Although we have by far not visited everything in Chişinău yet, we have undertaken a first trip to the surrounding region today. Călăraşi (Kalarash) and Nisporeni (Nisporeny) and its Jewish cemeteries were on our itinerary.
Petra slept badly tonight, felt uncomfortable in the morning and we therefore decided to stay one night longer in Chişinău and to set off for an excursion in the afternoon.
The ride to Călăraşi (Kalarash) and Nisporeni (Nisporeny) gave us a first impression of rural Moldova. The landscape is picturesque with its floating hills. It is still wintry gray. Even the storks have not arrived, but the willow trees show a first fresh green. The sky is still gray, but the air is mild and spring-like.
The Jewish cemetery of Călăraşi is situated above a long valley at which the town extends. We found the graves from the Soviet era and a part of the old graves in good condition and well maintained. Parts of the cemetery, however, are so densely overgrown that they are inaccessible. Apparently cleanups are held, but they are a real challenge.
A real surprise was the old synagogue of Călăraşi. I had read in preparation for the trip, that it is in very bad condition. We found it fully restored. The building was returned to the Jewish community after the independence of Moldova, now someone seems to open an exclusive café or shop there. Nothing indicates the history of the building.
The cemetery of Nisporeni is located in a small neighboring village – Vărzăreşti (Varzaresti). We asked some villagers and found the cemetery without any major problems. It is in neat condition, but the gravestones are made of a very soft limestone and are often strongly weathered. Many of the inscriptions are already no longer legible.
Tomorrow we will travel further north to Orhei and Bălţi (Beltsy) and I hope to report again from the road.
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Christian, et al….
Thank you once again for all that you folks do — you capture it superbly! The shul reborn without a past — someone needs to answer the question: “…where are the Jews?”
Christian, or anyone, I am trying to trace my family history. They lived in Varzaresti. Most were murdered during the Holocaust. I want to go and visit the cemetary and also try to find someone who can help me trace their history before the war. Any ideas? Thank you!