of hours we came out of the forest – but a bit too far west of Donici, so we walked along the border of the forest for a last half hour until we could distinguish the top of the Donici Church tower behind the hills.

Some more info about this trek on Moldova Holiday: Do contact me if you wish to have more info and please share your experience if you have done this or other hikes in the Moldovan countryside.

The lake close to Donici
[Photos courtesy of Ann-Yvonne]

Hike to Orheiul Vechi

Today I joined a small group of people mainly from the Norwegian Rule of Law Mission to Moldova, NORLAM, for a great hike across the Moldovan hills. The friends from NORLAM had booked a minibus who left us in Furceni (about an hour drive from Chisinau centre) and picked us up at the end of the hike in Orheiul Vechi.
We had great weather and the hike was really spectacular. It was about 13 km, along the river Raut, up the hill and then all the way to the monastery of Orheiul Vechi.
Lovely day, great sights, and exciting to chat with so many interesting people working here for a variety of good causes.