Ukraine and Moldova - Story of my trip to Ukraine and Moldova

Ukraine and Moldova

Lviv - Chisinàu

Lviv (Lviv in Ukrainian, Lvov in Russian) is a beautiful museum city in western Ukraine of about 800,000 inhabitants, the capital of the province of the same name. Located near the Polish border, it is a very important agricultural and livestock market. Luckily Lviv emerged quite unscathed from the ravages of the Second World War and now we are faced with a real museum city with Western architecture from the Gothic period to the present day.

Unlike Russia, Kiev, Lviv is typically Ukraine, so much so that it was here the center of national irredentism. Located at the foot of the Carpathians, it is one of the oldest and most particular cities in the whole of Europe.

I inaugurate the first Wizzair flight from Treviso to Lviv (806 UAH), the airport is small and looks more like a museum than a terminal, luggage is delivered by hand.

I had booked an apartment with Private space (250 UAH per day) 10 minutes from the center.

The city has over 2000 historical, architectural and cultural monuments, that is 20% of all historical monuments in Ukraine and therefore is very important for tourism in Ukraine. The central area of ​​Lviv has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.

East of the modern center is the Old Town, in the center of which is the large Ploshcha Rynok, which was once the center of Lviv and is currently the best preserved square in all of Ukraine.

The civil buildings are a happy marriage of the Baroque and Renaissance styles; in fact, the wealthy local merchants did not hesitate to commission the best craftsmen and artists of the time to build their houses.

In the center of the square stands the town hall, which dates back to the 19th century, while all around you can admire magnificent buildings from the 16th and 18th centuries decorated with stone carvings.

Opposite, at the southwestern corner of the square is one of the best Gothic buildings in the city, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, which dates from the late 14th century. Inside, the Boyim Chapel contains some of Lviv's finest stone carvings.

At the northwestern corner is the oldest pharmacy in Lviv. Founded in 1879, the pharmacy shares the 16th-century building with the Apteka Museum which houses examples of ancient pharmaceutical equipment.

Along the avenue leading to the theater is the monument dedicated to the poet and painter Taras Hryhorovyč Ševčenko.

St. George's Cathedral in Lviv was built in 1744-1770, the architecture of the cathedral was a classic example of Baroque architecture.

There are many places outdoors or with special settings, shops and a market for souvenirs.

With Elena I continue the journey to Moldova, I had not found any air connections so the solution was a 27-hour train journey, the only one available in those days.

We leave around 17.00 from Lviv, there is only one wagon that will arrive in Chisinàu and there are three of us for most of the journey, the compartments are quite old and separated only by bulkheads but there is everything you need as mattresses blankets, sheets, pillows, food and drinks for a fee.

Around midnight our wagon is unhooked and parked in a station waiting for the connection from Moscow, this allows us to sleep until 6.00. In the more than 800 km of the journey we were almost always in the middle of the countryside, outside the inhabited centers life has remained as it was 50 years ago, everyone cultivates his or her vegetable garden and has a few cows or sheep and you can still see horse-drawn carts at the stops. of the stations, women get on the wagons to sell their products.

At the border with Moldova the customs officer asks me for a visa to be able to enter…. Dunno ... maybe he wasn't aware that since 2007 European citizens do not need visas for Moldova, however, after checking in the office he puts the stamp on me and we go on.

Arrived at 14.00 in Balti we get off the train and take a minibus (7 euros for two) to save a couple of hours of travel, 120 km and we will be in Chisinàu, the roads are ruined by holes and the minibus goes everywhere to dodge them, even in the wrong direction ... I immediately notice that at the sight of the police everyone goes at 40 km / h and doesn't move an inch, I imagine that if you stop something you have to pay ...

Waiting for us Irina who gave us an apartment (40 euros) in Stefan cel Mare, the central street of the city, the building is Soviet style as there are many in the city, but the interior is renovated and new.

The next day, after changing the euro in Lei, we explore the center, climbing up Stefan cel Mare, the starting point is the majestic statue of Stefan cel Mare located at the entrance to the park. This place represents the city center and the main usual meeting point for the inhabitants of Chisinàu. Until 1991 the statue of Lenin occupied the base on which today stands the statue of the Prince and Saint Stefan cel Mare also known as the hero of the liberation struggle from the Ottoman invader.

The park of the same name that extends behind the monument is undoubtedly the most beautiful and best preserved in the city, inside there is a beautiful fountain and several statues of Romanian and Russian writers and poets. Not far away there is also a large botanical garden.

Returning to the Bulevard Stefan cel Mare beyond the statue we look out onto the Square of the Great National Gatherings (Piata Marii Adunari Nationale) where military parades and speeches by the Communists of the U.S.S.R. were held until the early 1990s.

On this huge square stands the gigantic Palace of the Moldavian Government and on the opposite side the Arc de Triomphe built in 1840 by the architect I. Zauschevici in commemoration of the victory of the Tsarist troops against the Turkish invader.

Behind the Arch stands the classical Russian-style structure of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Birth of Our Lord, consisting of a central body and a tower with a separate bell tower; work, originally, of the architect Abraam Melnicov who designed and finished it in 1836.

Continuing we find the most beautiful art and craft market in the whole city where you can buy souvenirs and souvenirs of the city. On the other side of the "Vernisaj" rise the imposing columns of the "Mihai Eminescu National Theater".

Further on, we can turn left onto Strada Armeana or further down the Bulgarian Road and access the Central Farmer's Market, the former Kolkosian market of the city, it is very large and you can find everything.

Leaving the Market and returning to the Bulevard after another 100 meters we reach the UNIC warehouses which were built in Soviet times and still represent the largest shopping center in all of Moldova, while on Pushkin there is the SUN CITY and Strada Viaduc the SHOPPING MOLDOVA, the latter of recent construction.

The country's specialties are wine and fruit-filled chocolates.

The National History Museum is located on Strada 31 August 1989.

The center is quite easy to get around because the streets are square and the writing is in Latin characters.

In these downtown streets, historic buildings mix with gray square buildings of the Stalinist era, abandoned houses, modern-style buildings, just turn a corner and the landscape is completely transformed ...

For transport there are buses and trolley buses and also many private minibuses.

It is a city that is expanding, with a little delay compared to the others in the east, but this cannot be said for the rest of the country where everything has not changed from the Soviet style.

June 2010

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