Moldova is a rather poor and little visited country by tourists. There are few interesting sights. It is attractive due to its unique combination of Balkan culture (cuisine and winemaking are reminiscent of a number of other neighboring countries) and Russian or Soviet influence.

In 1359-1812, the Moldavian principality existed, from the 15th century it was subordinate to the Ottoman Empire to varying degrees. In 1812-1918, the territory of modern Moldova was called the Bessarabian province and was part of the Russian Empire. From 1918 to 1940, most of the territory of modern Moldova (the so-called Bessarabia) was part of Romania.



Transnistria (unrecognized republic not controlled by Moldova)



Chisinau - the capital of the state


How to get here

For tourist entry for up to 90 days, an identity card is sufficient for all Europeans, former CIS citizens and Turks. Citizens of 102 countries (no Africans, a few Asians) and all third-country nationals who have a valid EU permanent residence permit are allowed to enter the country without a visa with a passport.

Valuta cash is subject to declaration from 10,000€, import of local currency is limited to 2,500 MDL cash.

Duty free quantities
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars
2 liters of liquor or wine and 5 liters of beer
Gifts up to a maximum of €200

Pets require a health certificate with a certified rabies vaccination and proof of the titer, which was tested no earlier than 30 days after vaccination. At the time of entry, the latter examination must not have been carried out more than 90 days ago. Entry is only permitted at certain, larger border posts. Details, including food imports, are available from ANSA.

By plane
The main airport is Chisinau International Airport (IATA: KIV)

By train
Moldovan night trains run from Bucharest and require reservations. The trains are quite comfortable and have a bar. The tickets are collected by the conductors at the start of the journey and are returned - theoretically only occasionally - when you arrive in Chișinău.

There are direct trains to Moscow, Kiev and Odessa.

By bus
From the Romanian city of Iași you can travel to Chișinău by minibus. Several buses run daily from Bucharest to Chișinău.

There are long-distance bus connections from most major Eastern European cities, Prague and Vienna.

On the street
From southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria, it is best to travel via the Vienna-Budapest-Romania route to the Albița (RO) ↔ Leuseni (MD) border crossing (46° 47′ 31″ N 28° 9′ 16″ E), or at Ungheni . From northern Germany you can also travel to Moldova via Krakow and Lemberg (UA). However, there can be very long waiting times at the border between Poland and Ukraine
There is an overview of all land border crossings with a map.

Hourly waiting times at the border crossings should be planned for, but it can also be done quickly and easily. Self-drivers require the green insurance card. Vehicles that are not registered in the Republic of Moldova require a vignette for the entire road network. They are available online, in Moldova Agroindbank branches or, more conveniently, through vending machines set up at gas stations. “In the event of a traffic accident, you can expect a ban on leaving the country for 30 days.”

There are numerous checkpoints along routes leading into or out of Transnistria.

There is a ban on driving while driving, i.e. 0.0‰.

By boat
Moldova is a landlocked country, so there is no possibility of arriving by boat. Danube cruise ships occasionally dock in the Moldovan free port of Giurgiulești on the Danube.


Local transport

The cheapest taxi rides can be ordered via 14999, 14007, 14222, 14448, 14090. However, it can take a while for the taxi to arrive. Minibuses run in every direction in the country. You are often approached by private taxi drivers, which are not necessarily the worst alternative (especially if you speak little or no Russian) if you want to go to Tiraspol, as they can mediate a little at the border and you may not be quite as strong being ripped off. However, private taxis are also more expensive than regular taxis.

Calea Ferată din Moldova: Booking portal There are few domestic trains. Children's discount about 30%.

Border traffic to Transnistria
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Transnistria is by train or marshrutka (minibus). The single trip costs 36.5 MDL and clearance at the border is then carried out using “mass clearance”. This means that the border guards don't bother with you as much because at some point the bus wants to move on and the next one is already waiting. There are several marshrutki every hour from Chișinău to Tiraspol and vice versa. When you enter the country you receive a “migration card” (a piece of paper), which is collected again when you leave.



