The wine cellars of Cricova is second largest wine cellar in Moldova, after Milestii Mici (largest in the world). It boasts a mere 120 kilometres (75 mi) of labyrinthine roadways, versus MM’s 200 kilometres (120 mi), tunnels have existed under Cricova since the XVth century, when limestone was dug out to help build Chisinau. They were converted into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s.
The territory used to be a mine for limestone, a building material. In some branches excavation is still active, so the cellar is still growing. Other famous wineries in Moldova include Cojuşna and Mileştii Mici.
„We decided a long time ago to visit Cricova. It seemed to be a nice destination for the end of this spring.
So the big day came. At nine o’clock in the morning we all were ready to start our trip, so we got up in the bus and took our seats. We must say the price of a trip to Cricova, for a group of 20 persons costs 135 lei (~9 euros). How Cricova is situated only at 11 Km from Chisinau, in over 20 minutes we were there. It was a good idea to start our trip in the morning, because the day was very hot, so we could “get fried” in the minibus! =D
Arriving there, the guide told us a sad little rumor: the electric train that should carry us through the tunnels of Cricova was broken, so we should take the bus, because the distance was pretty big: over 60 km to see!
The gates opened, so the trip began. We saw in front of our eyes a big, wide road, which was dishing too fast. The first impression was that we hit in a little scary story, but this feeling passed quickly.
From the beginning we felt the difference concerning the air: in the tunnels, the temperature never rises up 12-14 C, while the humidity also stays constants-97 %. We can give you an important advice: if you want to visit Cricova, in no matter what season, you have to take some warm clothes, if not; you’ll get a bit frozen ;).
While we were advancing in the subways of Cricova, the guide told us that we are at 40-50 meters under ground. You should know that at the beginning, this place was a mine from where was taking out white rock, used to build edifices in Chisinau-from here it comes the name of “white city”. Totally, the roads of Cricova have a length of 120 Km, but only 60 are intended for wines, other 60 km serve as a mine; in present from there they are extracting white rock.
The roads become streets and boulevards, as they have names: Ariadne’s thread Street, Cabernet Street, Dionysus Street, Champaign’s Boulevard, names chosen by the type of wine placed on that “street”.
Our first stop was on the Cabernet Street. We saw a lot of barrels, smalls (232 litters) and big (453 litters), plenty of this kind of wine. The casks were made of oak wood, so the taste of wine can change if it rests for a long time put in there.
At the second stop, we stepped on the Champaign’s Boulevard, where the guide led us into a chamber where were kept the future Champaign. Here we found out how does this drink is made. The all period while the wine changes into Champaign, ready to be sold, takes 5 years.
The third hall we saw was in that are kept the personal collection of different persons, but also the most important bottles of wine from there. At the beginning of the chamber, we noticed a memorial made for the persons who founded Cricova and the statue of Dionysus.
We saw the Hermann Göring wine’s collection, (Mosel from 1935) brought here by the Bolsheviks after World War II. In the same area, we caught sight on old French wines (1936) and other collections of states from USSR. The personal wine collection of Vladimir Putin is kept at Cricova, the rental of a bottle costs 1$/year.Altogether, the whole cellar comprises over 1.3 million bottles.
After visiting this extraordinary place, we left it for another site: the formal halls from Cricova, avaible only for the officials. We hadn’t the permission to touch the table that has about 60 seats, because we could leave stamps, ha-ha! We saw also the favourite chamber of the ex- president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, who comes there to “take a break”.
After a one and half hour our trip finished and we had the vague sensation that we have lost something there. Maybe that was because we rested a bit amazed, but pleased for everything we saw. We didn’t want to leave that place, but we had to.
We advise everyone to visit Cricova, with any occasion, because there you have the possibility to pass a little part of your life in a “forgiven” place, where the Time does nothing more than to dust the bottles and to raise the quality and the price of a good wine.”
Tiraspol (Romanian: Tiraspol; Russian: Тирасполь and Ukrainian: Тирасполь) is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the de facto independent Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – Transnistria „PMR”).
