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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Chişinău

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Chişinău city hall

Chişinău city hall

Flag of Chişinău
Official seal of Chişinău
Location of Chişinău in Moldova

Location of Chişinău in Moldova

Coordinates: 47°0′00″N 28°55′″E /  span class=”geo-dec geo” title=”Maps, aerial photos, and other data for 47 Expression error: Unexpected / operator47, Expression error: Unexpected / operator
Country Moldova
Founded 1436
– Mayor Dorin Chirtoacă, since 2007
– City 120 km² (46.3 sq mi)
– Urban 635 km² (245.2 sq mi)
Elevation 85 m (279 ft)
Population (2007)
– City 592,800
– Density 4,938/km² (12,789.4/sq mi)
– Urban 755,900
– Metro 911,400
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
– Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code MD-20xx
Area code(s) +373 22

Chişinău (IPA: [ki.ʃi.’nəw]) (also known as Kishinev, Russian: Кишинёв, Kishinyof), is the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Moldova. It is also the largest city of Moldova and is located in the centre of the country, on the river Bîc. Economically, the city is the most prosperous in Moldova and is one of the main industrial centres and transportation hubs of the region. As the most important city in Moldova, Chişinău has a broad range of educational facilities. Additionally, the city has among the highest proportion of green spaces of any major city in Europe.



According to some historians, the name comes from the old Romanian word chişla (“spring”, “source of water”; the word is not used anymore, but was replaced by cişmea, which has the same meaning)[1][citation needed]and nouă (“new”), because it was built around a small spring. Nowadays, the spring is located at the corner of Pushkin Street and Albişoara Street.

There is another city named Chişineu (alternative spelling: Chişinău) in Western Romania, near the border with Hungary, but its relation to Chişinău is highly disputed. Its Hungarian language name is Kisjenő (kis “small” + the eponym “Jenő”, the equivalent of the English “Eugene,” pronounced yenə), from which the Romanian name originates.

Chişinău is also known in Russian as Кишинёв (Kishinyov), and in Polish as Kiszyniów. It is written Kişinöv in the Latin Gagauz alphabet. During 1940-1941 and 1944-1989, it was also written as Кишинэу in the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet. Historically, the English language name for the city was based on the modified Russian “Kishinev” since it entered the English language via Russian at the time Chişinău was part of the Russian Empire (e.g. Kishinev pogrom). Therefore, it remains a common English name in some historical contexts. Otherwise, however, Romanian-based “Chişinău” has been steadily gaining wider currency, especially in the written language.

The municipality

Administrative sectors of Chişinău

Administrative sectors of Chişinău

Moldova is administratively subdivided in 32 districts, 2 regions and 3 municipalities, and Chişinău is one of them.[2] Besides the city itself, the municipality comprises 34 other suburban localities, and is subdivided into 5 sectors, each comprising a part of the city itself and several suburbs.[3] The municipality in its totality elects a mayor and a local council, which then name 5 pretors, one for each sector. The five sectors of Chişinău are:

  • Botanica
  • Buiucani
  • Centru
  • Ciocana
  • Râşcani

As it can be noticed, only 18 of the 34 localities are incorporated (6 as cities and 12 as communes), electing a mayor and a local council, and they contain among them the remaining 16 localities.

Geography and climate


Rose Valley.

Rose Valley.

The city is located on the river Bîc, a tributary of the Dniester, at 47°0′N, 28°55′E, with an area of 120 km². The whole municipality claims 635 km².

The city lies in the middle of the central area of Moldova.

Geographically convenient in the largely flat Eastern European country, the city is surrounded by a relatively level landscape with very fertile ground, offering the basis for agricultural use, in the cultivation of grapevine and fruit since medieval times.


Chişinău is one of the greenest cities in Europe

Chişinău is one of the greenest cities in Europe

Chişinău has a continental climate, characterized by hot dry summers and cold windy winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0°C, although they rarely drop below -10°C. In summer, the average temperature is approximately 25°C, however, temperatures sometimes reach 35-40°C in mid-summer in the city center. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy storms. Spring and autumn temperatures vary between 16-24°C, and precipitation during this time tends to be higher than in summer, with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.


Founded in 1436 as a monastery town, the city was part of the Moldavian Principality, which, starting with the 16th century fell under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the 19th century it was a small town of 7,000 inhabitants. In 1812 it was came under Russian imperial administration, which made it the capital of the newly annexed gubernia of Bessarabia. Its population had grown to 92,000 by 1862 and to 125,787 by 1900.

Industrial age

Chişinău, 1889.

Chişinău, 1889.