The only official language is Moldovan, which is practically indistinguishable from Romanian. In the country itself, someone considers Moldovan a separate language (usually these are pro-Russian people), and someone, on the contrary, considers Moldovan atavism of the Soviet era, when it was invented artificially in order to alienate Romanians and Romania. This alienation was reduced mainly to writing Romanian words in Cyrillic, and in this form Moldovan is now preserved in Transnistria, while the rest of Moldova returned to the Latin alphabet.

The Russian language is also widely spoken, but does not have any official status in the country. The majority of the population understands Russian, although young people and residents of remote villages sometimes speak it with great difficulty or even hesitate to speak it at all. Rarely, it can happen that they refuse to speak Russian with you at all for ideological reasons. Those who speak English among ordinary citizens and service personnel are rare, mostly young people.

In fact, independent Transnistria has three official languages: Moldovan in Cyrillic, Russian and Ukrainian. Autonomous, but belonging to Moldova, Gagauzia also has three official languages: Russian, Moldovan in Latin and Gagauz. The latter is written in Latin and belongs to the Turkic group. In fact, the language of interethnic communication is Russian, but not everyone speaks Moldovan/Romanian, especially in Transnistria.

Residents of Moldova usually know at least two languages. The study of Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese is popular, since Moldovan/Romanian is part of the same Romance language family, and many citizens of Moldova are working in their respective countries.



The country's currency is the Moldovan leu (MDL), which looks very different from the Romanian leu and most other currencies. All banknotes are small and at the first meeting they seem to be an attribute of some board game, and not real banknotes. In Pridnestrovie, their money is the PMR rubles, Moldovan lei are not accepted for payment there.

As of mid-2022, the exchange rate is about 19 Moldovan lei per dollar or euro. Most often, lei are found in banknotes with denominations from 1 to 100 lei, there are also larger denominations of 200, 500 and 1000 lei. Small ones, on the contrary, are gradually being replaced by coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 lei. Sometimes you will also encounter small silver coins of 10, 20 and 50 bani (a hundredth of a lei).

Currency exchange is not a problem. Exchangers are everywhere, they work 7 days a week from morning to evening, they accept dollars, euros, Russian rubles, Ukrainian hryvnias, Romanian lei. The course, with rare exceptions, is fair, but it is better to be on the lookout and choose places with the inscription Faro Commission (no commission).

Bank cards are accepted for payment in most shops and cafes, but you will need cash to buy something like bus tickets. There are ATMs in every city, but there are not many cities in the country, so do not leave Chisinau without a sufficient supply of cash.



The official language is Romanian, but is also referred to as “Moldovan”.

With English you can get a little further, especially in Chișinău. Russian language skills can therefore be very helpful, as Russian is ubiquitous and spoken by most people (especially in cities).



A Moldovan specialty is hearty cabbage à la Babette

The chronology of Moldova includes various historical periods, on this territory there were and lived such peoples as: the Turks, the Tatars, the Greeks, the Slavs, the Bulgarians and others. The peoples influenced both the history and traditions of the country's cuisine.

The dishes prepared according to the traditional recipes are:

Mămăligă – the second bread on the table of Moldovans. This is a mixture of the cornmeal prepared in the slow cooker. It is usually served with sheep's cheese or quark. Side dishes include sour cream, vegetable ragout, roast meat or fried fish.
Cabbage wraps wrapped in grape leaves - much smaller than Turkish cabbage rolls. During fasting, the filling varies from traditional rice with meat to buckwheat and various groats with stewed vegetables.
Sama, the soup usually made from homemade noodles.



Going out at night is a good idea if you keep an eye on your wallet. There are many restaurants, bars, discos, nightclubs and casinos.



You can stay cheaply in hostels in the capitals Chișinău and Tiraspol.
Agencies provide complete, furnished apartments (also for 1 to 2 days). The apartments are usually reasonably well equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, 1 or 2 additional rooms and beds, so that 4 to 5 people could easily stay there overnight. The costs start at €30 per night. Most of the time, these apartments are not particularly centrally located and not necessarily in the best areas of the city, which is why if you want to come back later in the evening, taking a taxi directly there is probably the best thing.



For work or permanent residence permits (Permis de sedere), an employment contract, certificate of good conduct and a medical examination are required. All documents must be in Romanian translation. Since April 1, 2019, insurance is compulsory with the statutory health insurance company (AOAM). Their contributions can be paid at post offices.



