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Soroca fortress

Country: Moldova      Region: North Region

Soroca fortress is one of the most outstanding tourist attractions in the Republic of Moldova. It is located in a small Moldovan town (bearing the same name) close to the Ukrainian border. The famous landmark of Soroca town is a well-preserved Middle Age fortress with stout stone walls right down by the riverside, intended to daunt unwelcome guests. It used to be part of a rather complex and important defensive system, which comprised 4 fortresses along the Nistru (Dniester) river in the East, 2 on the bank of Danube in the South, and three more to protect the North.

A wooden outpost had initially been built in the place where it can be found today in the 15th century. However, in the period 1543 through 1546, the fortress was completely re-built in stone, giving it the shape one can see today – a perfect circle, the diameter of which is 37.5 m, having 5 bastions situated at equal distances. When designing the fortress the builders incorporated the supreme law of harmony “the golden section”, which makes the fortress unique among examples of European defensive architecture.

Soroca fortress is the only medieval monument of Moldova that has been preserved entirely as it was designed by its builders. Depicted on most old forms of currency, on the backside of the current 20 lei (national currency of Republic of Moldova) bank note, and even on the backside of the Personal Identification Cards of the citizens of Moldova, the Soroca Fortress is obviously something that local people are proud of. Looking so gloriously redoubtable and sturdily impregnable outwardly and so securely inspiring within, it has long been a symbol of stability and confidence for the Moldovan people.

The original wooden fort, which defended a ford over the Dniester (Moldovan/Romanian: Nistru), was an important link in the chain of fortifications which comprised four forts (e.g. Akkerman and Khotin) on the Dniester, two forts on the Danube and three forts on the north border of medieval Moldova. Between 1543 and 1546 under the rule of Petru Rareş, the fortress was rebuilt in stone as a perfect circle with five bastions situated at equal distances.

During the Great Turkish War, John Sobieski's forces successfully defended the fortress against the Ottomans. It was of vital military importance during the Pruth Campaign of Peter the Great in 1711. The stronghold was sacked by the Russians in theRusso-Turkish War (1735–1739). The Soroca fortress is an important attraction in Soroca, having preserved cultures and kept the old Soroca in the present day.