Capital

Chisinau

Population

4.03 million

Dialing code

+373

Currency

Moldovan Leu
Moldova officially the Republic of Moldova is located in Southeastern Europe between Prut and Dniester Rivers having on the map a shape that resembles a bunch of grapes. Lying near the Black Sea, where winemaking is thought to have begun, Moldova is known for its wine crafted with dedication through centuries and its wineries that gained worldwide fame, but there are many more interesting things to be discovered about the country.
Bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south, it covers an area of 33,851 km2 and lies between latitudes 45°28' and 48°28' North (350 km), and mostly between meridians 26°40' and 30°06' East (150 km). The Prut River that forms the western border of the country with Romania joins the Danube before flowing into the Black Sea. Moldova’s access to the Danube (480 m) is of more great importance, as it opened the direct access of the country to international waters. Its port on the Danube - Giurgiulesti International Free Port, built in 2006 and the passenger terminal, have allowed the cruise ships to reach Moldova on the river and to dock in the port while the tourists discover the south of the country. The close proximity of the country to the Black Sea, favoured it to belong to the group of countries located in the Black Sea Basin, having access to the sea through the Danube River and the Dniester estuary (liman).
Extreme points:
Northernmost point: Naslavcea - 48°28' N lat.;
Southernmost point: Giurgiulesti - 45°28' N lat.;
Westernmost point: Criva - 26°40' E long.;
Easternmost point: Palanca - 30°06' E long.;
Lowest point: Dniester River (2 m below sea level);
Highest point: Balanesti hill (430 m above sea level).
Located in the heart of the old European continent, Moldova is definitely a worth visiting destination due to its splendid and intact nature, abundant vineyards, word’s largest wine cellars and good quality wines, authentic culture, hospitable people and century-old customs and traditions. 
The landscape of Moldova represents a hilly plain sloping from the northwest to the southeast having an average elevation of about 147 m above sea level. Most of Moldova’s territory is characterized by rolling hills and valleys crossed by many streams that flow into Prut and Dniester rivers, forming the Moldovan Plateau, while Transnistria region has spurs of the Podolian Plateau.
Moldovan land is covered with chernozem (rich fertile black soil), suitable for growing delicious grapes, as well as other fruits and vegetables. The grapes have been grown and made into wine in this region for thousands of years, and thus the wine holds a special place in local culture. 
The north of the country is characterized by gently rolling uplands of the Dniester Hills, also known as the Northern Moldovan Plateau, interlaced with small flat plains in the valleys more of the numerous creeks. The altitude of the hills varies between 240 and 320 m. While at the Northernmost point of Moldova, near Naslavcea village, located on the right bank of the Dniester River, you will discover a rare beauty. The village secretly “guards” an amazing green jewel - an island between two banks of the Dniester in the shape of a heart! In this place, its waters flow from the territory of Ukraine to the east and cross the border with Moldova, widening on the island, which divides the riverbed into two branches. It is covered by a picturesque forest of poplars and shrubs, and from any high point of the village of Naslavcea, a stunning view opens on the most romantic place of interest in here - they say that this is the heart of the Dniester River itself.
To the west, in the Prut area, there are many reefs, called “Toltrele Prutului”. Also known as Prut Rocks they are a chain of limestone reef formations along the middle course of the Prut River in Moldova, starting from Criva, near the northern border area of the country and continuing along a distance of 200 km to the south reaching Cobani. They are made of limestone reefs of corals, molluscs, clams, algae and other marine organisms that filled the Tortonian and Sarmatian seas 10 - 20 million years ago.
In the centre, there are the hills of central Moldova, known as the Central Moldovan Plateau the altitude of which varies between 350 and 400 m. They are ridges interlaced by deep, flat valleys. Steep forest-clad slopes represent much of the terrain, where hornbeam, oak, linden, maple are the most common trees. The forests that grow in the hilly areas of central Moldova are named “Codri”, but the term generally refers to all the forests between the Carpathians and the Dniester River.
To the southeast, the southern part of the Central Moldovan Plateau, which averages 150 - 200 meters and has numerous ravines and gullies, gradually vanishes into the extensive Bugeac Plain.
Moldova’s nature is unspoiled, as the country has been protected from industrialization. Here you will have the possibility to relax in a pleasant atmosphere, while the ecologic habitat and uncontaminated air will create for you the perfect conditions for a full of emotions stay. The multitude of nature reserves, the landscape with hills and plains, rivers and lakes, cliffs and knolls, covered with secular forests and vine plantations will offer you incredible experiences.
Moldova is divided into 32 districts (“raioane”), 13 municipalities and two autonomous regions (Gagauzia and Transnistria). Chisinau (in Romanian language Chișinău) is the capital and the main administrative, territorial, economic, scientific and cultural centre of Moldova. The capital is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bac, a tributary of Dniester and has a population of over 800,000 inhabitants. It is located on seven hills and is divided into 5 sectors: Centre, Buiucani, Botanica, Riscani and Ciocana, covering a territory of 123 km2Founded in 1436, the city was part of the Principality of Moldova, a historical region corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester River.
Nowadays, Chisinau, known as the “green city”, becomes more and more attractive to tourists more due to its various buildings of historical and cultural importance, as well as the possibilities for leisure in its beautiful parks and inner lakes. 
Other important cities in the country are: Balti (the third most populated city of Moldova having a population of around 150,000 inhabitants), Cahul (a city in southern Moldova known for its mineral spring waters), Orhei (one of the oldest cities in Moldova founded in 1437), Soroca (located on the Dniester River and known for its medieval fortress - Soroca Fortress, built by Stephen the Great in 1499), Comrat (capital of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia), Tighina (located in Transnistria and known for its medieval fortress), Tiraspol (capital and the largest city in Transnistria located on the Eastern bank of the Dniester River).  
