Welcome to Moldova

We look forward to welcoming you to Moldova, a small country that captivates visitors with our exceptional wines, delicious traditional Moldovan cuisine, and cherished traditions that we love sharing with others. 

“Hospitality” has always been Moldovans’ middle name and forms such an important part of our culture. Although Moldova is still not very well known yet, we’ve been working hard these last few years to spread the word on why visit Moldova. As a result, we’re excited to see more travelers are visiting to experience some of this authentic hospitality themselves, whether in the Moldovan countryside, along one of our famous wine routes, or in the capital city, Chisinau. And we invite you to be our guest in Moldova, whether for the first time or to be our guest again.

As Moldova is still a relatively undiscovered country, we wanted to share more information with you about Moldova so you can learn more about us, from Moldovan history, location and geography to our languages, population and other useful facts about the country.  Be sure to also check out all the places to visit and things to do in Moldova, as well as other practical travel tips to help you plan your trip.

Best Time to Visit Moldova

What’s the best time to visit Moldova? Anytime!

Moldovan summers are long and warm, and winters mild and dry. In January, the temperature rarely drops below -4 ° Celsius, or 25 Fahrenheit. Most of our rain comes in early summer and October. It does not rain often in Moldova, but when it does, watch out — there can be a deluge.

History of Moldova

Archaeological finds show that Moldovans are an ancient people, with a civilization going back to the Stone Age. Our beautiful local pottery dates to the Copper Age, when the Cucuteni-Tripolie culture flourished.

In the First Century A.D., the territory was populated by Dacian tribes, which Rome’s Emperor Traijan considered a threat and decided to conquer. Present-day Romania, which was part of the conquered territory, got its name from the Roman Empire.

In 1359 the military overlord Bogdan I founded the feudal state of Moldova between the Carpathian Mountains, the Nistru River, the Danube and the Black Sea.

If you want to charm Moldovans, tell them you have heard of Stephen the Great. He is the most important character in the country’s history, reigning from 1457 to 1504.

In 1812, the swath of Moldovan territory between the Prut and Nistru Rivers known as Bessarabia became a Russian protectorate. It retained that status for 106 years.

In 1918, Bessarabia opted to become part of Romania. But in 1940, after Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, dividing much of Eastern Europe between them, the Soviets annexed Moldova.

The Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic gave way to an independent Moldova on August 27, 1991.In 2005, Moldova shifted its political orientation toward Western Europe by becoming the first former Soviet country to adopt a European Union action plan, under which it would join the economic and political alliance someday. Moldova has been steadily embracing the principles necessary for it to become an EU member.

Moldova’s Location and Geography

“Where is Moldova, anyway?” you ask. We are a small country in Southeast Europe whose neighbors are Romania and Ukraine. Most of our territory lies between two rivers — the Prut and Nistru.

What’s the best time to visit? Anytime! Moldovan summers are long and warm, and winters mild and dry. In January, the temperature rarely drops below -4 ° Celsius, or 25 Fahrenheit. Most of our rain comes in early summer and October. It does not rain often in Moldova, but when it does, watch out — there can be a deluge.

Moldovan has black, mineral-rich soil called chernozem. Because of our fertile land, Moldova was known as the Garden of the Soviet Union, feeding the other Soviet republics with the most delicious fruits and vegetables imaginable. Rumor had it that other republics sneaked trucks into Moldova to scoop up our soil for their less fertile environs. Moldova is still a strong agricultural country today and when you visit you can taste this richness and freshness in our vegetables, fruits and natural products. 

If you like rolling hills of  agricultural landscapes, with vineyards, huge sunflowers, and shimmering wheat or rape fields, you will love Moldova.

Moldovans are also proud of their forests, or Codri. There you will find peace and tranquility, along with deer, foxes, wild cats, rare mammals like ermine, and hundreds of bird species. In the old days, we did not have just one Robin Hood who defended the poor, but we had many. They were called Haiduks. They hid in the Codri, where no one could catch them. Like Haiduks, Moldovans still enjoy spending the weekends in the woods today and nature still plays an important role in local culture and traditions.

Population and Languages in Moldova

Moldova’s population is just under 3 million people, so there is plenty of room for guests! Although our country is small at only 33,843 square kilometers, we have a lot of different ethnic groups who share it and call it home, including Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauz, Bulgarians, Roma and Jews. We are a country that welcomes everyone. You will feel this genuine hospitality  when you’re here.

Almost every Moldovan you meet will speak at least two languages. More than half of Moldovans speak Romanian and almost as many people speak Russian. In addition, many Moldovans speak English, Italian or other foreign languages so you will always find someone you can talk to when you visit. 

Today, the Romanian language is spoken only in Romania and Moldova and we celebrate the Romanian language on August 31 asan important Moldovan holiday.  Romanian is a romance language and many international visitors say it  has the feel of  French or Italian. So enjoy the opportunity to be in a country with such a beautiful and rare language.

Russian is the second most widely used language in Moldova as there are many ethnic Russians living here and also because of our history in the Soviet Union. The government has given it the status of a “language of interethnic communication,” along with the official language, Romanian. Other languages that Moldovans speak include Ukrainian, Gagauz and Bulgarian​. Because of the many Ukrainian speakers in Transnistria, it has been declared an official language in that region. The same is true of Gagauz in the Gagauzia region.

If you know how to say “Hello, thank you, cheers! and down the hatch!” in one of our different languages you will be welcome in any home. And if you tell the host that our greatest poet is Mihai Eminescu, you will get a glass of wine the moment you enter his home.

Faith is a cornerstone of Moldovan life, and one sign of that is the dozens of beautiful  churches on the streets of the capital, Chisinau. Most Moldovans are Orthodox Christian. Many attend church regularly, observe religious holidays, and fast. Christmas and Easter are the most important Moldovan holidays. To make the winter holiday season even more fun, we celebrate two Christmases and two New Year’s Eves — the early ones that Western Europe observes and the Orthodox ones. Why not? We love to celebrate and be with our family and friends.

We have a phrase for this happy-go-lucky approach to life: We’re not slowing down for anything!

Useful Facts about Moldova

  • Moldova’s most important national holidays are Independence Day on August 27 and Romanian Language Day on August 31. Why celebrate the Romanian language? It’s the language  most Moldovans speak and it is very connected to our cultural heritage and identity. 
  • Few Moldovans smile at strangers, but don’t let that deter you from getting to know them. Once they know you, you will find them friendly and incredibly hospitable. Moldovans go all out to please guests, offering them great homemade food, the best wine in their cellars and partying that can last until the wee hours of the morning.Faith is important to Moldovans. The Soviet Union’s effort to stamp out religion didn’t work in our country and 86 percent of us say we are Christians.
  • Many Moldovans observe both the old and new Orthodox religious calendars. This means they celebrate Christmas and New Year’s twice. What a deal! If you go to those celebrations, be sure to bring the host some sweets, a bottle of wine or another gift.