The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River.
Tiraspol is a regional hub of light industry, such as furniture and electrical goods production.
The toponym consists of two words: Tiras — the ancient Greek name for the Dniester River, and polis – city.
In 1989 the city had a population of about 190,000 and in 1992 203,000. 41% were Russians, 32% Ukrainians and 18% were Moldovans (Romanians).
2004 Census in Transnistria:
Total population (including Bender): 555,347 (percentages below refer to this first figure)
Total population (minus Bender): 450,337
- Moldovans (Romanians): 31.9%
- Russians: 30.3%
- Ukrainians: 28.8%
- Bulgarians: 2%
- Poles: 2%
- Gagauz: 1.5%
- Jews: 1.3%
- Belarusians: 1%
- Germans: 0.6%
- Others: 0.5%
Transnistria, also known as Trans-Dniester, Transdniestria, and Pridnestrovie is a disputed region in southeast Europe.
Since its declaration of independence in 1990, followed by the War of Transnistria in 1992, it is governed by the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), which claims the left bank of the river Dniester and the city of Bendery (Tighina) within the former Moldavian SSR.
The modern Republic of Moldova does not recognize the secession and considers PMR-controlled territories to be a part of Moldova’s sovereign territory.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
„… Many people know about Tiraspol, but few of them had the chance to go there. We were lucky to pass a day on the left side of river Dniester.
From the beginning of the day, we took the bus from the Central station, not before to buy the tickets from a separated ticket office.
It costs 32 lei/person (~3$). After an hour, we arrived at the customs, where we were asked to leave the bus.
A nice woman, who takes care that every passenger passes the frontier, led us to the counter from where we could take an inquest to complete it an official procedure that allow you to pass in Transnistria.
We paid 22 lei/person after we stayed in a big crowd, whereupon the frontier guard gave us a part of the inquest without whom we don’t have the permission to leave Transnistria.
Before that, the persons who aren’t citizens of Republic of Moldova have to register to another wicket, it’s enough to show the passport. We returned at our bus and continued the road till the station of Tiraspol.
The driver stopped in Tighina for few minutes, before we passed through the bridge who rememberd me about the conflict of Transnistria form 1992.At the beginning of the bridge we saw a Russian tanc-a way for showing the power of those who were fighting for “liberty”.
In less than 15 minutes we arrived in Tiraspol, a city which seemed to be lost by civilization, people and modernization. The bus stopped at the railway station (also for buses) and the first thing we did was to ask for the left bus that goes to Chisinau.
Unfortunately, the reaction of the seller from the ticket office wasn’t so kind. I had to ask for three times that I get an uncertain answer. I noticed that on the wall of their booth was suspended the portrait of Smirnov-the transnistrian leader.
We changed money at an exchange and for 100 lei we received 70 transnistrian roubles. While we were looking around, we paid attention at a strange smell that came from the railway station. It was a stench emanated from the train which came from Russia and had a setback at the railway station from Tiraspol.
A lot of people who got out from the train had big teddy bears in their hands-maybe at Moscow they cost cheaper than in Transnistria, who knows?! 🙂
Averting from that stinking place, we decided to see the other part of the city, which had the same traits: old soviet buildings on which were put communist signs, bad roads, silent people-things that make you feel in another country, in another period, as in USSR.
We tried to find supermarket “Sheriff”, but, without luck, we asked the citizens (in Russian, of course!) to tell us where it is.
It’s interesting to know that in Tiraspol “Sheriff” is a common name for a stadium, for a football team, a supermarket, a sort of vodka (and so on), what can that mean?! Well, “Sheriff” is a quite big market, where you can find Russian and Ukrainian products, some of them cheaper than on the other side of river Dniester.
With 70 transnistrian roubles, we bought more than we could buy in Chisinau, with the same money.
It was already murk and we had to turn back to the station, to take the bus.
How we couldn’t receive an amenable answer from the ticket sellers, to know when the bus will come, we waited outside, in cold. We profited for that moment and we ate a bit of salad (bought from “Sheriff”) because we were very hungry.
