The Natural and History Museum of the City of Bendery
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Nature Department

Collections of stuffed animals and birds from the forests surrounding the cities of Mereneshtsky and Gerbovetsky are widely presented in the Department of Nature. A collection of fish from Dniester, rare samples of paleontological discoveries and minerals are included in the exhibitions "The Landscape of the Dniester River Plain", the biogroup "Roe deer", etc. The exposition acquaints visitors visually with animals, flora, landscapes in the vicinity of Bendery, and also with environmental problems and protective actions that have been undertaken.

Svetlana Fedorovna Tishchenko, who has worked in a museum over 15 years, was the creator of the Department of Nature.

Join us now on a walk through the Nature Departments' halls which will reveal the creative work of many artists.At a display in the first hall pay attention to the physical map of Moldova, displaying an arrangement of the city on the right bank of the Dniester River. Along the picturesque landscape of the old river one of the most ancient cities of the country has developed. It has been occupied since ancient times by inhabitants of various ethnicities. Today the city's population is about 100,000.

In the 18th century early Moldavian ruler, scientist, researcher, and educator Dumitru Cantemir published one of the first regional geographic books: The Description of Moldavia. This book can be seen in a display window.

It is pleasing to note that the author of a remarkable scientific book about our corner of the world, Bessarabia. The country - People - the Economy (1918) is a native of Bendery. Lev Semenovich Berg (Leo Berg) is a famous expert on the natural environment of Moldova, an outstanding Russian and Soviet geographer and biologist, an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and the honorable president of the Geographical Society of the USSR. His books on ichthyology, limnology, and climate are especially well-known. This scientist has contributed to evolutionary theory, having created the theory of monogenesis.

This section includes two photos, a bust, and the book on Bessarabia.

Our city has given to the world two more scientists-academicians. One of them is Konstantin Kaetanovich Gedroyts, a Soviet soil scientist and agro chemist, and president of the International Association of Soil Scientists. The other is Evgeny Konstantinovich Fedorov, a Soviet geophysicist, state and public figure, the main scientific secretary of the Presidium of Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the scientific employee of drifting station Northern Pole-1, twice the winner of the State Award of the USSR, the chairman of Antifascist Committee of the Soviet Youth, a member of the Pagush Committee, and the vice president of the World Meteorological Organization. These names generate special pride in Bendery citizens. Photos of these scientists, proceedings, and unique personal items will certainly draw the attention of visitors.

Nature has generously created places near the city with minerals to produce buildings of character and mission. Limestone, gravel, sand, sandstone, and clay, are among the raw materials available for construction. Many of these minerals are extracted at the Varnitsky open-cast mine. Samples of some construction materials are presented in this section.

Paleontological finds interesting to the scientific community are connected with the Varnitsky open-cast mine. These are bones of a mammoth, an elephant, a rhinoceros, a bison, an elk, and other animals that lived here many years ago.

Wildlife management of the environment surrounding us is part of a global problem which does not exclude the inhabitants of Bendery. Emissions of poison gases by industrial enterprises and motor vehicles represent a health hazard. The quality of water in the Dniester River has decreased to dangerous levels. Today the river is a potential source of infectious diseases and epidemics. Corrective steps, directed to improve the environment, are shown in the first hall through documents and photos and with a breadboard model of city treatment facilities.

A positive effect on the environment is achieved through planting in the city and surrounding area a wide variety of plants. NGOs of the city and the region play an active role in this activity helping to raise public awareness of environmental issues.

In large display windows there on display numerous mammals and birds living in Moldavian woods, parks, squares, gardens, and court yards.

Having crossed the threshold of the second hall, you feel at once a cool freshness coming from the Dniester River. Wetlands previously occupied an extensive area in the southern suburb of the city, around Mereneshtsky Wood. (Even after the former settlement, Plavni, was included within city boundaries, older residents have not given up this name.) For several reasons including augmentation of natural resources, to reduce soil erosion, to reduce salt content of the soils, and to eliminate bogs, this area was drained after World War II. As a result the areas used by waterfowl have been eliminated.

At a junction in the hall the visitor is drawn to an original diorama, the Landscape Floodplain of the Dniester River. Its creators are city artists Evgenie Shikov and Alexander Grinshpun. The display shows impassable overgrown alder, an osier bed, the cane and dense grass of a bog, coastal woods from poplars, elms, oaks, and maples with lianas of hop and wild grapes. And everywhere the spring flight of waterfall are reflected on the diorama.

The improper gathering of berries and mushrooms, the disposal of organic and mineral substances (paper, plastic, cellophane, metal, rubber); fires and many other things cause irreparable harm to plant and animal life in the natural environment. Taking into account this situation, creators of the exposition have produced in a corner of the display a short code of behavior for people to help protect the natural environment.

After the opening of the museum, it was decided to construct a reconstruction of a stork's nest. As the stork is a symbol of Moldova this reconstruction has proven to be very popular.

Up until recently the Dniester River was rich in a variety of fish. In the beginning of the 20th century, sturgeon was numerous. Today, as a result of hydro construction, drainage of wetlands, pollution of the river, excessive fish poaching (especially during spawning periods), fish numbers have been considerably reduced. Because of this damage to our fish population there is increased interest in the diorama, The Reservoir, created by Igor Karagodin from Chisinau. The diorama concentrates on the primary inhabitants of the Dniester River.

As the visitor moves to the next hall, you encounter shade in a corner of Herbovets Forest, where it is always fresh, shady and an undisturbed rich kingdom of animals, birds, and insects.. This unique large forest is located a mile to the northwest of Bendery. It includes native Mediterranean florae which are now rare and a fragrant oak and a pear tree. Herbovets Forest was taken under state protection in 1958. As of 1976 it contained 2636 hectares. The unique large forest represents the remainder of natural forest. Today, 14 species of mammals and 60 bird species are known to currently live there with many of them presented in display windows and dioramas in all three halls of nature.

The credit for acquiring the funds for the museum's stuffed animals and birds belongs to Boris Diomidovich Kozlovsky, who headed the museum in the 1920s. He was an excellent master of taxidermy. He dedicated himself to this cause, personally developing various taxidermy methods technology. Included among the stuffed animals created by Kozlovsky's hands are a Caucasian Pheasant - 1927, a Great Bustard - 1933, and a Grey Crane - 1935. Visitors willing to explore the entire museum will be able to also look at roe deer, a wild boar, a grey wolf and many other examples of wildlife from Moldova.

At one time Moldova was famous for its wonderful hunting but there have been many changes in the game animal populations. Bison and wild horses (tarpans) occupying the forests and steppes during from the 16th-18th centuries have completely disappeared. The Red Data Book of Moldova, published in 1967, is available. It serves as a criticism of the way we have treated the natural world with many animal species no longer in plentiful supply. This book includes 29 species of animals: 8 species of mammals (an otter, an ermine, the European mink, big bat, a wood marten, a wood cat, and a steppe polecat); 17 kinds of birds (a golden eagle, big bustard, an eagle, a burial ground, a sea eagle, a steppe eagle, an Egyptian vulture, the big white heron, a swan, an eagle-dwarf, and an eagle owl); as well as 4 species of reptiles, snakes, and the European marsh turtle. Some of these species are already extinct.

Sovetskaya str., 40, Bendery, MD3200, Pridnestrovie, Moldova. tel. +373-552-28839, [email protected]
© 2009 The Natural and History Museum of the City of Bendery