Chişinău seen from Spot Satellite

Chişinău seen from Spot Satellite

From 1834 an imperial townscape, with broad and long roads, emerged as a result of a generous town development plan, which divided the city roughly into two areas. The old part of the town – with its irregular building structures – and a newer City Center and station. Between 26 May 1830 and 13 October 1836 the architect Avraam Melnikov established the ‘Catedrala Naşterea Domnului’ (an Orthodox Cathedral) with a magnificent bell tower. In 1840 the building of the Triumphal Arch, planned by the architect, Luca Zauşkevici, was completed. Following this the construction of numerous further buildings and landmarks began. The town also played an important part in the war between Russia and Turkey (1877–78), as the chief center of the Russian invasion.

Pogrom and Pre-Revolution

In the late 19th century, especially due to growing anti-semitic sentiment in Russia and better economic conditions, many Jews chose to settle in Chişinău. By the year 1900 43% of the population of Chişinău was Jewish – one of the highest numbers in Europe.

However, during 6 – 7 April 1903[4] a large anti-Semitic riot took place, which would later be known as the Kishinev pogrom. The events spanned three days of rioting, with 47-49 Jews killed, 92 severely wounded, and 500 suffering minor injuries. In addition several hundred houses and many businesses were plundered and destroyed. The pogroms are largely believed to have been incited by anti-Jewish propaganda in the only official newspaper of the time, ‘Bessarabetz’ (Бессарабецъ). The reactions to this incident included a petition to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia on behalf of the American people by the US President Theodore Roosevelt in July 1905.

On 22 August 1905 another bloody event occurred, whereby the police opened fire on an estimated 3,000 demonstrating agricultural workers. Only a few months later, 19 – 20 October 1905, a further protest occurred[4], helping to force the hand of Nicholas II in bringing about the October Manifesto. However, these demonstrations suddenly turned into an attack on Jews wherever they could be found, resulting in 19 deaths.

First World War

Following the Russian October Revolution the country declared independence from the fallen empire, before joining the Kingdom of Romania. During this period, Chişinău was in the background, being regarded as no more than a large provincial city. Only with the advent of modern technology and industrialization, it slowly rose into prominence.

Between 1918 and 1940 the center of the city undertook large renovation work. In 1927 a monument to the famous prince Stephen III of Moldavia, by the sculptor Alexandru Plămădeală was erected.

Second World War

Eternitate memorial complex, dedicated to the soldiers of the Red Army who fell during the Jassy-Kishinev Operation of World War II

Eternitate memorial complex, dedicated to the soldiers of the Red Army who fell during the Jassy-Kishinev Operation of World War II

In the chaos of the Second World War Chişinău was nearly completely destroyed. This began with the Soviet occupation led by the Red Army on 28 June 1940. As the city began to recover from the takeover, a devastating earthquake occurred on 10 November 1940. The epicenter of the quake, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, was in eastern Romania and subsequently led to substantial destruction in the city.

After scarcely one year, the assault on the newly created Moldovan SSR by the German and Romanian armies began. Beginning with July 1941 the city suffered from large-scale shooting and heavy bombardments by Nazi air raids. The Red Army resistance held until Chişinău finally fell on 17 July 1941.

Following the occupation, the city suffered from the characteristic mass murder of predominantly Jewish inhabitants. As had been seen elsewhere in Europe, the Jews were transported on trucks to the outskirts of the city and then shot in partially dug pits. The number of Jews murdered during the occupation of the city is estimated at approximately 10,000 people.[5]

As the war drew to a conclusion, the city was once more pulled into heavy fighting as German troops retreated. Chişinău was taken by the Red Army on 24 August 1944 as a result of the Jassy-Kishinev Operation. By this point the city had lost about 70% of its buildings – the earthquake of 1940 and the air raids contributing to the largest part of this.

After the war, Bessarabia was fully integrated into the Soviet Union. Most of Bessarabia became the Moldavian SSR with Chişinău as its capital; smaller parts of Bessarabia became parts of the Ukrainian SSR.

Soviet Union

In the years 1947 to 1949 the architect Alexey Shchusev developed a plan with the aid of a team of architects for the gradual reconstruction of the city.

The beginning of the 1950’s saw a rapid population growth, to which the Soviet administration responded by constructing large-scale housing and palaces in the style of Stalinist architecture. This process continued under Nikita Khrushchev, who called for construction under the slogan “good, cheaper and built faster”. The new architectural style brought about dramatic change and generated the style that dominates today, with large blocks of flats arranged in considerable settlements.

The period of the most significant development of the city was from 1971, when the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union has adopted a decision “On the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev”, which secured more than one billion rubles of investments from the state budget, until 1991, when Moldova gained independence.

