History of Moldova
Moldova is located in a mixing zone of various cultures – Carpathian, Balkan, European, Eurasian, therefore it has an expressive and rich history. Moldova harmoniously weaved, for thousands of years, the traditions of various peoples and formed its own unique features.
The territory of Moldova has been inhabited since ancient times. Various monuments of the Neolithic, Paleolithic, Eneolithic period were found, which indicate the high development of societies living in the territory of the present country. It is reliably known that even in the period about 1 million years ago, water was used in the Dniester River valley, which indicates the presence of tribes and settlements here. Today, this evidence is the earliest evidence of the existence of inhabitants in the territory of modern Moldova. For thousands of years, the population has been engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture.
In the VI – I centuries BC, the territory of the country was inhabited by Geto-Dacians, who from 105 BC adopted the language and culture of the Roman Empire as a result of the conquest. Since then, the Romanization of the population began, the influence of which is visible to this day, primarily in the language.
In the year 271, when Aurelian ruled the Roman Empire, the Roman legions were withdrawn and the so-called “great migration of peoples” began, when various tribes — Avars, Huns, Goths — began to mix. In addition, from the 5th century, widespread penetration of the Slavs began, which went further through the territory of Moldova to the Balkan Peninsula.
Over time, the Slavs, who were assimilating with the local population, began to oppress the Pechenegs – Turkic military tribes and the inhabitants of the Carpathians – Wallachians began to come to the habitable place. In addition, by the XII – XIV centuries, the territory came under the influence of the Golden Horde, which penetrated into the territory of modern Europe right up to the Dniester and the Carpathians. In view of the rapid weakening of the Golden Horde, from 1351, the first Moldavian Feudal State begins its history. At the head was Bogdan the First. Further, the territory of the country became interesting to the Ottoman and Roman empires, the Commonwealth, which was reflected in the constant wars.
An important date in the history of Moldova is the year 1812, when a part of the country, located between the Dniester and Prut rivers, departed from the Russian Empire and became one of its provinces. The name of the newly formed region is Bessarabia.
After about a hundred years, in 1918, another very important event occurred – Bessarabia, or rather the Moldavian Democratic Republic, decides to join Romania, which was announced at a meeting of the supreme body – Sfatul Tsarii.
The new republic as part of Romania existed only until 1940, when Moldova was annexed to the USSR, according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Moldova remained part of the Soviet Union until its collapse.
Since August 27, 1991 Moldova is a sovereign independent state.
Moldavian Switzerland was named our country by Russian soil scientist Vasily Dokuchaev. And indeed, the amazingly beautiful landscapes with plains, hills, rocky shores are somewhat reminiscent of Switzerland.
Moldova is located in the southeastern part of Europe near the Balkan Peninsula and the Black Sea, covers an area of about 34 thousand square kilometers, and borders with Romania and Ukraine.
The relief of the country is a hilly plain, with an average height of 147 meters. The highest point in the country is 429.5 meters (Belanesti hill). Many villages and cities are located in picturesque amphitheaters that were created by nature itself and even the city of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, is called a city on seven hills.
In the country there are some types of minerals, which are mainly represented by chalk, gypsum, limestone, sandstone, which is used in the construction industry.
Rivers and lakes
More than 3,000 rivers and streams flow through the territory of Moldova. Only 10 of them exceed the length of 100 kilometers. The main two rivers of the country are the Dniester (657 kilometers) and the Prut (695 kilometers). Also, large rivers are Raut, Kogylnik, Botna, and Bull.
Speaking of lakes, there are about 60 in the country, as well as about 3,000 reservoirs and ponds. The largest lakes are located in the south – these are Drachele, Beleu, Fountain, Bull and others. Of the largest reservoirs, Costesti-Stynka, Gidigich, Dubossary, Kuchurgan and Taraclia stand out.
The country is rich in natural springs, which number more than 2000, of which about 200 are springs with mineral waters. These waters contain iodine, boron, bromine, sulfides and are similar in composition to the waters in the Caucasus and Karlovy Vary.
The country’s soil is represented mainly by black soil, which favors agriculture. About 75% of the territory is covered by black soil. The remaining soils are brown forest and meadow.
The climate of the country is moderate, which is characterized by all four seasons, but winters are mild and short, summers are hot and long, often arid. The average annual temperature ranges from 8 degrees in the north and 11 degrees in the south.
