Chisinau does not have the manic rush and crowds of London or New York or Tokyo, but it is still a capital city with traffic, dust, fumes, concrete and hard floors for weary feet. So this huge lake was a surprise and welcome find.
It should be on the to do list of all visitors. So come locomote with me.
We’ll meet outside the water tower on Strada Alexei Mateevici, as it’s hard to miss. From her we take a footpath from opposite a Victoria Bank, and drop down to one of the corners of the lake below.
The lake’s official name is Valea Morilor, meaning the Valley of Mills. Many locals still know it as Komsomolsky Lake, though, as this man-made lake was dug in the 1950s by the Komsomols, the youth brigade in the days of the Soviet Union. The decision to build it came from Leonid Brezhnev, who in was then the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Moldova. Being a land-locked country, the addition of a watery leisure space was much enjoyed.
Sadly, the lake went through a period of neglect in more recent times, turning into a dry hole filled with weeds and shrubs. It seems that this was due to the detection of poisonous chemicals in or near the lake; it was drained in 2006 and left to its own devices.
Political shenanigans and fraud have seriously deprived Moldova of funds and the technical expertise and capital costs of rebuilding the lake were a challenge, but the work has now been completed. It was refilled in 2011, with a new design to allow easier filtering and cleaning of the water. There are walkways across two corners of the lake, providing a shortcut to your walk and a good spot for fishing, but they also act as water filters.
The place is clearly much enjoyed by the locals, providing opportunities for walking, jogging, cycling, playing and relaxing. We’ll just meander around, taking care to dodge the young racing drivers.
It’s such a hot day that I don’t intend to walk the whole circumference – I’ll wait at the coffee kiosk with an iced shot of caffeine.
Enjoy the walk and don’t miss the little splashes of street art along the way.
Now we’ll head back below the street where we met (though we can’t see it from down here), aiming for the northern corner of the lake. Here we’ll find the glorious water cascade, the Scara Cascadelor, that was only renovated in 2016. There’s an impressive view up the waterfall, and once we’ve clambered up the stairs, there’s an equally good view back down to the lake.
From here it’s just a short walk back out onto the street where we met, emerging close to the Park Lane Hotel. And from here it’s a straightforward 15 minute walk to the Propaganda Cafe – last person there buys all the cake ….
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 16 September 2019
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks