b'The country farm house. The way of life in the countryside has not changed in decades.Moldova(continued from page 61)The Orthodox monastery is still inhabited by a handful of I was surprised at how beautiful the parks were for any- monks, who maintain the caves underneath, which contain one who enjoys strolling through beautiful gardens filled withan array of historical artifacts. Slavonic inscriptions dating flowers and foliage. It is a chance to admire wonderful rosefrom the 1690s, indicate the locals hid in the monastery in an gardens, enjoy ice cream or watch the birds around a lake.effort to evade the Ottomans in the 1600s.This is a great place to enjoy nature in the heart of the city, I had an opportunity to visit the Milestii Mici winery, one of and dogs are not allowed so you do not have to watch wherethe finest wineries in the world. Moldova is one of the worlds you step. most well known wine region, however, as most of the prod-If you would like a little more adventure during your walks,ucts are shipped to Russia and Asian countries, it is not well a visit to Valea Morilor provides an opportunity to rent a boatknown in North America. or make your way to a beautiful waterfall staircase that lightsMilestii Mici winery is literally an underground wine city, up at night. There is even a small beach for those who wantand is one of the most important tourist elements in Mol-to take advantage of the sun. dova. It attracts more than 20,000 visitors annually. In 2005, Located in the central square of Chiinu is the beauti- The Golden Collection of the Milestii Mici winery was regis-ful Nativity Cathedral, a slice of the citys religious heritagetered in the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest wine and history. Although modest on the outside, the inside willcollection in the world. reveal intricate and colourful ornaments, traditional icons andI was stunned at the sheer size of the winery. There are a great wall in shining gold. more than two million bottles of wine, highly appreciated by There is no charge to enter, but being an Orthodox cathe- winemakers from all over the globe. The wines stored here dral, men should not wear shorts and women must wear aare made from crops of various years, and are made accord-headscarf, as well as modest clothing. ing to old Moldavian traditions. You can feel the sunshine and The cathedral, which dates back to the 1830s, sufferedthe power of the earth, in every drop you taste.extensive damage during World War II, and was used as aI was extremely fortunate to be able to wander through convention centre in the Soviet era. It was rebuilt in 1997 tosome of the dark underground avenues and streets, where its original splendour.row upon row of large barrels and precious bottles have been I left the capital and made my way to Old Orhei, a Moldo- carefully laid down. The bottles covered with spider webs van historical and archaeological complex, located approxi- and sealed with wax, give you the feeling you have been mately 60 kilometres northeast of Chiinu. Please turn to page 64The beautiful Nativity Cathedral. Old Orhei, a Moldovan historical and archaeological monastery.62 FOCUS - SEPTEMBER 2022'