The country of Moldova is also known as Moldavia and officially as the Republic of Moldova. It’s a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south.
The capital is Chisinau with impressive Soviet-style architecture and many amazing landmarks such as the neo-Classical Nativity Cathedral. The city is the largest in Modova and its main transport hub. Chisinau dates back to 1420, a great deal of it was leveled in WW II and during an earthquake in 1940. From the 1950s onward it was rebuilt in Soviet style.
Stefan cel Mare Central Park is the main park in Central Chisinau. It was formerly known as Pushkin Park. This is the oldest park in Moldova and stretches for 7 hectares. Residents have nicknamed it “The Park of the Lovers’” since it is a popular meeting place for couples. The park has 50 species of trees among which the mulberries and acacias are between 130 and 180 years old.
At the entrance to the park is the statue of Stefan cel Mare or Stephan the Great erected in 1928. This monument was designed by sculptor Alexandru Plamadeata. He was Moldova’s greatest medieval prince and ubiquitous symbol of Moldova’s brave past.
The main entrance to the park is marked by the Holy Gates or also known as Chisinau’s Arc de Triomphe. The arc dates from the 1840s and marks the centre of the city. It was built to commemorate the victory of the Russian army over the Ottoman Empire. It is often draped with the Moldovan flag in the middle.
There are merry-go-rounds and swings for children. As you go walking you’ll see that there are various stalls that sell kvass, wine, fruit and sweets. During WW II a communal grave to Soviet soldiers was established here. There is the wooden, two-theater Rodina cinema, a gymnasium and a hothouse.
The park has four fountains with the main one located right in the center, where all the paths and alleys meet.
The Avenue of the Classics of Moldovan Literature was opened in the park in 1958. Here you can see the statues and busts of Romanian and Moldovan authors and social figures. The entrance to the avenue is guarded by marble lions.
During Soviet times, the Alley of Friendship was created. Here prominent guest of the city planted trees. In 2009 free park WiFi access was launched.
The highlight of the park is the Nativity of Christ Metropolitan Cathedral. Dating from the 1830s with its lovely bell tower. This is the city’s main Moldovan Orthodox church. It has rich interior frescoes.
Facing the statue of Stephan the Great is the Parliament House.
Opposite the Parliament House you’ll find the impressive Presidential Palace.
The Army Museum has found its home in the Center of Culture and Military History. The museum offers an exhibit on Soviet-era repression with stories of Red Terror, forced famines, mass deportations and gulag slave labor all told through photos, videos, newspaper clippings and dioramas. On display are interrogation rooms and items including Soviet propaganda posters and Cheka and NKVD uniforms.
The National Museum of Ethnography & Natural History offers such fascinating displays as the life-size reconstruction of the skeleton of a dinothere, an 8-tonne elephant-like mammal that lived during the Pliocene epoch. There are dioramas of national costumes.
The National Art Museum displays an interesting collection of contemporary European art, folk art and medieval items. At times there are also temporary exhibitions.
The Pushkin Museum is where Russia’s national poet Alexander Pushkin spent three years exiled between 1820 and 1823. Visitors can see his tiny cottage, filled with original furnishings and personal items, including a portrait of his beloved Byron on his writing desk. In the building facing the cottage is a three-room literary museum which documents Pushkin’s life. It was here that he wrote “The Prisoner of the Caucasus” English-language excursions have to be booked in advance.
For free tasting tours you have to call ahead to register at the Chisinau Brewery. This brewery is the oldest in Moldova and make the popular Chisinau Beer. Today the brewery is owned by Turkish beer giant Efes. It is located just east of the center in Ciocana.
Repression Memorial is a unique monument to the victims of mass deportation under Stalin.
The Government House is where the cabinet meets. This is a massive building that stand opposite the Arc de Triomphe. It is noted for its Soviet-style architecture.
The National Library is a building worth taking a look at. The area in front of the library has many cafes.
The Chișinău Botanical Garden was established in 1973 and stretches for 83 hectares. It is located in the Durlesti Creek Valley. The garden has sectors with elements of forest vegetation in Moldova. Among the woody species rare for Moldova grow – Ginkgo biloba, Tsuga Canadian Douglas fir, cypress Arizona larch and others.
Valley Mills Park was established in 1950 and originally known as the “Central Park of Culture and Rest Leninist Komsomol”. The park is in a lovely location on the shores of Lake Mills Valley. In the park you can find many different species of trees such as chestnuts, acacia and maple among others. The lake has carps and ducks swim upon the water. The park has a summer theater, children’s town “Andries” beach and station boats.
Cascade scale of the park has 218 steps and is longer than the famous scale of Potemkin in Odessa which has 200.
The Chisinau Water Tower is an architectural monument. It was built at the end of the 19th century and was a main part of the city’s water system.
Chisinau Zoo among the animals here you can see the Przewalski horse, Banteng tiger, Turkmen kulan, European beaver and others. There are also many different species of birds such as the step eagle, black vulture and mandarin duck.
A large pond surrounded by greenery has become home to a variety of waterfowl such as geese, ducks and mute swans. On the banks visitors delight to see long-legged storks and herons.
Feeding the animals is forbidden but under the supervision of zoo staff you can feed curious Bactrian camels and the Markhor.
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