Written by Essexgirl09 on 07 Oct, 2013
I visited two markets whilst I was in Chisinau, although there are several, in the city and its environs. The main central market that I was aware of, is on Strada Armeneasca (Armenian Street) was the closest to a large locals market. I…Read More
I visited two markets whilst I was in Chisinau, although there are several, in the city and its environs. The main central market that I was aware of, is on Strada Armeneasca (Armenian Street) was the closest to a large locals market. I believe it goes all the way through to Strada Tighin on the other side but I didn’t spot an exit this way (however this may have been just as well as I think we would have been quite disorientated by this point). It is a large market where the locals shop and sells virtually everything you need from fruit, groceries, clothes and household goods. You can purchase eyelash curlers, shoes and laundry detergent if you so wish. In the end I just purchased a leather belt for the equivalent of £4 (I wonder if locals would pay the same, but I was happy with the price). As a true locals market, you only get locals here, so not everyone will speak some English. What I liked most about it was the snapshot of local city life.Not far from Armenian Street, on the main drag (Boulevard Stefan cel Mare) by the junction with Strada Mihai Eminescu, is a good art and craft tourist market. There are some pretty paintings, but nothing eye catching (Moldovan art doesn’t have a distinctive ‘style’ that you can identify), mainly still life, portraits and local scenes. This is also the place to buy Russian or Ukrainian nested dolls. The Ukrainian versions apparently have different designs within in. As well as traditional painted ones you could get ones with political figures (Obama or Merkel for example) or animals. There are also Soviet ‘antiquities’ such as hats and badges and a limited amount of embroidered craft goods. I didn’t make any purchases as nothing really grabbed me, but prices seemed reasonable. It is open air, so weather could have a factor in its appeal! Close
Written by Essexgirl09 on 04 Oct, 2013
Central Chisinau is hard to explain. After the Nazis pulled out of the city during the Second World War, they destroyed most of it, so the new Soviet era built city is antiseptic, impersonal and has no real personality or charm. The Central…Read More
Central Chisinau is hard to explain. After the Nazis pulled out of the city during the Second World War, they destroyed most of it, so the new Soviet era built city is antiseptic, impersonal and has no real personality or charm. The Central Park (Stefan cel Mare) nearby is lovely (see separate review), and St Stephen’s statue marks the end of the park and the wide open and bland boulevard of which I am now writing about (Boulevard Stefan cel Mare). Just up the road from the park is Government House, where the Moldovan cabinet meets, with the Moldovan flag proudly flying from its roof. It is a large, uninspiring building and I don’t believe it can be visited. Behind here is a concert hall with some nice bars.Opposite Government House is Cathedral Park and the Triumphal Arch. The park has some lovely green areas, but roadside it is paved. The arch was built in the 1840s making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city. It does have a bell but it is not used usually, and also contains a clock, which faces outwards. There is a flag hanging from the centre. Beyond the arch, you walk down a few steps to the square and there is a giant chessboard with large pieces on the same scale, and often local men having a game, watched by other locals and tourists alike. I thought this a charming addition to an otherwise sterile, impersonal environment. Next you will see the bell tower affiliated to the neoclassical Church of the Nativity. The church was built in the 1830s and is set back from the main street. Like much of the city, it was bombed during the Second World War and the bell tower was destroyed in the 1960s by the Communists. The church has subsequently been repaired, and like those in many former Soviet countries has been well-restored (apparently work is still ongoing) so it looks a much more modern building than it actually is. The bell tower was rebuilt in the late nineties and I had hoped to go up it, but I am not sure it is possible. At the bottom is a religious gift shop affiliated to the church. It is free to go into the church, and whilst you are not supposed to take photos, I did manage a sneaky one to confirm that the Russian Orthodox churches are as well decorated and gilded as the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox churches over the border. The park area around it is very attractive, although more modest than the nearby Stefan cel Mare park, it is still pleasant and popular. Around this area there are shops, bars and restaurants also, much of the area is dominated by business however and the UN offices, various government departments and international embassies are all around this vicinity. Close
Written by michaelhudson on 14 Mar, 2010
I woke up at four on the morning I went to Moldova. Snow had started falling overnight and the streets were already slippery with slush by the time we reached the bus station on the edge of Pryvoz Market.The sticker on the window read Quality…Read More
