Cismikioi and Etulia gullies in Vulcanesti

GagauzNews: Chishmikioi ravine opens the world of prehistoric past

The gullies of Chishmichioi and Etulia villages of the Vulcanesti region conceal an amazing historical past of our planet. These unique ravines with biological outcrop are paleontological monuments of Moldova. GagauzNews

Externally, these gullies attract the eye with their unusual relief and a bright variety of rich colors with a predominance of red and yellow. They look especially fascinating during sunsets and sunrises.

I have repeatedly heard and read that many years ago the skeletons of an ancient elephant, a wild horse and an ancient monkey were found in the ravine of Chishmikoi village.

Of course, my curiosity did not end there.

Unfortunately, I found too little information about these gullies in the Internet space, so I began to search for more detailed information. I searched by touch, as you might say. I contacted colleagues in the village of Chismikioi, wrote to the Academy of Sciences of RM, called the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History. I made many other calls that led me up the chain to those who possess the wealth of information about the gullies of the village of Chismikioi.

© Gagauznews / Irina Pinegina

Tatyana Nenova, a librarian in the Chishmikiy village library, gave me the book “Chishmikiyoi” written by Maria Karamilya Silvi Organ (2009), based on materials about the history of the village from 1809-2009.

A lot of information was provided to me by the paleontologist of the Institute of Zoology Theodore Obada, for which I thank him very much.

From all the information I found, it is clear that many excavations and research have been conducted here in different periods of time, many articles and books have been written.

For example, from the book “Chishmikoi” we learn that “the Decree of the Council of Ministers of MSSR of January 8, 1985 “On taking under the state protection of natural sites and complexes of MSSR” approved a list of archaeological and paleontological monuments of nature, taken under state protection.

Under number 7 is meant Chismikioi ravine, on the left slope of the gully tributary of the lake Cahul with the characteristic: classical contact “Neogene-Quaternary”, documented by the remains of mastodons and elephants.

Simply put, the gully reflects the Quaternary period, the last in the geological record, which began about 1.6 million years ago and is still considered far from being complete. The Danube glaciation began at the beginning of this period.

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Additional research allowed K. Radov to write that the bones in the Chismikioi and Gavanos gullies belong to the Neogene period, i.e. to the time of the dinoternevs, elephants with their lower jaw tusks (20-22 million years ago BC).

Neogene (23-2.5 million years ago): the transitional period of the Cenozoic, during which the living world on the planet was brought to its present state. The period is divided into two epochs: the Miocene (23-5.3 million years ago) and a very short Pliocene after it.

The Late Pleistocene, which includes the last glacial cycle, is probably the most studied epoch of Earth history because of the detailed geological and paleontological record preserved in marine, glacial, lake, cave sediments, river terrace deposits, loess and other sediments.

© Gagauznews / Irina Pinegina

Detailed studies of the ravine are described in the book “Nature Reserves and Monuments of Moldova” by Y.P. Kravchuk, V.N. Verina, and I.M. Sukhov (1976). In this book, the ravine is painted in a geological section.

The same research is given in the book “Chishmikioi.

“The gully exposes the tops of the Cimmerian Stage, containing the remains of Overy mastodont and other representatives of the Roussillon fauna. At 3.5 m above the gully mouth there is a conglomerate in which parts of the skeleton of a representative of the Pleistocene (glacial era) – southern elephant were found.

At 9.5 m from the level of the ravine mouth, dark yellow loess-like loam of Mindelriess (350-300 thousand years ago), containing redeposited lumps of red Etuli clays below, stands out. Lenses of these red clays are observed at a number of levels in the seven-meter thickness of loams. Above them, they are replaced by light green clays dissected by vertical fractures filled with calcareous extracts, formed, perhaps, in the run-up to the Risian glaciation.

The author of another book “Late Pliocene Mammalian Fauna of Chisimichioi Locality” (1983) K.I. Shushpanov noted that “up to some time the main attention in palaeoteriological researches on the territory of the Moldavian SSR had been paid to mainly large mammals.

