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Summary: Moldova is in eastern Europe, northeast of Romania, and is mostly rolling steppe, with a gradual slope south to the Black Sea. Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland, but has no major mineral deposits. It has begun to enjoy recent progress from its small economic base, but still remains a quiet country.

Capital: Chisinau
Time Zone: DST +0300 UTC
Population: 4,446,455
Languages: Moldovan, Romanian, Russian, Turkish
Power: 220 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Moldovan Leu - Currently 1 MDL = 0.0888 USD $
Climate: Moldova is landlocked, and has moderate winters and warm summers.

Chisinau: Founded in 1470, Chisinau was once the center of Eastern Orthodox culture, and offers sites like the Fine Arts Museum and the History and Regional Lore Museum, and a popular day trip destination of the man-made Chisinau Lake, clean enough to swim in, and easy enough to let tourists and locals rent boats to navigate upon its waters.

Cahul: Cahul is a spa town 155 kilometers south of the capital, and attracts visitors with its thermal baths and mud treatments, making the area one of the main resort locations in the country dating back to before the 14th century, as explained in its Museum of Cahul.

Cricova: Only about 20 kilometers from Chisinau is this rare find: the Soviet wine celler that houses 30 million liters. It is a massive underground complex, and only recently opened to the public, that you can literally drive through 60 kilometers of storage 100 meters below ground in an old limestone mine and stop for wine tasting and meals. The price tag may be over 50 euro, but it is worth it for the unique experience.

Wine: Moldova has a strong tradition in wine-making, and many people have their own wine cellars and make their own wine. Be sure to stop and visit some of the many local vineyards.

Security: Although there have been reports of items stolen from residences or hotel rooms, Moldova is generally safe and welcoming. To be sure, travellers should avoid Trans-Dniester and Gagauzia, where separatist movements are more active.

Taxis: There are two types of cabs - government ones which are metered and private which are not. This means you can negotiate the fare before taking a ride ina private taxi.

When To Visit: Autumn in Moldova is beautiful and picturesque, so plan on visiting during September or October if you can. Of course, the main national holiday on August 27, Independance Day, which is beginning to bloom.

Food: Moldovan cooking is strongly influenced by Russia and Turkey. You can find kebabs on the menu next to dumplings and cornmeal mush. Tochitura Moldoveneasca is a pork meal, pan fried and served with a pepper sauce and a bit of fried egg.

Tipping: A tip of 5 to 10 percent is standard for restaurants and taxi drivers.

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