The "Gates of Chișinău", as seen when entering the city from the direction of the Chișinău airport


Chișinău is located in Moldova
Location of Chișinău in Moldova
Coordinates: 47°0′00″N 28°55′00″E / 47°N 28.9166667°E / 47; 28.9166667
Country  Moldova
Founded 1436
 – Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, since 2007
 – City 120 km2 (46.3 sq mi)
 – Metro 635 km2 (245.2 sq mi)
Elevation 85 m (279 ft)
Population (January 2011 est.[1])
 – City 664,700
 – Density 5,539/km2 (14,345.9/sq mi)
 – Metro 789,500
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 – Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code MD-20xx
Area code(s) +373 22

Chișinău (Romanian pronunciation: [kiʃiˈnəw]; historically also known as Kishinev, Ukrainian: Кишинів, from Russian: Кишинёв) is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc. According to January 2011 official estimates, Chișinău proper has a population of 664,700 and the municipality of Chișinău is home to 789,500 residents.[1]

Chișinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova, and its largest transportation hub. As the most economically and socially important municipality in Moldova, the city has a broad range of educational facilities.


Etymology and names

The origin of the city's name is unclear. In one version, the name comes from the archaic Romanian word chișla (meaning "spring", "source of water") and nouă ("new"), because it was built around a small spring, located at the corner of Pushkin and Albișoara streets.[2]

An alternative version, by Stefan Ciobanu, Romanian historian and academician, holds that the name was formed the same way as the name of Chișineu (alternative spelling: Chișinău) in Western Romania, near the border with Hungary. Its Hungarian name is Kisjenő, from which the Romanian name originates.[3] Kisjenő in turn comes from kis "small" + the "Jenő" tribe, one of the seven Hungarian tribes that entered the Carpathian Basin in 896 and gave the name of 21 settlements.[4]

Chișinău is also known in Russian as Кишинёв (Kishinyov). It is written Kişinöv in the Latin Gagauz alphabet. It was also written as "Кишинэу" in the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet in Soviet times and "Chișineu" in pre-20th century Romanian.[5] Historically, the English language name for the city, "Kishinev", was based on the modified Russian one because it entered the English language via Russian at the time Chișinău was part of the Russian Empire (e.g. Kishinev pogrom). Therefore, it remains a common English name in some historical contexts. Otherwise, however, the Romanian-based "Chișinău" has been steadily gaining wider currency, especially in written language.


Founded in 1436 as a monastery village, the city was part of the Principality of Moldavia, which, starting with the 16th century fell under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the 19th century it was a small town of 7,000 inhabitants. In 1812, in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812), the eastern part of Moldavia was ceded to Russian Empire and Chișinău became the capital of the newly annexed gubernia of Bessarabia. Its population had grown to 92,000 by 1862 and to 125,787 by 1900.[6]

Industrial age

Stephen the Great Monument in Downtown Chișinău
Chișinău, 1889
Chișinău, as seen from a SPOT satellite

By 1834, an imperial townscape with broad and long roads had emerged as a result of a generous development plan, which divided the city roughly into two areas: The old part of the town – with its irregular building structures – and a newer City Center and station. Between 26 May 1830 and 13 October 1836 the architect Avraam Melnikov established the 'Catedrala Nașterea Domnului' with a magnificent bell tower. In 1840 the building of the Triumphal arch, planned by the architect Luca Zaushkevich, was completed. Following this the construction of numerous further buildings and landmarks began.

On August 28, 1871 Chișinău was linked by rail with Tiraspol and in 1873 with Cornești. Chișinău-Ungheni-Iași railway was opened on June 1, 1875 in preparation for the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). The town played an important part in the war between Russia and Ottoman Empire, as the main staging area of the Russian invasion.

Pogroms and pre-revolution

In the late 19th century, especially due to growing anti-Semitic sentiment in the Russian Empire and better economic conditions, many Jews chose to settle in Chișinău. By the year 1900, 43% of the population of Chișinău was Jewish – one of the highest numbers in Europe.

