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Roman Catholic Cathedral in Orhei
Roman Catholic Cathedral in Orhei
Flag of Orhei
Coat of arms of Orhei
Coat of arms
Orhei is located in Moldova
Location within Moldova
Coordinates: 47°23′N 28°49′E / 47.383°N 28.817°E / 47.383; 28.817
CountyOrhei District
 • Total8.5 km2 (3.3 sq mi)
 • Total21,065
 • Density2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

Orhei (Romanian pronunciation: [orˈhej]; Yiddish Uriv – אוריװ), also formerly known as Orgeev (Russian: Орге́ев), is a city, municipality[2] and the administrative centre [3] of Orhei District in the Republic of Moldova, with a population of 21,065. Orhei is approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the capital, Chișinău.


Orhei takes its name from the medieval city of Old Orhei, about 10 miles (16 km) below the modern city on the Răut River, which was destroyed by the Crimean Tatars in the 14th to 16th centuries.[4] It was the Ottoman-occupied military center of northern Bessarabia until it was ceded to the Russian Empire in 1812.[citation needed] The word "orhei" was used by local population, meaning "strengthened hill, fortress, deserted courtyard".[5] The name "Orhei" is, according to one theory, derived from the Hungarian word Őrhely, meaning "lookout post", dating from the 13th century, when Hungarian forces built a series of defences in the area.[6] Regardless of origin, Orhei gets its name from Orheiul Vechi, an active monastery near the village of Ivancea.

Like the rest of Bessarabia, Orhei was taken by the Kingdom of Romania after World War I and was annexed by the USSR in 1940. It was almost completely destroyed during the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive of August 1944, and was rebuilt after the war. In 1991 it became part of the Republic of Moldova.

Prior to 2003, Orhei was the capital of Orhei County, a large administrative region, but the country was divided further into Raion, or districts.

The St. Dumitru Church built by Vasile Lupu is located in this town.


While Orhei was still within Bessarabia, the population in 1920 was estimated to be 25,000. At that time, two thirds of the population were Jewish. The remaining population was Russian, Romanian and Ruthenians.[7] Most people speak Romanian and Russian. There is one school that is taught in Russian.[citation needed]


Orhei was the first place in what was then known as Bessarabia, to have a successful tobacco industry. The area is also known for wine production.[7]


Orhei synagogue

Orhei was home to many Jews prior to World War II, and has a large Jewish cemetery. There is only one active synagogue left in the community. The main churches are Russian Orthodox. Also in the area are Baptist, Roman Catholic, a Seventh-day Adventist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Salvation Army and Jehovah's Witnesses.


Orhei has two radio stations, Radio Orhei (97.5 FM) and Radio Plai (92.6 FM). Radio Orhei broadcasts news from the Orhei region, Moldova national news, international news, and Russian, Moldovan, and Romanian music.[8]. There is also a site that can be accessed for more information about news events.[9]


FC Milsami Orhei is based in the city. The team won the Moldovan National Division in 2015.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Orhei is twinned with:


Historical population
1930 14,805—    
1959 14,131−4.6%
1970 25,707+81.9%
1979 30,260+17.7%
1989 31,843+5.2%
2004 25,641−19.5%
2012 est.33,500+30.7%



  1. ^ Results of Population and Housing Census in the Republic of Moldova in 2014: "Characteristics - Population (population by communes, religion, citizenship)" (XLS). National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova. 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ LEGE Nr. 248 din 03.11.2016 pentru modificarea și completarea Legii nr. 764-XV din 27 decembrie 2001 privind organizarea administrativ-teritorială a Republicii Moldova (in Romanian)
  3. ^ http://www.natura2000oltenita-chiciu.ro/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Moldova-Pitoreasca-Picturesque-Moldavia-pdf-Vladimir-Toncea.pdf
  4. ^ "Slavic Orgeev, Orkhei and Hungarian Őrhely," Ural-altaische Jahrbücher 61 (1989), p. 127.
  5. ^ Teodor PORUCIC - Lexiconul termenilor entropici din limba română în Basarabia, extras din Arhivele Basarabiei, 1931, nr. 1-4, Chişinău
  6. ^ Nándor Bárdi, László Diószegi, András Gyertyánfy, "Hungarians in Moldavia", Magyar Kisebbség 1–2 (7–8), 1997 (III), pp. 370–390.
  7. ^ a b Kaba, John (1919). Politico-economic Review of Basarabia. United States: American Relief Administration. p. 14.
  8. ^ http://radioorhei.md
  9. ^ http://www.orhei.md
  10. ^ "Piatra Neamț – Twin Towns". 2007–2008 piatra-neamt.net. Archived from the original on 16 November 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2009.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°23′N 28°49′E / 47.383°N 28.817°E / 47.383; 28.817