Chisinau, pronounced Ki-shi-now and also sometimes historically referred as Kishinev is the capital and largest city of Moldova. It is still a small city home to almost 800,000 residents.
Chisinau is very wealthy compared to the rest of the country, as Moldova is not a very rich country. As is common in developing countries, you are likely to see great disparities in wealth. It’s also very much a post-Soviet city, with both the good and bad qualities associated with it. By other side you’ll see many modern and great buildings of steel, concrete and glass.
Founded in 1436 as a monastery village, the city was part of the Principality of Moldavia, which, starting with the 16th century fell under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the 19th century it was a small town of 7,000 inhabitants. In 1812, in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812), the eastern part of Moldavia was ceded to the Russian Empire and Chișinău became the capital of the newly annexed gubernia of Bessarabia. Its population had grown to 92,000 by 1862 and to 125,787 by 1900.
WHAT TO SEE
Arch of triumph
Cathedral Park – Better known as Central Park, it is in the very centre. The centre is adorned with the Nativity Cathedral, the main church for the city. To the Southwest is the Triumph arch constructed in 1841 which is the center piece of The Great National Assembly Square. Across Stefan cel Mare Boulevard is the Government House. The city’s biggest flower market is on the north side of the park along Banulescu Bodoni street. At the intersection of Stefan cel Mare and Banulescu Bodoni is a statue of Stefan cel Mare.
Stefan Cel Mare Monument. The monument to Stephen III of Moldovia who in the 15th century achieved European fame by resisting the Turkish advances. The monument is the gateway to the beautiful park of the same name.
Rose Valley. A nine hectare park featuring three major lakes and several restaurants. To get here use lines T2, T3, T7, T9 or T10.
Riscani Park. A big, 32 hectare wooded park offering you pleasant, almost secluded walks. Use bus 5 or A.
Botanica Park. The most beautiful and the largest in Chisinau, situated near the Gates Of The City.
Parcul Valea Morilor. Very large park with a recently renovated lake and which offers acres of largely untouched countryside scenery in the heart of the city.
Parcul Dendrariu – A large park in Buiucani (which costs 2 lei to enter). Nice gardens, lake, forests and sports field.
Parcul Alunelul – Situated near a former Soviet theme park, this contains a strange door-less and window-less house, as well as a memorial to the pogroms in Chisinau in the first part of the 20th Century.
Jewish Cemetery in Buiucani – the cemetery is still in use. Contains new and very old graves, and used to be one of the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Bear in mind that at one point between 40 and 60% of Chisinau’s population was Jewish. It also contains an old destroyed synagogue and a monument for the Torah scrolls.
Courtyard on the corner of Str. 31 August & Str. Tighina 47, you can find here the Military Museum, containing all sorts of Soviet Era military vehicles (tanks, a MIG fighter jet, etc.)
Pushkin Museum, Str Anton Pann 19 – you can visit the house where Pushkin lived when in exile from Russia during the years 1820-23.
National Archaeology & History Museum, Str 31 August 1989, 121A – Spend a few hours exploring the exhibits.
National Ethnographic and Nature Museum, Str M Kogălniceanu 82
National Museum of Fine Arts, Str 31 August 1989, 115
Memorial Park – A little way-out of the center is the is a memorial commemorating the victory of the Soviet army in WWII. There is also an eternal flame in memory of Chişinău’s unknown soldiers who died in WWII. It’s behind the military and civilian cemeteries.
WHAT TO SEE
Opera and Ballet Theatre – catch a show of one of the top ballet companies in Eastern Europe. The company has toured all over the world, from Tokyo to Johannesburg. Show times and information can be found at their website
WINE & DINE
If you decided to have a quiet and pleasant evening, you can go to a restaurant. There are lot of different cafés and restaurants with traditional, European and Oriental cuisine: Pani Pit, Grill House, El Paso, Green Hills Nistru, Barracuda, Velgar, Pegas, Popasul Dacilor, Crasma, Robert’s Coffee and Zen Sushi etc. For the dance and loud music fans, there are a lot of clubs and discos: Cocos Prive, Drive, Famous, City, Graffiti, Dance Planet, Chico Chilout and Velvet. Etc.