The climate of Moldova is moderately continental. Moldova’s proximity to the Black Sea gives it a mild and sunny climate. The summers are warm, dry and long, with average temperatures of more than 25 °C and the winters are relatively mild and dry, with temperatures in January month averaging −4 °C. From April month, the weather gets warmer and the nature becomes green inviting visitors to explore Moldova. In October, you will be able to admire the beauty of trees with different colour leaves. The highest temperature ever recorded in Moldova was 41.5 °C and the lowest temperature ever recorded was −35.5 °C. 
Populated from ancient times, the territory of Moldova was influenced by different cultures of the world civilization: from the Roman colonization of Dacia to the contact with Ottoman Turks, Tatars and Mongols and Slavic people.
The cultural heritage of the Republic of Moldova represents a total of cultural values and goods of local, national and global importance.
The tangible cultural heritage includes important archaeological sites, manors, fortresses, monasteries and churches, monuments, building ensembles - squares, streets, quarters, villages and urban centres, etc. A pearl of the cultural heritage of Moldova with millenary history, is the Cultural, Natural and Landscape Reserve Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei) located 60 km North of Chisinau in the gorge of the Raut River, between Butuceni, Trebujeni and Morovaia villages. It comprises a wide range of cultural more sites from various historical eras, such as: Geto-Dacian settlements (10th - 2nd centuries B.C.), the remnants of a Geto-Dacian fortress (4th - 3rd centuries B.C.), Geto-Dacian defence walls (10th - 2nd centuries B.C.), the remnants of Sehr al-Cedid city and stone citadel built by the Golden Horde (14th century), the remnants of a Christian stone fortress (second half of the 14th century - 16th century), the remnants of a public Tatar bath (14th century), cave monasteries including Pestera Monastery composed by a church and 11 monk cells (15th century; the bell tower was built in the 19th century).
The intangible cultural heritage is rich in traditions and customs, primarily related to national music, dances, songs, food, wine, as well as arts and crafts decoration. They offer the visitors the opportunity to learn about the daily life of native people, discover their hospitality and taste the traditional Moldovan dishes based on local products. Many of the traditions are a product of interference between Geto-Dacian culture and the culture of other civilizations, most of all the Romans, and they are also found in Romania.
Moldova has many traditions related to the celebration of winter holidays. As a Christian-Orthodox country, it celebrates Christmas, one of the most important religious holidays, with many activities related to cooking traditional foods and singing carols. Christmas is celebrated by many people on the 25th of December, however there are still people, who celebrate it on the 7th of December (old rite). On Christmas Eve, mostly in the villages, groups of people go from house to house and sing “colinde” (carols). The families would then thank them and give them different small gifts such as nuts, dried fruits, cookies, etc. In Moldova, Christmas and New Years are two holidays that are linked to each other, while the elements of the Christian faith are combined with hopes for a better new year. On New Year’s Eve, groups of boys (and sometimes girls), go to different houses to perform “urături” (poems and chants that contain wishes for a good new year). In the morning of the New Year’s Day, groups of children and occasionally adults, go from house to house and say poems for good wishes in the New Year throwing grain seeds (wheat, oats, rye, corn, etc.) in the house of the host as a sign good luck for crop abundance, prosperity and health for the coming year. Therefore, if you love winter and its holidays, you are invited to discover Moldova during this season and if it is snowy, you can enjoy a sledge ride, while discovering the traditions of the country.
For centuries, Moldova has been known as a country with hospitable and friendly people. The householders from the rural areas will be honoured to receive you as a guest. The guests are usually invited in “Casa Mare” - a traditional room where all the family holidays are celebrated, being served at the same time the most delicious dishes. 
Moldovan cuisine is famous for a wide variety of dishes and is ideal to go with fine Moldovan wine. It is based on meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, and cheese. One of the best known Moldovan dish is “mămăliga”, a cornmeal thick porridge served either with meat stew or fried fish and/or garnished with sheep cheese and sour cream. An interesting fact about “mămăliga” is that it is cut into slices with a thread by making a cross while cutting it in order to bless the table. Another traditional dish prepared from vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice mixed with vegetables and meat is named “sarmale”. The size of “sarmale” may vary depending on the region and they are traditionally served with sour cream. In Lalova village, you will have the possibility to taste some of the smallest “sarmale” in Moldova. At the guesthouse located here, they are made without meat, and if more you are vegetarian, you should definitely taste them. You should also try “plăcinte” (traditional pastry filled with soft cheese, potatoes, cabbage, pumpkin or sour cherries), “zeama” (chicken soup with homemade noodles), “răcitura” (meat jelly), “mititei” (grilled sausages with pepper).
Moldova’s fertile soil (chernozem) produces plentiful grapes, fruits, vegetables, grains used for preparing a wide range of dishes. The vegetables are used in salads or they are baked, steamed, stewed, pickled (murături) or marinated, thus becoming real culinary works of art. The rural households, where many vegetables and fruits are grown on their own land, preserve them in glass jars for winter. The glass is resistant to the salts and acids (vinegar) that are used for preserving vegetables. Different fruits are preserved in glass jars by making “compot” (a non-alcoholic sweet beverage obtained by cooking fruits such as cherries, strawberries, peaches, apples, plums or apricots, etc. or mixed fruits, in a large volume of water, often together with sugar), jams or marmalade. Often fruits such as sour cherries, etc. are preserved in jars in their own juice. The jars are kept in “beci” (cellar) near the rural house, where there is properly cold for their preservation.
