Chișinău (Romanian pronunciation: [kiʃiˈnəw]; historically also known as Kishinev, from Russian: Кишинёв) is the capital and largest city of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre, and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc. According to January 2012 official estimates, Chișinău proper has a population of 723,500 and the municipality of Chișinău is home to 794,800 residents.
Chișinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova, and its largest transportation hub. As the most economically and socially important municipality in Moldova, the city has a broad range of educational facilities.
Etymology and names
The origin of the city's name is unclear. In one version, the name comes from the archaic Romanian word chișla (meaning "spring", "source of water") and nouă ("new"), because it was built around a small spring, located at the corner of Puşkin and Albișoara streets.
An alternative version, by Ștefan Ciobanu, Romanian historian and academician, holds that the name was formed the same way as the name of Chișineu (alternative spelling: Chișinău) in Western Romania, near the border with Hungary. Its Hungarian name is Kisjenő, from which the Romanian name originates. Kisjenő in turn comes from kis "small" + the "Jenő" tribe, one of the seven Hungarian tribes that entered the Carpathian Basin in 896 and gave the name of 21 settlements.
Chișinău is also known in Russian as Кишинёв (Kishinyov). It is written Kişinöv in the Latin Gagauz alphabet. It was also written as "Chișineu" in pre-20th century Romanian and as "Кишинэу" in the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, a spelling which is still used in Moldova. Historically, the English language name for the city, "Kishinev", was based on the modified Russian one because it entered the English language via Russian at the time Chișinău was part of the Russian Empire (e.g. Kishinev pogrom). Therefore, it remains a common English name in some historical contexts. Otherwise, however, the Romanian-based "Chișinău" has been steadily gaining wider currency, especially in written language.
Founded in 1436 as a monastery village, the city was part of the Principality of Moldavia, 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, in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812), the eastern part of Moldavia was ceded to the Russian Empire and Chișinău became the capital of the newly annexed gubernia of Bessarabia. Its population had grown to 92,000 by 1862 and to 125,787 by 1900.
By 1834, an imperial townscape with broad and long roads had emerged as a result of a generous 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 Nașterea Domnului' with a magnificent bell tower. In 1840 the building of the Triumphal arch, planned by the architect Luca Zaushkevich, was completed. Following this the construction of numerous further buildings and landmarks began.
On 28 August 1871 Chișinău was linked by rail with Tiraspol and in 1873 with Cornești. Chișinău-Ungheni-Iași railway was opened on 1 June 1875 in preparation for the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). The town played an important part in the war between Russia and Ottoman Empire, as the main staging area of the Russian invasion.
Pogroms and pre-revolution
In the late 19th century, especially due to growing anti-Semitic sentiment in the Russian Empire and better economic conditions, many Jews chose to settle in Chișinău. By the year 1900, 43% of the population of Chișinău was Jewish – one of the highest numbers in Europe.
A large anti-Semitic riot took place in the town on 6–7 April 1903, which would later be known as the Kishinev pogrom. The rioting continued for three days, resulting in 47–49 Jews dead, 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 violent 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, helping to force the hand of Nicholas II in bringing about the October Manifesto. However, these demonstrations suddenly turned into another anti-Jewish pogrom, resulting in 19 deaths.
World War I
Following the Russian October Revolution, Bessarabia declared independence from the crumbling empire, before joining the Kingdom of Romania. 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 the Stephen the Great Monument, by the sculptor Alexandru Plămădeală, was erected.
World War II
Eternity – a memorial complex dedicated to the soldiers who fell in World War II and the military conflict in Transnistria
In the chaos of the Second World War Chișinău was almost completely destroyed. This began with the Soviet occupation 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 June 1941 the city came under bombardment by Nazi air raids. However, Romanian sources assign most of the responsibility for the damage to the city to Soviet NKVD destruction battalions, that operated in Chișinău until 17 July 1941, when it was captured by invading Axis forces.
Following the occupation, the city suffered from the characteristic mass murder of its predominantly Jewish inhabitants. As had been seen elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the Jews were transported on trucks to the outskirts of the city and then summarily shot in partially dug pits. The number of Jews murdered during the initial occupation of the city is estimated at approximately 10,000 people.
As the war drew to a conclusion, the city was once more pulled into heavy fighting as German and Romanian troops retreated. Chișinău 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 Chișinău as its capital; smaller parts of Bessarabia became parts of the Ukrainian SSR.
