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Orheiul Vechi

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Orheiul Vechi 

(Ancient Orhei)

Orheiul Vechi is an ancient settlement situated in the left bank of the Raut river near the villages of Trebujeni and Butuceni. Due to its advantageous geographical position on the steep banks of the Raut, settlements sprang up as early as in the Paleolithic epoch. Later on, in the same territory, remains of ancient settlements belonging to the cultures of Cucuteni-Tripolje (Eneolithic period) and of the Gets were found out. In the process of evolution, in the Middle Ages, two medieval towns were set up here. The first one which occupied almost the whole territory of the settlement (268 ha) belongs to the Golden Horde (XIVth century); the second one is the ancient Moldavian town Orheiul Vechi, which was established here in the XVth - XVIth centuries. Up till now, the vestiges of a mosque, two mausolea, a caravan-seraglio and of three bath houses of the period of Golden Horde remained. In the local museum there are a lot of glazed ceramics which have many technological and stylistic peculiarities inherent to ceramics produced in the Near East, in Crimea, in the region the Volga basin and in Transcaucasia. In the museum are also exhibited coins minted between 1364 and 1369 in this Tatarian town named Sehr al-cedid ("New Town").

The bath houses discovered at the territory of Sehr al-cedid were provided with a hypocaust type heating system and a developed water supply system. The bath houses were built of stone cemented by lime solution, their walls have a thickness of 1-1,10 m. In the interior, the bath houses were partitioned into separated so-called bath halls, which made the proper baths, dressing rooms and cloak rooms. The total area of the three bath houses varies from 23x38 m to 18x28 m.

The medieval Moldavian town Orheiul Vechi was founded in the XVth century on the remnants of Sehr al-cedid of the Golden Horde. The period of the highest prosperity of Orheiul Vechi was achieved in the second half of the XVth century. At this time on the steep bank of the Raut-river were erected the residence of the "pircalab" (chief of a district or commander of a fortress in medieval Moldova) of Orhei and two Orthodox churches (with 2 graveyards). Until it was abandoned (XVIth century) Orheiul Vechi played an important economic, military and administrative role in the East of medieval Moldavia. 


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