Moldova – land of sunshine, grapes and wine
Moldova is a country in south-central Europe. Its official name is Republic of Moldova. Its area is 33,843 square kilometers. The country borders Romania and Ukraine. Moldova is a landlocked nation and thus borders no oceans or seas.
On the map, Moldavia looks something like a bunch of grapes—highly appropriate for a country famed for its vineyards. It is a land of sunshine, grapes and wine.
From 700 B.C. until A.D. 200, the region that is now Moldova was under the control of the Scythians and later the Sarmatians. From about A.D. 200 until the thirteenth century the Goths, Huns, Avars, and the Mongols or Tatars ruled the area. In the mid-fourteenth century the people of Moldova united and formed an independent state – the principality of Moldavia.
By the early sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire gained control of the principality of Moldavia. They ruled the region until 1812, when Russia took control of Bessarabia. In 1861, the principality of Moldavia and the principality of Walachia united. After World War I Bessarabia became part of Romania. From 1940 to 1991, Moldova was a republic of the Soviet Union, when it was called the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, or simply Moldavia. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and the republic declared its independence.
Mount Balănesti is the highest point on mainland (430 meters).
Moldova has more than three thousand rivers and streams, but only eight are longer than 100 kilometers. Dniester is the longest river (1400 km) and the second longest river is the Prut.
The largest cave is the Emil Racovita Cave.
Chișinău (Kishinev) is the capital of the country and its largest city. It is located in the eastern foothills of the Codri range. Residents tell you their city, like Rome, is built on seven hills. And as the god Bacchus likes hills and slopes, the fertile hills around Kishinev are ideal for producing wines, especially champagne.
The majority of the population are Moldavians. The rest include Ukrainians, Russians, Bulgarians, Gagauzi, Armenians, Jews and Gypsies. The people of Moldavia have long been known for their hospitality. They are always happy to invite visitors into their homes. A guest is always offered fragrant home-made wine, succulent barbecued pork, perhaps a cold chicken with garlic, and a variety of vegetables. A speciality of Moldavia is the famous mamaliga—a thick corn- meal porridge served with sour cream, brinza (goat’s milk cheese) or onions fried in lard.
Moldavia is a land of melodious songs and fiery folk dances. Singing can always be heard in the vineyards and orchards. In the evenings, especially on holidays, violins and tambourines are heard in every village. Moldavian music and dances are highly distinctive, vivid and spirited.