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Location - Eastern Europe (former Soviet Republic); Capital - Chisinau; Population - 3.5 million; Currency - Moldovan Leu

Around Easter I flew to Romania and pressed on by train to Chisinau, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Moldova - April 2012.


moldovanote20 Moldovan Lei (Lei being the plural of Leu)








moldova9An Easter egg adorns Cathedral Park in front of Chisinau's Orthodox Cathedral


moldova10More decorative eggs - and a human teddy bear - lead to the Arc de Triomphe. Behind the Arc is Government House - Chisinau


moldova11The Arc de Triomphe, also known as the Holy Gates, was built in 1841 - Chisinau













moldova20A flower market flanks the edge of Cathedral Park - Chisinau














moldova40On Easter Sunday market stalls were selling cakes, sweets, chocolate and clothes - Chisinau



moldova39The jars on the tables are filled with honey - Chisinau


moldova18A statue of Stefan cel Mare, Prince of Moldavia in the 15th century, welcomes people to Stefan cel Mare Park - Chisinau













moldova19 Both Stefan cel Mare and Cathedral Park are popular with strollers and families. They even have free WiFi - Chisinau














moldova43The National Theatre is on the main shoopping street B-dul Stefan cel Mare - Chisinau


moldova27I'm not sure if this bar, also on B-dul Stefan cel Mare, is a permanent fixture - Chisinau


moldova23Outside the theatre is the nearest thing Moldova has to a tourist market - Chisinau












moldova4There's a few roadside bars and cafés on B-dul Stefan cel Mare, all good places to relax and people watch - Chisinau














moldova3This statue is on the corner of Tolstoi Street; I can't understand the Cyrillic sign so I'm not sure who it commemorates - Chisinau


moldova36Walking along Str Banulescu Bodoni - Chisinau


moldova13A Soviet memorial stands next to the Turist Hotel - Chisinau













moldova14Pushkin Museum is where Russian poet Alexander Pushkin lived for a few years - Chisinau













moldova28The Monastery of St Teodor Tiron - Chisinau


moldova29Malldova is a fancy shopping mall near Chisinau Hostel - Chisinau


moldova32fA very drunken night gets under way in the kitchen of Chisinau Hostel - Chisinau












moldova32With Nataly and Brett in a Chisinau café down the road from the hostel














moldova35Valea Trandafirilor Park, south of the centre, has a couple of boating lakes hidden amongst the trees - Chisinau


moldova34Another park and another statue - Chisinau


moldova58 The Beer House is a pub on B-dul Negruzzi that brews its own beer - Chisinau
















moldova50The Victory Memorial Park is worth a visit - Chisinau















moldova44The Victory Memorial Park is dedicated to Soviet soldiers who fought in World War II - Chisinau


moldova47An eternal flame burns in the centre of the pyramid - Chisinau


moldova54A war cemetery (not visible) lies behind the Park - Chisinau













moldova52The memorial also commemorates soldiers who died in Moldova's fight for independence in 1991 - Chisinau














moldova53Victory Memorial Park - Chisinau



moldova56A Soviet monument in the Park - Chisinau


moldova25This statue is outside Chisinau Hotel - Chisinau
















moldova22Valea Morilor Park is having a facelift. A more attractive choice are the lakes at Valea Trandafirilor Park in the south of the city (above) - Chisinau













The tall building on the left is the Presidential Palace; the right building is Parliament House. Photos aren't invited and police kept watch nearby so these nondescript photos were taken quickly! Chisinau


moldova24The edge of Chisinau's central market features plenty of pavement hawkers - Chisinau


moldova65A distant view of the cave monastery at Orheiul Vechi













moldova62 The monastery hangs on to a cliff-face overlooking the Raut River - Orheiul Vechi














moldova61 It's possible to enter the cave complex which lies beneath the monastery. Unfortunately I went on a Monday when the monastery is closed - Orheiul Vechi


moldova74A cross commands a bird's-eye view from the cliffs at Orheiul Vechi


moldova80Plenty of horse and carts ply the towns and villages of Moldova - Orheiul Vechi














moldova78There's various museum pieces dotted around displaying village life.
I'm not sure if the well is a museum relic or still in use - Orheiul Vechi














moldova81Never mind the monastery, the whole village seemed to be closed, and a biting wind blew through its one and only road - Orheiul Vechi


moldova88Milestii Mici has the largest wine cellars in Europe and is also in the Guinness Book of Records for housing the largest collection in the world (around two million bottles)












moldova87A water fountain (or should that be wine fountain?) greets visitors to Milestii Mici













moldova85Looks good enough to drink - Milestii Mici


moldova83And of course there's a white wine fountain too - Milestii Mici


moldova94Buy your red and white wines at the Milestii Mici shop













moldova96Driving through the natural limestone cellars of Milestii Mici. The cellars stretch for 250km, with 120km currently in use













moldova100The limestone cellars are perfect for maintaining a humidity and temperature ideal for wine storage - Milestii Mici


moldova102The tour itself felt amateurish. I'm told that tours of Cricova, a winery also close to Chisinau, is more professional - Milestii Mici


moldova104 These must have been bottled a while back: cobwebs growing on a wine collection - Milestii Mici
















moldova108There's a very plush area for a spot of wine tasting and musical entertainment - Milestii Mici













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