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Orhei Vechi, Moldova

Introduction & History

Orhei Vechi, meaning "Old Orhei" is also known today as the town of Trebujeni, but the town is still known as Orhei Vechi by most locals although the name generally only refers to the archeological sites in Trebujeni.

There is little history of note in Orhei Vechi other than the history of the Cave Monastery itself. The monastery was dug out in the 1200s and little else happened until the next century when Stefan cel Mare built a fortress in the town, a fortress that was destroyed shortly after.

In the 1700s the monks left the monastery and the local people took it over.

In the early 1900s a church was built on the hill above the caves, but after the Soviets took over Moldova, the church was shut down. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, numerous people, including monks, have slowly returned to the caves and church.

Orhei Vechi Today

Orhei Vechi, or more specifically the town of Trebujeni, is today a small farming village run by ethnic Moldovans. Trebujeni is a good example of a typical farming community in rural Moldova as life is truly focused on working the fields or running a local shop.

Foreigners rarely visit the town and locals look confused when the few that do come arrive. Here life is work, family, and religion, just as it has been for centuries in the past. This is how most ethnic Moldovans live today.

Historical & Architectural Sights

Cave Monastery (Orhei Vechi): built in the 1200s, this complex is an entire monastery carved out of solid rock. The monastery contains bedrooms with rock beds and pillows, living areas, a church, and any other room a person would need to survive. The monastery and the decorations are simple, but impressive. Shorts are forbidden and it is closed on Mondays. For more information, visit their website at: http://orhei.dnt.md.

Transportation

Orhei Vechi is only accessible by bus, public transportation, or private ground transportation as there is no airport or train lines going to the city. The best routes to Orhei Vechi is from Orhei; routes from Chisinau are also present, but not as common.

Airport: Orhei Vechi doesn't have an airport; the closest airport is the Chisinau International Airport located about 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Orhei. The airport code is KIV and the airport's website is: www.airport.md. For its location or directions, see the map below.

Train Station: Orhei Vechi doesn't have a train station.

Bus Station: Orhei Vechi doesn't have any true bus station; what they do have is a street where buses stop to pick people up. There is very limited transportation to the village and only one or two buses may arrive in any given day. The best chance for transportation is to take a bus to Orhei then rent a taxi to take you to Orhei Vechi, wait for you, then return you to Orhei.

Local Transportation: Orhei Vechi is quite small and doesn't have local public transportation. There is a very limited number of taxis available, but few drivers speak English.

Official Websites

Republic of Moldova: www.moldova.md

Maps & Directions

This page was last updated: November, 2012