Moldova is former Soviet Republic, is a small country, located between Romania and Ukraine. The largest part of the country lies between two rivers, the Prut-river and the Dniester-river, with a long and narrow strip of land, Transnistria to the east of the Dniester-river.
Historians believe the ancestors of Moldavians to be the Thracian tribes of the Dacians. In course of history, Moldova won important victories over the Turks, the Tatars, the Polish and other invaders. In 1991 the Moldovan Supreme Soviet (parliament) declared the state independence of Republic of Moldova. After Moldova had adopted the democratic Constitution in summer 1994, the republic made an impressive breakthrough into the international arena.
The territory of Moldova was populated from ancient times. Numerous archeological vestiges confirm the existence of human beings in these places since the epoch of the Inferior Paleolithic (approximately 500 thousand years ago). At the end of the Vth and beginning of the IVth millennium B.C., in the Eneolithic epoch, the Cucuteni-Tripolie, one of the most remarkable cultures, was formed, with incomparable performances in the field of art of those times.
The Getho-Dacian civilization is dated back to the VI-I centuries B.C., and was spread throughout Moldova. Since 105 B.C. - after the conquest of Dacia by Emperor Trajan, the local population was romanized, taking from the conquerors their language and advanced culture of the Roman Empire.
After the evacuation of the Roman legions from these territories (in 271, in the reign of Aurelian), there began the “migrating nations” epoch (Goths, Huns, Avars, Slavs), which ended up with the formation of the Moldovan feudal state in 1359. Bogdan I is considered to be its founder.
In 1812 as a result of the Russian-Turkish Peace Treaty signed in Bucharest, the eastern part of Moldova situated between the Prut and Nistru rivers, named Bessarabia, was annexed to the Russian Empire, thus being a Russian province until 1918. In 1918 the supreme authority of the Bessarabian state – Sfatul Tarii, decided to unite with Romania. This unity lasted till 1940, the year when the country was annexed by the Soviet Union as a consequence of the Ribbentrop-
Molotov Pact of 1939. Moldova functioned as a territorial entity within the USSR until the last decade of the XXth century.
On the 27th of August 1991, Republic of Moldova became an independent and sovereign State.
Moldova has a population of about 4 440 000. Although it is the most densely populated (132 person per sq km) of the former Soviet Republics it has very few large cities, the most valuable of which is Chisinau, the capital of the Republic. Chisinau is located on Byk River in the central part of the country. Other important cities are Tiraspol, Tighina (also known as Bender) and Balti.
The majority popuplation are ethnic Moldavians - about 64,5% of local population. Other large ethnic groups are Ukrainians (13,8%) and Russians (13%). They migrated to Moldova in large numbers after World War II and settled mainly in the cities. Nearly all other people belong to such ethnic groups like Gagauz (3.5%), Bulgarians (2%) and Jews (1.5%). Gagauz are Turkic and Christian people who came to Moldova in the late 18th century. Bulgarians also came to the Republic at the end of 18th century. These 2 groups live mainly in rural area on the south of Moldova.
There is small Jewish community (About 1.5 % of population) which now is overwhelmingly urban. Jews started settling in Bessarabia after 1800. However their number has been greatly reduced by World War II.
As there live several ethnic groups in Moldova that’s logical that there also several languages spoken in the country. Official language of Moldova is called Moldovan. It is essentially dialect of Romanian. It is Romance language which derived from Latin. In 1938 Soviet government mandated Cyrillic alphabet to be used for Moldovan language. More than 50 years Moldavians used Cyrillic letters for writing in Moldovan. In 1989 there was reintroduced Latin alphabet. Other language widely spoken in Moldova is Russian. That is explained by long-lasting influence of Soviet Union when people had to learn Russian. Gagauz people speak Gagauz, a Turkic language. Many of them are also fluent in Russian.
Also worth mentioning of two breakaway republics Transnistria and Gagauzia which after war of Transnistria, declared their independence.
Predominant religion of Moldova is Christianity. About 96 percent of the population belongs to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Even Gagauz, unlike other Turkic people, who are traditionally Muslims, are adherents of Orthodox Christianity.
Moldova has an adult literacy rate of 100%. Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15 when people pass through the first cycle of education. Then follows the second cycle, which isn’t compulsory. It lasts 3 years. After that people are able to enter the University.
Moldova has rich folk culture which flourished during Soviet period. An ancient folk ballade ‘Miorita’ holds special significance in Moldovan folk culture. They are also folk traditions such as ceramics and weaving. Nowadays they are almost forgotten in the cities however they continue to be practiced in rural areas.