Discovering the Old Orhei Historical and Archaeological Complex

All photos in this article were taken and belong to Dumitru Brinzan.

Old Orhei Historical and Archaeological Complex is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Republic of Moldova. It is an unique natural mini-wonder located just ~60 kilometers from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.

So on a hot and bright summer Sunday (14th of August 2011) I have decided to take a quick trip there, hoping to get at least a couple of good HDR photos of the complex and the surrounding areas.

The route was as follows: Chisinau > Stauceni > Pascani > Peresecina > Ivancea > Branesti > Trebujeni/Butuceni (final destination).
The road conditions are rather good and can be considered very good according to Moldavian road standards, so you can easily take your car there without being afraid of losing some tires along the way.

Passing some beautiful landscapes in Ivancea, we have arrived to our destination in about 30 minutes.

We are really close to our destination, you can see the Monastery high on the hills.

Quick tip: before going straight to the complex and the monastery, stop for a few moments to look at the Trebujeni village. The nature is magnificent.

We have arrived at a small parking area, there were more people than I expected for that time of the day. After leaving the car, now afoot, we braced ourselves for the journey ahead of us.

Tourists taking pictures at the famous cross on top of the hill.

Had to wait for a couple of minutes before the crowd dispersed. Totally worth it :)


Careful now, we don’t want to fall, do we?

The monastery sits quietly on top of the hill, surrounded by natural fortifications on both sides.

A little smaller than I was expecting, but the place is very clean and tidy.

Yes, I have resisted the temptation to ring the bell. Thank you for asking.

Quick tip #2: Remember the belfry (bell tower) a few photos back? Go around it and you will find a door that leads below, into the hill. A small church-shop is there: candles, icons, etc. You also get to go outside through the rocks and look down on the Raut river, the photo shows what you will see on the right, a few meters from the small exit.

After this we have returned to our car and took a quick drive to see the small hotels not far from there. There is a 4-room boarding house called La Popas (avg. $30/room bed & breakfast). Another 100 meters and you will stumble into the Butuceni Boarding House, 5 rooms with rates starting at 70EUR/room (they have a swimming pool outside).

On our way back home, our last stop for the day was the Trebujeni village, which is roughly 3 kilometers from Butuceni, basically on the opposite side from the Butuceni Monastery.

The landscape is the same, but also a little different. Here you can find large caves that go deep into the hills.

The view from inside a cave, a natural window if you like.

It took us about 3 hours to explore and take these photos. We probably could have spent more time, but the sun was much too hot (around 30 degrees Celsius).

Aside from the two tips given above, I shall add tip #3: take plenty of liquids with you, especially if you take this trip during a hot summer day.

So what do you think about Old Orhei, would YOU like to visit this magnificent mini-wonder of nature?

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