The capital of Moldova hides some fascinating stories about its history and places of interest. Perhaps you remember the story on Valea Morilor Park, where the author talked about the mammoths who lived there thousands of years ago. Today, let’s move to the heart of Chisinau – the Stefan cel Mare monument, that stands right in the center of the city. This is a unique monument-traveler of the whole country and the most popular place in the city to meet friends and acquaintances.
The Stefan cel Mare or Stefan the Great monument is named and built in honor of one of the most spectacular rulers of Moldova. Stefan cel Mare ruled the country from 1457 until 1504, for almost 47 years! Being a desperate lover of his country, Stefan fought for the independence of Moldova. He skillfully opposed the strong rivals such as the Ottoman Empire, Poland and Hungary and won 34 battles out of 36 conducted. Along with the battles against the powerful enemies, Stefan cel Mare built 44 churches and monasteries developing culture, agriculture, and economics of the country. In addition, he never forgot to strengthen the existing fortresses. In order to immortalize the great master, people in Moldova put his portrait on the national banknotes, named the streets, schools and universities after him, gave him eternal life and glory for hundreds of years ahead.
The monument “Stefan cel Mare” was installed in the center of Chisinau in 1927, at the entrance of the Stefan cel Mare Park. You are probably asking yourself: “What is so special about this simple monument?” This is a real monument-traveler! It was taken to Romania twice. Also, twice it was returned to its original city – Chisinau. After 1927, the monument was situated at its current place, near the park, but later, in 1940, one of the Romanian generals insisted on moving it to Romania. They say that he furiously admired Stefan the Great and considered him to stand only in the Romanian land. So, it was sent to the city of Vaslui, near the church of St. John, built by Stephen the Great himself. In August 1942, the monument was returned to Chisinau, where it stood for two years. In August 1944, it was moved to Romania again, but then – to the city of Craiova. It was moved because in 1944 Chisinau became a Soviet city, as the whole Moldova later on, due to the USSR creation. In 1945, it was found in Romania, and finally returned to its original place, and since then the location has not changed.
Stefan the Great monument is famous not only for being the traveler. He was also married. In addition, he was married even after the death of the ruler, many years after. In 1989, Moldavian poet Leonida Lari, who was known as a nationalist, got married to the Stefan the Great monument. She considered that her political vision is more convenient for the ruler, so she made the authorities divorce Stefan from his “current wife”. Leonida herself also was married. That made her divorce from her husband in order "to be with Stefan the Great". The wedding took place in front of the huge crowd of people. Mrs. Lari was wearing her beautiful wedding dress, but there was not a wedding suit worn by the monument. The Orthodox priest solemnly married the newlyweds, knocked the wedding ring on the monument, put the ring on the finger of the poet and announced the husband and wife. They say the crowd was pleased.
Chisinau is full of interesting stories and mysteries about its places of interest that will impress your imagination and never leave you indifferent. The most famous places in the city could be trivial monuments or simple parks, but they hide the whole world of history, myths and legends, that very few people know of. Be interested in the city or country you travel to. Have you ever heard of the traveling monuments? Come and see a unique Stefan cel Mare’s monument in the center of Chisinau! Maybe you will fall in love with it as Leonida Lari once did…
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