It might sound weird, but the Jewish Cemetery of Chisinau is one of my favorite spots. The reason for that is my passion for history and abandoned places. If you share the same passion, this place is for you!
In the beginning of the 20th century, more than half of Chisinau’s citizens were Jews, but then the Second World War happened… As a result, Chisinau cemetery is nowadays one of the biggest in Europe, but since there aren’t many Jews left, the cemetery has stayed abandoned for the last 20 years. In Soviet times, they reduced the size of the cemetery almost by half, so they could create a big park, but only the gravestones were removed. Today, not so many locals even know that they’re walking on bones.
The first thing you are going to see is that park. You can still see pieces of gravestones under the trees, benches and trash bins.
Then, an old paving stone will take you right to the entrance. The cemetery is easily accessible during the day. It is a quiet place with no people. Turn left and a small narrow path will lead you to the oldest part of the cemetery and a mikvah (funeral church). Vandalized graves, high walls, Soviet apartment buildings around, modern glass skyscrapers and ruined churches will definitely create a strong impression.
That is what we call the old, authentic Chisinau.