The Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi
Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Moldova
Orhei district, Trebujeni village
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The Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi represents a natural and historic-cultural complex formed as a result of the millennial interaction between man and nature. It constitutes a system from cultural and natural components: archaic natural landscape, biodiversity (flora and fauna well preserved), exceptional archaeological framework (human settlements, fortresses, rock carved complexes of different historical epochs), historical and architectural variety, traditional rural habitat and original ethnography.
Orheiul Vechi represents a complex of historical and architectural monuments located in the area of an amazing beauty formed by the narrow stream (path) of the Raut river near villages Trebujeni, Butuceni and Morovaia, where one could find a harmony dovetailing of the anthropic elements with natural ones, a perfect dovetailing of nature with the human civilization.
The historic-cultural and natural complex Orheiul Vechi consists from a genuine blast of natural citadels, which were used to hide people for centuries beginning from the Palaeolithic time till our days.
The complex occupies seven headlands with significant amplitude, fascinating from the landscape point of view and named traditionally by local people: Furceni, Cot, Selitra, Mihailasa, Pestera, Trebujeni, Butuceni and seven adjacent narrow paths with extraordinary beauties: Narrow path Selitra, Narrow path Rapa Ciobanului, Narrow path Morova, Narrow path Ivancea, Narrow path Hucisca, Narrow path Raposu and Narrow path Culicauca.
The first five headlands together with the adjacent narrow paths present protected areas and fields with many archaeological sites, while the last two also posses not less important natural and historic-archaeological characteristics and shelter living villages: Trebujeni, Butuceni and Morovaia, with old traditions and distinct vernacular architecture.
The narrow path of the Raut river passes through the historic-natural complex Orheiul Vechi from north-west to south-east with a number of sinusoidal meanders on the distance of around 15 km starting near village Furceni (Orhei district) and ending near village Mascauti (Criuleni district).
The surface of the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi from the right side extends with the maximum length of 9 km from the north-west to the south-east with the width of 1,5-4,0 km from south-west to the north-east.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
Exceptional cultural and natural universal values of the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi, consist from the next characteristics:
Orheiul Vechi represents the only complex, which through its multiple primary natural and atrophic objects placed on a limited space, reflects continued succession and unity of development of natural and cultural processes from the archaic and prehistoric times till our days.
The path of the Raut river, with the banks from sarmatian limestone rocks and sinusoidal headlands formed in the quaternary geological period, represents a geological relict, which till now preserved extraordinary beauty of the primary natural landscape, constituting a unique universal phenomenon.
Natural elements of the relief and vegetation in association with the historical and cultural elements formed in the frame of the Complex Orheiul Vechi a harmony landscape of rare beauty and universal inestimable values.
The natural potential of the Complex Orheiul Vechi represents an ensemble of ecosystems, constituted from diverse vegetal and fauna species, including many rare species, which are under protection of European and international legislation.
Orheiul Vechi cumulates cultural values from all historical epochs, representing an example of sustainable human life, dialogs between cultures and civilizations and construction of certain cultures and civilizations on the intersection of Western and Eastern influences, representing phenomena of universal and undisputable significance.
Rock carved complexes of Orheiul Vechi represent archaic constructions of the religious cults, which through their forms and elements present a universal significance.
Modern atrophic factor, represented in the villages of Trebujeni, Butuceni and Morovaia, with a vernacular original architecture and ethnographic traditions well conserved, constitute an element which leads to the vitality of the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi, impregnating fresh vestige breathing of historic-natural heritage, offering on this way a classic example of organic unity of past and present, phenomena, which is important not only on the local level, but also on universal level.
Orheiul Vechi represents a typical example of equilibrium and harmonic development of different existential, cultural and habitat systems: geological, hydrological, biological, archaeological, culture-historical, agro-industrial and traditional peasant which being integrated in ensemble present a special universal significance.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
The Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi preserves on a very high level authenticities and integrities due to the modern agro-industrial development.
The authenticity of the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi is illustrated through the forms, the contents and concepts of the cultural heritage objectives; through the capacity for conservation of the valuable prehistoric, antic and medieval archaeological vestiges of the historic-cultural framework; through the level of conservation of the rock carved, medieval and vernacular architecture, through the ethnographic vestiges, traditional forms of household and traditional forms of folklore.
The integrity of the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi is demonstrated by preserving in the natural framework of a number of elements, which are expressed through universal values: state of the sediment rocks; the degree of maintaining the species of flora and fauna and the natural landscape in general.
Comparison with other similar properties
Analyzed in the context of the UNESCO World List of Heritage the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi can be included as a mixed site, which disposes unique elements of the natural and cultural heritage.
By July 2007, 25 monuments of the mixed type were registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List. From these sites, only 9 cases combine criteria V and VII, 8 cases of these are listed under other criteria as well and only one case represents a site analogical from formal point of view to the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi, this is Cliff of Bandiagara from Mali.
Between the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi and Cliff of Bandiagara can be highlighted the next similarities:
- Harmonic combination of atrophic and natural elements,
- Presence of geological exceptional formations,
- Unique cultural and natural landscapes of rarely seen beauty,
- Presence of the exceptional archaeological vestiges, including rock carved complexes from diverse historical epochs, evidences of the millennium interconnection between cultures and civilizations,
- Harmonic combination of the natural environment with cultural traditional habitat of modern local population.
At the same time there are a number of significant differences between Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi and Cliff of Bandiagara:
- Both sites represent different natural-geographical, cultural and civilization conditions: the Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi is part of the Central-Eastern European region, while the Cliff of Bandiagara of the Central-Western Africa region.
- From spatial point of view, The Cultural Landscape Orheiul Vechi with the area of 4,472 thousand ha, is significantly smaller (around 100 times) compared with the site Cliff of Bandiagara, which has an area of around 400 thousand ha.