May 18, 2017

3056 MOLDOVA - Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

3056 Church of the Complex Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei)

The Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape lies along the gorge of the lower course of the Răut River, 14km upstream from its confluence with Dniester River, on the territory of the Trebujeni and Butuceni villages, and organically combines the natural landscape and vestiges of ancient civilizations. This is an extremely strategic position: the Răut links it with most of central and northern Moldova, while the Dniester is the most important trade route between northeast Carpathians and the Black Sea Basin.

The extremely tortuous course of the river has carved meanders through limestone bedrock, delimiting two promontory: Butuceni and Peştera. The downstream left bank is nearly upright and reaches ca. 100-148m in altitude. At the western and southeastern ends of the escarpment, two natural passages link this naturally fortified central areas to the surrounding region. Therefore, providing excellent defensive conditions, but as well the connection with an important trade route, and being in addition rich in subsistence resources and in building materials, the area attracted humans ever since prehistoric times.

In Peştera Promontory were discovered many successive settlements, the earliest being a camp site from Late Paleolithic (ca. 30-20,000 BC). In the 12th-13th centuries AD, a rural fortified settlement existed at the top of the promontory. Around 1241, the Tatar-Mongols conquered it, and at the first half of the 14th century, the local chiefs of the Golden Horde founded here a town of central-Asian type Şehr al Cedid / Yangı Şeher (New Town). Until 1368, when they left the town because of pressure from Lithuanian and Moldavian armies, it was the most important center in the region.

Soon after, one of the most important Moldavian medieval towns, Orhei, was built on the remains of the Tatar-Mongol town. During the middle of the 16th century, at the demand of Ottomans, which since the 15th century had been exercising control over the region, the Moldavian authorities destroyed the fortifications. After that, the town decayed and turned into a rural settlement. In the 18th century, the inhabitants abandoned the settlement and moved to the present-day Trebujeni village.

The earliest archaeological evidence at the Butuceni Promontory was uncovered around the present-day church, erected in 1904. It dates from ca. 900-800 BC, and apparently belongs to the Thracian Cozia-Saharna culture. In ca. 500-300 BC, the Getaes settled here and transformed the promontory in a very well-fortified settlement, one of the largest in the Getaean world of that time. Field investigations also uncovered traces of the Cucuteni culture (5th-4th millennium BC), as well as 8th-9th and 14th century settlements.

On the other hand, from ancient times until today, the Butuceni promontory was treated as a sacred place. Important evidence for religious practices include about 200 caves carved into the limestone escarpments along the Răut. The earliest were dug in the 15th century AD. Many of them were the scenes of religious rituals. Most of the caves were used as shelters for the monks. In some of them, floor plans and other evidence suggests that they were used as churches or places of prayer or rituals.

About the stamps

The first three stamps and the vignette forms the series Means of Urban Transport, designed by Vitaliu Pogolşa, and issued on October 12, 2013 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the electric tram in Chişinău.
• Bus (1.75 MDL) - It's on the postcard 3056
• Trolleybus (3.00 MDL) - It's on the postcard 3056
• Tram (5.75) - It's on the postcard 3056

The last two stamps are part of the series Airships (Dirigibles), designed by the same Vitaliu Pogolşa, and issued on April 22, 2003:
• The Tissandier Airship, France, 1883 (0.40 MDL) - It's on the postcard 3056
• The Airship «Uchebniy», Russia, 1908 (2.00 MDL) - It's on the postcard 3056
• The Airship «Graf Zeppelin», Germany, 1928 (5.00 MDL)

Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape - UNESCO official website
Old Orhei - Wikipedia

Sender: Ruxanda Efros (direct swap)
Sent from Măgdăceşti (Moldova), on 13.05.2017
Photo: Igor Sîrbu

No comments:

Post a Comment