Cricova (Moldova)

Cricova is the famous Moldovan winery, located in the city with the same name located at 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Chişinău. Famous wine cellars make it a popular attraction for tourists.

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.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel Journal

„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.”


An imitation of a stronghold on the territory of Cricova.

An imitation of a stronghold on the territory of Cricova.

First view of the road which leads us to the Cricova's cellar.

First view of the road which leads us to the Cricova's cellar.

A cellar located on Cabernet Street, where is kept the Pinot wine.

A cellar located on Cabernet Street, where is kept the Pinot wine.

In these barrels is kept the Cabernet wine, the white dust on the floor testifies the fact that in the past, this place was a mine of withe rock.

In these barrels is kept the Cabernet wine, the white dust on the floor testifies the fact that in the past, this place was a mine of withe rock.

A common barrel in the subways of Cricova,made of American oak. The wine changes its taste if it's kept in this kind of cask.

A common barrel in the subways of Cricova,made of American oak. The wine changes its taste if it's kept in this kind of cask.

A 453 litters barrel for keeping the Cabernet wine.

A 453 litters barrel for keeping the Cabernet wine.

The same barrel, with a wine inquest on it (Cabernet-Sauvignon, made in 2007).

The same barrel, with a wine inquest on it (Cabernet-Sauvignon, made in 2007).

A shower that attentions the pedestrian crossing.

A shower that attentions the pedestrian crossing.

The name of the chamber where the Campaign is kept.

The name of the chamber where the Campaign is kept.

A schedule which explains the process of Remuage-process used for preparing the Champagne.The improvement of this drink till it can be sold is based on changing the angle of the bottle, for all the uncleanliness set in the cork. After that,the cork is frozen, so the uncleanliness can be taken without damaging the Champagne. The whole procedure takes 5 years.

A schedule which explains the process of Remuage-process used for preparing the Champagne.The improvement of this drink till it can be sold is based on changing the angle of the bottle, for all the uncleanliness set in the cork. After that,the cork is frozen, so the uncleanliness can be taken without damaging the Champagne. The whole procedure takes 5 years.

The "first" Champagne containing uncleanliness, before passing through "Remuage" process.

The "first" Champagne containing uncleanliness, before passing through "Remuage" process.

The cellar where the Champagne is kept, place located on Champagne's Boulevard.

The cellar where the Champagne is kept, place located on Champagne's Boulevard.

A view through the subways of Cricova.

A view through the subways of Cricova.

Old wine from 1995.

Old wine from 1995.

The Hermann Goring wine's collection, Mosel from 1935. Another part of collection is conserved in Ukraine,Crimea.

The Hermann Goring wine's collection, Mosel from 1935. Another part of collection is conserved in Ukraine,Crimea.

Mouldiness and bacterium developed on a wine bottle. As we said, the humidity in the cellars of Cricova is over 97 %.

Mouldiness and bacterium developed on a wine bottle. As we said, the humidity in the cellars of Cricova is over 97 %.

The cellar where is kept the wine collections.

The cellar where is kept the wine collections.

The personal wine collection of Vladimir Putin.

The personal wine collection of Vladimir Putin.

A closer view on the slate information.

A closer view on the slate information.

The oldest bottle of Wine from Cricova, taken from Israel, in 1902.

The oldest bottle of Wine from Cricova, taken from Israel, in 1902.

A Romanian "Grasa de Cotnari" wine bottle, from 1979.

A Romanian "Grasa de Cotnari" wine bottle, from 1979.

An old French wine from 1936. In 2008, a bottle of this kind was sold for 60.000 euros, for a personal collection.

An old French wine from 1936. In 2008, a bottle of this kind was sold for 60.000 euros, for a personal collection.

The guide told us that this small table with small chairs is an imitation of an old Moldavian custom "La botul calului"("At the muzzle's horse").We don't know if we should believe her or not.Anyway, the cart didn't go in the photo :) .

The guide told us that this small table with small chairs is an imitation of an old Moldavian custom "La botul calului"("At the muzzle's horse").We don't know if we should believe her or not.Anyway, the cart didn't go in the photo 🙂 .

A small official chamber from Cricova.

A small official chamber from Cricova.

