Orheiul Vechi, also known as Old Orhei, arguably Moldova’s most fantastic sight, is an cultural, historical and archaeological complex located about 60 km (35 miles) northeast of Chisinau, Moldova’s capital and 10 km (6 miles) to the southeast of Orhei city. This valley, shaped by Raut River, is one of the top attractions in Moldova, with a pristine natural landscape featuring huge limestone outcroppings. There are several ancient monuments and buildings set in the valley, from various historical periods dating from the 10th century BC to the occupation of the Golden Horde in the 14th century AD. These ancient fortresses and early Christian monasteries are among the most unusual sights in all of Eastern Europe, and a museum at the site provides further information and exhibits.
Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex is carved into a massive limestone cliff in this wild, rocky, remote spot and draws visitors from around the globe. The Cave Monastery inside a cliff, overlooking the gently meandering Raut River, was dug by Orthodox monks in the 13th century. It remained inhabited until the 18th century. In the 18th century the cave-church was taken over by villagers from neighbouring Butuceni village. In 1905 they built a church above ground dedicated to the Ascension of St Mary. The church was shut down by the Soviets in 1944 and remained abandoned throughout the communist regime. Services resumed in 1996, though it still looks abandoned. Archaeologists have uncovered remnants of a defence wall surrounding the monastery complex from the 15th century.
In addition to the unique archaeological structures at Orhei Moldova, the small town of Orhei is also one of the country’s most popular attractions. This charming town offers accommodation close to Old Orhei for those who wish to stay the night. Guests can stay at Vila Roz Guesthouse, enjoy friendly hospitality, and get the chance to sample local Moldovan cuisine.
Visiting Old Orhei complex
Complexul Muzeistic Orheiul Vechi
Phone: +373 – 235-34 242;
From 9am-5pm Tue-Sun
Vila Roz Guesthouse
Trebujeni Village, Orhei, Moldova,
Phone: +(373) 23556243
Cell: +(373) 79439214