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

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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.

 

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Spring in the countryside: Donici, rayon Orhei

Today was the first day of spring in Moldova. We celebrated the amazing blue sky by going back to the village of Donici, in the Orhei region, and to Codreanca Lingurari, the forest that links Donici with the Monastery of Curchi. Donici is part of the first and only National Park in Moldova, has a beautiful church, and a pleasant museum hosted in the house where fable writer Alexandru Donici lived.
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[Photo AIRM – Agentia de Inspectare si Restaurare a Monumentelor din Moldova]

We have been there already a few times and we just love the open landscape, the views from the village, the sound of hens and geese strolling around, the calm of the forest paths and the amazing hospitality of the local population. Twice already were we invited to share someone’s meal in their homes and we got to chat as old friends with people we just met.

We also got to get a glimpse of how people traditionally live in the countryside. Cars are sparse, roads are muddy and horse carriages are still used. Shops or restaurants are even sparser: in Donici, a village of about 800 people, there are only two small shops. Many do not have running water inside, but often they do have fountains in the courtyard. Water supply is good in the village and the water is drinkable. Most houses have fruit and vegetables growing in the backyards and large storage places to keep them during the winter (fresh or in jars). They have old style wood-burning stoves heating entire walls, and often a special built-in king-size bed which stays warm long after the fire is gone (the “lejanca“). Many houses are actually made of different buildings, a bigger house which is used mostly in summer, a smaller house easier to heat, and storage places and smaller huts for tools and animals.

I read somewhere that going to Moldova is like buying a ticket to the past, but you don’t feel it until you get away from the cities.