Uniform emergency number: ☎ 112, or
Fire department: 901
Police: 902
Emergency doctor: 903

Some taxi drivers warn you to take good care of your belongings, as Western foreigners are attractive to pickpockets. Otherwise you can move around normally and freely.

Penalties for drug offenses are severe.



There is no infrastructure suitable for disabled people, not even in public facilities.


Practical tips

Since 2021 there is no longer daylight saving time.

You should be more cautious. Tourists are rare and therefore conspicuous.

Foreign representations are in Chișinău.


Post and telecommunications

Telephone calls from the Republic of Moldova to the Transnistrian part of the country are possible, the area code is 1600373.

Cell phone numbers start with a 6.

The following mobile phone providers are available:
Orange, formerly Voxtel

They all offer prepaid cards. These cards are called Alocard (Moldcell) and Orange (PrePay). Various data packages can be added from the credit. Orange is a little more expensive. Registration is not necessary!

For German Telekom, Moldova is in “Country Group 2,” with a rate of 99¢ per minute and 29¢ per SMS. At Vodafone you are in “Europe 2” minute rate of 1.82 (to Germany), 2.18€ (others) and 29¢ per SMS.


Precautionary measures

The issue of territorial integrity is quite acute in Moldova, so if you are traveling to a country with purely tourist purposes, name Chisinau, Orhei or Soroca as the purpose of your trip, without advertising your intention to go to Gaguzia or Transnistria. This is especially true for Russian citizens, whom Moldovan border guards often treat with suspicion.

By European standards, Moldova has very poor roads and very little street lighting. This problem equally affects motorists and pedestrians: both of them run the risk of falling into a hole in the dark, damaging either themselves or the car.



The international dialing code of Moldova is +373. Country internet domain .md

Mobile connection
There are two mobile operators operating in the country: Orange and Moldcell.



The name of the country Moldova comes from the name of the Moldova River, which now flows in the northeast of Romania. According to legend, it was in the Moldavian basin that the original center of the Moldavian principality was located.



Geographical position

Moldova is located in the extreme southwest of the East European Plain, in the second time zone, and occupies most of the interfluve of the Dniester and Prut, a narrow strip of the left bank of the Dniester in its middle and lower reaches (Transnistria), over which Moldova lost actual control in early 1990 's, as well as about 600 m of the Danube coastline. It has no access to the sea.

It is a Danube state and a full member of the Danube Commission since March 26, 1998, and has the right of free navigation on the Danube.

In the north, east and south, Moldova borders on Ukraine (Odessa region, Vinnitsa region, Chernivtsi region), in the west - on Romania.

The area of the country is 33.7 thousand km². The territory of Moldova extends from north to south for 350 km, from west to east - 150 km. The extreme points of the country: in the north - the village of Naslavcha (48°29' N), in the south - the village of Giurgiulesti (45°28' N), in the west - the village of Kriva (26°30' E). ), in the east - the village of Palanka (30°05' E).


Physiographic characteristics

The surface of Moldova is a hilly plain dissected by river valleys. The average height above sea level is 147 m, the maximum is 429.5 m (Mount Belanesti). Minerals: limestone, gypsum, clay, glass sand, gravel, small oil and gas deposits.

The climate is moderate continental. Winters are mild and short, summers are hot and long. The average temperature in January is −4 °C, in July +21 °C. Absolute minimum −36 °C, maximum +42 °C. The number of sunny days per year in Chisinau is only 15% less than in Rome.

The average annual precipitation ranges from 380 to 550 mm. The greatest amount falls in the northwestern part, the smallest in the southeast. Approximately 70% of annual precipitation occurs between April and October. On August 7, 2012, the highest air temperature in the summer season for the entire observation period was observed on the territory of Moldova - +42.4 ℃ (Falesti). The country's territory is exposed to climate risks associated with temperature fluctuations and frequent droughts.

The river network of the Republic of Moldova is represented by numerous permanent and temporary rivers that belong to the Black Sea basin. The largest and most famous rivers are the Dniester and Prut. Among other waterways, there are the tributaries of the Dniester - Reut, Byk, Botna and Ikel, as well as the small rivers Kogilnik (Kunduk), Yalpug and Lunga. In Moldova, the main sources of river nutrition are snow and rainwater.

