Ancient monasteries and the world's largest wine cellars await in Moldova. With a quiet landscape of lush forests, deep rivers, and hanging cliffs, Moldova is rich in religious monuments, medieval architecture, and churches that display unparalleled ingenuity. Nestled between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova has the quiet beauty of the European countryside, coupled with a deep, war-torn history. Take a journey down a less-traveled path and find the hidden treasures of Moldova.

01Tipova Cave Monastery

tipova cave monastery Photo by Aggerr

Consisting of three chambers, the Tipova Cave Monastery towers over the Dniester Riverbank. Cut out of the cliff, the oldest chamber dates back to the 11th century, with the newest built in the 15th century. The monastery has an active church and a small museum, with steps built into the rock face. At about 650 feet above the riverbank, the view of the Dniester is stunning.

02Old Orhei

Christian Orthodox church in Old Orhei, Moldova. Aerial view fro CalinStan / Getty Images

Set on a ridge overlooking the Raut River, Old Orhei is an important historical center. Ruins and cave paintings from early inhabitants can be seen, along a tour of the ongoing archaeological site. The cave monasteries are what Old Orhei is best known for, cut out of the riverbank by 13th-century monks.

03Bendery Fortress

BENDER, MOLDOVA Matthias Schumann / Getty Images

This impressive fortress was built in the 16th century by the Ottomans. Bendery fortress has seen centuries of battles between the Russian and Turkish forces. Built to withstand sieges, the impressive castle withstood every attack for 200 years. Enjoy a walk along the ramparts for a unique look at 16th-century Turkish architecture.

04Castle Mimi

Wine cellar luoman / Getty Images

Built on a 200,000 square meter garden, this wine resort is known for its century-old cellar and breathtaking vineyards. Tours include a walk through the gardens, cellar, and wine production area followed by wine tastings. After eating a luxury meal at the White Owl restaurant, relax at the outdoor pool and wine bar.

05Cathedral Park

Bell tower of the Nativity Cathedral in Chisinau - Moldova Leonid Andronov / Getty Images

In the heart of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, Cathedral Park is a wonderfully quaint way to learn more about the country's religions. The neoclassical Orthodox Cathedral, the bell tower that was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Second World War, and the Arch of Triumph can all be admired from the park.

06Thanksgiving Candle

So called Thanksgiving or Gratitude Candle, tall candle-shaped monument in Soroca city, Moldova

Built as a monument to the history of Moldova and to those who have helped preserve it, Thanksgiving Candle—also called Candle of Gratitude—stands tall on the rocks above the Nistru River. A light on the top shines bright at night and can be seen for many miles. This monument is a must-see for any visitor to Moldova.

07Milestii Mici

Wine bottles in winery cellars, old wine bottles storage in the underground savcoco / Getty Images

Home to 2 million bottles of wine and extending for 120 miles, the Milestii Mici cellar is the largest one in the world. Created to preserve and age wine, the limestone of the cellar maintains the perfect temperature for the wine to mature. You will never forget riding a car through the underground streets, each named after a different wine.

08Hancu Monastery

Photo of Hancu Monastery in Moldova frimufilms / Getty Images

Founded in 1678, the monastery is located in the forest bordering the Cogalnic River. After the original wooden churches were destroyed by invaders, a stone church was finally built in 1841. Tours of the church and grounds are given daily and rooms are available to stay in. After enjoying the church grounds, take a nature walk to the natural springs that surround the monastery.

09Cricova Winery

Tunnel Of Champagne RandyRomano / Getty Images

Built in the 15th century, the tunnels under the city of Cricova have since been turned into the second largest wine cellar in the world. This city of wine is known for its underground warehouses and tasting rooms. The winery goes 330 feet into the ground and holds approximately 1.25 million bottles of wine. It was also used to hide Jews during the Nazi invasion.

10Soroca Fortress

Old fortress in Soroca,situated on Nistru river,Moldova kaetana_istock / Getty Images

This fortress is part of a defensive chain of fortresses that were built by the monarchy in the 16th century to keep the Moldovian borders safe. The architects designed a perfect circle with five defensive bastions at equal distances apart, making this fortress a unique example of medieval architecture.