Posts tagged Castel Mimi

Letters from Moldova: Castel Mimi and Bender Fortress, Pearls of a Small Country with a Big Heart!

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in Moldova. Today’s post will be dedicated to interesting tourist attractions that you should definitely visit if your way leads you to the Republic of Moldova.

At the very beginning of today’s post, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the Moldovan culture and customs better. It is a great honor and pleasure to have had the opportunity to visit Chisinau and other famous tourist attractions in this wonderful small country with a big heart in Eastern Europe!

For all my dear adventurers and fashion lovers who didn’t have time to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Moldova on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story of Chisinau (travelogue): LINK
  2. JETSET, the Swiss pioneer of luxury ski outerwear is back! (fashion story): LINK
  3. André Maurice, Italian fashion story on the streets of Chisinau (fashion story): LINK
  4. Letters from Moldova: In vino veritas! (travelogue): LINK
  5. Fratelli Rossetti: Italian fashion meets Moldovan wine (fashion story): LINK

Castel Mimi is one of the best and most visited tourist attractions in Moldova. Included in the top 15 most beautiful wineries in the world, which represents an unusual combination of history and tradition on the one hand and modern architecture for tens of thousands of visitors who come every year from over 80 countries around the world. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the only castle in Moldova, learn about the unique role of the Castel Mimi winery in the history of Moldovan winemaking, learn how they maintain Moldovan traditions through their food and exceptional wines. Visitors also have the opportunity to explore the many interesting terraces and picturesque gardens of the Castel Mimi complex.

It was a great honor and pleasure to meet the man behind this great project, Mr. Adrian Trofim, general director and founder of the “Constantin Mimi” foundation. During the conversation with him, I learned that the history of winemaking in Moldova began long before Constantine Mimi created Castel Mimi, almost 3000 years ago. The wine industry has come a long way since then and has undergone many evolutions. The official winemaking history of the Castel Mimi winery begins with Constantine Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia and one of the best winemakers and politicians of the 20th century.

Mr. Trofim believes that legends are created by great people who achieve great things, driven by their passion and dreams and not afraid of hard work and dedication. One of these men is Constantine Mimi, a pioneer, passionate winemaker and significant public figure of the 20th century. He dedicated his life to wine and politics. Applying the knowledge he acquired in Western Europe, Constantine Mimi managed to build the first castle in Moldavia. This led him to produce excellent wines and raise standards by applying new technologies. Thanks to his actions, the country’s wine industry was saved a couple of times, so today Moldova can be one of the leading wine producers in the world. Impressive, right?!

The legacy of Constantine Mimi, as well as the making of wine with great love, continues. The castle, along with its secret recipes and valuable approach, passed it on to future generations of winemakers who do justice to its memory by continuing to produce high-quality wines, suitable for every occasion. So, every time you raise a glass of quality Moldovan wine, remember this extraordinary person who supported the development of Moldovan winemaking culture – Konstantin Mimi!

This winery is considered to be the first real castle in Bessarabia. Since it was built of reinforced concrete with two floors, it was considered a modern building, not only in the Bender district, but also in the entire governorate. The cellar had the capacity to store around 300,000 liters of wine in barrels. A few years ago, more precisely in 2011, the renovation of the winery began, which has become a major tourist attraction. When the castle was rebuilt, it was named “Castel Mimi” in honor of its founder. The works lasted 5 years and the winery was reopened in September 2016.

The renovation of the Castel Mimi tourist complex included: a museum, an art gallery for young artists, a conference hall, a small boutique hotel, a spa, a restaurant, folk art and culinary studios, as well as several entertainment halls. The castle itself has four large halls for 100 to 120 guests, two wine tasting rooms and six rooms in the basement. The plan is to open a hotel with a larger capacity in 2023, and work is currently underway to expand this complex, so that from next year we can expect novelties in the Castel Mimi complex that will attract a large number of tourists.

Fine dining restaurant “The White Owl” and bars in the Castel Mimi complex are the perfect locations for hedonists who want to enjoy excellent Moldovan gourmet cuisine in a relaxing and luxurious environment. All dishes are prepared from the highest quality, fresh ingredients from the garden located in the complex itself, and the whole concept is designed to preserve the environment. You can feel a special pleasure in every bite, which can only be enhanced in the company of top Moldovan wines from the rich Castel Mimi collection.

“The White Owl” is the first fine dining restaurant in Moldova where visitors can enjoy excellent dishes inspired by traditional Moldavian gastronomy with special influences from the cuisine of Provence. You can enjoy the best food and wine that Moldova has to offer at the incredible location of Castel Mimi Winery. The exceptional A La Carte menu will delight you with a rich selection of delicacies, all of which are prepared by the chef according to the best recipes.

