Moldova tourist information
Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A strip of Moldova's internationally recognized territory on the east bank of the river Dniester has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990.
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The nation is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. Moldova is a member state of the United Nations, Council of Europe, WTO, OSCE, GUAM, CIS, BSEC and other international organizations. Moldova currently aspires to join the European Union, and has implemented the first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).
Moldova lies between latitudes 45Â° and 49Â° N, and mostly between meridians 26Â° and 30Â° E (a small area lies east of 30Â°).
The largest part of the nation lies between two rivers, the Dniester and the Prut. The western border of Moldova is formed by the Prut river, which joins the Danube before flowing into the Black Sea. Moldova has access to the Danube for only about 480 m (1,575 ft), and GiurgiuleÅŸti is the only Moldovan port on the Danube. In the east, the Dniester is the main river, flowing through the country from north to south, receiving the waters of RÄƒut, BÃ¢c, Ichel, Botna. Ialpug flows into one of the Danube limans, while CogÃ¢lnic into the Black Sea chain of limans.
The country is landlocked, even though it is very close to the Black Sea. While most of the country is hilly, elevations never exceed 430 m (1,411 ft) â€” the highest point being the BÄƒlÄƒneÅŸti Hill. Moldova's hills are part of the Moldavian Plateau, which geologically originate from the Carpathian Mountains. Its subdivisions in Moldova include Dniester Hills (Northern Moldavian Hills and Dniester Ridge), Moldavian Plain (Middle Prut Valley and BÄƒlÅ£i Steppe), and Central Moldavian Plateau (Ciuluc-SoloneÅ£ Hills, CorneÅŸti Hills (Codri Massive; "Codri" meaning "forests"), Lower Dniester Hills, Lower Prut Valley, and Tigheci Hills). In the south, the country has a small flatland, the Bugeac Plain. The territory of Moldova east of the river Dniester is split between parts of the Podolian Plateau, and parts of the Eurasian Steppe.
The country's main cities are the capital ChiÅŸinÄƒu, in the center of the country, Tiraspol (in the eastern region of Transnistria), BÄƒlÅ£i (in the north) and Bender (in the south-east). Comrat is the administrative center of Gagauzia.
Moldova is known for its wines. For many years viticulture and winemaking in Moldova were the general occupation of the population. Evidence of this is present in historical memorials and documents, folklore, and the Moldovan spoken language.
The country has a well established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 147,000 hectares (360,000 acres), of which 102,500 ha (253,000 acres) are used for commercial production. Most of the country's wine production is made for export. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations.
Moldova consumes the highest amount of alcohol per capita in the world.
Tourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its history. Wine tours are offered to tourists across the country. Vineyards/cellars include Cricova, Purcari, Ciumai, Romanesti, CojuÅŸna, Milestii Mici.
The main means of transportation in Moldova are railroads 1,138 km (707 mi) and a highway system (12,730 km/7,910 mi overall, including 10,937 km/6,796 mi of paved surfaces). The sole international air gateway of Moldova is the ChiÅŸinÄƒu International Airport. The GiurgiuleÅŸti terminal on the Danube is compatible with small seagoing vessels. Shipping on the lower Prut and Nistru rivers plays only a modest role in the country's transportation system.
Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and other cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining some of the traditions of its neighbors and of other influence sources.
The country's cultural heritage was marked by numerous churches and monasteries built by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great in the 15th century, by the works of the later renaissance Metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei, and those of scholars such as Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin, Nicolae Milescu, Dimitrie Cantemir, Ion Neculce. In the 19th century, Moldavians from the territories of the medieval Principality of Moldavia, then split between Austria, Russia, and an Ottoman-vassal Moldavia (after 1859, Romania), made a significant contribution to the formation of the modern Romanian culture. Among these were many Bessarabians, such as Alexandru Donici, Alexandru HÃ¢jdeu, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, Constantin Stamati, Constantin Stamati-Ciurea, Costache Negruzzi, Alecu Russo, Constantin Stere.
Mihai Eminescu, a late Romantic poet, and Ion CreangÄƒ, a writer, are the most influential Romanian language artists, considered national writers both in Romania and Moldova.
The largest ethnic group is a speaker of Romanian and share the Romanian culture. Their culture has been also influenced (through Eastern Orthodoxy) by the Byzantine culture.
The country has also important minority ethnic communities. Gagauz, 4.4% of the population, are Christian Turkic people. Greeks, Armenians, Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, although not numerous, were present since as early as 17th century, and had left cultural marks. The 19th century saw the arrival of many more Ukrainians and Jews from Podolia and Galicia, as well as new communities, such as Lipovans, Bulgarians and Bessarabian Germans.
In the second part of the 20th century, Moldova saw a massive Soviet immigration, which brought with it many elements of Soviet culture.
Moldovan culture was also influenced by historic minority ethnic communities, and in turn has had an influence on the culture of these groups, such as Bessarabian Germans and Bessarabian Jews.
Food and beverage
Moldovan cuisine is similar to neighboring Romania's, and has been influenced by elements of Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian cuisine. Main dishes include beef, pork, potatoes, cabbage, and a variety of cereals. Popular alcoholic beverages are divin (Moldovan brandy) and local wines.
Total recorded adult alcohol consumption is approximately evenly split between spirits, beer and wine; and the average annual adult per capita consumption, in terms of pure alcohol, in 2003â€“2005, was 18.2 litres, the highest in the world.