The creative labyrinth of Chisinau

“Beware, it will be even colder inside the building than it is out here”.

Somehow I couldn’t quite get the logic of this as I stood, teeth chattering and knees knocking, on the steps of a grand ruin near the centre of Chisinau, capital of the republic of Moldova. Daniel Schmidt my guide had just walked me around the perimeter of a whole city block, once occupied entirely by the Moldovan national museum of ethnography. Apart from a grand Turkish/Islamic-styled main block which still functioned as a museum (pictured below), the whole vast complex seemed empty, and like it had been abandoned for a seriously long time. The roof was broken in many places and shrubberies were gaining hold and making a decent living amongst cracks in the masonry.

This had been a fine place once, and must have oozed civic and national pride, so what had gone wrong?

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