Moldova's History

Modern Moldova was home to the Dacian tribes who were incorporated into the Roman Empire in their Dacia province. Rome’s Dacian possession was invaded periodically by hordes from the east and the country did not stabilise until the foundation of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359, which included all lands between the Carpathian Mountains and the Dniester River. In 1538 the Principality submitted to the Ottoman Empire becoming a vassal. In 1812 Russia acquired all of Moldavia east of the Prut River, renamed the region Bessarabia and began a systematic programme to de-nationalise the region. Russia welcomed settlers and by 1897 the capital Chişinău was 47% Jewish. Following WWI Bessarabia was rejoined to Romania while the USSR saw its short-lived return in 1940. A year later Romania joined Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union and Bessarabia again went to Romania. Finally in 1944 the returning Red Army enforced the creation of Moldavia within the USSR and deported 300,000 to Siberia.

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Visiting Moldova is well and truly stepped off the well beated tourist path of Europe but is hugely rewarding. Chişinău’s Flowers Hotel is used to international visitors and will put you at ease, in style. European Country more info

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Support for independence from the USSR was not high but in 1991 Moldova broke with Moscow; many ethnic Moldovans favouring reunification with Romania. Non-Moldovans in Transnistria and the Gagauzia regions declared independence from Moldova months later. Gagauzia was reincorporated into Moldova by treaty while Transnistria successfully defended itself in a brief but bloody conflict in 1992 and has maintained its de facto independence. Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries and has not had a smooth path to democracy or the free market, however the friendly people are proud of their picturesque country and the capital has a throbbing nightlife that rivals any other European capital!

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