About Moldova

History of Moldova

The Republic of Moldova is a small country, favorably situated in the Southeast part of Europe, neighboring Romania to the West and Ukraine to the East. This piece of land boasts a rich history, abundant in dramatic and agitated events. From the XIV century it was a part of the Moldova Principality, situated between Oriental Carpathians and the Nistru river, in the north bounded by Hotin, and in the South – by the Low Danube and the Black Sea.
Following the Peace concluded in Bucharest, in 1812, a part of this territory was assigned to Czarist Russia, which called it Basarabia - an older name, earlier attributed to the southern part. The aim was to identify this territory as a separate geographic entity from the Moldova Principality. The Independence of the Democratic Republic of Moldova was proclaimed in January 1918. And later, on March 27 1918 it was decided to re-unite it with Romania. The next annexure process took place in 1940, following the Molotov - Ribbentrop summit. According to this Basarabia became part of the USSR and was proclaimed as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia. It comprised only nine Basarabian counties and six districts from the left bank of the Nistru River. The present territory of Moldova is smaller compared to the area attributed to Russian authorities in 1812, since the North Hotin, Acherman and the southern Ismail were given up in 1940 by the Soviet authorities to Ukraine. Due to the restructuring process that started in the Central and Eastern Europe, in June 1990 Moldova proclaimed its sovereignty, and on August 27, 1991 – its State Independence. In March 2, 1992, the Republic of Moldova became a member of the United Nations.

Traditions of Moldova

Moldova is a European Country, which has a rich ethnic history. The majority of the population are Moldavians (Romanians), but the following national minorities live on this territory too: Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Gagauzians, Russians, Germans, Greeks, and others. In Moldova many traditions are centuries old. It is hard to believe that the multi-ethnic character of the country still exists within the popular traditions. What’s more it has enriched them with new qualities, giving them a new color and transforming them into an original bunch of customs, rituals, and folklore present in Moldavian villages. In spite of the differences of nationalities, the people here have the most important quality – Hospitality. In Moldova every guest is received with a special warmth.
The householder will always serve his guest with great Moldavian wine and with the best dishes of food. Usually, the guests are invited into the “Casa Mare” (Big Room) – a traditional room in each house where people feast together. There are a lot of holidays in Moldova and everyone can join in them.
The Winter Holidays, for instance, feature greetings cards, best wishes, plays performed by both children and adults from one door to another, thus announcing with joy the coming of the New Year. Everybody is looking forward to Santa Claus to come on a sleigh filled with presents. Especially children prepare themselves for this event: they put on different costumes and masks and perform in front of the Christmas tree. In fact, at that period the holidays, following the traditional agricultural calendar coincide with the Christian festival of Christmas. Another very important traditional holiday is \"Martisor\" – the symbol of spring. In March everybody in Moldova hangs on their collar two knitted white and red ropes, which symbolize nature’s revival.
In Spring the most important holiday for our people is the Easter religions holiday. For this celebration people prepare in good time, they cook special food: Easter Cake and painted eggs and the best wine. In the course of time the painted eggs have become a handicraft art. A lot of traditional events in our country represent an amalgam of elements characteristic to the agricultural, religious and civil calendars, a mixture that was transformed in a permanent source of goodwill, warmth and hospitality in Moldova. During the holidays guests in Moldova can participate in a range of cultural events: concerts “Martisor”, “Ciresar”, “Maria Biesu Welcomes”, etc., performances, parades, mass manifestations on Independence Day, on “Limba Noastra” Day, on towns or villages’ Day, etc. On Harvest Days traditional fairs are organized in towns and villages. Especially during these holidays, tourists can get closer to the national folk and handcraft art.
We cannot speak about Moldova without mentioning the traditions of a family nature: weddings, celebrations, etc., which become real shows performed by guests and hosts.
In Moldavian villages “sezatorile” are very traditional social meetings, especially in the winter, where people sing, dance, and make handicrafts. It’s truly said that each guest in the “Casa Mare” of Moldova is a real friend.

