For those who will extend their stay in Chisinau and want to explore it, we’ve made a selection of best attractions.
National Museum of History of Moldova
Over 263,000 exhibits, 165,000 of which belong to the national heritage, are exhibited in the National Museum of History, founded in 1983 on the former Regional Lyceum. It is situated on 121a, 31 August 1989 str., in the historical center of Chişinău. In the museum yard there is the Capitoline Wolf, the copy of the one in Rome. Every year almost 15 exhibitions are held in the museum; which are important events in Moldova. The museum is structured into many scientific sections: Ancient History and Archaeology, Medieval History, History of Basarabia, Contemporary History, Treasures.
National Museum of Fine Arts Chișinău
In 1939, the sculptor Alexandru Plămădeală selected some 160 works of Bassarabian and Romanian artists in order to set up the first Picture Gallery of Chișinău whose director was Auguste Baillayre, painter and professor at Ecolle de Belle Arte of Chişinău. The first museum of Bassarabian fine art was opened on November 26, 1939; its successor becomes National Art Museum of Moldova. In the first days of World War II, the art pieces displayed in the Gallery, together with others donated by the Ministry of Culture and Cults of Romania were loaded into two lorries and delivered to Kharkiv; the destiny of these collections remains unknown until present.
The building of the museum (architect Alexander Bernardazzi) is a national monument in Moldova and was recently renovated.
Stephen the Great Monument
The monument to Stephen the Great was designed by architect Alexandru Plămădeală in 1923. It was erected near the main entrance of the Stephen the Great Park in Central Chişinău. The monument was completed in 1927 and opened on 29 April 1928 (to replace the monument to Alexander II of Russia, destroyed by the Romanian authorities in 1918). The total cost of the monument was 4.000.000 lei.
A few days before the 1940 Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, the monument was relocated to Vaslui, and its pedestal was blown up. On August 25, 1942, the monument was returned to Chişinău and taken back to Romania in 1944. In 1945, the Soviet authorities ordered the restoration of the monument to Chişinău.
On 31 August 1989 the monument to Stephen the Great was returned to its original location, chosen by Alexandru Plămădeală in the 1920s. The initial inscriptions were restored. Flower-laying ceremonies are regularly performed at the pedestal of this monument on each national holiday and on days of official top and high level visits.
Chișinău Water Tower
The Chișinău Water Tower is an architectural monument of Chișinău, Moldova, located at Mitropolit Bănulescu-Bodoni Street and built at the end of 19th century after a project by Alexander Bernadazzi. It was a main part of Chişinău’s water system. The upper level was built of wood and was destroyed by an earthquake. It was rebuilt between 1980 and 1983.
The tower’s height is 22 metres. The walls are built of local rock, with some rows of brick. Their width varies from 50 centimetres at the upper level to 2 metres at the bottom. Inside there is a spiral staircase. When the tower was renovated, an elevator was installed. For a short while, the History Museum of Chișinau had its headquarters in this building.
Sights & Landmarks
Nativity of Christ Metropolitan Cathedral
The main highlight of the Parcul Catedralei is the city’s main Moldovan Orthodox church, dating from the 1830s, with rich interior frescoes. The bell tower was originally built in 1836, but was destroyed after WWII and rebuilt in 1997.
Legend has it that the bell originally commissioned for this tower ended up in Bolhrad (in present-day Ukraine) thanks to a mix-up by a boozy bureaucrat in St Petersburg. Chişinău ended up with the much bigger bell earmarked for Bolhrad. It wouldn’t fit in the church belfry, hence this bell tower was built to accommodate the bigger bell.
Parliament of the Republic of Moldova
The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova is the supreme representative body of the Republic of Moldova, the only state legislative authority.
The Parliament Building was formerly the meeting place of the Central Committee of the Moldovan branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It is located on Stephen the Great Boulevard formerly known as Lenin Boulevard. The architects were Alexander Cerdanțev and Grigore Bosenco. The building was damaged during civil unrest in 2009 and repairs were carried out in 2012 and 2013.