A picture of "Moldavian wedding" painted on a wall.

A picture of "Moldavian wedding" painted on a wall.

Another official place.

Another official place.

The official chamber from Cricova,with the "untouchable" table. Around it,there are 60 chairs.

The official chamber from Cricova,with the "untouchable" table. Around it,there are 60 chairs.

The favourite relaxing chamber from Cricova of the ex-president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin.

The favourite relaxing chamber from Cricova of the ex-president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin.

A modern WC, including a small chamber for the smokers.

A modern WC, including a small chamber for the smokers.

Chernivtsi (Ukraine)

Chernivtsi (Romanian: Cernăuţi; Ukrainian: Чернівці) is the administrative center of Chernivtsi Oblast (province) in western Ukraine.

Chernivtsi on map

Chernivtsi on map

The city lies in the historic Northern Bukovina region and is situated on the Prut river, a tributary of the Danube.

As of the 2001 Ukrainian Census, the city’s population is 240,600.According to the latest All-Ukrainian population census in 2001, the population of Chernivtsi was approximately 236,700 people of 65 nationalities.

Among them, 189,000 (79.8%) are Ukrainians, 26,700 (11.3%) Russians, 10,500 (4.4%) Romanians; 3,800 (1.6%) Moldavians, 1,400 (0.6%) Polish; 1,300 (0.6%) Jews; 2,900 (1.2%) other nationalities.

Based on the last available Soviet data, the population of the city, as of January 1, 1989, was approximately 295,000 residents.

Among these, there are some 172,000 Ukrainians, 46,000 Russians, 16,000 Romanians, 13,000 Moldavians, 7,000 Poles and others. Historically, the city was very multinational. From 1870 to the Second World War, Jews were the biggest population group of Czernowitz.

In 1930, according to the Romanian census, the population of the city was 26.8% Jewish, 23.2% Romanians, 20.8% Germans, 18.6% Ukrainians, and 1.5% Russians.he Romanian population in Chernivtsi started decreasing rapidly after 1950.

Many Romanians fled to Romania or were deported to Siberia (where most of them died), and the remaining Romanian population quickly became a minority and assimilated with the majority.

Nowadays, the Romanian minority in Chernivtsi is still decreasing as a result of cultural assimilation and emigration to Romania.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel Journal

What would be if I will go to Chernivtsi, in Ukraine ?
We took the train from Bucharest to Suceava.

After we arrive in the railway station from Suceava-Burdujeni, we were surprised to admire the railway station that was build in 1869.

After we put our legs in the railway station, an old gypsy man came to us and start to say that Suceava is a dangerous city, and we must have attention because of that and other rubbish (gypsy baloney).

After that, he see that we don’t give him money or something, and he start to say that he needs some money to go at his home, with train.

Can you belive that?

In 2009, someone in European Union could have such momments !

You remember an episode of South Park, called “Night of the Living Homeless“ ? 😛

“Change..Change…you have any change” :)))

After that we escape from the living gypsy, we take the local bus and we go to the centre of the city.A single ticket is 1.5 RON (New Romanian Leu)…almost 0.35 euro-cents.

From the center, we decided to go to the History Museum, to see the throne room of Stephen the Great, the ruler of Moldavian Kingdom between 1457 and 1504.

We take the taxi and we go to the History Museum. The price of taxi in Suceava is 1.80 RON (almost 0.5 Euro).

The museum is good, it has special rooms for all parts of history…start with prehistoric times and ends with WW2.

They also have a good collection of coins, especially medieval moldavian coins from monasteries.

Suceava is not a big city, and we go to the stronghold of the city, which was the capital of Moldavian Kingdom in the time of Stephen the Great.

Up to the hill were the fortress is built, the landscape is amazing, you can see almost all Suceava, and the road from the Mc Donald’s to the stronghold is through forest, simple amazing !

After this walking, we go to the bus station in Suceava and we took the bus for Chernivtsi (2.00 PM). The distance is about 82 km, through the border point Siret in Romania and Porubne in Ukraine.

Before we arrive to the border, we completed an Immigration Card, where we wrote our departure with destination (a hotel), name with surname, citizenship, passport number and our signature.