A large anti-Semitic riot took place in the town on 6–7 April 1903, which would later be known as the Kishinev pogrom. The rioting continued for three days, resulting in 47–49 Jews dead, 92 severely wounded, and 500 suffering minor injuries. In addition, several hundred houses and many businesses were plundered and destroyed. The pogroms are largely believed to have been incited by anti-Jewish propaganda in the only official newspaper of the time, Bessarabetz (Бессарабецъ). The reactions to this incident included a petition to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia on behalf of the American people by the US President Theodore Roosevelt in July 1905.[7]

On 22 August 1905 another violent event occurred, whereby the police opened fire on an estimated 3,000 demonstrating agricultural workers. Only a few months later, 19–20 October 1905, a further protest occurred, helping to force the hand of Nicholas II in bringing about the October Manifesto. However, these demonstrations suddenly turned into another anti-Jewish pogrom, resulting in 19 deaths.[7]

World War I

Following the Russian October Revolution Bessarabia declared independence from the crumbling empire, before joining the Kingdom of Romania. During this period, Chișinău was in the background, being regarded as no more than a large provincial city. Only with the advent of modern technology and industrialization, it slowly rose into prominence.

Between 1918 and 1940 the center of the city undertook large renovation work. In 1927 the Stephen the Great Monument, by the sculptor Alexandru Plămădeală, was erected.

World War II

Eternity – a memorial complex dedicated to the soldiers who fell in World War II and the military conflict in Transnistria

In the chaos of the Second World War Chișinău was almost completely destroyed. This began with the Soviet occupation by the Red Army on 28 June 1940. As the city began to recover from the takeover, a devastating earthquake occurred on 10 November 1940. The epicenter of the quake, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, was in eastern Romania and subsequently led to substantial destruction in the city.

After scarcely one year, the assault on the newly created Moldovan SSR by the German and Romanian armies began. Beginning with July 1941 the city suffered from large-scale shooting and heavy bombardments by Nazi air raids. The Red Army resistance in Chișinău fell on 17 July 1941.

Following the occupation, the city suffered from the characteristic mass murder of its predominantly Jewish inhabitants. As had been seen elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the Jews were transported on trucks to the outskirts of the city and then summarily shot in partially dug pits. The number of Jews murdered during the initial occupation of the city is estimated at approximately 10,000 people.[8]

As the war drew to a conclusion, the city was once more pulled into heavy fighting as German and Romanian troops retreated. Chișinău was taken by the Red Army on 24 August 1944 as a result of the Jassy-Kishinev Operation. By this point the city had lost about 70% of its buildings – the earthquake of 1940 and the air raids contributing to the largest part of this.

After the war, Bessarabia was fully integrated into the Soviet Union. Most of Bessarabia became the Moldavian SSR with Chișinău as its capital; smaller parts of Bessarabia became parts of the Ukrainian SSR.

Soviet Union

Botanica District

In the years 1947 to 1949 the architect Alexey Shchusev developed a plan with the aid of a team of architects for the gradual reconstruction of the city.

The beginning of the 1950s saw a rapid population growth, to which the Soviet administration responded by constructing large-scale housing and palaces in the style of Stalinist architecture. This process continued under Nikita Khrushchev, who called for construction under the slogan "good, cheaper and built faster". The new architectural style brought about dramatic change and generated the style that dominates today, with large blocks of flats arranged in considerable settlements.

The period of the most significant redevelopment of the city extended from 1971, when the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union adopted a decision "On the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev", which secured more than one billion rubles in investment from the state budget,[9] which continued until the independence of Moldova in 1991. On March 4, 1977 the city was jolted by the terrible earthquake again. Several people were killed and a panic broke out.

After independence

Presidential Palace

Many streets of Chișinău are named after historic persons, places or events. Independence from the Soviet Union was followed by a large-scale renaming of streets and localities from a Communist theme into a national one.


Rose Valley, Sectorul Botanica

Chișinău is located on the river Bîc, a tributary of the Dniester, at 47°0′N 28°55′E / 47°N 28.917°E / 47; 28.917, with an area of 120 km². The entire municipality comprises 635 km².

The city lies in central Moldova and is surrounded by a relatively level landscape with very fertile ground. This has allowed for the cultivation of grapevine and fruit since medieval times.[citation needed]


Chișinău gardens

Chișinău has a continental climate, characterised by hot dry summers and windy winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0 °C (32 °F), although they rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). In summer, the average temperature is approximately 25 °C (77 °F), however, temperatures sometimes reach 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F) in mid-summer in the city centre. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy storms. Spring and autumn temperatures vary between 16 to 24 °C (61 to 75 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be lower than in summer but with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.

