The Water Wells of Moldova

Water Wells of Moldova

The Republic of Moldova is perhaps best known for its impressive wine – something it’s produced for thousands of years – and its former status as one of the 15 Soviet republics. If you’re scratching your head and feeling geographically-challenged about where Moldova is in Europe, rest assured that others are often perplexed too. In the UK, a family board game called Where is Moldova even exists.

When we arrived to Moldova one week ago, I also became quite taken by its gingerbread-like homes in all shades of blue and its intricately-decorated water wells, most of which are still in use in Moldovan villages. In Moldovan, the wells are known as fîntînă.

The wells are a ubiquitous site in the village of Rosu. Some are more basic, with only the requisite equipment and roof overhead, whereas others wear latticework, twisted iron adornments, even hand-cut metalwork depicting the silhouettes of people, flowers and flourishes.

When admiring their ornamentation, it’s initially possible to forget that the wells chiefly serve a utilitarian purpose, and that many villagers do not have running water in their homes.

We recently tried our hand at filling one bucket of water, and were amazed at how deep the well is.

Our guesthouse host in Rosu, Constantin, estimates that the average well is about 15 meters deep. His family renovated their home three years ago, but prior to that time Constantin often made two, even three daily commutes to the well, which is just around the corner from his home, about 300 meters away.

“Each bucket holds about 10 liters of water, and families use the water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. When you must walk far to gather the water, you learn to respect and conserve it more,” Constantin added.

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • The village of Rosu is located about 5 km. (3 miles) from the city of Cahul, Moldova’s third-largest city. Not far from the Romanian border, and on the travel circuit between Bucharest, Romania and Chisinau, Moldova, the village is a convenient stopping point and introduction to village life in Moldova.
  • During our time in Rosu, we were fortunate to have discovered the CostelHostel Guesthouse (affiliate link), founded by Constantin, who was born and raised in the village. He has a super command of English (he’s self-taught!) and speaks his native Moldovan-Romanian, plus Russian and Italian. Constantin was eager to walk us through his village, show us how to cook traditional Moldovan dishes, and share tidbits about Moldovan culture. We also participated in the grape harvest with his neighbors, and highly recommend an autumn visit to the region!
  • To view bus routes throughout the country, as well as schedules, visit the following transportation website (in Romanian-Moldovan).
  • Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Moldova.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

20 thoughts on “The Water Wells of Moldova

    1. Jenna, glad you enjoyed the glimpse into Moldovan life. :) The electricity at our host’s home went out for an hour or so yesterday, resulting in the water pump and indoor water turning off, and making me ever-more-grateful for running water.

      Beyond the effort needed to go to and from the well, I can’t help but think about the water safety, and the environmental pollutants that could make their way into well water (pesticides from farming, gasoline from cars, etc.) I’m happy to see billboards in the village which show that more and more homes are getting access to a municipal water source.

    1. Sonia, these are the first wells that I have seen in Europe, but I suspect they are elsewhere in the region too. Such sightings do heighten awareness of the need for clean water and the importance of campaigns dedicated to bringing it to people around the world.

    1. Marilyn, they are a brilliant blend of utilitarian function and design. Even the homes and fences in this village have been attended to with great care – blues of all shades, and flourishes galore. Someday when the wells’ utilitarian function has been outgrown (hopefully that day will come soon so that everyone can have running water in their homes), I hope that some will be preserved for their cultural beauty. Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead, Marilyn, and thanks for visiting. :)

  1. My goodness Tricia, you do get to some interesting places! What brings you to Moldova and how long will you be there?

    1. Melinda, indeed, we’re really fortunate to be able to do so! Moldova’s impressive wine, village-life, and the grape harvest have led us here. Today, we participated in an informal grape harvest with our host’s wonderful neighbors, and in the coming days, we hope to cover the harvest at one of the country’s modern wineries. The country boasts some of the world’s largest wine cellars and has been making wine for thousands of years. I think we’ll be here for 1.5 more weeks. :)

      1. Wonderful Tricia, will look forward to more posts. I have to admit I know nothing about Moldova. Enjoy your stay :)

    1. Hi Mary Ann, very true! Shawn and I captured some footage of us filling one bucket at a well, and here’s hoping he might be able to edit it into a video sometime soon. The experience was eye-opening in many different respects. Glad you enjoyed the virtual journey. :)

  2. Wow, what a diverse set of wells & artwork…I like the idea of having to go out everyday to get the water needed ~ appreciation at a level I certainly do not think about much (if ever).

    1. Randall, first of all, let me apologize for my very tardy reply! As my most recent post shows, we’ve had our hands full with a four-legged little one (a Ukrainian kitten) that crossed our paths a few weeks ago. As a result, I haven’t been able to keep up very well in the blogosphere. :)

      I wouldn’t mind the workout nor appreciation that comes from gathering the water – at least in the warm-weather months – but can’t imagine trudging through snow. A greater appreciation indeed.

      1. :-) Like me, I’ve been in China (which is great to get away from WP), but there-in lies the problem as well!
        Wish you a great end of the week!

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