Orheiul Vechi – The archaeological and ecclesiastical complex at Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei), about 50km north of Chisinau, is the country’s most important historical site and a place of stark natural beauty.
Occupying a remote, rocky ridge over the Raut River, the complex is known for its Cave Monastery, but also includes baths, fortifications, and ruins ranging from the earliest days of the Dacian tribes more than 2000 years ago through the Mongol and Tatar invasions of the early Middle Ages and the time of Stefan cel Mare.
Fortress of Soroca – This gloriously solid behemoth on the Dniestr dates from 1499 when Moldavian Prince Stefan cel Mare built a wooden fortress here. It was rebuilt in stone later and given its circular shape, with five bastions. Today those bastions contain medieval-themed exhibits, with a few English placards posted about that shed light on the history of the fortress.
Rock Monastery of Tipova – The fantastic Tipova Cave Monastery is built into cliffs that tower some 200m above the Dniestr River’s right (west) bank, in the tiny village of Tipova some 95km northeast of Chisinau. The monastery consists of three religious chambers and monastic cells linked by precarious steps built into the rock face. The oldest of the three chambers, the Elevation of the Holy Cross cave church, is thought to date from the 11th century. The newest chamber, the Dormition of Our Lady cave complex (15th century), houses an active church and a small museum.
MIMI Castel – At a distance of 30 km from Chisinau, in the village Bulboaca is located Mimi Castle, which is a destination of international interest, unique in Moldova. The Mimi Castel appears in the top 15 of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. Castle story begins in 1893 when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, planted the first seedlings of grape vines on the site that would become legend over the years.
Crivova – Of Moldova’s many vineyards, Cricova is arguably the famous one. Its underground wine kingdom, 15km north of Chisinau, is one of Europe’s biggest. Some 60km of the 120km-long underground limestone tunnels – dating from the 15th century – are lined wall-to-wall with bottles. A truly underground Wine City where the streets are named after Wine Varieties (Cabernet Street, Legenda Plaiului, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc.).