Typical temperatures and precipitation for each month:[10]

Climate data for Chișinău
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.5
Average high °C (°F) 0.7
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.5
Average low °C (°F) −5.2
Record low °C (°F) −28.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 30
Snowfall cm (inches) 6
humidity 81 80 75 64 62 64 64 63 66 72 80 83 71
Avg. rainy days 9 9 11 14 13 13 11 9 9 10 13 12 133
Avg. snowy days 14 13 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.7 4 12 53.7

Law and government

Chișinău City Hall


Moldova is administratively subdivided into 3 municipalities, 32 districts, and 2 autonomous units. Chișinău is one of these municipalities.[12]

Besides the city itself, the municipality comprises 34 other suburban localities: 6 towns (containing further 2 villages within), and 12 communes (containing further 14 villages within). The population at the 2004 Moldovan Census is shown in brackets:


Cities population (2011 est.)


  • Băcioi (10,618)
    • Brăila
    • Frumușica
    • Străisteni
  • Bubuieci (6,748)
    • Bîc
    • Humulești
  • Budești (5,036)
    • Văduleni
  • Ciorescu (7,096)
    • Făurești
    • Goian
  • Colonița (3,340)
  • Condrița (658)
  • Cruzești (1,655)
    • Ceroborta
  • Ghidighici (5,094)
  • Grătiești (6,242)
    • Hulboaca
  • Stăuceni (6,833)
    • Goianul Nou
  • Tohatin (2,487)
    • Buneți
    • Cheltuitori
  • Trușeni (7,952)
    • Dumbrava


Administrative sectors of Chișinău
Dorin Chirtoacă, the Mayor of Chișinău

Chișinău is governed by the City Council and the City Mayor (Romanian: Primar), both elected once every four years. The current mayor is Dorin Chirtoacă. His predecessor was Serafim Urechean. Under the Moldovan constitution, Urechean – elected to parliament in 2005 – was unable to hold an additional post to that of an MP. The Democratic Moldova Bloc leader subsequently accepted his mandate and in April resigned from his former position. During his 11 year term, Urechean committed himself to the restoration of the church tower of the Catedrala Nașterea Domnului, as well as improvements in public transport. From 1994, Chișinău saw the construction and launch of new trolleybus lines, as well as an increase in capacities of existing lines, in order to improve connections between the urban districts.

Next elections took place on 10 July, 24 July, 27 November and 11 December 2005. On the first occasion only 26.93% of voters participated, below the one-third turnout necessary to validate the poll. Three subsequent attempts in July, November and December saw the election turnout fall further to 19.82%, 22.37% and 22.07% respectively. After several months in limbo it was announced that the momentary office holder Vasile Ursu, could continue to hold the position, until the next scheduled elections in 2007.

The current mayor, Dorin Chirtoacă from the Liberal party, took office after elections in June 2007. He was declared the victor in the second round of voting on 17 June 2007. 36,26 % of the voters took part in the vote, just over the validation threshold. Chirtoacă won reelection in June 2011, narrowly defeating the candidate from the Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon.[13] He received 50.6% of the vote to Dodon's 49.4%.

Local government

The municipality in its totality elects a mayor and a local council, which then name 5 pretors, one for each sector. They deal more locally with a number of administrative matters. Each sector claims a part of the city and several suburbs:[14]

  • Sîngera
    • Dobrogea
    • Revaca
  • Băcioi
    • Brăila
    • Frumușica
    • Străisteni


Sky Tower in Downtown Chișinău

Chișinău is the most economically developed and industrialised city in Moldova. It is a major industrial and services center; its main industries include consumer and electrical goods, building materials, machinery, plastics, rubber, and textiles. The main service fields are banking and shopping/commerce. The economy of Chișinău is mainly centered on industry and services, with the latter particularly growing in importance in the last ten years.[citation needed]

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has become a relatively lively[citation needed] and well-provisioned[citation needed] capital, with a much higher standard of living than in most rural areas of the country.

