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Moldova: Nativity cathedral

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Nativity cathedral | Moldova | Europe

[Visited: October 2010]

For my first walk in Chisinau, I decided to explore the main street, Stefan cel Mare. This street is the lifeline of the Moldovian capital. It has many of the shops, runs close to one of the main bus stations, has the entrance to some of the government buildings, the national theatre, and several of the main smaller parks of the city. Walking the street from southeast to northwest, I inevitably came across the Cathedral Park which, unsurprisingly, is the location of the cathedral of Chisinau. At the entrance of the park, coming from the main street I had been walking on, I saw the white Holy Gates - looking like a small version of the Arc de Triomphe. Rising high above this arch, I saw a white belfry, and behind it, a rather small neoclassical cathedral.

Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Nativity Cathedral seen from the east

I entered Cathedral Park, walked past the belfry, where ice was melting from the top, falling on the pavement. I had to take care not to get any of this icy water on my head, as I was cold already - it was a beautiful, wintery morning and I was happy I was wearing gloves. I walked to the east side of the cathedral. Early morning light was falling on the thick columns, and the white cathedral contrasted beautifully against the deep blue sky behind and above it. I was getting curious about its interior, and entered the cathedral from the southwestern entrance. I was immediately enveloped in that certain peacefulness you often feel in religious places. People were performing their religious rituals, touching the icons that were everywhere with their lips, kneeling, lighting candles, and murmuring prayers while standing in front of an icon that was lighted by a group of slender, yellow candles. I was immediately struck by a bundle of bright morning light falling into the cathedral through one of the windows on the east side of the building. Light conditions in autumn and winter are probably the best, also for these circumstances. People walked through the bundle of sunrays, making for great scenes.

Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): White belfry and Nativity Cathedral in Cathedral Park in the early morning

I walked around the Nativity Cathedral, and was watching the play of sunrays in the cupola high above me, while a choir was singing enchanting orthodox songs in a corner of the cathedral. For a while, I just stood there, feeling the atmosphere and getting immersed by it, before I moved on. Even though there were signs saying photography was not allowed, I could not resist the temptation. Especially the sunlight falling through that one window was just too beautiful not to be registered. I took care not to disturb anyone, waited my time, and when it came, took the opportunity with some fast shots. I again circled the cathedral, and noticed how several busy old women were taking care of keeping the interior of the cathedral clean. Built in the 1830s, the Nativity Cathedral was bombed in World War II, its belfry destroyed in 1962 and rebuilt only in the late 1990s, but now, on this quiet October morning, everything seemed as peaceful as it should be in a house of god.

Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Nativity Cathedral is the centrepiece of Cathedral Park
Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Light falling into the Nativity Cathedral
Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Side view of the columns of the Nativity Cathedral
Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Entrance of the Nativity Cathedral
Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Frontal view of the Nativity Cathedral and belfry
Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Light in the dome of the Nativity Cathedral
Picture of Nativity cathedral (Moldova): Inside the Nativity Cathedral

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