Moldavia: Religion and Traditional Villages

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Location: Eastern Romania

Located between the Eastern Carpathians and the Prut river, Moldavia is less explored and known by tourists. Nonetheless, it offers many authentic experiences, especially if you’re interested in history and enjoy the tranquil rhythm of the traditional countryside. Covered by hills and plateaus, Moldavia has mainly an agricultural landscape with renowned vineyards in its eastern and southern parts.


Short history

The history of the region is marked by the legendary figure of one medieval prince, Stephen the Great and his fight against the Ottoman Empire. No other local leader has enjoyed such a popularity throughout history, and in most cities of this region you’ll see statues of this prince who died more than 500 years ago. Until 1775, the territory of historical Moldavia was almost the double of today, including the southern part of Ukraine and Basarabia until 1812, today the Republic of Moldova. In 1859, Moldavia united with Wallachia and formed the young state Romania that gained its independence in 1877, and became a kingdom in 1881. Romania united in 1918 with Transylvania, Bucovina and Basarabia, but lost northern Bucovina and Basarabia in the Second World War.

Religion as culture

Since medieval times, religion had an essential role in the life of local communities from Moldavia, mostly rural until the beginning of the 20th century. This religious disposition was also cultivated by local princes who justified their power also by making appeal to the divine support often materialized through religious constructions, including the painted monasteries that became centuries later UNESCO Heritage Sites.

Barnova Monastery

Less exposed to Western influences, Moldavia remained rural with strong Orthodox values up until the second part of the 19th century when a general process of modernization started in the Romanian countries. After the fall of the communist regime, during which time the religious manifestations were limited, this element had an unprecedented growth with many churches and monasteries being built. So many that the largest city, Iasi, has more than 100 churches.

Tourism in Moldavia

Tourism is marked by the religious element. If you have an interest in religious art, this is definitely the place to go. Nonetheless, you can also hike in Ceahlau National Park, explore the most impressive gorges of Romania, Bicaz Gorges and their traditional villages.

Cultural and historical attractions: Iasi, the palaces Ruginoasa and Miclauseni, old churches and monasteries, traditions and festivals

Nature attractions: Ceahlau National Park, Cheile Bicazului-Hasmasu National Park, Vanatori Neamt Natural Park, Bicaz Lake

Sports: hiking, cycling

Not to miss: vineyards visits, Neamt County

If you’d like to explore the region with one of our tailor-made tours, contact us via

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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