Iurii Shvet - "The way our city looks like today and the way it is going to look tomorrow depends only on its inhabitants"

Having once asked the question "What do I know about my city’s history?", Iurii Shvet became very passionate about old Chisinau

Having once asked the question "What do I know about my city’s history?", Iurii Shvet became very passionate about old Chisinau collecting lots of data on its history during last ten years. He shares his knowledge on www.oldchisinau.com, that has a blog embedded in it, where any interested person can post useful information he knows contributing thus to making our home country a popular historical destination.


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First name, last name: Iurii Shvet
Date of birth: 07.02.1983
Place of birth: Chisinau
Education: Free University of Moldova
Domain of activity: Social Affairs
Achievements: Founder of  www.oldchisinau.com website


  • It is difficult to identify when I became passionate about Chisinau’s history - it all happened gradually and naturally

I liked to read since my childhood. Once I got to read a book named "Pushkin in Moldova" by Trobetkii. I found it pretty boring. It had a poor quality old map of Chisinau on which it was difficult to identify any place; it also had a biographical glossary and list of old streets that captured my attention right away.


  • I had a more serious attitude towards my childhood passion later as I matured

I was walking in my city and focused on past reminiscences: inscriptions, pavements, pillars. I analyzed everything with great interest and I tried to find its historical description. My interest turned into hobby when I learned that there were trams in Chisinau. It was at that time when I realized I did not know anything about the history of my hometown and I wanted to have more knowledge of it. It is incredible that most of the Chisinau residents know very little about their city. As I attempted to ask questions about its past, very few residents could give an honest answer. It became my responsibility to change this situation.


  • It is more than 10 years since I became passionate about Chisinau’s history

At first I collected old photos, books and publications. I have accumulated quite a lot of information that should have been sorted. I decided to create a site – which was convenient not only to me, but for anyone else interested. Thus in February 2008, "My city Chisinau" (oldchisinau.com) project was launched – a project I am involved in to this present day.


  • Soon I realized that I could not do everything by myself

I was lucky enough to meet many people interested in the project. Thus, in the same time a forum appeared on our web site that has become a storage vault of useful information not only about the history of Chisinau, but also about other cities of old Bessarabia and Transnistria.


  • People share information and publications, thus completing one another’s publications

In general, I can say that the forum is a breakthrough. None of the statements posted here remains unanalyzed. There is likelihood to receive accurate information from credible and diverse sources.


  • Articles on this site are sorted by categories and on the blog they appear in timeline

Moreover, the blog gives the opportunity to go to a whole new level of communication with our readers. They can comment, ask questions, and express their agreement or disagreement.


  • Each old building has a footprint of its past

There are many examples of history to be noticed on the streets. To immerse yourself in the past, it is not necessary to spent hours in the library and browse publications, you can simply disconnect from your own thoughts and look around. Pay attention to the details, look at the objects you passed by hundreds of times. Your next glance might be your happy one.


  • Did you know that in Chisinau there are dozens of beautiful cast iron sewer hatches kept in good condition which were made during pre-revolutionary period?

The cast iron sewer hatches manufactured in Serbova factory and the aqueduct of Levinskii productions still serve our city and beautify it. Those who have an eagle’s eyesight can see old wells with an interesting relief having remnants of cast iron columns, in which hundreds of years ago people from neighboring houses collected water. People who are very curious find old panels fastened to trees or try to decipher the inscriptions on buildings that have many surprises to be discovered on them. The panel of an old door of a house on Vasile Alecsandri Street mentions the fact that the owners of this house in 1934 were subscribers of a radiocommunication company. Old panels miraculously preserved on the facade of the house no. 22 on Armenian Street tell that during pre-war time there was a representative of Ford dealers at the beginning, then a paint shop owned by Bruhis.


  • I try not to express my personal opinion in my articles

My reader knows to analyze, overlapping facts and draw conclusions, though, people are different. There are people who see everything in black or white. At first I tried to understand the cause of their discontent, but soon I realized that it makes no sense to invest my energy in that. I do not find it interesting to analyze anyone’s dissatisfaction, because I am preoccupied of small issues that lead to disputes between people.


  • I realize that there are cities more beautiful than ours, countries more attractive and comfortable for living and places extremely rich in history

But our people aren’t extremely different than the rest of mankind. I am a patriot of Planet Earth and I do not like things that separate people.


  • Past Chisinau residents aren’t too different from modern residents

I'm sure that among them there were hooligans who painted walls of historical importance. By the way, street drawings of the past almost disappeared and carved inscriptions were preserved in some places. A passerby’s attention will carefully be drawn to “Toma Ciorba” Infectious Diseases Hospital. A man named Ilie Balan in 1919 left his mark on the wall. His example was followed by another citizen who left a less legible signature in 1933. This example became a viral one and was followed in 1959, when another bored patient left his first and last name on the wall.


  • Any city is defined in the first place by its inhabitants

The way our city looks like today and the way it is going to look tomorrow depends only on its inhabitants. The deplorable situation of the historical treasures of Chisinau is the direct result of careless attitude. If I we have a goal to tell Chisinau residents the rich and interesting history of their city and to cultivate love and interest to it, they will more careful about the heritage old Chisinau left. I hope that I can bring my contribution to this.