Currently, there are 57 natural lakes preserved on the territory of Moldova with a total water surface area of 62.2 km². The largest of them in the Prut floodplain are lakes Beleu, Drachele, Rotunda, Krasnoe, Fontan, and the largest natural lakes in the Dniester basin are lakes Bull, Rosu and Old Dniester. The Republic of Moldova also owns 1.64 km² of the northern part of Lake Cahul, which is located on the border with Ukraine. The largest artificial reservoir in the Prut River basin is the Costesti-Stanca reservoir, filled for the operation of the hydroelectric power station of the same name. Also included in the category of large artificial reservoirs are the Dubossary, Kuchurgan and Ghidighich reservoirs, and the medium ones - Taraclia, Kongaz and Comrat.

Chernozems cover 75% of the territory of the Republic of Moldova, about 10% are under brown and gray forest soils, 7% are floodplain-meadow soils and about 8% of soils are under populated areas, reservoirs and other objects. Most of the territory of Moldova is plowed. Steppe vegetation has been preserved only in small areas. The forest fund makes up 12.7% of the territory. Natural areas: North Moldavian forest-steppe (Toltry), Central Moldavian forest (Codri), South Moldavian steppe.


Protected natural areas

There are 5 scientific reserves, 41 landscape parks, three Ramsar sites and other protected natural areas. There were no national parks in the country until 2013, when Orhei National Park was founded, occupying approximately 1% of the country's territory.

The main habitats of endangered plant and animal species are located in the scientific reserves of Codri, Playul Fagului, Padurea Domneasca, Prutul de Jos, Yagorlyk, in the Orhei forest, in the floodplains of rivers and lakes in the middle and lower reaches of the Dniester and Prut. Also, such species are included in the Red Book of Moldova and are protected throughout the republic.



Until the 14th century, the territory of modern Moldova, at different times, was part of the possessions of various tribal unions (Geto-Dacians, Goths, Antes, Tivertsy) and state entities (Kievan Rus, the Principality of Galicia, the Golden Horde).

In the middle of the 14th century, nomads of the Golden Horde ruled here. In 1351, by order of the Hungarian king Lajos I the Great Voivode, Dragos left Maramures to establish a defensive line against the Golden Horde. As a result of his campaign, the Mongols retreated east from the Dniester River. On the liberated territory, Dragos was allowed to create his own principality in order to protect Hungary from the Mongols. It was created by Volokhs and Rusyns. The original seat of the principality was the modern city of Bahia or Banya, then called "Moldavia". Then a few years later the residence was moved to Siret, from where later to Suceava.

In the 16th-18th centuries, the Principality of Moldova was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The 16th-century Polish historian Leonardo Gorecki, speaking about Moldova and the Moldovans, noted:
The faith and rituals of the Moldovans are very close to the Greek and Armenian churches; their priests get married. The Moldovans are especially famous for their cavalry; even the poorest of them have riding horses suitable for campaigns and battles. Like the Hungarians, they are armed with a shield, helmet and spear,

In 1503, the Ottoman Empire annexed Bessarabia (Budjak), where the fortresses of Bendery and Izmail were built. Akkerman and Kiliya with their surroundings became Turkish administrative units - raya; in 1538, a new raya was formed on the Bessarabian territory seized from the Moldavian principality with its center in Bendery - Tighina. In 1591 and 1621, rayas were created in the areas of Izmail and Reni.

In 1711, the Moldavian ruler Dmitry Cantemir swore allegiance to Russia in Iasi. As a result of the Prut campaign, which was unsuccessful for the Russian army, he, his family and courtiers moved to Russia, where he became one of Peter I’s close associates; the Principality of Moldova remained a vassal of the Ottoman Empire.


