Moldova

 

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.

Geography
Moldova has no access to the sea and is surrounded by the territory of neighboring states - Romania (from the west) and Ukraine (from other directions).

Population
The population of the country as of the beginning of 2022 is about 2 million 600 thousand people, excluding the population of Transnistria, where about 465 thousand more people live. Many residents of Moldova and Transnistria go to work in other countries, so the actual population is noticeably, almost twice lower than the official one.

The predominant religion is Orthodoxy.

Regions
Gagauzia
Transnistria (unrecognized republic not controlled by Moldova)

Cities
Chisinau - the capital of the state
Balti
Orhei
magpies
Ungheni
Comrat
Ceadir-Lunga

 

How to get here

By plane
Chisinau International Airport (IATA: KIV) Main airlines: Air Moldova, Turkish Airlines

By train
There are daily trains to Chisinau from the Romanian cities of Iasi and Bucharest. The railway communication in the direction of Ukraine does not operate due to the blockade of both sides from the side of Transnistria.

By bus
Buses run to Chisinau from Bucharest and a number of other cities in Romania, there are also longer ones (from Germany, the Czech Republic, etc.).

By ship
There is no passenger water transport in Moldova.

 

Language

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.

 

Purchases

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.

 

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.

Connection
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.