Many streets of Chişinău are named after historic persons, places or events. The independence from the Soviet Union was followed by a large-scale renaming of streets and localities from a Communist thematic into a national one.

Politics and administration

The Government Building - seat of the Moldovan government

The Government Building – seat of the Moldovan government

Chişinău is governed by the City Council and the City Mayor (Romanian: Primar), both elected once every four years. The current mayor is Dorin Chirtoacă. His predecessor was Serafim Urechean. Under the Moldovan constitution, Urechean – elected to parliament in 2005 – was prevented from holding an additional post to that of an MP. The Democratic Moldova Bloc leader subsequently accepted his mandate and in April resigned from his former position. During his 11 year term, Urechean committed himself to the restoration of the church tower of the Catedrala Naşterea Domnului, as well as improvements in public transport. From 1994, Chişinău saw the construction and launch of new trolleybus lines, as well as an increase in capacities of existing lines, in order to better connect the urban districts.

Between 23 May and 10 June 2005, the Central Election Commission received the applications of possible candidates for the office of mayor. The elections took place on 10 July, 24 July, 27 November and 11 December 2005. On the first occasion only 26.93% of voters participated, below the one-third turnout necessary to validate the poll. Three subsequent attempts in July, November and December saw the election turnout fall further to 19.82%, 22.37% and 22.07% respectively. After several months in limbo it was announced that the momentary office holder Vasile Ursu, could continue to hold the position, until the next scheduled elections in 2007.

The last elections took place on 3 June 2007. Two candidates emerged from the first round – Viaceslav Iordan from the Moldovan Communist party and Dorin Chirtoacă from the Liberal party. The second round of the voting on 17 June 2007 saw the victory of Mr. Chirtoacă. 36,26 % of the voters took part in the voting, just over the validation threshold.

The first mayor of Chişinău was Angel Nour in 1817. In 1941 the office was abolished. After the Soviet era and the re-establishment of the office in 1990 Nicolae Costin became the first democratically elected mayor.

Street and businesses in city centre.

Street and businesses in city centre.


Chişinău is the most economically-developed and industrialized city in Moldova. Chişinău is a major industrial and services center; its main industries include consumer and electrical goods, building materials, machinery, plastics, rubber, and textiles. The main service fields are banking and shopping/commerce. Chişinău’s economy is mainly centred on industry and services, with services particularly growing in importance in the last ten years.



Chişinău International Airport

Chişinău International Airport

An international airport (Chişinău International Airport) exists, offering connections to a number of major cities, including Athens, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Vienna. The airport handled 689.000 passengers in 2007. It has a 3 km long runway (8 and 26).

Bus and minibus

The most popular form of internal transport in Moldova is generally the bus. Bus service in Chişinău can be very inexpensive, ranging from 1 leu to 3 lei. Although the city has just three main terminals, buses generally serve as the means of transport between different cities within and outside of Moldova. Popular destinations include Tiraspol, Odessa (Ukraine) and Bucharest (Romania).

Within Chişinău and its suburbs privately-operated minibuses, known as “maxi-taxis,” generally follow the major bus routes and appear more frequently. A ride in a maxi-taxi costs 3 Lei within the city.

Railway Station exterior

Railway Station exterior


Chisinau Railway Station

Chisinau Railway Station

An international railway terminal exists with possible connections to Bucharest, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa and Moscow. Due to the conflict between Moldova and the unrecognized Transnistria republic the rail traffic towards Ukraine is occasionally stopped.


Taxis are very widespread in the city. Most taxis are operated by a group of companies, although there are always “illegal” or owner/operators who skirt the law by operating within the city-limits without a permit. Many of the taxi companies have a 4-digit service hotline starting with 14-XX, e.g. 1400, 1402, 1406, 1407, 1408, … 1422, … 1441, 1447, 1499. Other useful (local) short numbers: 901 – Fire Emergency Service, 902 – Police, 903 – Ambulance, 904 – Gas Emergency Service.


The city is home to 12 public and 11 private universities, to the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, as well as to a number of institutions offering both high-school education, as well as 1-2 years of college education.

See also: List of public schools in Chişinău

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has become a relatively lively and well-provisioned capital, with a much higher standard of living than most rural areas.


In the XIX-th century the plan of growth of the city was developed. Many buildings were designed and built in a beautiful architectural frame, a lot of which embellish the city till nowadays. In 1836 the construction of the Cathedral and Belfry was finished.

During soviet time, the Belfry was demolished and only after regaining the independence, following the initiative of renowned people, the Municipality of Chisinau and thousands of citizens, the Belfry was rebuilt and the Cathedral was renovated.