Moldavian SSR 1940

At the end of the 18th century, as a result of the Russian-Turkish war, the left bank of the Dniester was transferred to the Russian Empire. Following the Peace of Bucharest, the Ottoman Empire ceded Bessarabia to Russia in 1812. On the territory liberated from Ottoman rule, the Bessarabian province was formed, which was part of the Russian Empire for more than 100 years (1812-1917). In 1858-1861, the remnants of the Principality of Moldova and Wallachia united into a state, which later received the name Romania, freed from vassal dependence on the Turks after the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878). After the eastern part of the Principality of Moldova became part of the Russian Empire, the Moldavian language in Cyrillic continued to develop, while in the western part of the principality, which became part of Romania, the language was “cleansed” of Slavicisms and in 1862 the language was translated into Latin script .

In 1917, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, the Moldavian Democratic Republic was proclaimed on the territory of the former Bessarabia province.

On March 27 (April 9-10), 1918, Bessarabia became part of Romania (while the Soviet government considered Bessarabia “an occupied part of Soviet territory”). In 1924, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was formed on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR.

Bessarabia was part of Romania for 22 years - from March 27 (April 9-10), 1918 (when Sfatul Tarii (Council of the Region) of the Moldavian Democratic Republic voted for the unification of Bessarabia with Romania) until June 28, 1940.

Map of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, designating Bessarabia as the territory of “Romanian occupation”
On June 28, 1940, as a result of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Romania was forced to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the USSR.

As a result, the Moldavian SSR was formed. During the Great Patriotic War it was occupied by German and Romanian troops; The Romanian administration established the Governorate of Bessarabia. On its territory, 120 thousand residents of Moldova, including 90 thousand Jews, were killed and died in concentration camps. On August 24, 1944, as a result of the Iasi-Kishinev operation, the territory of the MSSR was liberated by Soviet troops.

Soon after this, according to the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on the eviction from the territory of Moldova “former landowners, large traders, active collaborators of the German occupiers, persons who collaborated with the German police, members of pro-fascist parties and organizations, White Guards, as well as families of all of the above categories” were “ 35 thousand residents of Moldova were dispossessed,” repressed and deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia (they were allowed to return to Moldova after 1957). With the help of other republics of the USSR, the restoration and construction of the economy of the Moldavian SSR began. (see Moldavian SSR). At the same time, the active “Sovietization” of the republic began, expressed, among other things, in the introduction of the Russian language as the language of interethnic communication of the peoples of the USSR, officially operating on a par with the Moldovan language, as well as in the promotion of party workers from neighboring republics to leadership positions. At the same time, unlike other Soviet republics (the Baltic states, western Belarus or western Ukraine), in Moldova this did not cause any significant protest and the creation of underground anti-Soviet movements.

In 1989, organizations advocating the national revival of Moldovans appeared: “A. Mateevich Club”, “Moldavian Democratic Movement”, “Democratic League of Students”, “Association of Historians” and others, which later united into the Popular Front of Moldova. At first, these organizations advocated giving official status to the Moldovan language, switching to the Latin script, adopting the Romanian tricolor as the state flag, etc. But very soon this movement turned from a Moldovan national movement into a pro-Romanian one.

On August 27, 1991, the independence of Moldova was proclaimed.

The conflict between the Moldovan and Transnistrian authorities, which began in 1989, in 1992 led to armed confrontation and numerous casualties on both sides. The fighting was stopped thanks to Russian intervention. Currently, security in the conflict zone is ensured by the Joint Peacekeeping Forces of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Moldova, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic and military observers from Ukraine (the observers were recalled from Transnistria on March 17, 2022).

During numerous negotiations mediated by Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, it has not yet been possible to reach an agreement on the status of Transnistria; Relations between the parties to the conflict remain tense.

A Constitution was adopted in 1994, which is still in force.

In April 2009, after the parliamentary elections, riots broke out in the capital of Moldova; The result was the calling of new elections, as a result of which the Communist Party lost its majority in parliament and went into opposition, and a new government was formed.

Since 2016, presidential elections in Moldova have been held by universal suffrage, rather than by election at a parliamentary meeting. That year they were won by Igor Dodon from the PSRM. In 2019, his party won the parliamentary elections.

In November 2020, the second presidential elections were held in which the PAS candidate, Maia Sandu, won.