Moldovan desserts include pastries, rolls and buns with different fillings (cheese, fruits or wallnuts) such as sweet “plăcinte”, “învârtită” (nut roll), “cozonac” (sweetened yeast bread traditionally made during Easter), “pască” (traditional Easter bread, sometimes sweetened, made from leavened dough that is stuffed in the center mainly with cheese), “clătite” (very thin pancakes often filled with cheese or sour cherries). The pancakes filled with sour cherries, spread with sour cream blended with sugar and sprinkled with grated dark chocolate represent “Cușma lui Guguță” (Guguta’s Hat) dessert. Guguta is the main character of the folk stories “Guguță și Prietenii Săi” (Guguta and his friends) written by Spiridon Vangheli. One of the stories, “Cușma lui Guguță” (Guguta’s Hat), relates about how Guguta, a small shepherd with a big traditional wool hat, wanted to protect his village from the cold winter and fit everybody under his hat. The dessert may perfectly represent the essence of Moldovan people.  
Moldova is a small country with a wide variety of tourist attractions, which form a vast offer for its visitors. The country’s tourism potential includes a complex combination of natural and anthropologic areas: landscape reserves, nature reserves, ancient cave monasteries, historical and architectural monuments, etc. The wine cellars, which are unique in the world, represent the distinctive feature of the country.
NATURE MONUMENTS
“Cheile Butești” (Butesti Ravines)
Butesti Ravines (also named Butesti Gorge) are a nature monument located southeast of Butesti village in Glodeni district on an area of 96 ha. The side view of the largest and steepest cliff of the gorge reminds an elephant. The ravines are considered some of the widest in the middle Prut basin. They were dug by the Camenca River in the reef with a length more of over 2 km and a width of 125 m, under the form of a canyon. Geological formations, like other calcareous reefs in the northwest of the Republic of Moldova, formed 15-20 million years ago, from corals, blue-green algae, shells of various mollusks and other marine organisms that populated the warm waters of the Sarmatian and Tortonic Seas. At the foot of the highest rock of the reef, deep in the rock at approx. 9 m, a cave and some grottoes were found. In its sediments, at depths of more than 5 meters, petrified animal remains and work tools made of stone were found. The cave is divided into several rooms and has several entrances and exits. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the district.
Duruitoarea Gorge
Duruitoarea Gorge is located in the eastern part of Duruitoarea village, on the left bank of the Ciuhur River, a tributary of the Prut. Duruitoarea Reef is a fragment of the reef series in the northwest of the Republic of Moldova, called the Prut Reefs. The steep slopes are home to countless small caves. An ancient human settlement that dates back to the Paleolithic was identified in one of the caves. It is 49 m long and between 5-9 m wide and is made up of three different sections. Archaeologists have discovered here fossils, flint objects, etc.
Japca Rock
Japca Rock is located 1 km north of Japca village, Floresti disctrict, in proximity to Japca Monastery on an area of 10 ha, near the road linking the villages of Sanatauca, Bursuc and Japca. From the geological point of view, Japca Rock is part of Japca reef and has a height of 170 m. At the bottom, on an area of about 35 m, cretaceous rocks can be distinguished, over which badenian conglomerates of about 15 m wide were identified. The bioherm is formed by shells of marine organisms. Many caves and grottoes were found in the calcareous layers.
Trinca Gorge
Trinca Gorge is a nature monument located southwest of Trinca village, Edinet district, in the valley of the Draghiste River. Due to the action of the Draghiste River on the limestone reef, a valley bordered by rocky walls was formed. It is 500 m long, 250 m wide and about 40 m deep and together with Burlanesti and Fetesti gorges form the natural complex Trinca-Fetesti-Burlanesti of the Draghiste River basin.
CAVES
Emil Racovita Cave
Emil Racovita cave is located near Criva village, Briceni district, in the north of the country, and ranks third among the world’s longest gypsum caves. It was discovered in 1959 by the speleologist Emil Racovita. Currently, around 90 km of labyrinths and tunnels on 3-4 levels, are known and mapped. In some places, tunnels are wider, forming large rooms. The most outstanding are: “The one hundred meters room” and “The waiting room”, which are between 60 - 100 m long, 30 - 40 m wide, and up to 11 m high. There are over 20 lakes in the cavities, the biggest of them being “The Dacians’ Lake”, “The Green Lake”, and “The Blue Lake”, with lengths between 8 and 15 meters, widths between 5-10 meters, and average depth of 2 meters.
NATURE RESERVES
“Padurea Domneasca” (Royal Forest) Reserve
“Padurea Domneasca” Reserve is the largest reserve of its kind in the country. It is located 185 km far from Chisinau, in the Prut river bottomland, on a total area of about 6,032 ha and includes one of the oldest forests in the Prut river bottomland. The flora of the reserve is rich and diverse including 700 species of plants. The century-old oaks (200-250 years) cover a total area of 123 ha, some of them reaching a height of 30-35 m. Other trees specific for this type of environment grow here such as poplars, willows, maples, ashes, elms. Many rare fauna species such as red deer, otter, wildcat, pine marten, weasel, spoonbill, great egret, white swan, etc. are found here. The pride of the reserve are the bisons that have been acclimatized here (in older times, bisons used to live on the territory of Moldova, however, in the early 20th century they disappeared). At the Bisons’ Refuge you will see a small herd of bisons. The bison is an impressive animal that can reach 3.5 m in length and is considered the toughest wild terrestrial mammal on the territory of Europe.
“Prutul de Jos” (Lower Prut) Reserve
“Prutul de Jos” Reserve is located in the southwestern part of the Republic of Moldova, along the lower course of the Prut River, between the villages Slobozia Mare and Valeni, in Cahul district, about 200 km far from Chisinau. It was created in 1991 to protect the flora and fauna of Beleu Lake and its surroundings. The total area of the reserve is 1,691 ha and almost one third of it is covered by the Beleu lake (628 ha), one of the largest natural lakes in Moldova and the main attraction of the reserve. Beleu lake is a relict of the Danube, constituting a freshwater lagoon formed by the transgressions of marine waters about 5-6 thousand years ago. It is a natural monument of great scientific, cultural and aesthetic value.
