Chisinau, Moldova

I must admit, I had a hard time catching the charm of Chisinau (pronounced KISH-in-now), the capital of Moldova, on film. Not that it isn't nice. It is charming in its own way and the people are great. Its just that the essence of communist architecture and city planning sometimes can't be captured on a digital point-and-shoot. The whole town was flattened during World War II. Almost everything dates from the past half century. Most of the buildings are non-descript. Most of the scenes are mundane. You need to get out of the city to see the beauty of the country. Still, I liked it. It has its own rythm. 

While the world knows Moldova as one of the poorest countries and the source of many of the trafficked women in Eastern Europe, it has more. Good parks, fun people, cheap eats and TWO airlines. If you can stand the hundreds of Israeli's cavorting around sampling the cheap prostitutes who hang around every hotel, it is not a bad place to spend the weekend.  Not a ringing endorsement I know, but hey, you do what you can do. Hell, Lonely Planet only has a 35 page chapter on the country. It's not fair. 

I blame the rather drab shots below on me (80%), my camera (10%) and a little on the city (10%). 

King Stefan Mare (Stefan the Great) who is on all the money and all the names of places. Stefan was the medieval prince of Maldavia (now split between the Maldavia province in Romania and the Republic of Moldova). Stefan's capital was in Piatra Neamt (see the Romanian pictures for his bell tower and church). 
Downtown Chisinau with the Arc de Triumphe (1846)
The Orthodox Cathedral from 1836 
The mandatory park with all the dead writers and intellectuals.  These must have been prefabricated in some gulag. Every ex-communist city has one. This is actually called Parcul Stefan cel Mare.

 

All material Copyright 2003 Drew Sullivan unless otherwise indicated.
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