Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Moldova - Kishinev - church - v.g. photo

Moldova - to avoid misunderstanding, the combat car is not aiming at the church - v.g. photo

“At first glance, the capital looks like a concrete jungle. Highways and sidewalks are fragmented, broken, unfinished, or have giant holes in them. There are a huge number of buildings that have been started but left unfinished.

There are also plenty of half-demolished, ruined old houses where now only garbage accumulates. Glass and plastic bottles are tossed into disused fountains. The bulbs are stolen from the lights in the underpasses on an almost daily basis. Cars and other transport vehicles are old and polluting; vehicles that no longer meet emission standards in Western Europe simply migrate east.

BUT: There are also many beautiful green parks, huge lakes and small patches of woodland, even in the heart of the city. There are many preserved/renovated traditional dwellings that have now become heritage monuments, and there is also lots of street art, creative sculptures, eclectic building complexes and infrastructure under development.

It’s a friendly place, a little lost in the past, a little indolent, but the locals seem to get along with one another. Still, the path towards development is a source of continuing division within the country: one half is drawn towards closer ties with Russia, the other wants deeper association with Romania. (2019)


Practicals

Transport

There is no metro in Chisinau, not even trams. On the other hand, electricity seems to be abundant, because the trolley bus is the primary means of public transport. There are all sorts of trolley busses: minivan-size, old Russian and modern Skoda or Ukrainian wonders.

Taxi

In Moldova, the taxi drivers are reliable. Senseless is to choose illegal taxi drivers, who often offer transportation to foreign visitors.

Moldova - Chisinau - Yandex Go Taxi in front of the Court of Auditors building - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - Bulevardul Stefan Cel Mare - public bus - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - waiting for the marshrutka - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - railway station (gara feroviara) - n.e. photo

Moldova - bus stop - n.l. photo

Accomodation

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Moldova - Hotel Chisinau, a Soviet-era building - Ata photo

Food

You can eat well in Moldova, especially if you like spicy food.

If you visit Moldova in the summertime, try to eat many fresh vegetables and fruits because they are almost organic. They have real, natural flavors and don't have an unnatural look.

Moldova - Pork meat with mamaliga (a cornmeal porridge) and rice - p.s. photo

Moldova - Zeama (Chicken soup) - c.z. photo

Moldova - Chisinau - chicken ragout soup with tarragon - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - meatballs on mashed potatoes - Ata photo

Fun

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Moldova - Chisinau - Bonjour Cafe - Ata photo

Moldova - fishing&hunting agency - n.l. photo

Public safety

Public security deteriorated in recent years because the economy is doing poorly, and unemployment is rising. Some tourists were victims of pickpocketing, minor physical assaults, robbery, car theft. However, all in all, Moldova is a safe tourist destination by European standards. (2020)

In Chisinau, protect well your credit card because some criminals are attempting to obtain data.

Moldova - police car - j.k. photo

Moldova - Chisinau - honor guard - Ata photo

Health

We do not recommend drinking tap water in Moldova.
Swimming in rivers, lakes is somewhat risky because of contaminations.

Others

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Moldova - Moldcell kiosk - n.l. photo

Moldova - Ascony Winery - welcome drink, salt and bread - n.e. photo

Moldova - Chisinau - auntie - Ata photo

Moldova - shoe repair - n.l. photo

Moldova - undertaking - n.l. photo

Background

Moldova - national flag - The centered Moldova shield's main story is a golden eagle keeping an Orthodox Christian cross in its beak

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

Geography

Not to be confused with the Moldova that is still part of Romania. Basically there are two Moldovas.

History

Moldova became a Soviet republic in 1944. In 1949,  Stalin deported approximately 250,000 Moldavians to Kazakhstan and various parts of Siberia.

During the Communist era, the Soviet Republic of Moldova was one of the main vegetable and fruit growing places and the primary supplier.


Moldova - Chisinau - Chabad Lubavitch street - a hint about the Jewish past - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - a WW2 Memorial - Sculpture of the mothers of the fallen - Elter photo

Nowadays

Moldova is the poorest European country in Europe. People can not get by with their wages and pensions. The collapse of the country's economy is partly prevented by the fact that approx. one million Moldovans work in Western Europe and Moldova, and many families live on their remittances.

Moldova - milieu - n.l. photo

Moldova - Chisinau - post-Soviet-era - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - pope with a cell phone - Ata photo

Moldova - nowadays - n.l. photo

Moldova - village life - n.e. photo

People

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Moldova - wedding - Elter photo

Moldova - guys - n.l. photo

Moldova - love - n.l. photo

Moldova - girl - n.l. photo

Moldova - girls - n.l. photo

Moldova - Trebujeni - Old Orhei, a historical and archaeological complex - a photogenic museum clerk - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Tourist etiquette

1. You can not be sure that your local interlocutors consider themselves Romanian. You better approach the topic of national identity carefully.
Sooner or later, the locals will speak out about that often sensitive issue.  

2. In the countryside, especially in villages, locals glower at a tourist girl/woman who smokes a cigarette in public places, on the street.  Locals may think that this person is a light-skirts. 

3. In Moldova, people are mostly polite to the elderly and give place to them on public transport. Let’s do the same.

4. When entering Orthodox temples, women should cover their shoulders and cover their hair with a cloth. Men should take off any of their headwear.

a negative example



Gastronomy

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Moldova - Sarmale (cabbage rolls) -l.m. photo

Moldova - bread - Ata photo

Attractions

Chișinău or Kishinev

Population (in 2020): 499,000


In Chisinau, the backbone of public transport is a well-organized trolleybus network, complemented by the share taxis and buses.

,, Chisinau is the most boring European capital as far as nightlife concerns. Saturday at 10 in the evening the city center is empty, and there are a few walking people: authentic wild eastern atmosphere. On the arrow-straight Stefan cel Mare avenue, local HVCSs compete with each other, whose car is more potent. Bass engines disturb the silence of the night. (Ata, October 2021)



Moldova - Chișinău - n.l. photo

Moldova - Chisinau - n.l. photo

Moldova - Chisinau - city center - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - small town feeling - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - Memorial Complex "Eternity" - A Soviet-time monument, former name was Victory Memorial - Elter photo

Monasteries

Moldova - Tipova Monastery - b.c. photo

Moldova - Monastery Curchi - c.a. photo

Moldova - Monastery Capriana - h.g. photo

Cricova Winery (Vinăria Cricova)

Moldova - Cricova Winery - part of the extensive network of underground tunnel - Ata photo

Moldova - Cricova Winery - wine road - Ata photo

Moldova - Cricova Winery - wine tasting for visitors - Ata photo

Moldova - Cricova Winery - Cabernet Sauvignon - Ata photo

Heritage of Soviet-era architecture

Moldova - Chisinau - Heritage of Soviet-era architecture - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - Heritage of Soviet-era architecture - Ata photo 1.

Locals

Moldova - Chisinau - chessplayers - Ata photo

The Central Market of Chisinau

Moldova - Chisinau - Central Market (Piața Centrală) - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - Central Market - stallholder - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - Central Market - plums (prunes) - Ata photo

Moldova - Chisinau - Central Market - market-woman - Ata photo

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