After the presidential elections, Prime Minister Ion Chicu resigned, which led to the election of a new Prime Minister. Sandu nominated a candidate from the PAS party, but the parliamentary majority represented by the PSRM rejected it, Sandu dissolved the parliament and early parliamentary elections began, which were held in July. Out of 100 deputies, 63 received the PDS. Igor Grosu became the Chairman of the Parliament, and Natalia Gavrilitsa became the Prime Minister.



At the time of the declaration of independence of Moldova in 1991, its population was over 4.3 million people. According to the current statistical assessment, as of January 1, 2017, the resident population of Moldova was 3,550,900 people. (excluding Transnistria).

The population counted according to the results of the 2014 census was 2,913,281 people, including 329,108 people who were abroad at the time of the census, but were counted by members of their families.

The population of the republic, according to the 2004 census, was 3,383,332 people (excluding the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic). The population density is 111.4 people. per km².

The bulk of the population, or 75.8% (according to the 2004 census) are Moldovans. Also living: Ukrainians - 8.4%, Russians - 5.9%, Gagauz - 4.4%, Romanians - 2.2%, Bulgarians - 1.9%, others - 1.4%.

In the 2004 census, 78.8% of the country's population indicated the language of their nationality as their mother tongue (the first language acquired in early childhood), and 20.8% indicated other languages that do not coincide with their nationality. Among Moldovans, 78.4% indicated Moldovan as their native language, 18.8% - Romanian, 2.5% - Russian and 0.3% - other languages. Among Ukrainians, 64.1% indicated Ukrainian as their native language, and 31.8% indicated Russian. Among Russians, 97.2% indicated Russian as their native language. The Gagauz, like the Russians, for the most part indicated the language of their nationality as their native language - 92.3%, and 5.8% - Russian. Bulgarians with Bulgarian as their mother tongue made up 81.0%, and 13.9% indicated Russian as their mother tongue.

Despite the fact that the majority of Ukrainians, Gagauzes and Bulgarians indicated the language of their nationality as their native language, every second Ukrainian, every third Bulgarian and every fourth Gagauz usually speak Russian. Moldovans, who usually speak Russian, made up 5% of their total population.

Among national minorities, 6.2% of Ukrainians, 4.4% of Russians, 1.9% of Gagauzians, 2.2% of Romanians and 7.1% of Bulgarians speak Moldovan.

Among Moldovan citizens, 12,705 people indicated dual citizenship. 390 people did not indicate their citizenship.

The territorial distribution of the population showed that 21% of residents (every fifth) live in Chisinau, 4.6% in ATU Gagauzia, 3.8% in Balti. Large districts with a population of more than 100 thousand inhabitants are Cahul, Hincesti, Orhei, Ungheni. Smaller districts are Bessarabian (29 thousand), Dubossary (34 thousand), Sholdanesti (42 thousand) and Taraclia (43 thousand).

Data from the last two censuses show that during the period 1989-2004 the country's population decreased by 274 thousand people, with an average annual rate of decline of 0.5%. The decrease in numbers over this period is due to a decrease in the birth rate and a negative balance of external migration.

The 2004 census confirmed the predominance of the share of the rural population in the total population, which amounted to 61.4% against 57.9% in 1989.

During the intercensal period, the urban population decreased by an average of 1% per year, and the rural population by 0.13%, thus increasing the percentage gap between these categories of the population.

Population density during the intercensus period decreased from 120.4 to 111.4 people/km².

In 2008, about 25 thousand marriages were registered, which is 2 thousand less than in 2007. The total fertility rate in 2016 (the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime) was 1.56 (2016 CIA estimates).

A significant part of the working-age population is in labor migration in Russia. In January 2015, there were 561 thousand migrants—citizens of Moldova—on the territory of Russia at one time.



The most common denomination is Orthodoxy, whose adherents make up, according to the 2004 census, 93.3% of the country's population.

On the territory of Moldova there are two parallel (which is usually considered a canonical anomaly) Orthodox jurisdictions: the Bessarabian Metropolis of the canonical Romanian Church and the more numerous Moldavian-Kishinev Metropolis (Orthodox Church of Moldova) under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Moldovan Protestants (about 100 thousand believers) are represented by Baptists, Pentecostals, Adventists, and charismatics.

Also, there are believers of other faiths and religious movements in the country: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Vaishnavism, etc.