10. Although Moldova has many hidden gems, it is among Europe’s least visited destinations. One of the factors responsible for its low visitor numbers is that it is landlocked between Ukraine and Romania. In 2017, the country received around 133,000 visitors. Moldova’s medieval era fortresses, archaeological sites, Roman fortifications and more, make it an interesting tourist destination for culture and history enthusiasts.
9. The Old Orhei is a historical and archaeological complex located on the Raut River in Moldova. Excavations at the site have revealed various layers of cultural artefacts belonging to past civilizations. Some of the most notable of the discoveries at the site include the Geto-Dacian fortress of the 6th century BC to 1st century AD, a 14th-century Orthodox monastery, and the 14th-century Moldavian town of Orhei.
8. Moldova has a well-established wine industry. Vineyards cover about 147,000 hectares of land in the country with most of it dedicated to commercial production. Milestii Mici in Moldova is the world’s largest wine cellar that stores over 2 million wine bottles.
7. Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, a noted Russian novelist, poet, and playwright, spent three years exiled in Moldova. The tiny cottage where he lived has been converted to a museum and opened to the public. It displays his belongings and furnishings. Classics like “The Prisoner of the Caucasus” were written by Pushkin during his stay in the Moldovan cottage.
6. Speaking of Latin script and languages, Moldovan is Romanian – sort of. In 1939 the language’s alphabet was converted to Cyrillic, a move by the Soviets to distinguish the Moldovan ethnic group from Romanians. Shortly after Communism fell in 1989, the Moldovan government passed a law switching the alphabet back to Latin script. Moldovans themselves though are still roughly split as to whether they speak Moldovan or Romanian.
5. The land that makes up current Moldova has seen many conquerors, rulers, and kingdoms vie for its strategic position in between the Dniester and Prut Rivers. Aside from being a part of the Romanian nation-state, modern-day Moldova was also once a vassal state to the Ottoman Empire and part of the Russian Empire.
4. Prior to World War 2, Moldova had one of Europe’s largest Jewish populations. Although many fled before the Germans arrived, nearly 60,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust in Moldova; sadly, more than 23,500 are buried in this cemetery on the outskirts of Chisinau.
3. After Belarusians, Moldavians consume the most alcohol in the world. 16.8 liters of alcohol are consumed in Moldova per capita per year. Perhaps not surprising given that alcohol consumption is higher in Moldova than any other country in the world. In 2005 The Guinness Book of World Records deemed Milestii Mici the world’s largest collection of wine; so large in fact it’s over 100 kilometers long.
2. Moldova has a faster Internet connection than Norway, America, and 150 other countries. Also perhaps not that surprising as Moldova is right next to Romania, whose Internet is really damn fast too, except that Moldova’s GDP is 3 per cent that of Romania.
1. The world’s largest bottle-shaped building is in Moldova. Located in the Tirnauca village, The Strong Drinks Museum is shaped like a large bottle, the largest one in the world of its kind.