The variety of landforms, climatic peculiarities, hydrological elements, as well as the different nature of the rocks within the reserve are elements that led to a rich and varied background of plants including 310 species of vascular plants, including 10 species of trees, 11 of shrubs, 5 of creepers and 284 species of herbaceous plants. Rare orchid species included in the Red Book of the Republic of Moldova (Red list of threatened species) grow on this bottomland.
The Prut River bottomland represents an important migration route for many species of birds, and the water basins with rush-beds, willow forests, etc. are the appropriate place for having a rest, feeding and nestling for them. The fauna of the reserve is varied including 189 species of birds, 34 species of mammals, 7 species of reptilians, 11 species of amphibians and 27 species of fish. Many of them were included in the Red Book of the Republic of Moldova. Here you will see many species of birds including cormorants, white storks, swans, glossy ibises, white kingfishers and even pelicans. However, the pelicans don’t nest in this region, but in the Danube Delta, coming to Beleu and Manta lakes in Moldova, just in search of fish from the lakes.
The value of its natural heritage has been recognized by declaring the area as a wetland of international importance. Moreover, in 2018 the reserve was registered in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, officially becoming the first biosphere reserve in Moldova.
Due to the impressive diversity of habitats and life forms that it hosts in a relatively small area, “Prutul de Jos” (Lower Prut) Reserve forms a veritable museum of biodiversity, a nature gem of priceless value for the natural, national and world heritage.
“Plaiul Fagului” Reserve
“Plaiul Fagului” Reserve covers an area of 5,642 ha, including 5,375 ha with forests. The territory of the reserve is very fragmented, the interval of the altitudes varies between 410 and 140 meters above sea level. The flora of the reserve includes over 900 plant species of which 77 are rare and threatened species. The forests with broadleaf trees such as beech, durmast, hornbeam, and ash of Central-European type can be found here. The beech trees are very valuable – with ages between 80 and 150 years, their heights reaching 30-40 m and the average trunk diameter - 80-100 cm. The fauna is represented by 211 species including the wild cat, pine marten, badger, fox, boar, roebuck and the red deer. “Plaiul Fagului” is a precious nature thesaurus of Moldova its territory being partially accessible for the ecotourism.
LANDSCAPE RESERVES
“Toltrele Prutului” (Prut Rocks) Reserve
“Toltrele Prutului” (Prut Rocks) are a chain of limestone formations located in the northwestern part of Moldova on a distance of about 200 km, alongside the Middle Prut River, from Criva village, Briceni district up to Cobani village, Glodeni district. Hard limestone chains containing skeletons of corals, mollusks, shellfish, algae, marine animals and organisms that used to live in the tropical Tortonian and Sarmatic seas 10-20 million years ago form these reefs. The reef genesis on the territory of Moldova is similar to the genesis of the biggest coral reef chain in Australia, with the difference that the latter is almost entirely covered by water, while the reefs that appeared in the Prut Rocks exceed 100 meters in altitude.
“Suta de Movile” (The Hundred Knolls) Reserve
The Hundred Knolls Reserve represents a landscape of great scientific and esthetic values covering an area of 1,072 ha. It is located in the Prut River bottomland, between Braniste village, Riscani district and Cobani village, Glodeni district. In reality, the number of knolls is bigger - over 3,500 knolls with heights from 1.5 to 30.5 m have been found here. Dimitrie Cantemir, who called it “Centum Monticulli”, made the first description of this natural phenomenon in 1716 in “The Description of Moldova”. The strips of land between the knolls are slightly ruffled. Oases of vegetation with very rare plant species from the flora of the country such as pheasant’s eye, Tatar bread plant, Easter flower, iris, hyacinth, feather grass, valerian, ox-eye, wild vetch, etc. can be admired in the reserve.
According to some scientists, The Hundred Knolls is the only place in Europe where such a great number the submarine reefs of the Mediterranean Sea (tertiary water basin, that covered about 20 million years ago the current territory of Moldova) are concentrated. Latest researches reveal that the Hundred Knolls are a natural phenomenon, however their provenience has not been identified yet.
MONASTERIES
Capriana Monastery
Capriana Monastery located in Capriana village in a picturesque forested area once called Codrii Lapusnei, is one of the oldest monasteries in Moldova. The first documentary reference about it dates back to 1420. Built at first of wood, the monastery suffered from repeated Tatars or Turks invasion. Because it had the status of prince's monastery, several Moldovan princes took care of the monastic endowment. Between the years 1490 - 1496, Stephen the Great founded the stone church with the titular Saint “Assumption of Virgin Mary”. During 1542-1545, as recorded in Grigore Ureche's chronicle, the prince Petru Rares decided to perform extensive restoration works. Born in Lapusna area, Alexandru Lapusneanu carried out new fortification and development works and made important donations to the monastery. During a long period, Capriana Monastery acted as the residence of the Moldovan archbishop. Being closed and devastated in the post-war years, it was one of the first monasteries that reopened in 1989, becoming soon the symbol of national revival.
Curchi Monastery
Curchi is a monastery of monks and one of the most important architectural monuments of Moldova. Its architectural ensemble was formed in the 18th - 19th centuries, being composed of five churches, two buildings with cells, the priorship, several auxiliary rooms and a skete located 500 m far from the monastery. It is surrounded by a high wall of stone, set with towers at each corner, creating the impression of a fortress. Curchi Monastery is considered to be founded in 1773 by the brothers Iordache and Mihail Curchi, who originally built a modest wooden skete, and later built the first stone churches. The two brothers are known to have embraced the monastic life later, as the monks Ioan, and respectively, Manasie.
The Summer Church or Big Church with the titular Saint “Nativity of Virgin Mary” was built between the years 1866 - 1872, following a project of the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Built in baroque style, the cathedral is the highest in Moldova – the middle dome reaching 57 m. Nowadays, Curchi monastery is one of the most representative monasteries in Moldova.
