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?
- 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.