I woke up at four on the morning I went to Moldova. Snow had started falling overnight and the streets were already slippery with slush by the time we reached the bus station on the edge of Pryvoz Market.The sticker on the window read Quality and Comfort, but there was precious little of either once we got onboard. The seats were low-slung, saggy and permanently half-reclined, and the air so cold that no-one took their hats off. The driver had a black leather cap pulled down low over sunglasses. "When I was travelling in India," began an American voice from the front seats. The roads were straight, flat, pot-holed and snow-covered. It took twice as long as normal to get as far as the border, where we waited half an hour on the Ukrainian side, motored forward a few hundred metres, and then sat for half an hour again before getting into Moldova. The border guards were all in one jeep, dressed in combat fatigues and fur hats. They watched half the bus rush to a concrete toilet block by the side of the road where you paid 18p to stand over a skittle-shaped hole in the floor, holding your breath all the while.We made it to Chişinău just before three. A pack of stray dogs was roaming the bus station and there were brown puddles as big as garden ponds. "Which way into town?" someone asked, stepping around a muddy pile of snow. "Taxi?" In and out of the Hotel Cosmos, it didn't take us long to see the sights of Moldova's capital: statues and casinos, an Orthodox cathedral, rubble and squash courts where the Republic Stadium had once been, and an Arch of Triumph built to celebrate a Tsar's victory over the Ottomans. A TV station was blasting dance music from the road in front of the Communist Party HQ, but all the lights were off in the fire-damaged Parliament. There were billboards everywhere, but most carried slogans instead of adverts: Moldova: My Homeland, EU Yes, No to Drugs, a huge picture of a woman breaking a cigarette in two, and an even larger one of a peasant holding a basket of vegetables welcoming visitors to the city. Close
Written by Jewett2630 on 11 May, 2006
If traveling to Moldova, the best use of your time would be in the capital city of Chisineau. You can take a bus from there to any city however it is a slow trip due to the poor roads and buses. Moldova has very good…Read More
If traveling to Moldova, the best use of your time would be in the capital city of Chisineau. You can take a bus from there to any city however it is a slow trip due to the poor roads and buses. Moldova has very good wine and incredible Champagne. It is cheap and bought in any grocery store. The city is showing signs of transition to modern times. There are new apartments being built and the airport was recently renovated. If you do not like high tourist areas and want to see the old eastern Europe before it is gone then this might be a place to see. Moldova is similar to Romania but just smaller. Close
Written by 3mttours on 15 Dec, 2005
Of its 4 million people, about 25% live in its capital and another 25% work abroad. It is a predominantly poor, rural country that relies heavily on the wine-making industry (wine-tasting in the Republic of Moldova is a must, as some of their wines are…Read More
Of its 4 million people, about 25% live in its capital and another 25% work abroad. It is a predominantly poor, rural country that relies heavily on the wine-making industry (wine-tasting in the Republic of Moldova is a must, as some of their wines are simply brilliant and the presentation is a real show that is not to be missed). About 80% of its wine production is exported to Russia.
If you go by car, you need to be armed with a lot of patience at the border control, which seemingly takes forever for people not living in Romania and probably the CIS. At the border you'll get a sticker on your passport to report to the police for registration if you stay for more than 3 days. It is not necessary if you stay at a hotel. Roads are in poor condition and totally unmarked. With a good map, you'd probably get on very well. If you want to go to the countryside, simply take an off-road car, as roads simply can't be driven on otherwise.
Among its ethnic minorities are Turks and Russians, the latter being a pretty big one (15%). In many places it is a considerable advantage to know Russian, as some of the people can't even speak Romanian (the official language is "Moldavian," which differs from the actual Romanian language by its really funny accent). Until the beginning of the 19th century, Moldova was one state, of which Russians took half, the present Republic of Moldova plus some territories around it. Between the two World Wars, it came to Romania, as its other half became united with Valahia to form Romania during the second half of the 19th century. You may find that they feel ambivalent about Romania. They somehow feel connected to the country but also feel like they have been "trespassed," as Romania has given it away twice, once to the Russians, then to the Soviets. I found that they regard the greatest Romanian poets as Moldovan ones; truth is, they were born in Moldova, albeit the Romanian one.
They are really scared of the secret police, which seemingly still operates in their country.