Chisinau, Moldova - First Weekend Discoveries: September 23, 2013
We arrived in Chisinau on Wednesday, September 18, met Dan's co-workers, and settled into our hotel. Dan went to work on Thursday and Friday taking a little time out to look at three apartments. Thursday night I got sick. The beginning of this adventure has been a little rough so far. On the weekend I was somewhat better so we did some strolling around Chisinau.
Our stroll began in Cathedral Park. It was a nice day, and brides (and grooms) were scattered about posing for photos everywhere.
Cathedral Park is so named because the park surrounds the City's main Cathedral. The City Cathedral was completed in 1836. The architecture of Chisinau suffered both from the Soviet occupation in 1940 and a catastrophic earthquake later that year. Then, there was the retreat by the Nazi and Romanian armies, air raids, etc. As a consequence, there aren't many old structures still standing. Those that remain are listed as historic structures and are either being restored or waiting to be restored. This cathedral was mostly destroyed in WWII, but was eventually restored to its original condition.
Continuing our stroll along Stefan cel Mare Street (the main boulevard), we found an art/crafts/junk open-air market. One of the merchants told us it was a daily event. We don't have a guidebook for Moldova, so to find something will truly be a "discovery." There hasn't been a Moldovan guide in English printed since 2007. Our hotel and another one we consulted provided us with maps of the city center but besides hotel locations, few other "landmarks" are marked. No museums or theaters are listed on these maps. There are no English-language Moldovan newspapers. There is no "What's On Chisinau." All our information is coming from what I can glean from the internet or what we see on the street.
Next to the open-air market, we discovered banners on the Organ Theater for a four-night Ethno Jazz Festival coming up next weekend; we now have tickets for one of the nights.
Sunday morning was gray and rainy, but we could hear music coming from the Grand National Assembly Square across from Cathedral Park. Once there, we discovered a celebration of all things related to bicycles. The square is a one-block section of Stefan cel Mare Street that is in front of the Government Building. This one-block section is closed to traffic when there is a special event.
We found the Pushkin Museum located in a house that Pushkin lived in for a couple of months during his three-year exile (1820-1823) to Moldova.
In front of Pushkin's Temporary Quarters
Wandering on, we found the National Museum of Art on Pushkin and 31 August 1989 streets. The museum is undergoing extensive restoration leaving just a few rooms open. The collection on view is mostly 20th-century Moldovan/Romanian art and 18th-20th-century icons. The museum is actually three buildings (two were personal residences) built in 1897, 1901, and 1906. When the restoration is completed, the museum will be art in its own right.
We walked through the two city parks on the way back to our hotel. It was early evening and families strolled along the sidewalks while lovers huddled on the park benches. Fall is coming and the leaves are beginning to change color and drop. The cawing of returning crows marks the beginning of evening. The temperatures are cool, and I'm already wearing a winter coat.
Today, we agreed to take the first apartment we viewed last week. Nicely furnished, it has two bedrooms, 1 bath, and is on the second floor of a newish apartment building. It is located in a quiet area (near Pushkin's Museum) about a 10-minute walk from Dan's office. We will move in tomorrow.