26 interesting facts about Moldova

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From the world’s largest wine cellar to one of Europe’s poorest countries, these are the most interesting facts about Moldova.

Interesting facts about Moldova include its monasteries
Interesting facts about Moldova include its monasteries (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Moldova
Population: 3.2 million
Area: 33,851 sq km
Capital city: Chisinau
Major languages: Moldovan/Romanian, Russian, Gagauz, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Major religions: Christianity
Time zone: UTC+2 (Eastern European Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Interesting facts about Moldova

1. Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordering Romania and Ukraine.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

2. Moldova may have been inhabited for up to 1.2 million years. In 2010, flint tools were unearthed, believed to be between 800,000 and 1.2 million years old.
– Source: Anisyutkin et al. (2012) Bairaki – a lower palaeolithic site on the lower Dniester. Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia 40 (1). 2-10

3. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Moldovan territory was repeatedly disputed by several powers, particularly the Ottoman Empire and Russia, which led to numerous wars.
– Source: BBC News

Map of Moldova showing the surrounding area and bordering countries
Moldova is in Eastern Europe (Shutterstock)

4. Moldova was previously known as Bessarabia. At various times it was also part of the former Romanian Principality of Moldavia.
– Source: Britannica1, Britannica2

5. In 1945, Moldova became part of the USSR, eventually gaining independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
– Source: BBC News

6. Moldova’s flag is made up of vertical stripes of blue, yellow and red with a central coat of arms. The flag is based on the colour scheme of the flag of Romania. the coat of arms features an eagle and the head of an aurochs, an extinct European ox.
– Source: CIA World Factbook, Britannica

The flag of Moldova flies against a blue sky
The Moldovan flag (Shutterstock)

7. The back of the flag has a mirrored image of the coat of arms making it one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides – the others are Paraguay and Saudi Arabia.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

8. From 2009 to 2012, Moldova did not have a president. After three years of political gridlock, Nicolae Timofti was finally elected president.
– Source: Reuters

9. Moldova has the world’s largest wine cellar by the number of bottles. The Milestii Mici cellars contain over 1.5 million bottles of wine. The bottles are stored in 55km (34mi) of underground galleries.
– Source: Guinness World Records

The tunnels and stacks of wine bottles of Milestii Mici underground winery
The Milestii Mici cellar (Shutterstock)

10. In 2006, and then again in 2013, Russia, Moldova’s biggest export market, banned Moldavian wine costing the nation millions of Euros.
– Source: The Economist

11. One of the languages spoken in Moldova, Gagauz, is classed as critically endangered by UNESCO. Spoken by approximately 180,000 people, Gagauz is in danger of dying out.
– Source: UNESCO

12. Moldova’s capital, Chişinău, dates back to 1420. However, much of the city was destroyed in the Second World War and by an earthquake that struck in 1940. It was largely rebuilt by the Soviets.
– Source: Lonely Planet

Am=n aerial image of Chişinău
Moldova’s capital, Chişinău (Shutterstock)

13. Moldova is the third poorest country in Europe when measured by GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). Only Kosovo and war-torn Ukraine are poorer.
– Source: World Bank

14. Moldova only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Struve Geodetic Arc. The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching 2,820km (1,752 miles). It travels through 10 countries (including Moldova) from Norway to the Black Sea. The survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Struve, helped to establish the exact size and shape of the Earth.
– Source: UNESCO

15. Since 1992, there has been a breakaway territory in Moldova called Transnistria. With a population of 470,000 people, the predominantly Russian-speaking and self-declared Transnistrian Moldovan Republic is not recognised by any country.
– Source: The Guardian

A patriotic sign in the breakaway territory of Transnistria
Tiraspol in Transnistria (Shutterstock)

16. Even though Moldova is technically landlocked, it has access to the Black Sea via the Giurgiulesti International Free Port. As a result of a 2005 territorial exchange with Ukraine, Moldova was given the 450m (1,476ft) stretch of shoreline along the Danube River which leads to the Black Sea.
– Source: New York Times

17. Moldova has the world’s sixth cheapest broadband. The cheapest monthly available broadband package costs just $8.21 USD. It also has the world’s seventh cheapest mobile data.
– Source: Cable

18. Moldova is famous for its monasteries with Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei) its most recognisable site. The complex, located rocky ridge over the Răut River, dates back over 2,000 years.
– Source: Lonely Planet

Orheiul Vechi monastery seen from a drone during sunrise
Orheiul Vechi Monastery (Shutterstock)

19. After San Marino, Moldova is the least-visited country in Europe, only receiving around 145,000 tourists in 2017 (the latest data available).
– Source: UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

20. The national language of Moldova (Moldovan; a form of Daco-Romanian) and Romanian are almost identical. Both languages use the Latin alphabet.
– Source: Britannica

21. Moldova has a national wine day in October. The National Wine Day of Moldova event actually lasts two days and celebrates Moldova’s wine culture.
– Source: Moldova Tourism Board

People drinking wine during festivities in Moldova
National Wine Day of Moldova 2018 (Shutterstock)

22. The country is named after the Moldova River in neighbouring eastern Romania.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

23. Moldova has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. As of 2022, it was ranked ninth lowest with just 1.3 children per woman.
– Source: World Bank

24. There is an area in Moldova known as the “100 Hills” due to its mysterious mounds of earth. No one knows what caused them but local legend says they are the sites of ancient battles and are the burial places of fallen soldiers.
– Source: Rough Guides

A green landscape showing several hills or mounds
The 100 Hills (Shutterstock)

25. Europe’s largest land mammal, the European bison, can be found in Moldova’s Padurea Domneasca (Royal Forest) Nature Reserve.
– Source: Rough Guides, BBC Wildlife

26. Moldova is the least developed country in Europe. Overall, it is the 90th most developed country in the world.
– Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Moldova using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.