Air Moldova has its head office on the property of Chișinău International Airport.[15]


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1812 7,000
1818 18,595 +165.6%
1835 34,079 +83.3%
1844 52,196 +53.2%
1851 58,849 +12.7%
1861 93,359 +58.6%
1865 94,047 +0.7%
1894 128,218 +36.3%
1897 108,000 −15.8%
1912 121,000 +12.0%
1930 114,000 −5.8%
1950 134,000 +17.5%
1963 253,500 +89.2%
1980 519,200 +104.8%
1991 676,700 +30.3%
1993 663,400 −2.0%
1996 662,500 −0.1%
2002 662,000 −0.1%
2004 662,200 +0.0%
2006 660,200 −0.3%
2008 663,100 +0.4%
2010 663,400 +0.0%
2011 664,700 +0.2%

According to the last census, from 2004, there were 712,218 people living within the municipality of Chișinău. Of this population, 589,446 people were living in the city itself.[16]

As of 1 January 2011, 664,700 inhabitants live within the city limits, and 789,500 within the municipality limits, an increase from the figure recorded at the 2004 census.[1]

  • Births (2010): 7964 (10.1 per 1000)
  • Deaths 2010): 6388 (8.1 per 1000)
  • Growth rate (2010): 1576 (2.0 per 1000)

Ethnic composition

Ethnic group Population  % of total*
Moldovans (Romanians) 513,610 72.11%
Russians 99,149 13.92%
Ukrainians 58,945 8.28%
Bulgarians 8,866 1.24%
Gagauzians 6,448 0.91%
Jews 2,649 0.37%
Poles 834 0.12%
Others 21,717 3.05%


  • Christians - 90.0%
    • Orthodox Christians - 88.3%
    • Protestant - 1.3%
      • Baptists - 0.6%
      • Evangelicals - 0.4%
      • Pentecostals - 0.2%
      • Seventh-day Adventists 0.1%
    • Catholics - 0.4%
  • Other - 1.0%
  • No religion - 1.4%
  • Atheists - 1.5%
  • Not declare - 6.1%


Panorama of the city


St. Teodora de la Sihla Church
National Archeology and History Museum of Moldova

The city's growth plan was developed in the 19th century. Many buildings were designed and built in a beautiful architectural style, some remaining to this day. In 1836 the construction of the Cathedral and its belfry was finished. The belfry was demolished in Soviet times, but was rebuilt in 1997.

Modern architecture

Many modern-style buildings were built in the city since 1991. There are also a lot of office and shopping complexes that are modern, renovated or newly built; including Kentford, SkyTower, and Union Fenosa headquarters. However, the old Soviet-style clusters of living blocks are still an extensive feature of the cityscape.

Culture and education

Opera And Balet Theatre

The city is home to 12 public and 11 private universities, the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, as well as a number of institutions offering both high school education, as well as 1–2 years of college education.


The majority of Moldova's media industry is based in Chișinău. The only national broadcaster in the country is the state-owned Moldova 1, which has its head office in the city. The broadcasts of TeleradioMoldova have been criticized by the Independent Journalism Center as showing 'bias' towards the authorities.[17] There are some hopes that a new broadcasting code will resolve some of these issues.

The Romanian Pro TV Chișinău also broadcasts locally. It was repeatedly thwarted in its attempts to obtain a national license by the government. The station broadcasts a mixture of independent local news, in addition to entertainment and documentary programs from Romania. Pro TV remains on air despite numerous threats from officials to close it down.[18]

Other TV channels are PRIME, Jurnal TV, Publika TV, CTC, DTV, Euro TV, MTV, MuzTV, NIT and TV 7. In addition to television, most radio and newspaper companies have their headquarters in the city. Broadcasters include the national radio, Vocea Basarabiei, Prime FM, BBC Moldova, Europa Libera, Kiss FM, Pro FM, Radio 21, Fresh FM (Romanian radio station Național FM), Radio Nova, Russkoe radio, Hit FM, and many others. In the same time is the most visited portal.

The biggest broadcasters are SunTV, Satellit and Zebra TV. In 2007 two companies, SunTV and Zebra launched digital TV cable networks.


