Moldova is a small country in Southeastern Europe bordered by Romania on the west and Ukraine n 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 centre. 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.

Ethnic Groups

Moldova’s population is made up of several ethnic groups. Three quarters of the people define themselves as ethnic Moldovans. Ethnic Ukrainians and Russians are the next largest groups. Russians migrated to Moldova after World War II and mainly settled in the cities. 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 groups also Bulgarians (2%), who live predominately in the south and Jews (1.4%), living in urban areas 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).


Mostly Eastern Orthodox Christian and other Christian denominations. A small amount of the population is Jewish.


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 1, 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, Swiss Francs, Romanian Lei, Ukrainian Hryvnia, Russian Rubles, and Turkish Lira.

Chişinau City

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 592,900 (2007) which grows to 911,400 in the entire metropolitan area.

Chişinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova, and its largest transportation hub. As the most economically and socially important municipality in Moldova, the city has a broad range of educational facilities.

Getting Around

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.

Taxis are plentiful in Chisinau. Fares for journeys within the city center should cost 50 lei. Fares from the city center to the airport will cost a bit more, typically 100-150 lei.


Local payphones are cheap and plentiful. They work by phonecards available at kiosks.

Mobile phone: 

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is generally good all over the country.

Internet: There are Internet cafes in main towns.

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