Once you visit Chisinau and have a couple of hours free, you may drive out of the urban city and be caught by the beauty of Moldavian nature and religion. One very inviting place that is highly recommended by tourists would be Curchi Monastery. It is situated in the Vatici valley, on a bank of the Vatic River and hidden in the branchy Codru woods. It will take you about an hour to drive there by car, as it is only 55 km far from the capital. The monastery is known as one of the most fascinating and essential architectural heritages of Bessarabia.
A great number of legends mystify the origin of Curchi Monastery. Some people say that the monastery was established by Stephan the Great, after the victory in one of his wars, and developed later in the 18th and 19th centuries. Others tell a story about its foundation in 1773 by brothers Iordache and Mihail Curchi, who initially built a very small wooden skeet, and later on erected the first stone churches. According to the legend, Iordache Curchi was the head of a robber group. These robbers have killed one old couple in the forest. To their bad luck, the killed people were the parents of Iordache brothers. Thus, for the two brothers Curchi, it was a huge tragedy, and they suffered strongly. The brothers were repenting to the God and had built a skeet. Iordache and Mihail Curchi, later on, became the monks and were given the names of Joan, and, respectively, Manasie. We will never know what was the sober fact, as the true origin of this monastery got lost in the past.
The very beginning of construction dates back to 1773 when the tiny wooden skeet was settled. Later on, after almost a century in 1868, the skeet was reconstructed into a monastery, that is considered the official date of Curchi Monastery foundation. The period of the USSR was an unpleasant time for the monastery, as the religion was not really welcome at that period, so the monastery was reorganized into a lunatic and addiction hospital, from 1961 till 2002. Only at the beginning of 2000, Curchi Monastery was reconstructed back, as it was taken under the protection of the UN. Another valuable date for the monastery, which is closer to nowadays, was October 10, 2011, due to a visit of Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. In memory of his visit, the Patriarch offered the icon of "Rod the True", which is kept in the Curchi with all the love and respect.
Cultural, religious and historical background of over two centuries makes Curchi Monastery highly qualified institution among the most significant monuments of Moldavian architecture.
The exceptional style of the whole monastery was mostly established during the Governorate of Bessarabia period. The monastery's main church, the Cathedral “Naşterea Domnului”, was designed in the baroque style by a well-known Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli and inspired by the Church of St. Andrew in Kiev. The cathedral does not look very massive, I would even say it is quite charming, considering the fact that its dome is 57 meters heigh, and being the highest one in Moldova.
Once you walk through the green and plain vasts of Moldova, admiring the majesty of Cordru woods and stream flow of Vatic River, you will get your soul a harmony. Every year, thousands of tourists visit this religious heritage of Bessarabia to admire its beauty and feel its peace in the heart and mind.
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