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The fortress of Bender (Tighina), Moldova. Author Richardfabi. No Copyright
The fortress of Bender (Tighina), Moldova. Author Richardfabi

Moldova: the former Bessarabia

The Republic of Moldova (Republica Moldova) is a republic of South-Eastern Europe, which was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. In that year the country was declared independent.

Its eastern section, the so-called Transnistria, has not signed the declaration of independence and still forms a separate state, protected by the Russian Army.

Transnistria is a long and narrow strip of territory lying east of the river Dniester (Dnestr). The capital of Transnistria is the city of Tiraspol. Transnistria is inhabited by a mixed population, in fact according to the latest census of 2004, 32% of the population are ethnic Moldovan, 30% are ethnic Russians and 29% of Ukrainian ethnicity.

The Republic of Moldova, which extends between the rivers Prut and Dniester (Dnestr) and whose capital is the city of Chisinau, is bordered to the west by Romania and the rest of the territory, excluding Transnistria, is bordered by Ukraine.

Moldova Map

Moldova Map

The country roughly coincides with the region of Bessarabia, a flat area between the Prut River, which forms the border with Romania, and the river Dniester (Dnestr), which partly forms the border with Ukraine and Transnistria. The territory of Moldova is mostly flat, interspersed with low hills in the central part of the country, which reaches its maximum height with Mount Balanesti (430 meters).

The economy of Moldova is among the weakest in Europe. Some industrial enterprises are located in the capital city Chisinău and in the cities of Bălti, Cahul and Comrat. The Moldovan economy is mainly based on agriculture. The Moldovan wines are famous and they are widely exported. Other agricultural products are cereals and potatoes.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 33,846 sq km
  • Population: 4,100,000: Moldovans (69%), Ukrainians 11%, Russians 9%, Gagauz 4%, Jews 1%.
  • State Capital: Chisinau
  • Languages: The official language is Moldovan. Recognized languages are Gagauz, Russian and Ukrainian.
  • Religion: Orthodox 97%, Jewish 1%.
  • Currency: Moldovan Leu (MDL)
  • Time: UTC+2, Summer Daylight Saving Time UTC+3.

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