Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes

Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes (CIIE)


  • Accession to the Council of Europe : 1995
  • Area : 33 700 km²
  • Population : 3.56 million inhabitants (2014)
  • Capital : Chişinău
  • Official language : Moldavan (Romanian)
  • Predominant religion : Eastern orthodox
  • Political regime : Republic
  • Head of State : Igor Dodon, President since Dec 2016 
  • Head of Government : Maia SANDU president elected on 15 November 2020
  • Official currency : Moldovan Leu (MDL)
  • International code : + 373
  • National holiday : August 27

Landlocked between Russia and Ukraine, Moldova is the modern-day descendant of the Principality of Moldavia (1359-1859) which saw its territory broken up between the region of Moldova in Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. The current Republic of Moldova, so named in order to differentiate it from the historical region of Romania, includes the regions of Bessarabia to the east and south. During the 19th century, the Principality of Moldavia united with the Principality of Wallachia to form Romania. Since the independence of Moldova, political life has been divided between the communist Soviet influence and the non-Communist western European model. Although it has been independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River, supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a “Transnistria” republic. One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a Communist as its president in 2001.

© CIA World Factbook
  • December 1917 : Following the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Bessarabia declares independence. Moldovan officials call for a union with Romania.
  • March-August 1944 : The USSR regains its territory within Moldova and deports over 100,000 Romanians, accusing the deported of collaboration with Germany during the war.
  • 1985-91 : Resurgence of Moldovan nationalism under Gorbachev’s perestroika. Romanian is reinstated as the official language.
  • August 27 1991 : The Republic of Moldova declares its independence, which is immediately recognized by neighboring Romania.
  • December 1991 : The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistria, declares its independence from Chisinau, but is not recognized by the international community. It asks to be incorporated into Russia or Ukraine.
  • 1992 : Violent fighting in Transnistria with the Russian-speaking separatists.
  • 1994 : A uUnion with Romania is rejected by referendum, particularly because of Russian pressure. It was supposed to be the political unification of the two states, and as a consequence the accession of Moldova to the European Union and NATO. Accession to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
  • 1995 : Moldova becomes a member of the Francophonie.
  • 1996 : creation of GUAM (Organization for Democracy and Development) with Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan
  • 2007 : Signing of the Central European Free Trade Agreement. Beneficiary of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the European Union.
  • 2011 : conclusion of negotiations between the European Union and Moldova on the protection of geographical indications.
The city of Chisinau (Kishinev) is the administrative, political, economic, scientific, cultural and touristic center of Moldova. Etymologically, the name means “water spring” because of the two rivers that cross the city, the Bic and the Işnovăţ. Nicknamed “the white city bathed in a green sea” because of the many buildings of white stone drowning in the green hills on which the capital is located, Chisinau is particularly beautiful in summer, with its wide tree-lined boulevards, and squares with abundant flowers.
The historic center of the Moldovan capital has about 700 buildings dating from the nineteenth century, including 18 old churches, such as the cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, which is at the heart of the city.
From 1919, Chisinau has seen many major architectural changes over the course of power changes, earthquakes, and wars, but mainly due to a strong policy of urban development. If the Soviet architectural tradition predominated in the 70’s, most of the buildings are inspired by Western models. Most of them are used by the business elite, such as banks and business centers .

Embroidery, the passion of Moldovan women

Embroidery is a popular pastime for many Moldovans. In ancient Greek, the writings of Herodotus mention that the Thrace people (ancestors of the Moldovans) decorated their clothing with exquisite embroidery. Embroidery began to develop as a popular form of art during Medieval times. For the most part, fine tissues of linen or cotton are used for embroidery in this region. As time progressed, the art of embroidery evolved, and several new techniques were developed. Moreover, embroidery is an essential factor in traditional Moldovan garb, which consists of a linen or hemp shirt, decorated with exquisite embroidered designs.

© moldavie.fr

Traditional Architecture: Rural Architecture

Developed throughout centuries, the rural architecture of Moldova is marked by tradition, diversity, and an extremely varied style. 
Two-level houses are the most interesting and most original style of home, built during the XVII and XVIII centuries. Used due to geographic conditions, this form of architecture characterizes the Moldovan style. The two-level house consists of three main rooms: the foyer, one large communal bedroom (which also served as the dining room), and the “casa mare,” or the living room, which was utilized to host guests. Generally, the interior of the house is adorned with decorative rugs, while the exterior is furnished with painted and sculpted ornaments. To make the structure more sturdy, the terrace is built on a rock base, which serves as the foundation for the columns that support the roof.

Picture: © Museum of the village in Bucarest

Between Two Worlds…
As a former Soviet republic, Moldova gained its independence in 1991, following the fall of the USSR. Moldova is the only former Soviet state where the official language is of Latin origin. It is also interesting to note that Moldova serves as a center-point between two civilizations: Slavic civilization on one side (Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria), and Latin on the other (Romanians and the Moldovans).

“Freakies” from the north
Pocrovca ​​village, in the district of Donduseni, is very peculiar: no inhabitant ever leaves to look for a job abroad. Even the younger generation completes their studies in other cities and then returns to Pocrovca, where they ​​are almost forced to get married, according to local rites.

It is said that in 1820, 17 families took refuge in this regions to escape the persecution inflicted on them because of their beliefs, hoping to find shelter and a piece of land.
Even the village government is a bit of a centuries-old tradition : the authority is not assigned to a single person, but to a group of wise sages. The mayor has no real authority, as opposed to the “advice” of the village, made ​​up of 20 wise elders who make all the decisions. This governing style may seem surprising, but it works well for this small community, united in the bonds of solidarity and mutual aid.


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