- The official name of Moldovia is Republica Moldova, translated as the Republic of Moldova. It is also known as Moldovia
- Etymology. Moldova was named for the nearby Moldova River. The origin of the name is not clear but one theory is that Prince Dragos named the river after his dog Molda. Molda is reported to have drowned in it after an exhausted hunt.
- Language. The language spoken in Moldova was exactly the same as Romanian until 1359 when it was separated from the Wallachia and Transylvania regions. At that point the Moldavians developed their own variation of the Romanian language, marking the first separation of the two languages. Some Russian influence became embedded during the Soviet period - changing the official language to Russian, then to Romanian with the cyrillic alphabet, and back to Romanian using the latin alphabet. Ukrainian and Gagauz are recognized minority languages.
- History. Moldova has a long and complicated history. It has been a part of Romania, Russia, and has been occupied and claimed by several different countries. It only became a seperate country from Romania during the reign of Stefan "the Great" in the mid 1400s.
- Capitol. Chisinau (pronounced “Kishi-now”,) is the capital and the largest city of Moldova. Located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc, Chisinau is the main industrial and commercial center of the country.
- Wine. Moldova is known throughout the world for its wine. It is a very old tradition and they are known for having the largest cellars in the world. There are many old legends in Moldova that center around the history of wine. The country is even shaped like a grape cluster. Moldovans reportedly drink more alcohol than anyone else in the world. In 2005 The Guinness Book of World Records deemed Milestii Mici the world’s largest collection of wine.
- History. Moldova has seen a number of conquerors, rulers and kingdoms vie or its strategic position between the Dniester and Prut Rivers. It was once a part of the Romanian national state, and was also a vassal state to the Ottoman Empire.
- Jewish Population. Europe’s Largest Jewish Cemetery Is In Chisinau. Jewish names appear in ancient documents of the first princesof the Moldavian principality in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. During the nineteenth century, the Jewish population of the territory between the rivers Prut and Dniester (then Bessarabia) increased greatly; by the end of that century, it reached 230,000 people. During the years of German occupation, the Jewish population was completely banished from the territory of Bessarabia. More than 100,000 Jews from Bessarabia perished during World War II and the Holocaust.
- Transnistria. Just on the other side of the Dniester River, this aresa is officially part of Moldova but declared its independence in 1990. It is not officially recognized by any country in the United Nations (UN) and since the end of the War of Transnistria in 1992, has held a de facto independent status. Travelers can visit Transnistria from Moldova but need a passport to cross the border. Although Moldova has been independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Nistru River supporting a Transnistrian separatist region composed of a Slavic majority population (mostly Ukrainians and Russians), but with a sizeable ethnic Moldovan minority.
- Food. Moldovian cuisine has been influenced over time by the Greeks, Turks, Jews, Germans, Russians, and Ukrainians. Common ingredients include fruits (grapes, apples, plums, cherries, apricots, quince), vegetables (squash, eggplant, celery, beans, peppers, tomatoes, lentils, radishes, onions, and lots of garlic), spices and herbs (savory, black pepper, cloves, tarragon), goat cheese, lamb and mutton, and poultry. And, of course, wine.
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