Mountain-spotting in Gagauzia

Author: Dmitrii Ianul

The only place where you can see real mountains in Gagauzia is the Vulcanesti region. On days with good, clear weather in the southern villages of Cishmichioi and Etulia, right down near the Ukrainian and Romanian borders, there is a beautiful view of the Northern Dobruja massif.

The Northern Dobruja massif is located in the east of present-day Romania, in the historical and cultural area of ​​Dobrogea, Tulcea County — the lower reaches of the Danube. The mountains are located 40 km from the village of Cishmichioi, beyond Lake Cahul and the Danube River. The inhabitants of Cishmichioi call them “Dobruca bairları”, which in translation from Gagauz means “Dobruja Mountains”.

The massif consists of several main mountain ranges: the Machin Mountains (peak: Tsutsuyatu or Greci Mountain — 467 m), Tulchin Hills (peak: Denistepe Hill — 270 m) and the Babadagsky Plateau (peak: Kerzhelari Hill — 402 m).

A view of the mountains opens up to guests for the first time on the road from Vulcanesti to Cishmichioi. Far away, beyond the horizon, you can see the outlines of mountain ranges and peaks. It is from here and until the turn to Cishmichioi that the Machin Mountains are visible in the distance. The Machin Mountains were formed about 400 million years ago in the Paleozoic period and are among the oldest in Europe. Now heavily eroded, the maximum height is now only 467 meters above sea level, whilst other peaks are Priopcha (410 m.) and Jacob’s Mountain (341 m.).

From the village of Cishmichioi itself, the Tulchin hills are most often seen. They can also be seen from the road from Cishmichioi to Etulia (behind the pumping station) and from the Etulia shore of Lake Cahul.

View of the mountains in the distance

Unfortunately, the camera lens cannot capture what is visible to the ordinary eye, since modern cameras produce images with an average resolution of 14-20 megapixels, and the human eye has a resolution of about 150 megapixels. That is why, these mountain landscapes are best seen in person.

The earliest marshrutka from Chisinau to Cishmicioi leaves at 6:45am every day from the South Bus Station. The journey takes around 4 hours.

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