Hincu Monastery
Hincu Monastery is a monastery of nuns located in Bursuc village. It was founded by the boyar Mihalcea Hincu in 1678 in order to fulfill his daughter’s request who decided to dedicate herself to the monastic life. She became a nun, taking the name of Parascheva.
The legend says that Hincu’s daughter refused to marry her father’s ally and left the parental home. She spent some time in a cave and was found by hunters. She refused to leave the cave. Then her father, Mihalcea Hincu, went there and asked her to come out of the cave. She promised she will get out of the cave only if she hears a church bell ringing. Thus, Mihalcea Hincu ordered for a church to be built. Later on, his daughter dedicated her whole life to God serving in this church.
After being closed for 43 years, Hincu Monastery starts operating again in 1992, soon becoming one of the most organized and visited monastic attractions.
Tipova Monastery
Tipova Monastery is a cave monastery located on the right bank of the Dniester River, near Tipova village. It is considered one of the oldest monastic establishments on the territory of Moldova. The monastery that comprises 3 complexes, consists of many rooms, dug into the rock at an astounding altitude, representing an impressive museum in the open air. The first complex consists of several cells and a church dedicated to the “Holy Cross” and dates back to the 11th - 12th centuries. It is the furthest and the most difficult to access. The second complex includes “Saint Nicholas” church, carved into rock in the 14th - 15th centuries. The third and the largest cluster of cells, including 18 rooms joined by inner passes, is located around the church dedicated to the “Assumption of Virgin Mary”, and dates back to the 16th - 18th centuries. In 1828, on the hill above the cave complexes the church of the skete raised, which in 1919 is restored as monastery.
One of Tipova’s tourist attractions are also the waterfalls. The Tipova River, on its flow to the Dniester, creates many waterfalls with the height above 10 - 16 meters, which a long time ago used to move the millstones of many watermills.
Saharna Monastery
Saharna Monastery is one of the oldest religious settlements in Moldova. The monastic complex is composed of a cave monastery (the Annunciation) and a stone monastery (the St. Trinity). The complex is located in a picturesque valley on the right bank of the Dniester River, near Saharna village. It is surrounded by rocks covered by forest. The legend says that the Virgin Mary left her footprint on the highest rock, named Grimidon. The history of the monastery is little known. The first prior of the holy place is considered the monk Bartholomew (1776-1790) who settled in a deep gorge, built a church, a few cells and enclosed the monastery with a stone wall. In Saharna you will enjoy the beautiful landscape created by the waterfalls. The River Saharna has 22 waterfalls on its way. The biggest waterfall is 4.5 m high.
Japca Monastery
Japca Monastery is a monastery of nuns located on the bank of the Dniester River, the only monastic settlement of the Prut and Dniester area operating continuously since its foundation. The monk Jezechil, who came to this place at the end of the 17th century is considered the founder of the monastery. Later on, in 1770, the abbot Theodosius built a wooden church at the foot of the rock. Thus, the monastery became larger, with a wide complex of cells. Since 1812, it comprises two churches and a wooden bell tower. In the 19th century, the wooden churches with the bell tower were rebuilt of stone.
The monastery has a beautiful location envisaged by the rocks above the monastery, the Dniester windings, which can be seen for a long distance, the oaks and gardens that surround it. The stone churches and the monastery from the cave skete, dedicated to “Exaltation of the Holy Cross”, are of great historical, architectural and artistic importance.
Rudi Monastery
Rudi Monastery is a monastery of nuns located in the middle of a picturesque landscape not far from the Dniester River. The monastic complex represents an enchanting ensemble formed by all the monastery buildings, the center of which is the Holy Trinity church. It was built in 1777 on the property of the brothers Andronachi and Teodor Rudea with the blessing of the bishop Inochentie from Husi. The architecture of Rudi church has a well-pronounced style, reminding Moldovan churches of the 16th century.
The legend says that one of the great rulers of Moldova, Grigore Ghica, was sick for a long time and none of the doctors in the region could treat him. One day they heard about a spring with healing water, located near Rudi settlement, on the bank of the Dniester. He went there and after a while returned home cured. As a sign of gratitude, he would later build on this blessed place the famous Rudi Monastery.
WINERIES
Cricova winery
Founded in 1952, Cricova winery is a genuine underground wine kingdom located in Cricova town and known worldwide for its huge underground galleries. They are formed by over seventy streets covering an area of nearly 120 km, each bearing Bacchic names: Sauvignon, Cabernet, Feteasca, Chardonnay, Codru, etc., assigning Cricova the distinction of the second largest wine cellar in the world. The tunnels appeared since the 15th century as a result of the limestone extraction used for building Chisinau city. Cricova winery is one of the most important tourist attractions in the country. Accompanied by an experienced guide, at a depth of 35-80 m, you will enjoy an amazing excursion in the tourist train during which you discover the wonders of this place.
Cricova is the only wine enterprise that was awarded the highest state prize “The Order of the Republic” and has been declared by law a national cultural heritage. The jewel of the underground treasure is the National Collection, including over 600 types of wine totalling about 1.3 million bottles. Unique exhibits such as “Jewish Easter Wine” from 1902 together with 158 brands from Burgundy, Moselle, Tokay, the Rhine, are part of the precious heritage both of the winery as well as the country. Among those are the trophies of the Second World War, which include wines from Hermann Göring’s private collection, such as Burgundy, Moselle, the Rhine and other wines dating from the first half of the 20th century. Here, you will be able to admire the oldest bottle of wine – the “Jewish Easter Wine”, produced in 1902 in a single batch. Currently, in the world, only one bottle of this wine has been preserved and it can be found at Cricova winery.
The constant temperature of about +12° C and the humidity of 97-98% represent ideal conditions for the preservation and maturation of high quality wine and sparkling wine produced using the French-style Champagne Method (Méthode Champenoise). At Cricova, you will have the possibility to visit the unique production of sparkling wine and find out about all the process of producing them.