Parliament elections results
2010 54.22% 234,156 40.19% 173,570
July 2009 56.20% 215,443 41.23% 158,034
April 2009 47.99% 176,742 42.43% 153,227

Both electoral and political Chisinau given a higher priority for the center-right parties, in principle AEI. PCRM the main opposition party, has a large percentage in the city, but is a continues fall percentage.


e • d  Summary of 28 November 2010 Parliament of Moldova election results in Chisinau Municipality
Parties and coalitions Votes % +/−
Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova 173,570 40.19 −1.04
Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova 122,845 28.44 +11.55
Liberal Party 69,266 16.04 −7.10
Democratic Party of Moldova 35,369 8,19 -2.36
Party Alliance Our Moldova 6,676 1.15 −4.47
Other Party (<1.0%) 24,259 5.59 +3.02
Total (turnout 67.59%) 433,974 100.00


Trolley on the street


Chișinău has an international airport, which offers connections to a number of major cities including Athens, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Kiev, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Vienna and others. The airport handled 937,030 passengers in 2010.

The Air Moldova flight operator has its head office on the grounds of Chișinău International Airport.[19]


The most popular form of internal transport in Moldova is generally the bus. Bus services in Chișinău are inexpensive, ranging from 2 to 3 lei for a ticket (ca. $0.20–0.30). Although the city has just three main terminals, buses generally serve as the means of transport between different cities within and outside of Moldova. Popular destinations include Tiraspol, Odessa (Ukraine), Iași and Bucharest (Romania).

Within Chișinău and its suburbs, privately operated minibuses, known as "rutieras" generally follow the major bus and trolleybus routes and appear more frequently.


An international railway terminal exists with possible connections to Bucharest, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Moscow, Samara, Varna and Saint Petersburg. Due to the simmering conflict between Moldova and the unrecognized Transnistria republic the rail traffic towards Ukraine is occasionally stopped.


FC Zimbru Stadium

There are four professional football clubs in Chișinău, all playing in the Divizia Națională (national league): FC Zimbru Chișinău, FC Dacia Chișinău, FC Academia Chișinău and CSCA-Rapid Ghidighici. Of the larger public multiuse stadiums in the city is the Stadionul Dinamo (Dinamo Stadium) which has a capacity of 2,692. The Zimbru Stadium, opened in May 2006 with a capacity of 10,500 sitting places, meets all the requirements for holding official international matches, and was the venue for all Moldova's Euro 2008 qualifying games.

International relations

Twin Towns - Sister Cities

Chișinău is twinned with:


See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c "Number of resident population in the Republic of Moldova as of 1st January 2011, in territorial aspect". National bureau of statistics of the Republic of Moldova. March 12, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ (Romanian) History of Chișinău on, Retrieved on 2008-10-12
  3. ^ (Romanian) Istoria Orasului
  4. ^ [1] (Hungarian)
  5. ^ Zamfir C. Arbure: Basarabia în secolul XIX, 1898
  6. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  7. ^ a b Virtual Kishinev. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Memories of the Holocaust: Kishinev (Chişinău) (1941-1944)" from
  9. ^ Architecture of Chișinău on, Retrieved on 2008-10-12
  10. ^ weather. "Monthly Averages for Chișinău, MDA". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  11. ^ "" (in Russian). May 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  12. ^ Moldovan Law 764-XV from December 27, 2001, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 16/53, December 29, 2001
  13. ^ CEC a anunţat rezultatele finala la Chişinău, "Moldova Azi", (accessed 21 June 2011).
  14. ^ Moldovan Law 431-XIII from April 19, 1995, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 31-32/340, June 9, 1995 (Romanian)
  15. ^ "Contact us." (Direct map link) Air Moldova. Retrieved on 31 December 2010. " Legal Address: Dacia bd. 80 ⁄ 2, Airport, MD 2026, Chişinău, Moldova." Address in Romanian: "bd. Dacia 80/2, Aeroport, MD 2026, Chișinău, Moldova." Map in Romanian. Address in Russian: "ул. Дачия 80/2, MD-2026, Кишинев, Молдова." Map in Russian.
  16. ^ 2004 census results in Moldova
  17. ^ Monitoring of programs on Radio Moldova and TV Moldova 1PDF
  18. ^ 2003 World Press Freedom Review
  19. ^ "Head Office." Air Moldova. Retrieved on 15 May 2010.

Further reading

External links


Coordinates: 47°00′39″N 28°52′07″E / 47.0107°N 28.8687°E / 47.0107; 28.8687

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