Moldova is a small country in Southeastern Europe bordered by Romania on the west and Ukraine in the north, east, and south. Moldova has a total surface area of 33,843 square kilometers (13,067 square miles). It is landlocked, even though it is very close to the Black Sea. The capital, Chişinau, is situated in the center of the country.
Chişinău has a continental climate, characterized by hot dry summers and windy winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0 °C (32 °F), although they rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). In summer, the average temperature is approximately 25 °C (77 °F), however, temperatures sometimes reach 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F) in mid-summer in the city center. Spring and autumn temperatures vary between 16 to 24 °C (61 to 75 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be lower than in summer but with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.
Moldova’s population is made up of several ethnic groups. Three quarters of the people – native population – define themselves as Moldovans and over 7% as Romanians. Ethnic Ukrainians and Russians are the next largest groups. Just less than 5% of the population are Gagauz (Turkic people) living mostly in southern Moldova in the autonomous territory of Gagauzia. The people speak Gagauz, a Turkish dialect, in addition to Russian. Other small ethnic group is Bulgarians (2%), who live predominately in the south of Moldova. There is also a sizeable Gypsy, or Roma, community in the far north of Moldova.
The official language is Romanian. It is Romance language which is derived from Latin and is written using the Latin alphabet. In 1938, the Soviet government mandated that the Cyrillic alphabet to be used. In 1989, the Latin alphabet was reinstated.
Russian is the second most widely spoken language in Moldova today. The Russian language has been given the status of a “language of interethnic communication” (alongside the official language).
The most common denomination is Orthodoxy ( Eastern Orthodox Christians ) it covers more than 96 % of population of the country. Also, other faiths and religious movements are present in the country: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.
Getting in Moldova
There are few ways to do that: by plane, by train and by bus.
This way is the quickest one to come to Moldova. There is the only international airport in Moldova which is located in Chisinau, the capital of the country. There are direct flights to Chisinau from Moscow, Bucharest, Kiev, London, Istanbul, Timisoara, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Prague and other cities.
If you want to visit the official web page of the International Airport Chisinau please click here.
The train is the cheapest way to come to Moldova. Unlike by plane you may come not just to the capital of Moldova but also to other cities of the country. There are daily trains connecting Moldova with Romania (Bucharest), Ukraine (Odessa & beyond) and Russia(Moscow, Sankt-Petersburg).
Buses are widely used for going to Moldova or from Moldova to other countries. Moldavian bus companies offer trips to most European cities. There’s regular bus connection with Bucharest. There are about five buses every day. However, a big disadvantage is that you should stay longer at the border. So, a trip by bus from Bucharest usually takes about 10 hours.
Moldova’s currency is the Leu (pl. lei), abbreviated MDL. Moldovan banknotes are denominated into 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 lei notes. One leu is comprised of 100 bani. Coins are denominated into 5, 10, 25, and 50 bani coins.
Foreign currencies may be exchanged at banks or at exchange offices (casa de schimb or birou de schimb valutar). Most exchange offices only exchange Euros, U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, Romanian Lei, Ukrainian Hryvnia and Russian Rubles.
Chişinău (Romanian pronunciation: [kiʃiˈnəw]; or Kishinev (before 1991), Russian: Кишинёв, Kishinyov), is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country. The population of the city is 685,900 (2017) which grows to 820,000 in the entire metropolitan area.
Chişinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova, and its largest transportation hub. Chisinau is also the cultural capital of the republic. There are 11 theaters, 9 museums, 5 concert halls, 25 universities and 39 libraries in the city
Within Chisinau, trolley buses, buses and mini-buses are convenient and inexpensive means of getting around. The trolley bus fare is 2 lei per ride and the bus and mini-bauss fare 3 lei per ride.
The taxi can be ordered by phone or through a ride-hailing application (try Yandex taxi or iTaxi). The phone numbers of all taxi companies have 5 digits and start with 14: 14222, 14428 14008, 14499, etc. Fares for journeys within the city center should cost 70 lei. Fares from the city center to the airport will cost a bit more, typically 100-180 lei.
Telecommunications in Moldova are maintained at a very high performance level.
Mobile communications in Moldova are also very well developed. The largest operators are Orange and Moldcell – they hold approximately 90% of the market. Then there is Unite, from the national telecommunications company – Moldtelecom, but this company uses CDMA technology instead of GSM. The quality of the signal is slightly lower but the accessibility is far ahead.
Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is generally good all over the country.
As for internet connection, Moldova is ahead of many western countries by both upload and download speeds, including Germany, Great Britain, France, and United States. You can enjoy the WI-FI areas downtown Chisinau, as well as in many cafes and restaurants of the city.