However, the research experience has shown that for the purposes of stratigraphy of Neogene and Anthropogenic continental strata, the fauna of small mammals has a number of advantages.

As a result of expeditionary research in the period 1970-1977 (in Chishimikioi village) more than 10,000 bone remains of vertebrates, mainly of small mammals belonging to groups of insect-eaters, hares, rodents, as well as numerous bones of birds, reptiles and freshwater fish were collected.

There are 5200 teeth and 200 mandibles in the collections. Of these, 3974 teeth and 200 mandibles were diagnostic.

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We will not speak about all subtleties of the researches carried out in Chishmikoi gully, as for us, simple laymen, this is a very difficult language.

However, it is abundantly clear that the Chishmikioi ravines really are a unique paleontological monument of nature, I would even say: this is a window into the prehistoric past of our Earth. In view of the value of the gullies not only for our country, but also for all mankind, a struggle for the purity of paleontological monuments has been and is still being waged here for many years.

Some locals use the gullies as a garbage dump. I was greatly surprised when I came across information about the littering of the Chishmikioi ravine in the same book “Chishmikioi”.

Chronology of the struggle for the cleanliness of the paleontological monument

“T. Stavila, a district inspector of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union for Nature Protection, informed: in Cismikioi, on the right side of the road to Etulia, a deep ravine opens up.

Several years ago a whole skeleton of an ancient elephant – a mastodont, as well as a wild horse, an ancient monkey, etc. was found here. The ravine should be fenced off and no trash should be dumped there. It is a rare historical monument. It is the duty of farm managers to organize the protection of natural monuments.

A year later, T. Stavila wrote in the article “Protect Nature Monuments”. Stavila wrote that protection of the ravine is not paid attention in the village. Soon we received a reply from the chairman of the executive committee, Sokolov: the publication was discussed at a meeting of the street committee and the people living near the ravine were warned against littering; 10th grade students took patronage of the monument.

However, in 1979, the same T. Stavila, in his note “And still it is,” appeals to the high feelings of the villagers: “The district newspaper has already written about the fact that the Chishmikioi ravine, a geological nature monument, which is under state protection, is littered with garbage and sand is dug in it”.

“Don’t the people of Chishmikioi have any sense of pride that there is a unique (the only one in the world!) ravine with a biological outcrop of value to all mankind on the territory of the village?” – T. Stavila writes.

In response to this, the chairman of the executive committee of Holoshnoi said: “Around the ravine 18 boundary signs with inscriptions: “State Reserved Fund”. To prevent vehicles and cattle from entering the ravine, a trench was dug at its entrance. Two meetings of the administrative commission for consideration of the acts of violation of protection of the ravine zone were held.

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In September 1989 the Chairman of the Executive Committee I.K. Khristev stated that thanks to the efforts of deputy G.A. Todiev the territory of the ravine was landscaped and walnut trees were planted around it. As of January 2003, the monument occupied an area of 3.42 hectares”.

However, a few decades later, this “haul” hasn’t gone anywhere. The Etuli and Chishmikioi ravines are still a dumping ground for garbage. Appealing to the “high feelings” of the villagers, apparently, is ineffective. Perhaps the realization of a project of the Regional Development Agency of Gagauzia on creation of a tourist zone-geopark in Cismikioi and Etulia villages will save the situation.

According to website, in order to develop tourism, it is planned to clean gullies from garbage by 2023, work out hiking and bicycle routes, train people and launch the park.