Cricova holds over 150 medals obtained at the most prestigious competitions and wine tastings of the world. The galleries have been visited by presidents of various states, government delegations, as well as by the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space in 1961. Yuri Gagarin, who visited Cricova in 1966 said: “There is a great abundance of wonderful wines in these cellars. Even the most fastidious person will find here wine to their liking. I wish you to fill the existing cellars with a multitude of medals for excellent wines. If the earth will lack metals to imprint medals, I will deliver it from the moon or other planets”.
Milestii Mici winery
Milestii Mici winery was founded in 1969 in Milestii Mici village. It appeared after the extraction of limestone deposits and has become famous for its “Golden Collection”, holding over 1.5 million bottles that was registered in the Guinness World Records, as the biggest wine collection in the world. The total number of bottles stored in the underground cellars of Milestii Mici is over 2 million. Moreover, measuring about 200 km, all the underground streets make up the largest network of caves ever dug by a human being, assigning Milestii Mici the title of the largest wine cellar in the world. While travelling through Milestii Mici galleries, at a depth of 40-85 m, you will discover a huge underground wine city full of wines made from crops of various years, beginning with 1969, including Pinot, Traminer, Muscat, Riesling, Codru, etc. Before you enter the cellar, you will notice another interesting thing. Have you ever seen fountains that run wine? At Milestii Mici, before entering the cellar, you will see two wine fountains: one fountain runs red and the other one white wine.
The limestone maintains in the galleries a constant humidity (85 - 95%) and temperature (+12 - 14 °C) throughout the year that ideally contributes to the wine preservation. The longer some specific red wines are stored in such ideal conditions, the more they improve. Some wines are stored for several decades in this ideal microclimate before being sold. You will feel the spirit of the old times in this wide tunnels, and the fire of sun and vigour of earth in the tasted wines.
Château Purcari winery
Château Purcari winery located in Purcari village is the oldest winery in Moldova being founded in 1827. Purcari village has the advantage of being situated near the lower course of the Dniester River, in the southeastern wine region. The climate conditions are favourable for growing red grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the local variety Rara Neagra, from which aged wines are produced, which have a well-balanced taste and rich aromas. The red wines produced from grapes grown on Purcari vineyards soon became famous for exceptional taste with intense and complex bouquet. 
The winery is famous all over the world for its legendary wine “Negru de Purcari” - the elixir that in 1878 was highly appreciated on the international arena by being awarded the gold medal at Paris World Exhibition. French oenologists were deeply impressed by the rich flavour and intense colour of a dry wine, thinking that it was a Bordeaux wine. It was a big surprise when they found out that it had originated in a small village on the banks of the Dniester River. In such a way, “Negru de Purcari” wine won its first gold medal at an international exhibition and surpassed even the wines of Bordeaux. If you visit Château Purcari winery, you are highly recommended to choose the package including among other wines, the tasting of “Negru de Purcari” wine. The wines “Rosu de Purcari” and “Negru de Purcari” have been the choice of some of the world’s most recognized dignitaries.
If you are a wine enthusiast or just love to be in beautiful, pristine surroundings and listening the songs of birds, Purcari estate is definitely the place you need to visit. On the territory of the French style château, comprising a rustic hotel and 2 restaurant rooms where traditional and European dishes are served, you will see a terrace, a playground for children, tennis courts and 2 lakes with swans. If you intend to spend the night at the chateau, you can choose between a standard room, a “barrel” to sleep in or a sky house. No matter what kind of room you choose, you will surely have a pleasant stay.
Castel Mimi winery
Castel Mimi winery located in Bulboaca village is a destination of interest unique in Moldova. The château is currently listed among the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. The story of the castle begins at the end of 1893, when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, plants the first grape vines on the place that would become legend over the years. He was an important personality of the 20th century and dedicated his life to wine. By applying the knowledge he acquired in Western Europe, Constantin Mimi managed to build the impressive castle in Moldova. This led him to produce great wines and raise the standards by implementing new technologies.
During the guided tour at Castel Mimi winery, you will discover the Time Table that will take you back in time and will shade some light on the events the chateau witnessed throughout the history. Here, you will also have the possibility to spend the night at one of the seven stone chalets that combine traditional with contemporary design and overview the swimming pool. The swimming pool is 25 meters long and is ideal to spend some quality time during the hot summer days. A mini-pool is also available for small children.
Here, you can enjoy lunch or dinner at Castel Mimi restaurant and try some Moldovan specific dishes, such as “baba neagră” - a local dessert of Moldovan cuisine. At the winery, the cake is garnished with Cabernet Sauvignon “Castel Mimi”, local plum jam and vanilla sauce. The wine list includes exquisite beverages, such as Castel Mimi Malbec 2015, matured 16 months in oak barrels or Pinot Gris 2016, a silver medallist at Mundus Vini in 2017.
Château Vartely winery
Château Vartely winery was founded in 2008 in Orhei town. It produces wine following the full cycle: beginning with growing vines on its own vineyards and ending with wine production and bottling. Owing huge vineyards, the winery cultivates different grape varieties: white varieties such as Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Feteasca Regala and red varieties such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rara Neagra, Malbec, Feteasca Neagra, Syrah. Chateau Vartely stands out by its Ice Wines made of different grape varieties frozen directly on the vine with aromas revealing notes of exotic fruit. After the grapes are pressed, the pure and sweet grape juice turns into an unforgettable wine. The exclusive Taraboste wines with aristocratic notes, produced in limited quantities, are a tribute to the ancestors who have developed Moldovan viticulture traditions.
Château Vartely is a modern complex, which comprises 4 hotel-type houses, 2 restaurant rooms, 3 tasting rooms, and a huge inner yard. In the cellars and then in tasting rooms you will be acquainted with the particularities of Château Vartely wines and you will learn how they are made, kept and served.
