Emmanuel Mîrzaian, Manuc Bei as he was known in Romanian, was born in 1769 in the former Turkish fortress of Rusciuc, today Ruse in Bulgaria, where his parents had settled shortly before his birth. He studied very seriously and knew 12 languages. Due to his exceptional skills, he quickly gained social status and his prodigious activity was highly appreciated by the leaders of several European countries.
Until 1812 he was the dragoman (interpreter) and financier to the Turkish Sultan’s court. However, due to the policies of the Ottoman Empire, Manuc Bei concluded that saving the Armenians and other Christian nations can only come from an alliance with the Russian Empire.
In May 1812, by means of active mediation, at the residence of Manuc Bei in Bucharest, conditions of The Treaty of Bucharest, the peace treaty between the Russian and Ottoman Empires, were negotiated and signed. Under this Treaty, the territory between the Prut and Dniester rivers (then known as Bessarabia and now known as Republic of Moldova), and several city-states had their jurisdiction passed to Russia.
Russian Emperor Alexander was impressed by the contribution of Manuc and granted him various facilities. The czar gave him the title of State Councilor, decorated him with the Order of St. Vladimir, Third Class and offered him 80 tithes of land in any part of Bessarabia.
Not sure of the safety of his family from the Ottomans, Manuc Bei, who coveted for more security, went over the Prut and in 1816 he decided to live in Hînceşti (40 km from Chisinau), where he had previously bought an estate. After this, many changes started to begin in Hînceşti.
Who was it that founded the administrative and economic sectors in Hînceşti? Manuc Bei did, of course! However one may assess Manuc Bei, all recognize that he was an unusual personality, a rare erudite, diversely trained and educated, and a progressive for his time. Through his ambitious energy and projects he has left a deep impact in our land by spurring the development of agriculture, economy, crafts, and education. Our region has come to call this time, the ‘Miracle at Hînceşti ‘.
A range of historical documents tell us that Manuc Bei’s business endeavors and his dynasty gave a new look and a new life for Hînceşti. Other than his architectural complex, he also built the first school buildings in the county of Lapusna, which exist even to this day. One of the last buildings the Manuc Bei family constructed was the Hînceşti hospital. The family also quickly grew a whole range of industrial enterprises, including a steam mill, a distillery, wine production departments, processing and storage of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and berries. Also in the middle of the 19th century, John Manuc Bei, the oldest son of Manuc Bei, organized industrial complex ventures for the needs of villagers in Hînceşti: a brick factory, blacksmith shops, furriers, smoked fish shops, and other workshops and craft ventures. In this short historical period, Hînceşti became a regional shopping center, competing strongly with neighboring Lapusna, which was once very famous in this regard.
Through the abilities and intense efforts of Manuc Bei and his dynasty, the town of Hînceşti grew before people’s eyes, and the news spread about “The ‘Miracle’ of the lightning spread of Hînceşti” (Gheorghe-Iosif Bercan).
After his long lived and industrious life, Manuc Bei’s final resting place is the Armenian Cemetery in Chisinau.
Originally written by: Tudor Plăcintă
Translated and edited into English by: Matthew Hundemann