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 1950s 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 redevelopment of the city extended from 1971, when the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union adopted a decision "On the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev", which secured more than one billion rubles in investment from the state budget, which continued until the independence of Moldova in 1991. On 4 March 1977 the city was again jolted by a terrible earthquake. Several people were killed and a panic broke out.
Many streets of Chișinău are named after historic persons, places or events. Independence from the Soviet Union was followed by a large-scale renaming of streets and localities from a Communist theme into a national one.
Chișinău is located on the river Bîc, a tributary of the Dniester, at 47°0′N 28°55′E / 47°N 28.917°E / 47; 28.917, with an area of 120 km². The entire municipality comprises 635 km².
The city lies in central Moldova and is surrounded by a relatively level landscape with very fertile ground. This has allowed for the cultivation of grapevine and fruit since medieval times.
Chișinău has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), characterized by hot dry summers and windy winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0 °C (32 °F), although they rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). In summer, the average temperature is approximately 25 °C (77 °F), however, temperatures sometimes reach 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F) in mid-summer in the city centre. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy storms. Spring and autumn temperatures vary between 16 to 24 °C (61 to 75 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be lower than in summer but with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.
|Climate data for Chișinău|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.5 |
|Average high °C (°F)||0.9 |
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.9 |
|Average low °C (°F)||−4.3 |
|Record low °C (°F)||−28.4 |
|Precipitation mm (inches)||36 |
|Snowfall cm (inches)||7 |
|Avg. rainy days||8||7||11||13||14||14||12||10||10||10||11||9||129|
|Avg. snowy days||13||13||8||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||11||51|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||74.4||81.9||124.0||186.0||254.2||282.0||297.6||294.5||225.0||170.5||75.0||58.9||2,124|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|Source #2: HKO (sun only 1961-1990).|
Law and government
Moldova is administratively subdivided into 3 municipalities, 32 districts, and 2 autonomous units. Chișinău is one of these municipalities.
Besides the city itself, the municipality comprises 34 other suburban localities: 6 towns (containing further 2 villages within), and 12 communes (containing further 14 villages within). The population at the 2004 Moldovan Census is shown in brackets:
Cities population (2011 est.)
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- Băcioi (10,618)
- Bubuieci (6,748)
- Budești (5,036)
- Ciorescu (7,096)
- Colonița (3,340)
- Condrița (658)
- Cruzești (1,655)
- Ghidighici (5,094)
- Grătiești (6,242)
- Stăuceni (6,833)
- Goianul Nou
- Tohatin (2,487)
- Trușeni (7,952)
Chișinău 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 unable to hold 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 Nașterea Domnului, as well as improvements in public transport. From 1994, Chișinău saw the establishment of new trolleybus lines, as well as an increase in capacity of existing lines, in order to improve connections between the urban districts.
The latest 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 interim office holder, Vasile Ursu, would continue to hold the position until the next scheduled elections in 2007.
The current mayor, Dorin Chirtoacă from the Liberal party, took office after elections in June 2007. He was declared the victor in the second round of voting on 17 June 2007. 36,26% of the voters took part in the vote, just over the validation threshold. Chirtoacă won reelection in June 2011, narrowly defeating the candidate from the Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon. He received 50.6% of the vote to Dodon's 49.4%.
The municipality in its totality elects a mayor and a local council, which then name 5 pretors, one for each sector. They deal more locally with a number of administrative matters. Each sector claims a part of the city and several suburbs:
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Chișinău is the most economically developed and industrialised city in Moldova. It 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. The economy of Chișinău is mainly centered on industry and services, with the latter particularly growing in importance in the last ten years.
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 in most rural areas of the country.
Air Moldova has its head office on the property of Chișinău International Airport.
Notable sites around the city include the cinema Patria, the new mall Malldova, and retailers N1 and Green Hills. While many locals continue to shop at the numerous bazaars, many upper class residents and tourists shop at the retail stores and at Malldova. Elăt, an older mall located in the Botanica district, and Sun City, located in the city center, are more popular with locals. Fast-food chain McDonald's has several locations around the city, with the largest being in a two-story building in the city center. There is another McDonald's, as well as a Sbarro and a KFC, located inside of Malldova. Many Western companies, such as Levi's and Adidas, have stores inside the mall as well.
