"Chişinău" Top 5 Page for this destination Chisinau by iwys

Chisinau Travel Guide: 298 reviews and 670 photos

For a European capital, Chişinău is somewhat off the beaten path. So, most people don't know much about it. Its history started in 1436 when a monastery was founded here. For several centuries it was part of the Ottoman empire. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was a village with a population of 7,000. It became part of Russia in 1812 and was made capital of the province of Bessarabia.

Because of the tolerant attitude here and good economic conditions, it attracted Jews from the the rest of the Russian empire and by 1900 nearly half of its population was Jewish, making it one of the major Jewish cities in Europe. Sadly, thousands of Jews were massacred here in the Second World War, during the German occupation. The occupation was ended by the Soviet army in 1944 and after the war Chişinău, or Кишинёв as it is known in Russian, became a provincial centre in the Soviet Union. Most of the city's buildings and monuments date from this Soviet period, as 70% of its old buildings had been destroyed in World War II.

In 1991, following the break up of the Soviet Union, Chişinău became the capital of the newly-independent nation of Moldova. Today it has a population of 700,000.

When I was there it was midwinter and the whole city was under a blanket of snow so it looked like something of a winter wonderland. This didn't totally disguise the fact that it has a lot of the grim apartment blocks and ageing factories that you'd expect in a former Soviet bloc city. The city centre, however, with its parks and churches, is surprisingly attractive.

Overall, I would say that I was pleasantly surprised by Chişinău. Its museums, churches, parks, clubs and restaurants make it a good destination for a two- or three-day city break.

  • Last visit to Chisinau: Dec 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (3)

  • paulhanson's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    The other side of Chisinau: the desperate street traders in front of the station.

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Dec 25, 2008 at 7:07 PM

    Interesting how attractive elements of these ex-Soviet cities turn out to be, despite the grim flats and the grandiose memorials and civic architecture.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    Never been there, just planning... THANX! Now I know much more!


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