After having driven through Moldova’s steppes and agricultural areas, the open-air archaeological complex of Old Orhei looked almost other-worldly. We glimpsed cave monasteries carved out of the craggy limestone cliffs, the golden domes of a 20th-century monastery, lush fields dotted with crops, and the serpentine Răut River. We agreed that the area was so scenic and historically-significant that we could’ve easily spent an entire day there. Instead, we enjoyed a few hours of touring the cave monastery, carved out by monks 800 years ago. The area’s small archaeological museum houses artifacts unearthed on the vast site, such as ceramics, headstones from the Ottoman Empire, and fragments of statuettes.
A nearby village, which is comprised of beautifully-restored traditional homesteads, resembles frilly gingerbread houses. When we asked the Old Orhei guide Nina why robin’s egg-blue is featured so prominently in Moldovan home exteriors, even wooden cemetery headstones, she explained, “It is a connection between the blue of the sky and the blue of the water.”
My article: http://triciaannemitchell.com/2014/11/20/moldova-wine-food-travel/