Triumphal Arch

Dedicated to the victory of the Russian Empire over the Ottoman Empire (The Russian-Turkish War), The Triumphal Arch stands in the center of Chisinau, on Stefan cel Mare Boulevard. This monumental structure was designed for the Moldovan capitol, by the architect I Zaukevich and completed in 1840.

The bell

In the center of the structure sits a mounted bell, weighing 6.4 tons. The bell was cast from captured Turkish guns. The bell, or clopote–velican, was initially made for the Cathedral of Christ's Nativity, until it was discovered that the bell's construction was too large to be installed in the cathedral's belfry.

Architectural structure

The design of the arch has a 13-meter square-shaped structure divided into two levels. The lower level is a walk-through passage with four pylons on pedestals with Corinthian columns. On the inner sides of the pylons between the columns sits marble slabs inlays. On these slabs, the decrees of the Supreme Soviet Presidium were carved during the Soviet times. These carvings showcase the heroic deeds in battles on the territory of Moldova during the Great Patriotic War. The upper tier resembles an attic style, completed by cornices and processed peels – this is where you'll find the clock facing the square.

Timepiece history

The first clock on the arch appeared in 1842. It was originally taken from Odessa. Only seven years later, dials dislodged from the clock and destroyed the mechanism. It wasn't until 1881 that the dial was replaced, and the clock restored to working order. The newly repaired clock remained in working order up until the war when it was hit by bombing nearly a century after its unveiling. The manufacturing of yet another clock was commissioned to the watchmaker Bogosov. In the early 2000s a pair of young boys attempted to remove the clock hands and use them as scrap metal. Guards arrived on the scene soon enough to save the historical landmark and Chisinau's timekeeper from complete destruction, however the damage to some degree was done – the attempted robbers managed to bend the hands. Fortunately, the hands were carefully straightened and are now back in working order.

Last arch standing

At one point, there were as many as twelve triumphal arches throughout the country. Over time these triumphal arches slowly disappeared from the streets of Eminescu, Diorditsa, Bender and other cities across Moldova. Currently, this is the only surviving Triumphal Arch in Chisinau.