The last inch of good weather has encouraged the Charity Centre for Refugees (CCR), an implementing partner of UNHCR Moldova, to organize an excursion to Saharna-Ţipova monasteries. The initiative had the goal to acquaint newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers with the natural and historical beauties Moldovaoffers. Aiming at this, CCR invited Mr. Orest Dabija, a consultant in the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Culture RM, who agreed to guide the tour. Around 90 asylum seekers and refugees including children, CCR staff and EVS volunteers joined the excursion, discovering together the cultural heritage of Moldova.
The first target of our visit was Ţipova, a village located 100 km north of Chisinau, well-known for disclosing a panoramic view on the largest cave monasteries of Eastern Europe. A legend floating over the village tells that the greatest ruler in the history of Moldova, Stefan the Great (Stefan cel Mare), and his wife, Maria Voichita, got married in this monastery.
Besides cave monasteries, Ţipova attracts visitors with the heterogeneity of its nature. The hills, surrounding the area, are covered with forests and narrow paths. Refugees, asylum seekers and EVS volunteers could enjoy a long walk, exploring the forest, delighting the calmness of Dniester.
The second goal of our visit was Saharna with its “Holy Trinity” Monastery, situated about 110 km north of Chisinau, on the right side of the Dniester River. Its heritage is considered to be one of the most important centres of pilgrimages in Moldova. Here can be found the unique relic of St. Cuvios Macarie and, according to a legend, on the top of the high cliff, it is visible a footprint of St. Maria.  Couple of hours were spent there, walking around a beautiful park, offering amazing views and interesting places like a rainfall and a spring with holy water where Moldavian dived in cold water in order to pray. Indeed, according to a local legend, the water is holy due to the fact that it comes from the ground.
It was a great journey, where all participants enjoyed the excursion in a lively atmosphere and shared a different day in a good company.
Marco Residori – EVS volunteer from Italy at CCR
Sofia Gonzalez Rancaño – EVS volunteer from Spain at CCR
Inga Lipovan – CCR Project Assistant