Several amusement parks exist around the city. A Soviet era one is located in the Botanica district, along the three lakes of a major park, which reaches the outskirts of the city center. Another, the modern Aventura Park, is located farther from the city center. A circus, which used to reside in a grand building in the Rîşcani sector, has been inactive for several years due to a poorly funded renovation project.
According to the last census, from 2004, there were 712,218 people living within the municipality of Chișinău. Of this population, 589,446 people were living in the city itself.
As of 1 January 2012 estimates, 723,500 inhabitants live within the city limits, and 794,800 within the municipality limits, an increase from the figure recorded at the 2004 census.
- Births (2010): 7964 (10.1 per 1000)
- Deaths (2010): 6388 (8.1 per 1000)
- Growth rate (2010): 1576 (2.0 per 1000)
|Ethnic group||Population||% of total*|
|Source: 2004 census results|
- Christians – 90.0%
- Orthodox Christians – 88.3%
- Protestant – 1.3%
- Baptists – 0.6%
- Evangelicals – 0.4%
- Pentecostals – 0.2%
- Seventh-day Adventists 0.1%
- Catholics – 0.4%
- Other – 1.0%
- No religion – 1.4%
- Atheists – 1.5%
- Undeclared – 6.1%
The city's growth plan was developed in the 19th century. In 1836 the construction of the Cathedral and its belfry was finished. The belfry was demolished in Soviet times, but was rebuilt in 1997.
Many modern-style buildings were built in the city since 1991. There are also a lot of office and shopping complexes that are modern, renovated or newly built; including Kentford, SkyTower, and Union Fenosa headquarters. However, the old Soviet-style clusters of living blocks are still an extensive feature of the cityscape.
Culture and education
The city is home to 12 public and 11 private universities, the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, as well as a number of institutions offering both high school education, as well as 1–2 years of college education.
Chisinau, as well as Moldova as a whole, still show signs of ethnic culture. Signs that say "Patria Mea" (English: My homeland) can be found all over the capital. While few people still wear traditional Moldavian attire, large public events often draw in such original costumes.
American sculptor Moissaye Marans was born in Chișinău in 1902.
The first radio station in Chişinău, Radio Basarabia, was launched by the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company on 8 October 1939, when the religious service was broadcast on air from the Nativity Cathedral. The first TV station in the city, Moldova 1, was launched on 30 April 1958, while Nicolae Lupan was serving as the redactor-in-chief of TeleRadio-Moldova.
The majority of Moldova's media industry is based in Chișinău. The state 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. There are some hopes that a new broadcasting code will resolve some of these issues.
The Romanian Pro TV Chișinău also broadcasts locally. It was repeatedly denied national license by the government and threatened to be closed down. The station broadcasts a mixture of independent local news, in addition to entertainment and documentary programs from Romania.
Other TV channels are PRIME, Jurnal TV, Publika TV, CTC, DTV, Euro TV, MTV, MuzTV, NIT and TV 7. In addition to television, most Moldovan radio and newspaper companies have their headquarters in the city. Broadcasters include the national radio, Vocea Basarabiei, Prime FM, BBC Moldova, Europa Libera, Kiss FM, Pro FM, Radio 21, Fresh FM (Romanian radio station Național FM), Radio Nova, Russkoe radio, Hit FM, and many others.
Unimedia.md is the most visited portal. Others portals are : Jurnal.md, News.yam.md, Union.md.
The biggest broadcasters are SunTV, Satellit and Zebra TV. In 2007 SunTV and Zebra launched digital TV cable networks.
|2010||54.22% 234,156||40.19% 173,570|
|July 2009||56.20% 215,443||41.23% 158,034|
|April 2009||47.99% 176,742||42.43% 153,227|
Both electoral and political Chisinau given a higher priority for the center-right parties, in principle AEI. PCRM the main opposition party, has a large percentage in the city, but is a continues fall percentage.
|Parties and coalitions||Votes||%||+/−|
|Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova||173,570||40.19||−1.04|
|Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova||122,845||28.44||+11.55|
|Democratic Party of Moldova||35,369||8,19||-2.36|
|Party Alliance Our Moldova||6,676||1.15||−4.47|
|Other Party (<1.0%)||24,259||5.59||+3.02|
|Total (turnout 67.59%)||433,974||100.00|
Chișinău international airport offers connections to a number of major cities including Athens, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Kiev, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Vienna and others. The airport handled 1,045,975 passengers in 2011.
