Moldova - Eastern European country and former Soviet republic, has terrain encompassing forests, rocky hills and vineyards. It shares linguistic and cultural roots with its neighbor, Romania. Its wine regions include Nistreana, known for its reds, and Codru, home to some of the world’s largest cellars. The capital, Chișinău, has Soviet-style architecture and the National Museum of History, exhibiting ethnographic and art collections.
Moldova is essentially landlocked with rolling steppes gradually sloping south towards the Black Sea. It is well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone. Natural hazards are relatively few but there are frequent landslides due to extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods. The lowest point is the Dniester River at 2m above mean sea level, while the highest point of Dealul Balanesti is only 430m.
Independence - 27 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday - Independence Day, 27 August (1991)
Constitution - new constitution adopted 28 July 1994; replaces old Soviet constitution of 1979
Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting the Slavic population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
Chișinău - capital - an administrative municipality (municipiul). A nice city to go and visit for some days, and to walk around in.
Bălți - merits a visit as well as the capital. Nice pedestrian zone around the central square. Check out the old part of the city.
Soroca - known as the "Romani (Gypsy) capital of Moldova." The hill on the west side of town has numerous ornately decorated Roma houses. The city also boasts the Soroca fort built by Stefan cel Mare in 1499. It was an important link in the chain of fortifications which today are located in Moldova and Ukraine along the Nistru river. Hours can be sporadic especially in the winter. On the road into town, 5km to the south of Soroca there is a Monument called “The Candle of Gratitude”. One can reach the 29.5m (98 feet) summit by walking up the 600 stairs.
Tiraspol - Moldova's second largest city has a number of museums and a nice park along the Nistru river. Tiraspol is the capital of the break away region of Transnistria.