We didn’t pay anything, we just give the document to the Ukrainian border police and they give us to keep half from the paper. With that half paper you can leave Ukraine, and you must keep it at you.

Before we arrived in Chernivtsi, we pass through Hlyboka (in Romanian is Adâncata), a small Romanian town in Northern Bukovina. The population of Hlyboka District is majority Romanian (51.4 %).

In June 1940, Soviet Union take Northern Bukovina which was eliberated by Romanian Army in 1941.

Romania was forced to give the northern part of Bukovina to the USSR by the 1947 Paris peace treaty. The territory became part of the Ukrainian SSR as Chernivtsi Oblast (province). After the war the Soviet government deported or killed about 41,000 Romanians.

After one and a half hour we arrive to Chernivtsi.

We go to search a bank to buy some UAH with Euro.

The currency was 1 Euro=10 UAH (Ukrainian hryvnia).

With Ukrainian currency, we go to eat and to drink something. We eat at a fasto-food some hamburgers, we drink Kvass (Kbac) and we eat Ukrainian icecream, which is cheaper and good.

With 10 UAH (1 Euro) I eat one big hamburger, one glass of Kvass and one icecream 😀

Can you belive that? 😛

After that, we go for a walk in a park, not so far from the center. We drink some Ukrainian beers and we decided to come back to Romania.

We go to the Central Bus Station (Avtovogzal) and we find a Romanian from Chernivtsi to take us to Suceava. We want to give him some money but he refuse to accept something from us.

We arrive in Suceava at 21.40 and we go to eat and drink,

After that, we go to the railway station to catch the train for Bucharest at 23.04 PM.

The center of Suceava

The center of Suceava

Suceava-Burdujeni railway station

Suceava-Burdujeni railway station

Map of Bukovina

Map of Bukovina

Throne room of Stephen III of Moldavia also known as Stephen the Great (History Museum from Suceava)

Throne room of Stephen III of Moldavia also known as Stephen the Great (History Museum from Suceava)

Solar symbol on a traditional gate near the fortress of Suceava

Solar symbol on a traditional gate near the fortress of Suceava

A great view from the fortress above Suceava

A great view from the fortress above Suceava

Walls of the fortress

Walls of the fortress

On the road from the fortress to the city (through forest).

On the road from the fortress to the city (through forest)

In the bus to Chernivtsi

In the bus to Chernivtsi (old soviet bus)

Timetable in Central Bus Station from Chernivtsi

Timetable in Central Bus Station from Chernivtsi

Central Bus Station from Chernivtsi (Avtovogzal)

Central Bus Station from Chernivtsi (Avtovokzal in ukrainian, Avtovogzal in russian)

Old soviet bus station

Old soviet bus station

Post box

Post box

Local trolleybus from Chernivtsi

Local trolleybus from Chernivtsi

On the road to the centre

On the road to the centre

Law and Order (Ukrainian Police)

Law and Order (Ukrainian Police)

Some nice blocks

Some nice blocks

Plate number from Chernivtsi

Plate number from Chernivtsi

A message to recruting people for sport (Ivan Geshko) Sport-Health-Future

A message to recruting people for sport (Ivan Geshko) Sport-Health-Future

Public phone

Public phone

On this guide panel you can see the name Suceava

On this guide panel you can see the name Suceava

Marshrutnoye taksi or маршрутка (Marshrutka)

Marshrutnoye taksi or маршрутка (Marshrutka)

Kvass (квас) and ukrainian icecream

Kvass (квас) and ukrainian icecream

We saw this ukrainian girl just after we buy some humbergers, she was staying in the front of us

We saw this ukrainian girl just after we buy some humbergers, she was staying in the front of us

a central street in Chernivtsi

A central street in Chernivtsi

Shevchenko Park

Shevchenko Park

Shevchenko Park - A park for Culture and Rest

Shevchenko Park - A park for Culture and Rest

They are still alive !

They are still alive !

Raiffeisen Bank Aval

Raiffeisen Bank Aval

The soviet bus which take us from Suceava to Cernivitsi

The soviet bus which take us from Suceava to Cernivitsi

Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)

Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)

A very strong ukrainian beer called Desant (Desant Spetsnaz) 7.2%

A very strong ukrainian beer called Desant (Desant Spetsnaz) 7.2%