Take a stroll down the street Strada Columna and visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Nativity of the Lord – a significant national landmark of the country.
A simple style
The Nativity Cathedral is the main cathedral of the Moldovan Orthodox Church. It was built in the 1830s by order of the governor of New Russia, Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov. It features a timeless design by the renowned Russian architect Abram Melnikov and represents neoclassicism of the time. The cathedral has a simple façade with six columns by the entrance in white color.
The cathedral through the years
During World War II, the cathedral suffered severe damage. Restoration work carried out over the years have ensured that most of the original design remains but new additions have also been made, such as the zinc dome and the cross at the top that were added in 1997. Today, it is a popular place for worship. However, worship and practice of religion was banned during the Soviet era and during that time the cathedral served as an exhibition center.
As you step in to the church, you will witness a colorfully decorated interior, characteristic of the orthodox religion, that marks a contrast with the stark white exterior. The rich frescos depict religious passages from the bible with bright blues, greens, and gold in the ceilings and walls. Look out for the hand-crafted statues that are on display. On a sunny day, stand under the cupola and observe how the play of sun rays generate a heavenly atmosphere. You might be lucky if the choir is playing at the time of your visit, and your experience will be even more fantastic.
The legend of the bell
The bell tower was destroyed by local communists in the 60s. It wasn't until 1997 that a new bell tower was constructed. Rumor has it that the bell that was meant to be for the new tower ended up in Bolhrad, which is now a part of Ukraine nowadays, due to some legal confusion in St. Petersburg. The Moldovan capital ended up receiving a bell that was bigger and wouldn't fit the church. They kept the bell but had to accommodate the reconstruction to make it fit.
Keep in mind
Make sure you are wearing adequate clothing to enter the church. Pictures inside are not allowed. Afterward, take a walk through the park or sit down and observe the locals pass by. On the other end, you will find the Triumphal Arch. It was built in 1840 and has a clock that commemorates the Russo-Turkish war.