Château Cojusna (Migdal-P) winery
Château Cojusna (Migdal-P) winery founded in 1995 is located in the heart of Codri, in Cojusna village. Own vineyards cover about 400 ha and the cultivated varieties are Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet. The winery is known for its dessert wines collection: Jerez, Marsala, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, White Muscat and Cahors, that impress both by their dark amber colour and by their mature bouquet and sweet taste.
During the tour through the complex, you will discover the underground streets, the tasting rooms and climb to the roof of the château where you will see the panorama of Cojusna village and the vineyards of the winery. The wines produced in Cojusna can be tasted in one of its special rooms. You can choose between a tasting room that has an atmosphere of Medieval Moldovan cellar and is trimmed with natural tree and stone and a tasting room that has a European classic style. At the tourist complex with its underground wine galleries, you are invited to learn about the Moldovan history and traditions and to taste some of the most valuable collection wines produced by the winery.
Asconi winery
Asconi is a family-owned winery founded in 1994 in Puhoi village that achieved a lot due to modern wine making technologies. Nowadays at Asconi estate European grape varieties are grown, but special attention is paid to indigenous varieties such as Rara Neagra, Feteasca Alba, etc. On the vineyards located near Geamana village (10 kilometers far from the winery) reaching over 500 hectares, such grape varieties, as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Riesling, Malbec, Pinot Noir, etc., are grown. One of the features of Asconi winery is that they pick up the grapes mechanically at night when the grapes are still cold.
In addition to tours and wine tastings, all the guests are invited to have a relaxing lunch or dinner at the traditional restaurant that serves traditional Moldovan dishes. There are outdoor terraces to enjoy the pleasant and warm weather, or you can choose to stay in the stone and clay built restaurant and enjoy the authentic decor.
“Pivnițele din Brănești” (Branesti Cellars)
Branesti Cellars are located in Branesti village, in a beautiful forest area near the Cultural, Natural and Landscape Reserve “Orheiul Vechi”. The winery covers an area of 75 ha, and has 58 km of underground cellars, reaching depths of 60 m below ground. There are two tasting rooms at Branesti, one of which is located underground. They have an impressive architecture being decorated with wood and metal and reproducing images related to grape-growing and winemaking.
Here the guests are able to enjoy white and red wines, sparkling wines, traditional dishes, as well as taste the mineral water “Poiana Branesti” bottled at a depth of 75 m below ground. The Stone Age Complex offers you the possibility to escape from civilization and city noise.
Poiana winery
In Ulmu village, in the very heart of Codri, in a picturesque forest zone with a beautiful meadow, Poiana winery is located. The legend says that in one of the autumn days, a beautiful deer came to the vineyard. Eating out of the sweet grapes, his horns tangled in the vine. His yell attracted the pickers, who helped him to free himself and offered him another sweet grape. The deer ran to the forest, but at the edge of it stopped and turned to the people looking gratefully. The locals decided to name the vineyard of Ulmu - “Poiana Codrilor” (Codri Meadow), while the image of the deer became the symbol of Ulmu vineyard.
The main goal of Poiana winery is to use all of the natural resources that Codri forest area has to offer. This is why, an area called “Eco Areal” was created where different grape varieties are grown with old technologies. Poiana winery is a relatively small establishment that produces 20,000 bottles per year. However, it is already famous outside its home country. Here, you can enjoy tasting wines and/or taste a wide range of dishes during lunch or dinner while admiring the beautiful vineyards and Codri. You can also engage in active forms of tourism such as hiking.
FORTRESSES
Soroca Fortress
Soroca medieval fortress named the “pearl of fortification art” was built by the prince Stephen the Great in 1499. Between 1543 and 1546, the original wooden fort was rebuilt in stone by the prince Petru Rares. It was a unique historical monument of defensive constructions architecture composed of a huge tower holding five smaller towers surrounding it. Its architectural fortification system has a circular plane of 37.5 m in diameter, four circular towers and a rectangular access tower.
There is a legend about Soroca Fortress saying that during Stephen the Great’s reign, a large army of Tatars besieged the fortress for months. While waiting for help, the fighters in the fortress, in absence of food and water, were losing their strength and hope each day more. Soon some flocks of storks appeared unexpectedly, carrying bunches of grapes in their beaks, which they let drop inside the citadel. The grapes helped the soldiers get stronger and raised their spirits, and therefore they were able to heroically defeat the invaders. Since then, the stork is a symbol of unity, kindness and abundance.
Tighina Fortress
Tighina Fortress located in Tighina town was built in the 15th century by the prince of Moldova, Stephen the Great on the place of a former Genovese fortress. It was part of the defensive system of medieval Moldova, being one of the most powerful fortresses in the past. Originally built as a small wooden fort, it was later fortified in stone by the prince of Moldova, Petru Rares. Occupied by the Turks in 1538 (in a campaign lead by the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent), the fort was strengthened in 1541 and became the centre of an Ottoman “raya” (in which were included the surrounding Moldovan villages). It was renamed by the Turks in Bender, meaning a “fortified pass”. In the 18th century, the fort was strengthened by Moldovan craftsmen under the direct supervision of Dimitrie Cantemir. After the defeat in the Battle of Poltava (1709), the Swedish King Charles XII took refuge for several years in Bender. Tighina Fortress is an architectural ensemble of irregular quadrilateral plan, surrounded by wide walls, 2-3 meters thick, made of limestone and brick.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
Struve Geodetic Arc
The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to Old Nekrasovka in Ukraine, through 10 countries and over 2,820 km, resulting in a meridian’s first accurate measurement. The German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve established and used the chain in the years 1816 to 1855 to determine the exact size and shape of the earth. At that time, the chain only passed through two countries: the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway and the Russian Empire.
