|Currency||Moldovan leu (MDL)|
|Area||total: 33,843 sq km |
water: 472 sq km
land: 33,371 sq km
|Population||4,434,547 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian (official), Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)|
|Religion||Eastern Orthodox 98%, Jewish 1.5%, Baptist and other 0.5% (2000)|
Moldova is a land locked country in Eastern Europe that is surrounded by Romania to the southwest, across the Prut river, and Ukraine to the northeast.
- Administrative divisions
It is divided into 32 Rayons: 1. Anenii Noi 2. Basarabeasca 3. Briceni 4. Cahul 5. Cantemir 6. Ca(la(ras,i 7. Ca(us,eni 8. Cimis,lia 9. Criuleni 10. Dondus,eni 11. Drochia 12. Duba(sari 13. Edinet, 14. Fales,ti 15. Flores,ti 16. Glodeni 17. H�nces,ti 18. Ialoveni 19. Leova 20. Nisporeni 21. Ocnit,a 22. Orhei 23. Rezina 24. R�s,cani 25. S�ngerei 26. Soroca 27. Stra(s,eni 28. S,olda(nes,ti 29. S,tefan Voda 30. Taraclia 31. Telenes,ti 32. Ungheni
An autonomous territorial unit (unitate teritoriala autonoma):
- Gagausia (Gagauzia)
And a territorial unit (unitate teritoriala):
- Transnistria (Stinga Nistrului) - Break-away region east of the Dniester River, on the Ukrainian border, where Russian forces are supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
- Chisinau - Capital - An administrative municipality (municipiul). A nice city to go and visit for some days, and to walk around in.
Moderate winters, warm summers.
Landlocked. Rolling steppe, gradual slope south towards the Black Sea. Well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone. Natural hazards : Experiences landslides (57 cases in 1998) due to extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods
- Elevation extremes
- lowest point: Dniester River 2 m
highest point: Dealul Balanesti 430 m
Formerly ruled by Romania, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union at the close of World War II.
- 27 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
- National holiday
- Independence Day, 27 August (1991)
- new constitution adopted 28 July 1994; replaces old Soviet constitution of 1979
Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a Communist as its president in 2001.
People from most nations need a visa for entering Moldova, obtainable at your local Moldovan embassy.
There is the occasional plane flying to Chisinau airport from Bucharest, Budapest as well as some other major European airports. Prices are relatively high (flying with Malev via Budapest seems the least expensive). Moldova has a domestic air company.
The cheapest way to get into the country is to take the overnight train from Chisinau with Bucharest, Kiev and most major Romanian and Ukrainian cities. You will also be able to travel to most European cities by bus with Moldovan bus companies.
The most reliable and extensive domestic transport is bus - you will get to most parts of the country.
Moldovans speak Moldovan (outside of the semi-autonomous region of Gagausia and the breakaway region of Transnistria), which is for all practical purposes the same as Romanian. Most people in the cities also speak Russian, although be a little careful of this - learn enough Moldovan to ask whether it is ok to speak Russian - there are still hard feelings about the Soviet Union in some places.
- Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian (official), Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
Moldova has a long local wines tradition. Especially the reds are popular throughout the country. Most Moldovan villagers grow their own grapes and press their own wine, and many agree the standard rural household will press 3-4,000 Litres a year!
The break-away region Transnistria has proclaimed itself a republic but lacks diplomatic recognition. Consequently, travellers lack consular support in case of emergency. Stay away until further notice.
If you do visit Transnistria, as a foreign citizen you should register with the Militia upon arrival. It can become difficult trying to leave if you have not done this.
The heavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, has contaminated soil and groundwater. If you are concerned, water for drinking, cooking and oral hygiene should be taken from a known safe source, as ordinary water treatment, including boiling, does not remove such chemical contamination.