Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Origin of Comrat

Every wonder why Comrat is known as Comrat? This video should explain it.

In other news, all is well.




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Festival of Wine

Have I mentioned how important wine is to Gagauzia? The production and export of wine make up the largest part of ATO Gagauzia’s economy. Nearly every single family makes their own wine. At the risk of the cliche, it really is life here. The first Sunday of every November nearly everyone in Gagauzia gets together to celebrate wine in a manner proportional to its significance, The Festival of Wine.

I honestly believe every single person in Ggaauzia was there.

The day started with a flag raising ceremony, the presentation of various diplomats and a few words from the Bashkan. Every wine producer was on hand with sample’s of this year’s wine for everyone to sample and to enter into the Grand Prix. First place was taken by Vino Komrata, as it was the previous four years. The fix is on, everyone is fairly certain. Most villages sent a delegation of musicians, dancers and food. My personal favorite was Kirsova with not one, not two, but three accordion players.

Then I ran into these guys and they forced me to drink wine with them drank lots of wine with me which I was more than happy to drink     Then they made me give my “countryman” wine and poise for a photo. True story.

There was also a concert of various music and dance ensembles which blared throughout all of Comrat all day long. Though I’m not sure exactly how much everyone was paying attention. People seemed rather inebriated before noon.The best part? I met and drank wine with the Bashkan himself (pictures in the video below).

No more Vice-Bashkan for this guy, moving up.

I made a video about it complete with pictures of me and the Bashkan drinking wine.

Enjoy, let me know what you thank.


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Vulcanesti, Gagauzia

I’ve been getting a little stir-crazy in Comrat. So in an effort to combat the stir-craziness I decided to visit another city in Gagauzia, the city of Vulcanesti. Gagauzia consists of three cities: Comrat (the administrative capital and largest city), Caedir-Lunga and the southern most city of Vulcanesti. Vulcanesti is the city in the southern most part of the non-continuous land that is the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia. Look at the map for reference.

Vulcanesti (pronounced Vulcaneshti) is home to approximately 18,000 people, of which approximately 12,000 are Gagauz according to the city’s official website (in Russian). On Sunday morning I hopped on a bus in Comrat for the two-hour trip to Vulcanesti expecting to find a smaller version of Comrat. What I found was something completely different and unexpected, in a positive way. The landscape is drastically different, much hillier yet somehow more baren. The city itself seems to be “struggling” a bit more than Comrat in the economic realm. The big column you see in several of the photographs is a monument to the Russian Empire’s victory over the Ottoman Empire on August 1st, 1770 in the Battle of Cahul. I knew the monument was there but it was far more impressive than I had anticipated. It’s 5 or 6 stories tall and is situated on top of the tallest hill a few kilometers from Vulcanesti. It’s a really impressive sight when you approach from the north and see this massive column towering over the baren landscape.




I found Turkish food in Vulcanesti. Sublime. After two months of nothing but brindza, tomatoes and mamaliga it tasted pretty good.

The last bus from Vulcanesti to Comrat was full so I got a ride with a random guy from the bus station (it’s not as weird as it sounds). I paid him the same amount that the bus fare would have been and we made it to Comrat in half the time and a whole lot more comfort.

The website for the city of Vulcanesti offers free (and I can only assume COMPLETELY legal) downloads of many films:  Thanks guys!

I was interviewed live on Gagauz Radio. Awful. That makes my 5th local media appearance. Life in a fishbowl…

Sunday is Wine Day in Comrat.

In a moment of post-Vulcanesti euphoria I decided to visit every single town and village within ATO Gagauzia. I then proceeded to announced this plan on radio, I guess I have no choice now. 5 down, 27 to go.

I have a lead on someone who can teach me to make brindza. Well, by teach I mean show me how they do it. I have no belief that I can actually make brindza.

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