Orheiul Vechi cave monastery, Moldova
The Orheiul Vechi is one of Moldova well known historical and archeological complex. It’s 60km from the capital, Chisinau. It’s easy to get there, take a Marshrutka from Chisinau central market (Piata Centrala).
The natural landscape of limestone rock is beautiful, it makes a bend around the Raut river. Up on the cliff you’ll find a church dedicated to the Ascension of St Mary, it was built by villages from the neighbouring Butuceni village in 1905.
But what’s more interesting is the chapel of Orheiul Vechi, the cave monastery. Carved into the limestone cliff, dug by Orthodox monks in the 13th century. It was inhabitated for a very long time, in 1996 a handful of monks returned and began restoring it. The entrance to the cave can easily be missed by tourists who climb up to the church directly.
After a series of steps you’ll find the cave, it’s dimly lit but beautiful inside. I didn’t photographed the chapel directly, as it would have been impossible to portray it’s beauty faithfully.
Here’s the monk who’s currently living there, he has been for the last 16 years. He’s standing outside, on a natural terrace in the limestone cliff. The view from up there is breathtaking.
The whole place gave me a strong sense of serenity and calm. Looking down at the fields and the Raut river below I could only wonder at the life of this priest.