People and culture


Cuiflea Orthodox Church

Cuiflea Orthodox Church

Total population: 647,513[6]

The census held in 2004 reported the following ethnic composition:[7]

  • 67.6% Moldovans*
  • 13.9% Russians
  • 8.3% Ukrainians
  • 4.5% Romanians*
  • 1.2% Bulgarians
  • 0.9% Gagauzians
  • 1.6% others
  • 1.9% undeclared
*Official census data showed 67.6% Moldovans and 4.5% Romanians; however, due to the contested status of the Moldovan ethnicity and OSCE objections over procedure, organizations such as the CIA World Factbook present them together. According to the “Moldova Azi” news agency,[8] a group of international census experts described the 2004 Moldovan census as “generally conducted in a professional manner”, while remarking that that “a few topics… were potentially more problematic”, in particular,
  1. The census includes at least some Moldovans who had been living abroad over one year at the time of the census.
  2. The precision of numbers about nationality/ethnicity and language was questioned. Some enumerators apparently encouraged respondents to declare that they were “Moldovan” rather than “Romanian”, and even within a single family there may have been confusion about these terms. Also it is unclear how many respondents consider the term “Moldovan” to signify an ethnic identity other than “Romanian”.


The presidential palace.

The presidential palace.

FC Zimbru Stadium

FC Zimbru Stadium

There are four professional football clubs in Chişinău, all playing in the Divizia Naţională (national league): FC Zimbru Chişinău, FC Dacia Chişinău, FC Politehnica Chişinău and CS Steaua Chişinău, ranked respectively 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th tn the 2004/5 season. Of the larger football stadiums in the city, the Stadionul Republican (Republican Stadium) has 7687 seats[9] and the Stadionul Dinamo (Dinamo Stadium) has a capacity of 2,692. The stadium of the Zimbru Chişinău Football Club, opened on May 20, 2006 and has a capacity of 10,600. Construction took 27 months to complete at a cost of almost 11 million USD. The VIP box is reserved for 250 people. Sports journalists have 44 places at their disposal. The arena meets all the requirements for holding official international matches; however, the smaller Republican Stadium has been designated as the venue for Moldova’s Euro 2008 qualifying matches.


The majority of Moldova’s media industry is based in Chişinău. The only national broadcaster in the country is the state-owned Moldova 1, which has its head office in the city. The broadcasts of TeleradioMoldova have been criticized by the Independent Journalism Center as showing ‘bias’ towards the authorities[10]. There are some hopes that a new broadcasting code will resolve some of these issues.

The Romanian Pro TV Chişinău also broadcasts locally – was repeatedly thwarted in its attempts to obtain a national license by the government. The station broadcasts a mixture of independent local news, in addition to entertainment and documentary programs from Romania. Pro TV remains on air despite numerous threats[11] from Communist officials to close it down.

Other TV channels are Antena C, CTC, DTV, Euro TV, MTV, MuzTV, NIT and TV 7. In addition to television, most radio and newspaper companies have their HQ’s in the city. Broadcasters include the national radio, Antena C, BBC Moldova, Europa Libera, Kiss FM, Pro FM, Radio 21, Fresh FM (Romanian radio station Naţional FM), Radio Nova, Russkoe radio, Hit FM, and many of others.

Music and nightlife

Chişinău is home to Moldova’s largest recording labels, and is often the residence of Moldovan, and more recently Ukrainian, musicians. The city’s music scene is quite eclectic. Many Moldovan rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s continue to be popular, particularly with the middle-aged, while since the 1990s there has been growth in the boy band and hip hop genres. A famous band, Lăutarii, was established and also operates successfully in Chişinău. There is also a renowned dance group, Codreanca, which participates and wins prizes in international festivals.

Twin cities

  • Flag of Romania Bucharest, Romania
  • Flag of Romania Iaşi, Romania
  • Flag of the United States Sacramento, California, USA (designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI))
  • Flag of France Grenoble, France
  • Flag of Germany Mannheim, Germany
  • Flag of Ukraine Kiev, Ukraine
  • Flag of Turkey Akhisar, Turkey
  • Flag of Ukraine Odessa, Ukraine
  • Flag of Israel Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Flag of Italy Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Flag of Greece Patras, Greece
  • Flag of Poland Kraków, Poland
  • Flag of the United States Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
  • Flag of Armenia Yerevan, Armenia
  • Flag of Turkey Ankara, Turkey


Further reading

  • Hamm, Michael F. (March 1998). “Kishinev: The character and development of a Tsarist Frontier Town”. Nationalities Papers 26 (1): 19-37.


  • Interactive Map of Chişinău (en, ro, ru)
  • Map of Chişinău

This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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