Connect with us

Tourism

Movilă Măgura- A Monument to the Passage of Time

Published

on

Darius Roby is a travel writer, translator, and an editor for Cluj.com, a city portal with information pertaining to life and tourism in Cluj-Napoca. He is also a contributor to Ukraine Today and is a member of the Hakluyt Society.

In western Moldova, the borders of the Fălești, Ungheni, and Sîngerei districts meet at a place that is most spectacular. The topography is hilly, some of the most dramatic and highest in the country. The poorly maintained roads provide a sense of wild elation as our car speeds over the steep hills and valleys, almost as if one is on a roller coaster. After passing the village of Sărata Veche, my guide, Maria, smiled and beckoned me to look towards the horizon, where I beheld a large hill. There, in the early evening light, one could make out the outline of a large mound crowning the summit in the distance. Thus we had arrived at the Măgura Hill. It is one of the tallest in Moldova, rising to a height of 1200 feet.

Despite our proximity, we still had a long way to go to reach the mound itself. Reaching the village of Sărata Noua, we left the main road and passed along winding rural roads through Ciolacu Nou and Ciolacu Vechi, often having to make way for passing ducks, turkeys, and geese. The road was, in many places, little more than a trail carved by cars on a dirt path. Had the weather been more wet that day, the climb would have been impossible to traverse by car. After passing through Ciolacu Vechi, quiet woodland greeted us to our left as we continued to climb until we finally reached the plateaued summit, pleased with our progress.
dsc08746
Upon arrival, I immediately wrapped my jacket tightly around me, shocked by how heavily the wind blows there. Taking an appraisal at our surroundings, it was easy to understand why. The Măgura Hill towers over the surrounding region. From the summit, one could enjoy a panorama of corn fields, little villages, and forests stretching far towards the west, where the early autumn sun was beginning to set over the river Prut. Towards the eastern slope, there is a tiny compound where a lonely monk lives. Hence derives the name măgura, which refers to a large and isolated hill in the Romanian language. The name has also inspired the names of numerous villages that can be found around the hill – Măgurele, Măgura, Măgura Nouă, and Slobozia Măgura.
dsc08724
Unlike the mounds at the previously mentioned Sută de Movile, the Movilă Măgura is not a natural formation. It is a true tumulus, or kurgan, as monuments of the type are referred to as in Eastern European archaeology. It stands nearly 50 feet tall, and is crowned with a stone cross that has been plated with reflective stainless steel. As a result, the cross can be seen from a great distance on clear and sunny days. In regards to who may have built the structure, no one really knows. During the 1990s, there were archaeological excavations undertaken at the tumulus which discovered a settlement and pottery fragments of the Cucuteni culture. Taking into consideration that the Cucuteni culture existed from 6000 to 3500 BC, could the tumulus really be much older than the first pyramids in Egypt?

However, we know next to nothing concerning Cucuteni burials rites. As very few Cucuteni bones have ever been discovered, there are conjectures that range in explanation from the cremation of the deceased to simply scattering their bones far away from settlements. Moreover, the shape and nature of the Movilă Măgura points towards nomadic steppe cultures far more than the relatively peaceful, settled Cucuteni civilization. Perhaps the tumulus dates from the Yamna culture, the original kurgan culture, which spread from southern Ukraine and Russia into Eastern Europe – conquering the Cucuteni culture at the end of the Neolithic age. It could also feasibly have been built by their later cultural successors – the Cimmerians, Scythians, or Sarmatians. Due to the commanding position of the Măgura tumulus, it be unsurprising if we were beholding the tomb of a great warrior or king.

Geography also comes into question here. The hills and forests of west-central Moldova hardly seem accommodating towards the culture and lifestyle of nomadic hordes. Why would they bury their dead in such a location? As with the Sută de Movile, perhaps geology can tell us more. Maria explained to me that studies have been done regarding the soil in Fălești district that have concluded that the region may have once been a treeless steppe. According to this theory, the grassy steppe eventually retreated towards southern Moldova and the shores of the Black Sea with the passage of time. As a result, the environment may have supported the type of nomadic cultures that would have produced the Măgura tumulus. Tanya, the archaeologist among us, suggested that the hill may have also served as a lookout point for the surrounding region, where if the alarm were to be raised, it could be viewed over a great distance. I have indeed heard rumor before of other tumuli being used for such a purpose during the times of the Moldovan principality.
dsc08748
Whatever its origin, the tumulus has maintained a special place in the souls of the locals from the surrounding villages throughout the centuries. As late as the 1930s, it was considered sacred and often played host to religious rites and traditions. The cross that sits at the top of the tumulus is not the original, but rather a replacement for one that stood there during the interbellum period. When the Soviets conquered Moldova, the original cross was taken down, buried, and was replaced by an observatory. After Moldova’s independence, the present cross was raised and since then – the area has again become a place for gathering and merrymaking among the local villagers.

I do not know if the all the questions concerning the Măgura tumulus will ever be solved. There is evidence of illegal archaeology and grave robbing that have taken place at the mound, so if there are any Scythian treasures to be discovered there – they may have already been found and removed centuries ago. If there are kings or warriors there, then future excavations will be able to tell us more. At the least, it is a most beautiful and majestic sight. It is a symbol of the passage of time, the light from its cross remaining visible long after descending along the winding road, as the sun set towards our backs and we headed into the gathering dusk back towards Chișinău, and a well deserved glass of wine.

