The heart of Moldova, a charming country located between Romania and Ukraine, is without a doubt Chisinau, a capital city. Even though it is still the least visited city in Europe (annually around 145 000 thousand people visit Moldova), Chisinau slowly but surely becomes more and more popular among tourists. What attracts tourists and makes them visit the capital of Moldova? I believe it is a chance to explore new routes and observe significantly different traditions and attitude to life among the European counties that motivate people to visit Chisinau. But let’s start at the beginning and explore a bit of the capital of Moldova.
Chisinau in numbers
I don’t know why but there is a tendency online to reflect information about any city in numbers. So consider the next information your homework. Chisinau was founded in 1436. The area of Moldovan capital is 123 sq km and the population is about 669 thousand. Now we can move on.
Stefan Cel Mare Street
It does not really matter how you arrive at Chisinau, by bus, by train or by plane it can take you approx. 30-40 minutes to rich the city center. You can start visiting the city center by walking up the Stefan Cel Mare* St., which is the city main street. Here you can find some governmental offices, cultural attractions, restaurants, flea market next to the Organ Hall and everything else which is supposed to be in the main city street. Look around, some of the buildings are rather peculiar. *Historical note.
Ștefan cel Mare or Stephen III of Moldova is one of the most important historical figures in Moldovan history, who stood for the central authority strengthening. And his image is also depicted on Moldovan banknotes, which is called lei.
Chisinau’s main square
Walking through the Stefan Cel Mare St., you will eventually find Great National Assembly Square, which is Chisinau’s main square. In front of it, there is the Triumphal arch built in 1840 in honor of the Russian Empire’s Victory in the Russo-Turkish War. The main orthodox cathedral of Christ’s Nativity and its belfry, both built in a neoclassical manner, is situated on the square, just behind the Triumphal Arch. Unfortunately, both the cathedral and belfry were severely damaged and almost demolished during World War II and communist time, but now it is fully renewed and looks quite impressive. Without a doubt, this place is the calling card of Chisinau and Moldova. Take a picture in front of the bell tower and join the tourists all over the world. Tip #1.
Next to the main square, there is a tourist information point, and there you can find out more about different excursions within Moldova. On the opposite side of the square just behind the Stefan Cel Mare monument, there is a square park with a lovely fountain. Once it was known as Pushkin Park (the well-known Russian poet spent some time in Chisinau; however, it wasn’t the best time for him, as he lived there in exile) and that’s why there is a small statue of the great poet in the middle of the park right next to the fountain.
Cafes on Pushkin street
After visiting Stefan Cel Mare Park take Pushkin Street for gastronomic reasons. Various cafes will pop up on your way. They can surprise you with the original and creative interior, delicious menu and cozy atmosphere. Every time I go to Chisinau I visit new cafes, and I just love everything about them. Tip #2.
Many cafes also provide vegetarian and vegan menu. Tip #3.
I bet you find the prices to be really friendly.
Looking for some history? A lot of museums in the city center of Chisinau are waiting for you to share their stories. But if you are not going to stay there for a while, consider visiting the City Museum in Water Tower. Besides observing the museum, enjoy the beautiful panoramic view from the Tower. How can you say that you visited a city if you haven’t seen it from the observation deck?
If you want to find a real Moldovan character, you need to consider visiting a Moldovan city market or bazar, the biggest one is called Piaţa Centrală. Not to go into details, it can blow your mind. The way it’s organized, the way people are used to behaving here and the way the trade is going here will tell you more about Moldova than anything else. Tip #4.
Try some fruit and vegetables, they are grown in friendly conditions, and they are more than just delicious.
Valea Morilor Park
Valea Morilor Park should totally be on every tourist’s itinerary. The park is situated not so far from the city center, so you can easily reach it. The park was fully restored 2 years ago, and thanks to that restoration there is a charming and impressive entrance to the park with an elegant rotunda and fountain cascade. The park is arranged around the lovely lake. So you can go around the whole lake and enjoy different views. While walking pay attention to the railing, a small surprise is hidden there: a statue of The Little Prince was placed there a year ago.
Wine: taste Moldova
Despite all the pleasures for the eye and the ear you can find in Moldova, the best way to experience this country is to taste it. Moldova is famous all over the world for its delicious wine. So lucky you! Plenty of local wineries are open to tourists. The cool thing is that the wineries are not far away from Chisinau, and you can get there like in hours or two. Many wineries are decorated in a national style, they look very colorful. And what is more important, wineries provide some excursion to the underground wine cellar and, obviously, wine testing. Visiting Chisinau is a great opportunity to meet different and unexplored European culture. Find the new routes and experience new impressions here in Chisinau. Have a nice trip to Chisinau, or as we say in Moldova Drum bun!