Food and Drinks

Moldova is rich in fertile soil and in hardworking and caring people. Nature is very generous in Moldova, offering plentiful grapes, fruits, vegetables, meat and milk products and cereals, all of which have found their uses in our national food. The fertile soil and the traditional agricultural methods make possible the cultivation of a diverse range of ecologically pure raw materials. Moldavian cuisine has had a great influence on the traditional food of the other nationalities that live on this territory. At the same time some elements have been incorporated from Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Gagauzian and Russian cuisine, as well as elements taken some centuries ago from Greek and Turkish food.
The ingredients used in the traditional meals are: a variety of vegetables like tomatoes, green peppers, aubergines, white cabbage, beans, onions, garlic, etc. The vegetables are used for salads and sauces; they are baked, pickled, salted, and canned thus becoming a real food art. The maize and maize flour give a specific color to the traditional meals, like soups, biscuits, flakes, alcohol free drinks, etc. The most common is “mamaliga” – a maize porridge or polenta with a fine and delicious taste. \"Mamaliga\" is served together with diced meat, cheese, fried meat, cream, etc.
Meat cooked for the first and the second course has a special place in the Moldavian food. The most common are chicken soup, goulash, roast meat, grilled minced meat rolls, etc. A lot of meat courses are grilled over charcoal. But before the grilling procedure the meat is properly picked. There is not a holiday without cabbage rolls, meat jelly, noodles, etc. The traditional table is not complete without biscuits, pies, cake dipped in syrup and fruit.
In different parts of Moldova there are local cuisines. In the East the Ukrainians prefer borsch, in the south the Bulgarians can offer a delicious chicken sauce – mangea, and the Gagauzians may serve you sorpa – a spicy ram soup, and the Russians will offer you their traditional pelmeni – a kind of roll stuffed with meat.
The Moldavian cuisine is served with a variety of traditional drinks: stewed fruits, juices, as well as alcoholic drinks like: wine, brandy, \"tuica\" – plum brandy, etc.
Wine growing in Moldova is a century-old tradition. The famous Moldavian wines are well known and appreciated at home and far beyond the country borders. The wines can be dry, sweet and strong, they have a varied bouquet of flavours and colours. For wine producing European vines are used such as: Sauvignon, Cabernet, Muscat, etc., as well as Moldavian varieties: Feteasca, Black Rara, Moldova, etc. Strong drinks such as plum brandy, are produced using traditional methods. Wine tastings are offered in most Moldavian cellars.

National Symbols of Moldova

Flag - The State flag of the Republic of Moldova is a tricolour. The colours are arranged vertically in the following order from the flagpole: blue, yellow, red. The coast of arms is printed on the central yellow stripe of the tricolour.

Coat of arms - Moldova’s coat of arms consist of a shield divided horizontally into two parts: the upper part is red, and the lower part is blue with a superimposed auroch’s head showing, between its horns an eight-pointed star. On its right the auroch’s head is flanked by a five –petaled rose, and on its left by a slightly rotated crescent. All heraldic elements present on the shield are of golden (yellow) color. The shield is laid on the breast of a natural eagle holding in its break a golden cross, in its right claw a green olive-tree branch and in its left claw a golden scepter.

Geography of Moldova

Location: Eastern Europe, north-east of Romania

Geographic coordinates: 45o28’ - 48o28’ N, 26o40’ - 30o06’ E

total: 33,843 sq. km
land: 33,371 sq. km
water: 472 sq. km (main rivers: Danube, Nistru, Prut, Raut; main lakes: Beleu, Bic, Dracele)

Population: 4,264,300 inh. (126,2 inh./1 sq. Km)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,389 km
border countries: Romania 450 km, Ukraine 939 km

Coastline: 200 m at the south extreme point (Giurgiulesti) with the delta of the Danube river

Extreme points:
lowest point: Nistru River -2 m
highest point: Dealul Balanesti +430 m
north point: Naslavcea
south point: Giurgiulesti
west point: Criva
east point: Palanca

Climate: moderate winters (in January -4 -7 oC), warm summers (in July +25 +28 oC)

Terrain: Hilly steppes in the north & center (Codru), plain in the south (Bugeac Plain)

Natural resources: lignite, phosphorites, gypsum, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 53%
permanent crops: 14%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 9%
others: 11%

Soils: chernozemic (black soil), podzolic (forester soil)

Flora: 2300 species of wild plants (oak, beech, maple, linden)

Fauna: 68 species of mammals (fox, roe buck, deer, wild boar), 270 species of birds and more than 10 thousand species of invertebrates

Largest cities of Moldova

1Chisinau644,204 (2014)
2Tiraspol129,500 (2015)
3Balti102,457 (2014)
4Bender91,000 (2015)
5Ribnita46,000 (2015)
6Ungheni30,804 (2014)
7Cahul30,018 (2014)
8Soroca22,196 (2014)
9Orhei21,065 (2014)
10Dubasari25,700 (2011)
11Comrat20,113 (2014)
12Straseni18,376 (2014)
13Durlesti17,210 (2014)
14Ceadir-Lunga16,605 (2014)
15Causeni15,939 (2014)
16Codru15,934 (2014)
17Edinet15,520 (2014)
18Drochia13,150 (2014)
19Ialoveni12,515 (2014)
20Hincesti12,491 (2014)

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