In the Moldovan Borderlands

Today we have been in the outer northwest of Moldova, in Briceni and Lipcani. Here you find yourself in a triangle between Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. In both places there are remarkable old Jewish cemeteries.

It was our longest day on the road during our trip through Bessarabia. North of Soroca, there are just a few hotels and we therefore decided to return from Briceni and Lipcani to Bălţi (Beltsy) – what made the tour really long.

The Jewish cemetery of Briceni, located outside the town center is strange. The center of the cemetery is a wide empty space –  in islands gravestones from different periods are grouped. The oldest part of the cemetery is located on the northwestern edge and is surrounded by an earthen wall. The old part and the youngest part – which is still in use – are easily accessible. The rest is densely overgrown and mostly completely inaccessible. The gravestones are covered with moss and lichen and therefore mostly illegible. Who goes in search of the graves of relatives, is facing a hopeless task.

We went to Lipcani and were somewhat sentimental when we saw the sign to Czernowitz shortly before the border – only 60 kilometers separated us from the capital of Bukovina. We would have loved to cross the border, but our itinerary does not allow. The market women showed us the way to the Jewish cemetery.

The cemetery of Lipcani is very similar in structure and style, as in Briceni. Here too there is an old part within a earthen wall. However, it is compared to  the cemetery in Briceni in gradually better shape. A shepherd grazes geese and turkeys in the cemetery. He tried to talk with me, but we failed due to the language barrier. After all, I understood that he pointed out that the cemetery is very old. It is indeed a very old and remarkable place.

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3 thoughts on “In the Moldovan Borderlands

  1. Wonderful pictures of Lipcani where my grandfather came from and where his parents and grandparents are buried.

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