-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

Before starting for the first time to
the Republic of Moldova or Basarabia (Bessarabia in English,
around 3 million people -
including the self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria -
from whom around 1 million have double citizenship,
Moldavian and Romanian)
I tried to photograph in Bucharest
the three heavenly bodies which are reproduced on its coat of arms:
the Sun (2017 August 9, afternoon, among the clouds),
the Moon (2017 August 10, pre-morning)
and the planet Venus as the Evening Star (2017 August 10, pre-morning).

On the morning of 2017 August 10
I started,
benefiting by the friendly closeness of the Sun
until I passed over the Milcov River,
the former border between the Romanian states of Wallachia and Moldova.

Then the Sun became higher, while I passed over
the “vertebral column” of historical Moldova, the Siret River,
not too far of the ruins of an old Dacian fortress.

From the former medieval Capital City of Terra Berladensis, Barlad,
to the border which separates the two parts of historical Moldova,
the light became excellent for photography,
and, on the road,
I remarked an impressive hill which seemed like
a Dacian “tumulus” (princely tomb).

Then… through the Republic of Moldova,
the realm placed between
the Prut River and the Dniester River!

The Romanian state of Moldova was created
as a military march by Dragos Voda in the 1340s
and as an independent state by Bogdan Voda in the 1360s.

This state was consolidated by Alexandru cel Bun (the Good)
in 1400-1434
and climbed to its apogee by Stefan cel Mare (the Great)
in 1457-1504.

But it was harnessed in history by three giant empires:
the Ottoman Empire annexed
its south-east part (Bugeac or Budjak in English) around 1500,
the Habsburg Empire annexed
its north-west part (Bucovina) in 1782,
and the Russian Empire annexed
its east part (Basarabia) in 1812,
so that the country survived as a principality with a reduced dimension
until 1859, when a brilliant Romanian political class made
the Union between the principalities of Wallachia and Moldova,
creating Romania.

The three lost provinces,
in which the empires had tried to corrupt the Romanian national feeling,
were recovered by the Romanian Kingdom
during the interwar times,
but during World War II the Soviet Union annexed not only Basarabia,
but also Bugeac and Northern Bucovina
(provoking later many persecutions to the Romanian local population).

Today, North Bucovina and Bugeac belong to Ukraine,
while Basarabia proclaimed its independence in 1991 as …
the Republic of Moldova!

So that now there are two Romanian states
(with the same ofiicial language,
the same colors - red, yellow and blue - on their flags,
and the same national genius, the poet Mihai Eminescu),
but for a neutral observer,
the Republic of Moldova
(with 3,000,000 inhabitants - 80% Moldavian Romanians -
in 34,000 square kilometers)
seems rather like a Romanian-Slavic tampon
between the European Union and the Eastern Slavic world,
with a heterogeneous attitude.

Thus, here,
the Romanians seem divided by more options:
the union with Romania, “pure” independence,
the approach to the European Union, or even to Russia
(those who live the nostalgia of communism),
while the Slavs
prefer, almost permanently and compactly, an approach to Russia.

But, knowing that the national hero of the Republic of Moldova.
is the same with the main hero of “Romanian” Moldova,
Stefan the Great,
and his statue in Central Chisinau is “Kilometer Zero” of this country
and the main pilgrimage place for its inhabitants,
I passed over the Prut River and I went in a hurry to catch the sunset
in front of it,
admiring on the road the caressing hills and the mild lakes,
and dreaming of the famous Moldavian wines.

And I arrived in time!

On the next day
I went to the Dniester River,
passing near the zone of Tighina-Bender,
part of the self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria
(inhabited by a Slavic majority who has remained faithful to…
the former Soviet Union!)

Suddenly, although from the speed of the bus,
I was the witness of a wonderful sunset!

Basarabia, after so much suffering,
Your dream of freedom should become true.
I saw even the Sun giving
Crepuscular rays for you!


© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)