Cismikioi and Etulia gullies in Vulcanesti

Vulcanesti – an excursion into the past

Many tales and legends have been told about our southern region. One of the most interesting is the legend of the founding of Vulcanesti. In the desert region, at the end of the XIII century, the Armenians, fleeing from enemies, found a secluded place cattlemen. The brothers Volkan, Vetdu and Carabet took up pasture and continued their ancient occupation. They built a simple dwelling near the pens and began to settle in the wild steppe. At first, the paddocks (kishla) were called Vetdu, after one of the brothers. But it happened so that Volkan, the eldest brother, passed away. And then the survivors decided to name all the paddocks after him. The name has survived the centuries, experienced various linguistic influences, and has come down to this day as Vulcanesti. On the northern outskirts of Vulcanesti, on the right slope of the Cahul valley, archaeologists found a settlement of the IV millennium B.C., belonging to the Humelnitsa culture. A large number of knives, scrapers, axes, hammers, various ceramics and jewelry were found here. The objects of study of paleontologists are Etulia, Chishmikioi, and Valena outcrops of the earth’s crust, on the basis of which repeated international colloquiums of scientists have been held. The Chishmikioi ravine is a natural monument, protected by the state. Of great interest are the military fortifications, commonly known as the Lower Trojan rampart. Individual sections of it, covered with secondary steppe vegetation, and in some places with downy oak, are well preserved between the gullies Bozului and Flaminda. One of the significant events in the history of the Moldovan people, dated 1574, is connected to the Vulcanesti people. That year the ruler of Moldova Ioan-Voda Lyutii made an attempt to throw off the yoke of the Ottoman Porte. At Cahul Lake, a battle took place between the troops of the lord, supported by the Cossacks, and the Turkish-Tatar hordes, which was called Cahul battle. One after the other attacks of the Turks failed. And only by coincidence – because of the pouring rain, dried out powder and out of order artillery – the defending army had to retreat to the fortified camp. But despite the shortage of water, food and ammunition, the Moldovans and Cossacks continued to fight the enemy bravely. Ioann Vode Lyutii decided to surrender only after the Turks promised to save his warriors’ life and freedom, and to deliver him to the Porte unharmed. But they did not keep their word and insidiously killed the lord. The region for many long years remained under the hated yoke. History so decreed that in the same place on the river Cahul near Vulcanesti almost two centuries later in 1770 on July 21 (August 1) there was another battle, also called Cahul. Russian soldiers and Moldovan volunteers under the command of P.A. Rumyantsev gained a brilliant victory over the numerically superior troops of the Turks and Tatars. In this battle the future hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, at that time still young Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov distinguished himself. At the place of the heroic battle in 1849 there was erected a monument in honor of the victory of the Russian army. Over the Bujak steppe rises a monument of almost 22 meters high, surmounted by a capitol with a cast-iron cross over a spurned crescent – the symbol of the victory of the Russian army over the Turks. On the north side of the pedestal is an image of the Rumyantsev family coat of arms with the motto “Non Solum armis” (“Not only by arms”).

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Under the monument there is a cast-iron plate with the inscription: “In 1770 on the 21st of July Peter Alexandrovich Rumyantsev defeated the Turkish army of 150 thousand soldiers under the command of the Supreme Vizier Halil – Pasha”. Another inscription says: “This unforgettable battle, where the ferocious dreadful Janissaries, who terrorized Europe, Asia, and Africa for several centuries, were killed forever”.

Location :

Vulcanesti District

Vulcanesti district is situated in the southwest of the Republic of Moldova. It borders with Cahul, Taraclia districts of the Republic of Moldova and Rheni and Bolgrad districts of Ukraine and Romania on the Prut river in the west. It was incorporated on November 11, 1940. Its territory is 0.93 thousand km². The administrative center is the town of Vulcanesti.

In Vulcanesti there are 12350 Gagauzians, 2325 Moldavians, 1720 Russians, 840 Bulgarians, 1010 Ukrainians, 55 other nationalities – Germans, Greeks, Serbs, Belarusians, Albanians, Jews, Azerbaijanis, Roma. According to the Statute of Gagauz Yeri, there are three languages in the autonomy: Moldovan, Gagauz and Russian.

Latitude: 45.67891° North Longitude: 28.40267° East

Vulcanesti is the southernmost city, on the Cahul River. Geographic coordinates: 45°41′3″ N. 28°24′10″ E.

Time zone: UTC +2

Population: 18.3 thousand.

Phone Code: +373 293 (international): +373 293 (international)

0 293 (inside Moldova)

Postal code: MD-5301

City Day: November 11


Monument in honor of the victory in the Russian-Turkish War of 1770 (1849)

Chishmikiyo ravine

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