Over the centuries Moldovans built fortresses to protect their land and freedom and built several churches and monasteries – fortresses of soul.
The city Soroca, at 160 km from Chisinau, is famous for the medieval fortress that is placed in the center of the city. The fortress represents a wonderful monument of military architecture, the only fortress of this kind in Eastern Europe. The fortress is the only medieval monument in Moldova which has been preserved entirely as it was designed. Soroca Fortress played an important role in the defensive system of Moldova. During the reign of Stefan cel Mare, in the period of 1480-1490, a wooden fortress was built in Soroca. Later the fortress has been rebuilt of stone by Moldovan lord Petru Rares in a round shape with a diameter of 37.5 m and with five bastions situated at equal distances. When designing the fortress the builders incorporated the supreme law of harmony “the golden section”, which makes the fortress unique among examples of European defensive architecture.
The Candle of Gratitude.
This monument built in the rocks, above the river Nistru, on the borders of Soroca is one of the most important creations in the Moldavian modern history. Pored at the basis, stone by stone, here lie the sufferings, the hopes and the hard work of many generations. This extraordinary work of art is dedicated to all Moldavan cultural monuments that were destroyed. “The Candle of Gratitude” rises from the depth of our past and represents homage to all the anonymous heroes that have kept safe the culture, the language and the history of Moldova out of a wide colorful human civilization, this way making eternal the memory of the great anonymous poet, author of “Miorita” (“The Lamb”). During the night time the 29.5 m tall candle has a light which goes as far as Otaci and Camenca. One can admire a magnificent view from the top of this hill. This national monument, a symbol of the Moldavan people, which catches the eye of people passing by, can surely complete the visiting card of Moldova.
“The Gypsy Hill” in Soroca - „unofficial gypsy capital”
On the main hill of the city, the gypsies managed to build in only a couple of years a megalith of typical constructions but which obviously contrasts with everything around them, including the fortress. The respective houses represent imposing fortresses with two or three stories, sometimes even more, made of granite, marble, other expensive imported materials, guarded by huge statues, representing imitations of wild animals, and at each entrance, cylindrical columns, with reliefs, support the balconies from upper floors. These are a true attraction for tourists. During hardest times, the beautiful lands of the fortress on the banks of Nistru granted shelter and food to the nomad tribes. The gypsies were part of them and during the communist regime they settled down and moved their households up on to Soroca Hill. The grand houses impress with their greatness, they are palaces, in the whole meaning of the word, which draw one’s attention from far. The locals call these immense monuments “swallow’s nests”. There is a certain competition going between the gypsies, who would have the biggest and the most beautiful palace. For large groups can be arranged visits in Rroma households with serving of traditional food.