The name “Moldova” is derived from the Moldova River; the valley of this river was a political center when the Principality of Moldavia was founded in 1359. The origin of the name of the river is not clear. There is an account (a legend) of prince Dragoș naming the river after hunting an aurochs: after the chase, his exhausted hound Molda drowned in the river. According to old writings, the dog’s name was given to the river and extended to the Principality.
Officially, the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The capital city is Chișinău.
Moldova declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991 as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On July 29, 1994, the new constitution of Moldova was adopted. A strip of Moldova’s internationally recognized territory on the east bank of the river Dniester has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990.
From January 2007, Moldova established a visa-free regime for the US, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and EU countries, which should facilitate more trips by foreign tourists. Hotels in Moldova also charge high prices, while the quality of service on average is quite low.
Moldova is well known for its rich traditions in wine making. Wine tours are offered to tourists in Chişinău and other towns across the country. Vineyards/cellars include Cricova, Purcari, Ciumai, Romanesti, Cojuşna, Milestii Mici and others.
Less celebrated are the attractions between the vineyards: sunflower fields, enormous watermelons, bucolic pastoral lands and the amazingly friendly people. Soberer diversions include remote monasteries cut into limestone cliffs and a rural backdrop inhabited by welcoming villagers.