Hincu Monastery.

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From the bus window. I forget how much of Moldova’s territory is covered in woods.

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Our – not very willing, by its general disposition – companion.

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Peace to these who come; joy to these who stay; blessings to these who go.

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Burial grounds for the members of the convent.

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There are several legends about the founding of the Hincu monastery, most of which I promptly forgot. The one that remains in memory is about the daughter of Mihalcea Hincu, Elena, who ran away shortly before her wedding day and hid in a cave in the woods. She was found, but said she would only exit the cave upon hearing the sound of church bells. The church was built, and Elena, under the name of Parascheva, took the veil and became the first member of what is now the Hincu female convent.

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Instructions on what to do and not to do whilst on the monastery grounds. My favourite part is prohibition of ‘illegal entrepreneurship’.

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During the Soviet era the monastery was converted to a health resort for patients with respiratory problems. The restoration works continue to this day.

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Restoration model and donation box.

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Apparently, Hincu is a very popular attraction, both for tourists and for believers alike. If you want to go there to spend some quiet time, whether as a believer or as a visitor, I recommend you choose a day that is not as popular, service-wise. We went on a Sunday, and there was little parking space, and lots of folks inside the church.

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Keep in mind, they were coming and going, plus we arrived closer to the end of the service.

If you’d like to order a special service, you can do so in the church shop. The guide lady mentioned the special services order and other church paraphernalia as pricey, but I didn’t find them so. I know at minimum four churches in Kishinev that charge at least twice as much. Hincu had very cheap candles on offer, starting at just 50 ban. My memory fails me, but I believe they were from natural wax. The Orthodox canon considers beeswax the only proper candle material, but many churches exceedingly convert to a mixture of synthetic and beeswax. Next time I visit, I’m going to stock up on candles for personal purposes as well. The literature prices were OK, as were the prices of services. I didn’t look at the ikons and prayer books, but I assume they were fine too.

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Unfortunately I only had 45 minutes to roam about freely. The territory is indeed beautiful and very well taken care of. The architecture suffered a bit from the weird ways of our local restoration school (or lack of it…), but the atmosphere is so nice, I almost didn’t regret it.

Now, a note about the fleshly and the mundane, ergo, the facilities. I’ve been told there are two toilets, one on the territory, and one outside. I missed the one inside, so I had to go for the outside one. I’m not going to beat around the bush — it stinks like the Golgotha, and is rather anti-sanitary. I don’t even want to think about how it must’ve stank when the weather was hot. Use it only if you absolutely have to go.

Also, if you’re a lady, take note. There are two stalls, and one of them is rather in the open. I used the one closer to the door because I literally couldn’t stomach the idea of going even an inch deeper. As I was swishing my skirts about, fixing my appearance after doing business, I stepped just a touch outside to get a gulp of relatively fresh air — and two men appeared from nowhere. For some godforsaken reason they decided to take a route around the stalls, instead of just going directly to the M side. What I’m trying to say, they won’t see you when you’re inside the stalls, but the moment you step outside — and you will want to do it as quickly as possible, trust me, — you will be visible.

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