The diverse rich natural vegetation of Moldova has more than 5 thousand plant species, which is favored by the geographical location in the temperate zone. Three natural zones are distinguished – steppe, forest-steppe and forest, of which forests occupy about 11% of the territory. Oak, ash, hornbeam, beech, birch, maple, linden, sycamore and others mainly grow in forests. Forests are mainly concentrated in the central part of Moldova and are known as Codri, which are a nature reserve. In addition, there are 4 more reserves – Padur Domnyaske (Gosudarev Forest), Plaiul Fagului (Land of Bukov), Prutul de jos (Lower Prut) and Yagorlyk. All of them are designed to protect plants and study ecosystems.
The fauna of Moldova is also diverse, it contains more than 15 thousand species of animals, among which about 500 vertebrates – 70 species of mammals, 280 species of birds. The most common mammals are squirrel, hedgehog, hare, gopher, mice, roe deer, fox, badger, wild boar, ferret, marten.
The excellent cuisine of Moldova offers a wide variety of dishes. Being a predominantly agricultural country, vegetables and fruits predominate in the dishes; spices add special taste and aroma to the dishes. Moldavian cuisine offers both first and second courses, which are prepared from vegetables, meat, and desserts. An important role is played by pastries with sweet or salty filling.
Of the first courses, the most popular are zama (traditional chicken broth soup with homemade noodles and vegetable sour kvass) and chorba (thick soup with vegetables, beans, pork).
The second dishes, traditionally, are prepared from vegetables, meat. Potted and gratted dishes are popular. The main dishes are mamalyga (made from corn grits, served with greaves, feta cheese, sour cream), cabbage rolls (rice with vegetables and minced meat, wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves), aspic (frozen broth from meat). Appetizers are dominated by fresh vegetables, herbs, feta cheese, grated beans with garlic, smoked meat and sausages. Pincers, which can often replace bread, are also very popular. Placindas are made from dough (including puff pastry), stuffed with potatoes, cabbage, cottage cheese and feta cheese, cherries, apples, pumpkins. Bake cakes in the oven or fry in a pan with butter.
Moldovan desserts are represented by fresh fruits, compotes and preserves, sweet-filled pies. In addition, mule (pancakes with sweet cottage cheese and raisins, honey and sour cream), baba nyagre (wet cake with simple ingredients), prunes stuffed with walnuts, and various bagels stuffed with jam are also popular.
The Moldavian people love to celebrate holidays, while gathering with their relatives and friends.
The most significant holidays when relatives come from other countries and cities are Easter and the following “parental days”, or Radunitsa, when it is customary to go to cemeteries to the graves of deceased relatives. Traditionally, this is the time of gathering the whole family, regardless of who is in which country or city. Easter days are declared non-working, so everyone has the opportunity to go to the villages of their relatives and to celebrate an important Christian holiday together. Usually relatives exchange gifts and arrange feasts.
Independence Day and Language Day
In the last days of August, two important holidays are celebrated – Independence Day (August 27) and Language Day Limba noastra (August 31). Since these are the last days of summer, it is customary to go out to nature for barbecue, to gather in villages with relatives, with children.
The New Year (from December 31 to January 1) is also commonly celebrated, with gifts, guests, a feast. This is a family holiday when it is customary to gather at one table and celebrate the onset of the new year until the morning.
The first spring day – March 1, is called Martisor, and at this time many festivals, competitions, exhibitions are traditionally held, with the invitation of foreign guests. The holiday has been celebrated for about 50 years.
The holiday celebrated on the first weekend of October – National Wine Day – is becoming more and more popular. In all cities, various festivals, exhibitions, fairs are held on this day in order to promote the image of Moldova as a country that produces high-quality wine. Of course, wine enterprises exhibit their best wines and sell them to everyone. The largest festival is held in Chisinau, when the main square of the city is closed and a festival is held for everyone.
The day of the city or village, is a traditional “birthday” of a settlement. On this day, usually in the main square of a village or city, funny festivities are organized. Traditionally, the day is declared a day off. Chisinau City Day is celebrated on October 14 – this is the next week after Wine Day, so tourists have a reason to stay and visit two large-scale holidays.
In recent years, all kinds of festivals have become more and more popular and diverse, which attract more and more participants.
Translated from the Moldavian language, bostan (bostan) means “pumpkin”. As the name implies, this festival is dedicated to pumpkin and achievements in the cultivation of this vegetable. Gastronomic festival, fair – sale, tastings and costume parade are traditionally held in the days of the Bostaniada.
Various marathons with distances from 5 to 21 and even up to 42 kilometers are becoming more and more popular. Marathons are held in Chisinau and other settlements, including in wine cellars, when participants run a distance through wine galleries.
Autumn is a traditional time of music festivals in Chisinau and Ethno Jazz is one of such events where you can listen to jazz music of Moldavian artists and invited guests from abroad.
The festival of classical music, which is held every summer in Old Orhei in the open air on a natural stage. You will find not only classical music, but also fresh air and beautiful landscapes.