Monday, July 23, 2012

Chisinau, Moldova

Chişinău (Kishinev in Russian) is the capital city of Moldova.  It is the country's largest city with ~724,000 residents.  The city is in the middle of the country.  It lies on seven hills and is on the river Bîc.  It was founded in 1436 as a monastery village.  In the 16th century it fell under control of the Ottoman Empire.

In June 1940, the area was occupied by the Red Army.  Then in November 1940, a 7.3 earthquake in eastern Romania caused lots of destruction.  Then in July 1941, the Germans and Romanians invaded.  By August 1944, when the Soviets retook the city, around 70% of Chişinău had been destroyed.  After the war, Chişinău became the capital of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.  After the breakup of the USSR, Chişinău became the capital of Moldova.

Soviet-style apartment blocks make up the "Gates of Chişinău" which is what you see when you enter the city from the airport.

The Stephen the Great monument was completed in 1927.  In 1944, it was taken to Romania.  Then in 1945, the Soviet authorities ordered its return.  It is now at the main entrance of the Stephen the Great Park.  People come to lay flowers at the pedestal on national holidays and on their wedding days.

Inside the park is the Alley of Classical Authors.  It was opened in 1957 and features the busts of writers of Moldovan literature and other social figures on red granite bases.

The Monument to the Liberation was unveiled at Freedom Square in 1969.  The sculpture honors the Soviet Army who liberated the country from fascism.

The Triumph Arch was built in 1841.  I think that it commemorates the Soviet victory in the Russo-Turkish war.  Every hour its bells chime.  It stands 13 meters (~43 feet) tall and is made out of white stone. 
Presidential Palace

Chişinău City Hall


Near the arch is the Cathedral of Christ's Nativity which is the city's main Russian Orthodox church.  The Neoclassical cathedral was built in the 1830s.  It was dedicated in 1836.  The new bell tower was built in 1997.

The Monument to the Victims of Jewish Genocide was built in 1992.

The Monument to the Heroes-Komsomols was built in 1959.  It honors the young people who perished for Moldavian freedom.

St. Great Martyr Tiron's Cathedral was built in 1858.  The Russian Byzantine architectural style is quite beautiful.

Memorial of Soviet Occupation
All of the city signs and ads were written in Moldovan (Romanian) but everyone here speaks Russian.

Alexander Pushkin Monument

It was nice to be able to use my Russian again but it has gotten really rusty.  I guess it is due to too many Czech lessons.  I guess two Slavic languages is just too much for me.

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