Triumphal Arch Chișinău
The Triumphal arch was built in 1840 by the architect I. Zauschevic and thanks to the governors of Bessarabia initiative to commemorate the victory of the Russian Empire over the Ottoman Empire during the Russo-Turkish War (1828–29). From its construction to 2011 the monument sheltered at its second level a huge bell of nearly 6400 kg (400 Puduri). It was smelted with the copper of the cannons captured by the Russian forces from the Ottoman Empire. The bell “clopote–velican” was initially made for the cathedral’s belfry but happened to be too big for it. Finally it was installed in this arch, which was designed in purpose. The monument and the mechanism of its clock were fully restored in 1973.
Stephen the Great Central Park
Stephen the Great Central Park is the main park in Central Chişinău, Moldova. Formerly known as Pushkin Park, it is the oldest park in Moldova and spans about 7 hectares (17 acres). It has gained the nickname “The Park of the Lovers” in Chisinau due to its popularity as a meeting spot for couples. The park contains 50 species of trees, some of which are quite old, the mulberries and acacias being between 130 and 180 years.
Valea Morilor Park
Only a ten-minute walk from Chișinău City Centre – yet a world apart – you will find the much loved Valea Morilor Park, easily one of the most beautiful places in Moldova. Perfect for escaping the city and getting a breath of fresh air. You can see plenty of locals running, kayaking, fishing, feeding ducks and just generally hanging out. The cascading water feature on the hill is the perfect place for a stunning sunset.
Dendrarium park is the biggest park in Chișinău City situated not far from the center.
It was founded in 1973 instead of another natural place Botanical Garden. At the beginning it had the surface of 73 hectares, currently it has over 83 hectares. Here you can find more than 1000 kinds of plants.
Here is always quiet, you have the feeling that you are not in the city but somewhere in suburbs. The park has a big area with many roses, lakes with ducks and ponds with lilies, benches to sit and watch people, big fields for flying kites and playing ball, a little forest to walk through and much more.
People prefer this place because of the silence and the beauty. If you decide to go for a walk at weekend then you have the possibility to be the spectator of newly married couples who come here to take photos.
The wine cellars of Cricova is the second largest wine cellar in Moldova, after Milestii Mici (largest in the world). It boasts 120 kilometres (75 mi) of labyrinthine roadways, versus MM’s 200 kilometres (120 mi), tunnels have existed under Cricova since the 15th century, when limestone was dug out to help build Chişinău. They were converted into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s.
Half of the roadways are used for wine storage. The roads are named by the wines they store. This “wine city” has its warehouses, tasting rooms and other facilities underground. It goes down to 100 metres (330 ft) below ground and holds 1.25 million bottles of rare wine. The oldest wine dates back to 1902. The temperature is maintained at about 12 °C (54 °F) all year round (which is perfect for wine). The winery was used for hiding Jews in wine barrels during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union
Milestii Mici Winery
Mileștii Mici tunnels winery is located in the commune of Mileștii Mici. In August 2005, Mileștii Mici was registered in the Guinness World Records as the biggest wine collection in the world. Overall, the complex holds nearly 2 million bottles. More than 70% of the stored wines are red, 20% are white and about 10% are dessert wines. The most valuable items of this collection, worth €480 a bottle, were produced in 1973–74; they are now exported only to Japan.
The Castle Mimi is located 30 km from Chisinau Airport and is a destination of international interest, unique in Moldova. The Castle Mimi is currently listed among the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. The story of the castle begins in 1893 when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, planted the first grape vines on the place that would become legend over the years.
Visitors can attend to winery tours, several tasting rooms are available; restaurants, summer terrace with fountain, swimming pool, an outdoor maze, playgrounds for children, Wine Spa and thermal baths. Starting with Autumn 2016 castle Mimi offer accommodation in traditional style cottages.