We cut in with a girl who was waiting, as us the bus. At the beginning we spoke in Russian, but after we found out she knows Romanian, we changed the language. She was born in Tiraspol, but she is studying in Chisinau.
We forgot her name, but we remember she was talkative and positive. After waiting for an hour to appear a bus to take us from there, finally, a white Mercedes minibus, with a drunk driver, came for us.
We gave him 36 lei/person, (the price for a ticket) and we were happy to know that in an hour we will be at home.
We could warm up in that minibus, although near us was sitting a drunken man who believed we were going to Balti. He was stopped at the customs and obligated to pay a mulct. It was funny, because his family didn’t stop to argue him, while he was “high”. At the customs house, we showed that part of inquest which we completed when we entered in Transnistria.
They let us go. In more than one hour we were back in Chisinau. That sensation of old soviet atmosphere continued to rout us, even if we were pretty far from that place. Transnistria seems to be a forgotten place, where the people who live there have a strange way of acting, a strange behavior-always shy, always silent, with the eyes aimed on you.”
Comrat (Romanian: Comrat; Gagauz: Komrat; Russian: Комрат / Komrat) is a city in Moldova and the capital of the autonomous region of Găgăuzia.
It is located in the south of the country, on the Ialpug River.
In 2004, Comrat’s population was 23,429, of which the vast majority are Gagauzians.
Gagauzia (Gagauz: Gagauziya or Gagauz-Yeri; Romanian: Găgăuzia; Russian: Гагаузия), formally known as the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Găgăuzia (Gagauz Yeri) (Gagauz: Avtonom Territorial Bölümlüü Gagauz Yeri, Romanian: Unitatea Teritorială Autonomă Găgăuzia, Russian: Автономное территориальное образование Гагаузия / Avtonomnoye territorial’noye obrazobaniye), is an autonomous region of Moldova.
The Gagauz people are a small Turkish-speaking ethnic group living mostly in southern Moldova (Gagauzia), southwestern Ukraine (Budjak-southern Basarabia) and north-eastern Bulgaria (Dobruja).
Unlike most other Turkic-speaking peoples, the Gagauzians are predominantly Orthodox Christians.
There is a related ethnic group also called Gagavuz (or Gajal) living in the European part of northwestern Turkey.
Regions with significant populations:
„…Wishing to visit Gagauzia, we decided, in a rainy vernal morning to have a flying visit to Comrat.
Arriving at the South Station from Chisinau, after we paid 34 lei/person (2.2 euros) for ticket, we took in hurry a minibus with destination Chisinau-Taraclia.
The first thing we have noticed in South was that Moldova has bad roads, it was impossible to stay calm in the bus.
On the way, we remarked that on both sides of the driveway there were a lot of vineyards.
After one and half hours the driver stopped in a very small station, with few buses-we arrived in Comrat.
At the beginning, the city appeared to be uninhabited and old, we saw few people walking on the streets.
After a little walk in the town, we discovered some little shops, which seemed to be forsaken and we found a market place.
We decided to see what are the prices and what do the gagauzians buy from there.
We must confess, even the sellers were fairly polite, we felt a bit uncomfortable because of the people who didn’t stop staring at us. It was strange to see how while you were buying hot peppers you were surrounded by people who were quite smiling at you.
Another thing we have noticed was the big number of pariah dogs which were following you till you didn’t drive them away. Having a walk on the streets of Comrat we saw a lot of old houses and buildings, remained from USSR period.
If you want to ask someone from there about something, we think you should know more languages. Gagauzian people have a strange way of speaking: they use two languages (gagauzian and russian ) at the same time, so it’s difficult to understand them.
After we passed a whole day in Comrat, searching for a place to eat, we came back to the station to take the bus. For this time we paid 36 lei (2.35 euros) for the ticket and we took the last places from a bus.
It was a very old bus, with broken chairs which were moving at the simple flick.
In more than one and half hours we were in Chisinau, tired but pleased that we had seen something different from the usual-an interesting and strange city, Comrat…”