The Soroca Fortress in Moldova

A guardian of stone stands by the banks of Nistru (Dniester) river, at the border near Ukraine. The Soroca Fortress is an awe-inspiring sight during a holiday in Moldova.

It is a landmark named after its hometown, Soroca, the gypsy capital of Moldova. The place is known for its unique gypsy mansions, churches, and the Trifauti resort. The Candle of Gratitude national monument is eye-catching, a tall and slender post of rocks amid a backdrop of winding river, open sky, and verdant mountains and plains. This is a tribute to Moldovan heroes.

The Soroca Fortress was part of Moldova’s mediaeval defence system, which consisted of nine structures in strategic areas. It used to be a humble wooden station under the rule of Stephen the Great. His son, Petru Rares, had it rebuilt and fashioned out of stone by Transylvanian craftspeople in the 16th century. This is the Fortress as seen today, circular, with a diameter of 37.5 metres, and five bastions. It is done in Gothic and Renaissance styles.

It has been witness to the Great Turkish War, between the Ottoman Empire and European powers; the Pruth Campaign, when Russia tried to involve Moldova; and the Russo-Turkish War, when Russia fought for dominance over the Black Sea.

According to legend, Moldovan troops survived an outsider attack here when a white stork brought them grapes to stave off their hunger. They were able to keep their strength and continue fighting. This is probably why one of the symbols of Moldova is a stork with grapes in its beak.

To get to the Soroca Fortress, take a bus from the Central Bus Station in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital. Hourly trips are available. Tours of the Fortress begin from nine in the morning to six in the evening, from Tuesday to Sunday.

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