It is one of the least known capitals of Europe. Plenty of surprises await the traveler curious enough to cross into the former USSR territory.The city is ethnically mixed: Romanians (Moldovans) represent 72% while Russians and Ukrainians represent 23% of city's population. Most Romanians call this region "Basarabia". The dispute about a future re-unification with Romania is always hot in Moldova.
Founded in 1436 as a monastery village, the city was part of the Moldavian Principality, that felt the Ottoman Empire's power. In 1812 it came under Russian imperial administration, which made it the capital the gubernia of Bessarabia. In the late 19th century, many Jews emigrated here (over 40% of the total population by 1900). Following the Russian October Revolution, the country declared independence and joined the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. In the chaos of the Second World War Chisinau was almost completely destroyed; it was occupied by the Red Army in 1940 then destroyed by an earthquake in the same year. The city was reconquered by the Romanian and German armies and then lost again to the Russians. By this point, the city had lost about 70% of its buildings. After the war, Bessarabia was integrated into the Soviet Union, becoming the Moldavian SSR and a reconstruction plan began; large-scale housing and palaces were built, in the style of Stalinist architecture.
Chisinau is surrounded by wine producing areas; some of them are famous around the world. It has an international airport, handling almost 1 million passengers. A few low-cost flights from Italy are available.
PARKS AND GARDENS Stefan cel Mare Gardens
...Stephen the Great is a public park, the oldest one in Chisinau. It was finished in 1835. There are 50 types of tree in the city, some of them are over 150 years old. The Zoological Garden
...is quite new, established in 1978 in the southern side of the city, close to the Botanical Gardens. 130 species call this place home. The Botanical Gardens
...was established in 1950 and has around 1 sq.km. It was moved a decade later to its present location. Valea Morilor Park
...it covers a 1 sq.km area and was founded in 1951. A large lake is placed in the center. Valea Trandafirilor Park
...Rose Valley Park is even bigger than Valea Morilor; there are cascades and a lake and over 50 kinds of trees, a concert space and restaurants. LANDMARKS The Metropolitan Cathedral
...it is a neoclassical building finished in 1836. It belongs to the Orthodox Church of Moldova. The City Gates
..."Portile Orasului" in Romanian are a building complex placed at the entrance to the city coming from the airport. It was built in the 80's by the Soviet authorities. The Armenian Church
...was built in 1803, it is dedicated to the local Orthodox Armenian community and it is one of the oldest ones in Chisinau. St. Pantelemon Church
...was built in the 19th century and it is designed in the Byzantine style. St. Teodora Church
...built in 1885, designed by the same architect as the previous one. Also see:
The Transfiguration Cathedral, St. Tiron Cathedral, The Catholic Church, St. Nicholas Church MUSEUMS The Village Museum
...it is an open-air museum trying to bring back the life in the 18th century Bessarabia. The park is 1,5 sq.km and hosts 165 buildings The History Museum
...founded in 1987, it has over 250.000 pieces and follows the entire history of the area. The Art Museum
...founded in 1939 by the local artists. It has over 30.000 pieces in the portfolio. The building is beautiful, decorated in Viennese baroque style. The National Museum of Archeology and Ethnography
...was founded in 1958 and it is organized in chronological order. The building that hosts the museum was made in 1905 and it is the only one designed in an Oriental style in Moldova. ARCHITECTURE
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has become a lively capital; many modern-style buildings were built; However, the old Soviet-style clusters of living blocks are still an extensive feature of the cityscape. Around the city center you can still find buildings older than the Soviet age. The proportion of green spaces in Chisinau is one of the highest among major European cities. EDUCATION
The most important universities in Moldova are located in the Chisinau. The State University is the most important one, along with the Technical University of Moldova and several other state and private ones.
MallDova Shopping, Megapolis Mall
The National Philarmonic
...founded in 1940, it is the most important in the country. It is not focused on classical music only but also on traditional music and jazz.
The National Theatre
...was established in 1920, when Chisinau, together with the entire country, was part of Romania. Lots of actors from Romania activated in this theatre.
The National Opera and Ballet
...first performance happened in 1956
The Organ Hall
...one of the most beautiful buildings in Chisinau, it was build a century ago in the Classical style; there is a a 3.000 pipes organ ready for concerts.
The Opera & Ballet Festival
...is organized by Chisinau every year. Artists from all around the world are invited to perform here.
Cronograf Film Festival
...focused on documentray movies, it is the only one in the country, and it's sponsored by TV5.
...every year in September brings together jazz bands from everywhere.