Old Orhei is
a place full of history, legends, and natural landscapes that will take your breath away.
Located in central Moldova, just a short 45-minute drive from Chisinau, Old Orhei (Orheiul Vechi) is a must-see destination for people interested in
history, archeological sites, beautiful nature and local culinary traditions.
The Răut River winds through the gorge of Old Orhei and picturesque traditional Moldovan villages like Butuceni and Trebujeni. In the last few years, these villages have seen an impressive expansion of tourism services and accommodation options to make your visit memorable.
Cultural- Natural Reserve
The area of Old Orhei was declared a natural reserve during the Soviet period on 15 March 1968. This allowed for the protection and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of the area.
Almost half a century later, in 2009, the local government of the Republic of Moldova approved the reorganization ofthe Museum Complex into the Public Institution of the Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei) Cultural-Natural Reserve
with the goal to strengthen the capacity of conservation and recovery of the landscape and legacy of the historical sites.
Trip to Old Orhei
Orheiul Vechi is one of the most popular destinations in the Republic of Moldova. The reserve is just 55 km from Moldova’s capital, Chisinau.
Visitors from Romania and other distant countries of Europe can travel to Orheiul Vechi from one of Moldova’s border crossings within 2 – 4 hours, depending on the chosen entry point.
Visitors from Ukraine will arrive at the reserve in 1 – 3 hours by car, depending upon the selected border crossing.
After a long journey, we strongly recommend that you stay overnight at one of the traditional guesthouses in the reserve villages where our hosts will comfort you with traditional Moldovan dishes and comfortable accommodation.
View the access map from the main customs points.
Once you reach Old Orhei Reserve, we recommend you discover its historical and natural highlights through a guided tour, cycling route, hiking trail or birdwatching.
- Purchase entry tickets
- Pick up brochures
- Get some of the Reserve
- Book a guide OR Receive guidance and information about the Reserve
We know that active journeys are popular everywhere where travelers choose places to visit and decide their own their holiday activities. We appreciate and look forward to welcoming these pro-active visitors eager to discover every corner of Old Orhei.
However, we want to remind you that our team at the reserve works hard to prepare all of the attractions and things to see for the guests. We are here to recommend the places you can visit and tell you the history of our land and culture. We can guide you as to how to best spend your time at Old Orhei and we will help you in case of any inconveniences or problems.
The Old Orhei Reserve guides will tell you the most curious, amazing and unusual legends and stories about this area. We can offer guiding services in Romanian, Russian English, Italian or French.
Guidance is available reserve’s information points throughout the year, so don’t hesitate to ask for our assistance:
- Information point Butuceni 9:00-18:00, Monday – Sunday
- Belvedere information point 11:00-18:00, Wednesday – Sunday
- Phone prior-appointments +373 676-11-711
- Romanian and Russian language guides are available daily
English, Italian, French language guides require booking one day before
Visiting the territory of Old Orhei is possible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, it is recommended to access to the core of the Reserve where the recognized points of interest are located during the daytime due to safety concerns to prevent potential accidents.
- Recommended visitation hours: 8:00 – 18:00 daily
- Purchase the entrance ticket at one of the information points or on the website
- Compliance with the rules of visitation
at Orheiul Vechi Pensiunile
Old Orhei has a growing selection of comfortable, traditional guesthouses to spend the night in a local village. The hosts of Orheiul Vechi care a lot about the heritage of this land and preserving it for future generations. Families took great care to restore traditional and ancestry homes as guesthouses in a way that respects the cultural authenticity of the places of origin, but also provides modern comforts and services for visitors.
The local guesthouses in Butuceni and Trebujeni provide comfortable accommodation in traditional and authentic country houses with hearty, homecooked Moldovan cuisine. At your request, your host can organize different activities to make your stay an unforgettable experience.
Discover the Orheiului Vechi guesthouses.
The Historical and Cultural Heritage
of Old Orhei
The museums of Old Orhei help visitors explore and learn about the area’s history and cultural heritage. The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has two permanent exhibitions with about 186 thematic pieces, including two human skeletons found in archeological excavations. The village of Butuceni offers an Ethnography Museum where visitors can learn about local architecture and cultural heritage. At the heart of this is the traditional Moldovan country house with a roof covered with reeds and on the inside the iconic elements remembered by Moldovans spending their holidays at their grandparents – where the porch, traditional oven, pantry with handwoven carpets, festive clothes and dowry boxes are preserved.
The large territory of Old Orhei is filled with historical and archeological sites that are possible to explore. Visitors passionate about medieval architecture and history have an opportunity to see ruins and elements of buildings, holy places, and citadels discovered after archaeological excavations. These medieval historical sites include the Medieval Citadel, The Tatar Bath, The Monastery of the Birth of Virgin Mary, Mosque and Caravanserai. In addition, the Old Orhei archeological complex includes ruins and historical sites belonging to different historical periods and traditions.
Old Orhei’s strategic position in a rocky river gorge close to the Dniester River, a major trading route connecting the Carpathians and the Black Sea Basin, has resulted in almost continual human activity and a confluence of different civilizations over millennia. There reserve has several historical monuments and archaeological sites that reflect this, such as monastic cave hermitages, a fortress from the Geto-Dacian period (5th – 2nd century BC) with a sanctuary and defensive walls, a medieval Tatar city of Shehr al-Jedid (14th century), a defensive system from the period of Stephen the Great (15th century) and many other ancient sites.Learn more
Heritage of Old Orhei
The Reserve is part of the Orhei National Park, a protected area of over 6,000 hectares, where hikers and adventurers have the chance to discover different geological structures that form dramatic landscapes all seasons of the year. These are especially memorable at sunrise and sunset.
The varied vegetation at the intersection of forest areas with steppe and forest steppe areas includes over 500 species of plants. This includes 62 rare species, protected nationally and internationally and included in the Red Books of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and Europe.
In the valleys, ravines, meadows, forests and rivers of the reserve, visitors have the chance to discover 144 vertebrate fauna species and an important number of insects and mollusks. This includes 27 species registered in the Red Book of the Republic of Moldova and several are internationally protected species.