Destination in brief
Moldova in brief
Moldova is a small, little known Eastern European country located between Romania (west) and Ukraine (east, north, south) and lying in the northeastern corner of the Balkan region. Moldova was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Today, Moldova is the poorest, least developed European country.
Size: 33,846 km² (13,068 mi²) – Moldova is essentially a landlocked country, but it has certain waterway rights to the Black Sea (which is itself an inland sea) via Ukraine.
Capital city: Chișinău (also known as Kishinev)
Population: close to 4 million (est. 2020) - 75% of the inhabitants are called Moldovans (or Moldavians). Moldovans are split in half when talking about their national identity. 50% consider themselves Romanian and speak Romanian (which is not a Slavic language!). The other 50% identifies as Moldovan and claims to speak Moldovan (a language many deny even exists and is often considered to be merely Romanian by another name).
Moldovans are definitely not Slavic people (nor are the Romanians).
Language: the language spoken by the majority of Moldovans is in fact a dialect of Romanian.
In 1989, shortly after the fall of Communism, the Moldovan government passed a law switching the Cyrillic alphabet back to Latin script.
Religion: about 90% Christian (Eastern Orthodox). Religion is very important in Moldova, though less than in Romania.
Moldova is a republic. It is neither a member of the European Union, nor of NATO.
Currency: Moldovan leu (MDL)
Average monthly net salary: about 300 USD (2020)
Most frequent surname: Rusu
Wine and winery is a very important part of Moldova’s economy and locals are tremendously proud of their wines (mostly quality red wines).
Moldovans drink a lot of alcohol, not only wine, but beer and spirits as well.
Moldova is far from being a renowned tourist destination. In fact, it is the least visited European country after Belarus.
The tourist infrastructure is controversial: there are quality hotels but also many rundown accommodations.
The country is safe for tourists, but pickpockets are fairly active on public transport vehicles and in bars and restaurants.
Moldova is a definitely a cheap country for tourists.
Most important tourist attractions:
30 monasteries, many of which date back to the 15th century, and old wooden churches.
National parks (Taul Natural Reservation is the biggest one)
A wide array of wine-related programs near the capital city: Milestii Mici and Cricova, with their massive, city-like underground wine cellars where visitors can drive their cars and bikes, wine festivals
Nice, rolling countryside landscapes