Welcome to Moldova
We’re waiting for you in Moldova, a country that captivates visitors with exceptional wines, scrumptious homemade cuisine, and cherished traditions that we love sharing with others.
Not only can we promise you an unforgettable experience when you visit, but one you can share with friends and family in real time – because we have a first-rate Internet!
“Hospitality” has always been Moldovans’ middle name. In the past few years, we’ve been working hard to spread the word on this, and as a result, our tourism is thriving.
What’s our main pitch to convince you to come?
That you’ll enjoy the kind of authentic, grassroots experiences that fewer and fewer countries offer. Life in Moldova is still simple, peaceful and untouched by globalization.
When you come, you can get a taste of living like a local by tending sheep in the field, milking cows, picking cherries from a tree, squeezing grapes with a wine press, frolicking at a festival, and making new friends over an extraordinary glass of wine.
In Moldova we know how to have fun, and we’ll make sure you do, too. If you like adventure, we will take you kayaking on the Dniester River, cycling in Codri, paragliding at Orheiul Vechi, picking lavender from fragrant purple fields, and kicking up your heels at a traditional Moldovan wedding. All of these will make you wonder why you took so long to discover Moldova.
If you want a more chilled-out vacation, we will take you on tours of wineries or monasteries. Our friendly rural folk will enthrall you with the history of their area while serving you fresh, locally produced food and wine that you won’t soon forget.
Moldova is nestled between Ukraine and Romania, a little north of where the celebrated Danube River flows into the Black Sea. Visitors say we are a hidden jewel that far too many travelers have yet to discover. We are trying to change that. We want to introduce a lot more international guests to our country’s delights, while increasing our global tourism profile.
We’ve been pleased to see a surge in visitors from such countries as Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Poland and Romania in the past few years. But we don’t want to stop there. We won’t be satisfied until people from a lot of other places learn about us – and decide to see for themselves what an unforgettable escape to our part of Eastern Europe is like.
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.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
“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.
If you like pristine 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 many. They were called Haiduks. They hid in the Codri, where no one could catch them. Like Haiduks, Moldovans enjoy spending the weekends in the woods. You will often see a parked car on the edge of a Codri road and hear the sounds of a loud picnic with barbecue and beer.
POPULATION AND LANGUAGES
Moldova has about 3 million people, so there is plenty of room for guests! A lot of ethnic groups share our 33,843 square kilometers, including Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauz, Bulgarians, Roma and Jews. We are a country that welcomes everyone. You will feel it when you’re here.
More than half of Moldovans speak Romanian and almost as many Russian. If you know how to say “Hello, thank you, cheers! and down the hatch!” you will be welcome in any home. And if you tell the host that our greatest poet is Mihai Eminescu, you will get aglass of wine the moment you enter his home.
These days the Romanian language is spoken only in Romania and Moldova. August 31 is an important Moldovan holiday — a day celebrating the Romanian language. Many international visitors say Romanian has the feel of a romance language like French. 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. 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.
Faith is a cornerstone of Moldovan life, and one sign of that is dozens of sumptuous churches on the streets of the capital, Chisinau. Most Moldovans are 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 party. We have a phrase for this happy-go-lucky approach to life: We’re not slowing down for anything!
GOOD TO KNOW
- 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 one that most Moldovans speak.
- Romanian and Russian are Moldova’s most widely spoken languages. Although many young people speak English and French, they are still in the minority, so for a smoother Moldova visit, buy a Romanian-English or Russian-English dictionary.
- Few Moldovans smile at strangers. But once they know you, you will find them friendly and hospitable. Moldovans go all out to please guests, offering them great food, the best wine in their cellars and partying that can last until the wee hours.
- Faith is important to Moldovans. The Soviet Union’s effort to stamp out religion didn’t work in our country, where 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 hosts sweets, a bottle of wine or another gift.