The Park with the Lake without the Lake
In the middle of central Chisinau, there is a very nice park. Beautiful stairs from several directions all lead down through the park to a grand lake in the middle. Or at least there used to be a park there. Surrounded by a boardwalk and other paths, with outdoor restaurants on the shore, and with rowing boats to rent, the lake was the main feature of the park, the heart around which everything circulated. And the park provided a lovely escape from the urban dust in Chisinau.
In 2006, after the fish in the lake started to die in masses, the Chisinau municipal authority concluded that the lake was so polluted that there was no other option than to drain it, clean it and refill it with new water. This was less of an irrational decision than it might sound, since the lake was artificially constructed. (My colleague told me that his grandfather was ordered in from the village to take part in the work on the lake in the 1950s. Since his grandfather had a bit of property and some animals, he was never paid for the work – other than having had the honor of contributing to the construction of this lake.) When I first came to Chisinau, the park, which’s real name is Valea Morilor after the lake itself, was commonly referred to as “The Park with the Lake”. Last year, there was just a big mud hole in the middle of the park, which we now called “The Park With the Lake Without Water”.
The intention of the Chisinau authority was of course to refill the lake. But the work was initiated without official tenders having been made according to public procurement procedures. So the work was stopped, awaiting proper tenders to be announced. However, financial resources were never assigned the project. After the municipal election in 2007, when an opposition party to that of the Central Government gained power, the allocation of state resources to the capital was basically cut, and so was the hope to finance the restoration of the lake.
This year, the middle of the park is filled with vegetation (nature has an impressive capacity to recover), and rumors has it that poor Chisinauians grow vegetables there, but I have not investigated it further. Clear is however that the park has lost some of its charm without the lake in the middle. We now call it “The Park with the Lake without the Lake”, or simply “The Park without the Lake”.
Beautiful stairs lead down to the park…
…with nice plantations at the foot of the steps…
…and a bicycle lane and a boardwalk surrounding…
The boardwalk with its benches looks a bit
depressing at the edge of the field!
Please note that the information above is just based on stories that I have been told, and that I have not confirmed this with any of the authorities mentioned.