By Ramin Mazur (via AreWeEurope)
Several years ago Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, was void of a haven for underground nightlife. The consistently unstable political and economical situation paired with a population of fleeing youth made it hard for nightlife venues to survive.
Usama, the owner of the locally acclaimed Valentina bar, was fed up with his annoying neighbours and began to search for new, bigger places for his business. His bar was widely popular among metalheads and football fans, and often hosted parties until the early hours.
Stumbling upon a cellar one block away with an interior designed for a canteen in pseudo-Moldovan ethnic style, located beneath a private clinic—it was decided. Considering that this place, besides functioning as a canteen, served as wedding salon, he changed nothing about it—not even the name, Pro Sanatate (“Pro Health”).
The clientele of the old bar soon swarmed to the new place, and that’s how it all started. Slowly but surely, “Pro” became the new hub for Chisinau’s underground scene. Various events from brutal death metal concerts and breakcore sets to rap concerts and spontaneous so-called subit parties enriched the city’s nightlife. And Usama, originally from Palestine, took care that visitors would never go back home hungry or sober. He proudly established it as the motto of the place. Even if you buy nothing to eat, there are almost always snacks on the bar.
“No one will go home sober or hungry.”
– Usuma, owner of Pro Sanatate
It became a unique place with a diverse and eclectic audience. At 12PM, clinic personnel from above have their lunch, at 8PM you can hear Karaoke escape the cellar, and a few hours later the dancefloor is packed, and a much bigger crowd is smoking and chatting outside. For the health of the underground nightlife, Chisinau is thankful.
These photos were taken throughout 2019 during the various events hosted at the Pro Sanatate bar. Photographer Ramin Mazur spent most of his weekend at Chisinau’s first established underground bar. This may not have been great for his health, but gives us a sneak peak into the nocturnal beating heart of the Moldovan capital. Ramin has also worked on the Drums of Democracy multimedia story by AreWeEurope.
This article is part of the Discover series, a collaboration between the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards and Are We Europe. This project is cofunded by the Creative Europe programme.