The tour of the wine cellars of the Castel Mimi winery was special because I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the way of wine production and to learn something new about this precious and refined alcoholic beverage. Did you know that the wood from which wine barrels are made can affect the taste of wine? Do you know that the same wine can have a different taste if it is kept in barrels made of different types of wood? Mr. Trofim took the time to demonstrate and show me some interesting things from the world of winemaking and how his team takes care of the wines in the barrels every day. Of course, I also had the opportunity to look at some of the special wines that are kept as treasures.

If you want to stay updated and find out news from Castel Mimi Winery or you want to book a tour of the tourist complex, have the option to choose between several types of tours, you can visit their official website or you can follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

After finishing the Castel Mimi winery tour I headed to the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic, sound familiar? Transnistria is an unrecognized independent state that separated (separated) from the Republic of Moldova. This independent state was created on September 2, 1990. due to its unusual shape, geographical position along the Dniester River and due to the border length of 816 km and the area of slightly more than 4,000 km2, this country has the shape of an elongated island.

Why did I decide to go to Transnistria? The reason is very interesting – Tighina Fortress (Bender). Tighina Fortress (renamed Bender by the Turks) is a 15th-century fortress on the right bank of the Dniester River in Bender, Moldova. This fortress was originally built of earth and wood during the reign of Prince Stephen the Great. Back in 1538, this fortress was conquered by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who ordered it to be rebuilt in stone and expanded.

According to historians, the first mention of Tighina, as a settlement and customs warehouse, can be found in the trade privilege given on October 6, 1408 by the Moldavian prince Alexander the Good to merchants from Lviv. Later, during the 15th and 16th centuries, the name Tighina is often recorded in medieval documents. In the Moldavian documents that mention the locality, in Tighina, along with the imperial customs and the crossing, a guard is also mentioned.

As for the fortress of Tighina, according to the information that circulated in the previous centuries, they accredited the idea that it was built by the Genoese in the 12th century, as well as the fortresses of Hotin and Cetatea Alba. The military historian Aleksandar Zaščuk saw an accentuated western character in the architecture of the inner citadel. The first and only definitive mention of the existence of the Moldavian fortification itself, a fortress which is assumed to have been made of wood and earth, is found in the Moldavian-Polish Chronicle from the mid-16th century. It states, referring to the Ottoman conquests of 1538, that the Turkish Sultan Suleiman “took possession of the Moldavian fortress of Tighina.”

Archaeological research, which was limited in scope and character, carried out by researcher Jon Hinz in 1969, enabled the discovery of residential complexes and a defensive moat dating from the 15th-16th centuries. century. Archaeological investigations have led to the identification of a fortification, probably of wood and earth, which preceded the later stone construction. The surface of the circular or egg-shaped fortress courtyard was covered with a layer of ash. Ceramic and metal objects have traces of fire.

The fortress, which was restored by Petru Rares and conquered by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538, became the residence of the Turkish paradise. Its old name was replaced by a new one, Bender, which means “river port, berth”. During this period, Suleiman I ordered the fortress to be rebuilt in stone and enlarged according to the project of the architect Sinan, and the reconstruction work was completed only in 1541. Using local resources and the labor of local peasants, the Ottomans turned the fortress into a well-fortified fighting facility. At that time, the stone fortress was quadrangular in shape, surrounded on three sides by a very deep moat.

Until the end of the 16th century, Moldavian detachments repeatedly attacked the Bender fortress, but without success. In the summer of 1574, John the Brave besieged it with his army. Then, in 1595 and 1600, Mihail the Brave made two attempts, but neither of the two rulers was successful. Around the same time, Bender was attacked by the Zaporozhian Cossacks. In the years 1705-1707. Prince Antioch Kantemir continued the work on strengthening this fortification of special military importance for the Turks. In this last variant, the fortress consisted of an ensemble of 10 bastions and 11 towers surrounded by the same traditional defensive moat.

The bitter fate of the fortress ruled by the Turks made the chronicler Myron Kostin write that “Tighina fortress has darkened”. As a result of three Russian-Turkish wars, the fortress fell under the rule of the Russian Empire, and the imperial generals considered it very suitable for military barracks. From 1812, that is, from the second half of the 19th century, the Bender fortress gradually began to lose its former strategic importance.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this third and also the last special travelogue in the autumn season about Moldova where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of wine and the history of this small unusual country with a big heart. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Moldovan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Moldova.

I would like to especially thank the staff of BERD’S Chisinau MGallery Hotel for their warm welcome and having me in their wonderful hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home!

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Eastern Europe in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Moldovan wine, culture and history? Have you had the chance to visit the magical Republic of Moldova so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With Love from Moldova,

Mr. M

This post is sponsored by the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.