On the territory of Moldova 27 such points have been established. Lt. Gen. Carl Tenner, who was the head of the measurements on the territory of Moldova (1846-1848), mostly carved marks on stones or pillars a bit into the surface. Therefore, the points could not be found easily. Rudi geodetic point of the Rudi Geodetic Arc was created and measured in 1848. It was identified on the ground in August 2003 at the initiative of UNESCO. The Struve Geodetic Arc near Rudi village is the only monument in the Republic of Moldova included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2005. 
There are many cultural and tourist events organized in Moldova and below you can see some of them. However, changes and updates may occur and because of that, it is necessary to verify the information before traveling.
9 January 2020 – Milestii Mici Wine Run (a unique race through the world’s biggest wine cellar), location: Milestii Mici winery, Milestii Mici village
29 February 2020 – Underland Wine and Music Festival (wine and street culture festival), location: Cricova winery, Cricova town
1-10 March 2020 – Martisor International Music Festival (performances are held daily in the capital, with the participation of local and foreign artists and representative music and dance bands), location: Chisinau city
1 May 2020 – Mai Vin (first picnic of Spring at Asconi winery), more location: Asconi winery, Puhoi village
2 May 2020 – Orheiul Vechi Mountain Bike Marathon (cycling marathon), location: Orheiul Vechi
23 May 2020 – Urban Vibes (urban culture festival), location: Chisinau city
31 May 2020 – Mai Dulce (festival of sweet traditions), location: Chisinau city
7 June 2020 – Duminica Mare (festival of Moldovan traditions), location: Domulgeni village, Floresti district
13 June 2020 – Rosé Day at Castel Mimi winery (unlimited Rosé wine, live music, entertainment and delicious meals), location: Castel Mimi winery, Bulboaca village
14 June 2020 – Frumos Covor Basarabean (festival of traditional carpets included in the UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage), location: Clisova Noua village, Orhei district
19 -21 June 2020 – Open-Air Classical Music Festival DescOPERA (unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of classical music played live in a unique setting: an improvised scene in the nature, fresh air and amazing views), location: Cultural, Natural and Landscape Reserve Orheiul Vechi near Butuceni village
28 June 2020 – Folk Costume Day (ethno-folklore festival), location: Chisinau city
5 July 2020 – Ia Mania Festival (festival of arts born out of traditions), location: Holercani village, Criuleni district
30 August 2020 – VINOPERA (open-air music recital with unlimited wine), location: Castel Mimi winery, Bulboaca village
4 - 16 September 2019 – “Maria Biesu” International Opera and Ballet Festival, location: Chisinau city
5 September 2020 – Purcari Wine Run (a unique trail run through vineyards), location: Purcari village, Stefan-Voda district
19 - 20 September 2020 – Bostaniada (ethno-gastronomic festival), location: Balabanesti village, Criuleni district
20 - 30 September 2020 – European Heritage Days at Castel Mimi winery (cultural festival), location: Castel Mimi winery, Bulboaca village
25 - 27 September 2020 – Chisinau International Marathon, location: Chisinau city

25 - 27 September 2020 – Ethno Jazz International Music Festival, location: Chisinau city

3 - 4 October 2020 – National Wine Day (the greatest celebration of wine traditions), location: Chisinau city
17 December 2020 – Wine Vernissage (wine tasting in a gala atmosphere), location: Chisinau city
The national currency of the Republic of Moldova is Moldovan leu (MDL), the plural form being lei. 1 leu is equivalent to 100 bani (coins). The credit cards are accepted in banks, hotels, travel agencies and shops. All the banks and exchange offices, located on the entire territory of Moldova, do the money exchange.
1 EUR = approx. 20.03 lei
1 USD = approx. 17.89 lei 
The citizens of the following states do not need visas to entry on the territory of the Republic of Moldova for a period of stay until 90 days, during six months from the moment of the first entry (however changes can occur and the list could be updated, it’s necessary to check the information before travelling):
Republic of Albania
United States of America
Principality of Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
United Arab Emirates
Argentine Republic
Republic of Armenia
Commonwealth of Australia
Republic of Austria
Republic of Azerbaijan
Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Barbados
Republic of Belarus
Kingdom of Belgium
Bosnia and more Herzegovina
Federative Republic of Brazil
Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace
Republic of Bulgaria
Canada
Czech Republic
Republic of Chile
Republic of Cyprus
Republic of Colombia
Republic of Korea
Republic of Costa Rica
Republic of Croatia
Republic of Cuba
Kingdom of Denmark
Commonwealth of Dominica
Republic of Ecuador
Hellenic Republic
Swiss Confederation
Republic of Estonia
Republic of Finland
Republic of France
Georgia
Federal Republic of Germany
Grenada
Republic of Guatemala
Republic of Honduras
Republic of Ireland
Iceland
State of Israel
Republic of Italy
State of Japan
Republic of Kazakhstan
Kyrgyz Republic
Republic of Kiribati
Republic of Latvia
Principality of Liechtenstein
Republic of Lithuania
Luxembourg
Republic of North Macedonia
Malaysia
Republic of Malta
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Republic of the Marshall Islands
Republic of Mauritius
United Mexican States
Federated States of Micronesia
Principality of Monaco
Montenegro
Republic of Nicaragua
Kingdom of Norway
Republic of Palau
Republic of Panama
Republic of Paraguay
Republic of Peru
Republic of Poland
Portuguese Republic
Romania
Russian Federation
Republic of El Salvador
Independent State of Samoa
Most Serene Republic of San Marino
Republic of Serbia
Republic of Seychelles
Saint Lucia
Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Holy See
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Republic of Singapore
Slovak Republic
Republic of Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Kingdom of Spain
Kingdom of Sweden
Republic of Tajikistan
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Kingdom of Tonga
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Republic of Turkey
Tuvalu
Ukraine
Hungary
Oriental Republic of Uruguay
Republic of Uzbekistan
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Republic of Vanuatu
New Zealand
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