The capital of Moldova, Chisinau is a rather pleasant if unspectacular ex-Soviet city of about 700,000 people, though it’s population has been falling as it has become easier for Moldovans to live and work in the EU.
The eclectic Central Market was a good place to start, with pickled vegetables being sold by pick and mix sweets and biscuits. Among many other things you can buy cheese, honey, toilet paper, and brooms.
Nearby Ciuflea Monastery was an understandably popular place for weddings, a recurring theme throughout my Friday and Saturday in Chisinau, explaining the limited number of church interiors in this post.
The Military Museum had a fairly standard collection of Soviet era tanks, artillery, and planes.
The Memorial Complex “Eternity” is dedicated to the soldiers who fell in World War II and the military conflicts in Transnistria and Afghanistan (during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s).
I’ve been to quite a few cemeteries around the world and the Chisinau Central Cemetery was one of the most diverse I’ve visited, with lots of different headstone designs.
The cemetery chapel was attractive.
The National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History was one of my favourite buildings in Chisinau. It wouldn’t look out of place somewhere in Central Asia, with it’s Islamic style architecture. Inside it had some great things, including a large scale model of the country, fantastic painted backdrops in the natural history rooms, and some wonderful traditional clothing. It cost less than NZD1 or €0.50 to enter and I was just about the only person there.
Chisinau is known for it’s Soviet era apartment blocks which are scattered across the city skyline.
But there are plenty of older, more attractive buildings around the city.
The Church of Saint Pantaleon had some typically red Byzantine style brickwork.
Stephen the Great Central Park was hosting an America day event, celebrating one of Moldova’s strongest supporters. On the edge of the park surrounded by flowers is the Stephen the Great Monument, built in 1927.
Close by is the The Triumphal Arch, built in 1841.
The Metropolitan Cathedral “Nativity of the Lord” is the national cathedral, in which photos are not allowed, but it’s a pretty typical Orthodox design inside.
Nearby the Sculpture of Lovers is quite entertaining.
Biserica Catolica “Providenta Divina” is the main Catholic Church, much more familiar in design and less interesting to me than Orthodox churches.
Transfiguration Church was more exciting, with some impressive murals inside and the setting sun bringing the facade to life.
The green roofed Holy Hierarch Nicholas Church is one of the oldest churches in Chisinau though a service, or more likely a wedding, was taking place so I didn’t get to see inside.
For some reason Dendrarium Park is the top thing to do in Chisinau on TripAdvisor. It’s a large and pleasant park but really nothing that special, though it was quite good for running around and for flowers.
I was more interested in this abandoned building passed on the way out, and street art by the stadium on the way back.
The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova is an impressively large building for a country of three and a half million people, where 101 parliamentarians sit.
The Presidential Palace opposite could also be called a little excessive…
The Water Tower could also be called excessive but illustrative of the time when it was built, when utility buildings could also be beautiful. From the top, close to 22m high, were the best public views I found of the city.
The National Archaeology and History Museum of Moldova was better than expected, housed in a grand building, with some interesting things to see in the collection.
On the outskirts of the city centre, by the Village Museum, is one of the oldest churches in Moldova. The wooden church of Hirișeni was moved to Chişinău, where it is another popular place for weddings, which is why again there are no photos of the interior.
To end with where I probably spent the most time in Chisinau, running laps around Lacul Valea Morilor (Mill Valley Lake) at the start and end of the day. I loved the painted wooden posts.