The trip was organized with the help of Maria Axenti from YG Moldova.
Maria Axenti is an anthropologist at Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova as well as the co-founder of YG Moldova, an organization dedicated to promoting the culture, people, and natural beauty of Moldova. To learn more about her work and for information concerning guided tours, visit YGmoldova.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Tourism

Air Moldova has demonstrated compliance with EU requirements

Air Moldova is the only company in the Republic of Moldova to have an Operational Safety Audit Security Certificate issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), following a two-year audit.

Published

on

Moreover, Air Moldova is one of the aviation companies around the world where the European Union trusts. The European Aeronautical Safety Agency certified Air Moldova as complying with its standards, which allows it to smoothly carry out air transport operations in the European space.

The authorization issued by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) once again demonstrates that Air Moldova is a reliable operator and meets all the standards of quality and safety, says Iulian Scorpan, general manager of the company:

“We will continue to work to provide our passengers with the best conditions, pricing and destinations that will ensure their comfort,” says Air Moldova director Iulian Scorpan.

The European Authority’s certificate confirms that Air Moldova offers safe, quality services at EU standards, which are among the highest in the world. Thus, Air Moldova is part of an elite club of airlines that can fly over the EU airspace and can provide services within the European Union.

On the other hand, 120 companies from all over the world, including 9 from the Republic of Moldova, were banned in the community airspace.

Continue Reading

Culture

An English vlogger in Chisinau: “If I were a politician in Moldova, I’d be ashamed to show my face”

A British YouTube vlogger has published a video about of first impressions in Chisinau. Thrilled by the way the center of the capital looks, the conditions in the underground, the quality of the roads, etc., the vlogger will spend a month in the Republic of Moldova, promising to publish more stories.

Published

on

I would be ashamed! If I’d ripped off my nation as these motherf#ckers have ripped of Moldova, I’d be ashamed to show my face.”

The vlogger told his subscribers about the “billion dollar bill theft” and criticizes politicians who “have done nothing in their 30 years of independence.”

He pointed out that after the collapse of the USSR, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova hoped that a better life awaits them.I

“In Soviet times, Moldova was a well-run, efficient republic. Soviets used to come from all over the SU here. It was warm, there was good wine here, […]. But then independence came, and people wished for something better. But what did they receive instead? They’ve received nothing but Governments that ripped them off, embezzled cash, escaped the country with stolen billions, and the people are left here to pick up the pieces,” he concluded.

Watch episode 2 here:

Continue Reading

Tourism

From now on, Moldovan citizens can travel to Turkey with identity cards

Published

on

From today on, citizens of the Republic of Moldova can travel to Turkey based on identity cards with the format of ID1 ID2, ID2 (TD-1, TD-2, according to ICAO standards), including valid biometric passports, the Foreign Ministry announced.

According to the Protocol amending the Intergovernmental Agreement on the reciprocal abolition of visas with the Republic of Turkey (concluded on 17 October 2018), the holders of the documents mentioned above are exempt from the visa requirement for entry, exit, transit and temporary stay in the territory of the Republic of Turkey up to 90 days during any 180 calendar day period, which implies taking into account the last 180 days preceding each day of stay.

The Ministry points out that citizens of the Republic of Moldova who will travel to third countries using Turkey’s territory as a transit country will be informed about the travel regime applicable to Moldovan citizens for the final destination country and will have the necessary documents for crossing border control.

The first passengers have already used this opportunity today by arriving at the Chisinau International Airport with Istanbul-Chisinau’s first Turkish Airlines route.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Latest News

Society9 hours ago

Moldova Pride 2019: The LGBT community in Moldova organized the “I’m OK” march

Today, March 19, the LGBT Community of Moldova organizes the "I'm OK" March, in a new edition of the Pride...

Important3 days ago

This is Igor Dodon’s reply after Constitutional Court’s decision that the president can not submit a candidate for the post of PM

President Igor Dodon believes that the election of the Parliament leadership is the only way to overcome the political crisis...

Politics3 days ago

23 foreign citizens registered files in order to obtain Moldovan citizenship through investments

Until now, one person who has applied to the program has already obtained the passport of the Republic of Moldova,...

Politics4 days ago

President Igor Dodon plans an official visit to Turkey

The intention was announced today by the head of state, after a Chisinau meeting with Turkey’s ambassador to Moldova, Gürol...

Politics4 days ago

CC: Moldovan president Igor Dodon can not submit a candidate to the post of PM in the absence of Parliament’s governing bodies

On March 15, the Constitutional Court has decided that President of the Republic of Moldova can not submit a candidate...

Diaspora5 days ago

Stories from diaspora// Doru Curoșu – from a volunteer to a successful trainer, speaker and entrepreneur

Doru is one of the most dynamic persons you could ever met. He is one of the few Moldovans who...

Politics5 days ago

Every 5th Moldovan doesn’t trust any politician

The most recent survey conducted by the Association of Sociologists and Demographers shows that every 5th citizen of the Republic...

Advertisement

Opinions

Advertisement

Trending