The Air Moldova flight operator has its head office on the grounds of Chișinău International Airport.
There is wide trolleybus network operating as common public transportation within city. The network comprises 24 trolleybus lines being 520 km in length. Trolleybuses run between 06.00 AM and 11.00 PM.
Schedule of Chisinau buses begins at 6.00 AM and ends at 00.00. There are 29 lines of buses within Chisinau municipality. At each public transportation stops there is attached a schedule for bus\ trolleybus. There are approx. 330 public transportation stops within Chisinau municipality.
Within Chișinău and its suburbs, privately operated minibuses, known as "rutieras" generally follow the major bus and trolleybus routes and appear more frequently.
The most popular form of internal transport in Moldova is generally the bus. Bus services in Chișinău are inexpensive, ranging from 2 to 3 lei for a ticket (ca. $0.20–0.30). 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), Iași and Bucharest (Romania).
An international railway terminal exists with possible connections to Bucharest, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Moscow, Samara, Varna and St. Petersburg. Due to the simmering conflict between Moldova and the unrecognised Transnistria republic the rail traffic towards Ukraine is occasionally stopped.
There are four professional football clubs in Chișinău, all playing in the Divizia Națională (national league): FC Zimbru Chișinău, FC Dacia Chișinău, FC Academia Chișinău, and CSCA-Rapid Ghidighici. Of the larger public multiuse stadiums in the city is the Stadionul Dinamo (Dinamo Stadium), which has a capacity of 2,692. The Zimbru Stadium, opened in May 2006 with a capacity of 10,500 sitting places, meets all the requirements for holding official international matches, and was the venue for all Moldova's Euro 2008 qualifying games.
Twin Towns – Sister Cities
Chișinău is twinned with:
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Notes and references
- "Preliminary number of resident population in the Republic of Moldova as of January 1, 2012" (Press release). National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova. 8 February 2012. http://www.statistica.md/newsview.php?l=en&idc=168&id=3670. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- (Romanian) History of Chișinău on Kishinev.info, Retrieved on 12 October 2008
- (Romanian) Istoria Orasului
-  (Hungarian)
- Zamfir C. Arbure: Basarabia în secolul XIX, 1898
- Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
- Virtual Kishinev. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
- Virgil Pâslariuc. "Cine a devastat Chişinăul în iulie 1941?" Historia.ro Template:Ref-ro
- "Memories of the Holocaust: Kishinev (Chişinău) (1941–1944)", jewishvirtuallibrary.org
- Architecture of Chișinău on Kishinev.info, Retrieved on 12 October 2008
- "Pogoda.ru.net" (in Russian). May 2011. http://pogoda.ru.net/climate/33815.htm. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
- sunshine hours for Kisinev, Moldova, accessed 19 March 2012.
- Moldovan Law 764-XV from 27 December 2001, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 16/53, 29 December 2001
- CEC a anunţat rezultatele finala la Chişinău, "Moldova Azi", http://www.azi.md/ro/story/19193 (accessed 21 June 2011).
- Moldovan Law 431-XIII from 19 April 1995, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 31-32/340, 9 June 1995 (Romanian)
- "Contact us." (Direct map link) Air Moldova. Retrieved on 31 December 2010. " Legal Address: Dacia bd. 80 ⁄ 2, Airport, MD 2026, Chişinău, Moldova." Address in Romanian: "bd. Dacia 80/2, Aeroport, MD 2026, Chișinău, Moldova." Map in Romanian. Address in Russian: "ул. Дачия 80/2, MD-2026, Кишинев, Молдова." Map in Russian.
- 2004 census results in Moldova
- Since the independence of Moldova, there is an ongoing controversy over whether Romanians and Moldovans are the same ethnic group.
- IPNA Compania Teleradio Moldova
- Monitoring of programs on Radio Moldova and TV Moldova 1 PDF
- 2003 World Press Freedom Review
- "Head Office." Air Moldova. Retrieved on 15 May 2010.
- "Oraşe înfrăţite". http://www.chisinau.md/tabview.php?l=ro&idc=526. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- Hamm, Michael F. (March 1998). "Kishinev: The character and development of a Tsarist Frontier Town". Nationalities Papers 26 (1): 19–37. doi:10.1080/00905999808408548.