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Image:Chisinau Coat-of-Arms.png Image:Moldadm C.png
County Chişinău
Status Municipality
Mayor Vasile Ursu, since 2005
Area 635 km²
Population (2004) 647,513 [1]
Density 1114 inh/km²
Geographical coordinates 47°0′N 28°55′E
Founded in 1436
Dialing code +373 22
Web site

Chişinău (IPA /ki.ʃi.'nəu/), formerly known as Kishinev, is the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Moldova. It is also the largest city of Moldova. It is located in the centre of the country, on the river Bîc. Economically, the city is by far the most prosperous in Moldova and is one of the main industrial centres and transportation hubs of the region. As the most important city in Moldova, Chişinău has a broad range of educational facilities. Additionally, the city has among the highest proportion of green spaces of any major city in Europe.


[edit] Name

Image:Drapel Chisinau.gif
Flag of Chişinău

According to some historians, the name comes from the old Romanian word chişla ("spring", "source of water"; the word is not used anymore, but was replaced by cişmea, which has the same meaning)<ref>Istoria Retrieved [[2006], 11-28</ref> and nouă ("new"), because it was built around a small spring. Nowadays, the spring is located at the corner of Pushkin Street and Albişoara Street.

Alternative possible etymology is "kesene", a Cuman word for "crypt".

There is another city named Chişineu (alternative spelling: Chişinău) in Western Romania, near the border with Hungary, but its relation to Chişinău is disputed. Its Hungarian language name is Kisjenő (kis "small" + the ethnonym "Jenő", spelled: yenou), from which the Romanian name possibly originates.

Chişinău (written Кишинэу in the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, formerly officially used all over Moldova and now only sporadically in the rural areas and officially in Transnistria), is also known in Russian as Кишинёв (Kishinyov), and in Polish as Kiszyniów. Historically, the English-language name for the city was based on the modified Russian "Kishinev" since it entered the English language via Russian at the time Chişinău was part of the Russian Empire. Therefore, it remains a common English-language name for the city in historical contexts. Otherwise, however, Romanian-based "Chişinău" has been steadily gaining wider currency, especially in the written language.

It is written Kişinöv in the Latin Gagauz alphabet.

[edit] Geography and climate

Image:Sectoare Chişinău.png
Chişinău Sectors.

[edit] Geography

The city is located on the river Bîc, a tributary of the Dniester (Romanian: Nistru), at 47°0′N 28°55′E, with an area of 120 km² and its whole municipality has 635 km².

Politically the city lies in the middle of the central area of Moldova and is divided into five administrative districts. These are:

Geographically convenient in the largely flat Eastern European country, the city is surrounded by a relatively level landscape with very fruitful ground, offering the basis for agricultural use, in the cultivation of wine and fruit, already from medieval times.

[edit] Climate

Chişinău has a continental climate, characterized by hot dry summers and cold windy winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0°C, even though they rarely drop below -10°C. In summer, the average temperature is approximately 25°C, despite the fact that temperatures sometimes reach 35-40°C in mid-summer in the city centre. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy storms. During spring and autumn, temperatures vary between 18-22°C, and precipitation during this time tends to be higher than in summer, with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.

[edit] History

Founded in 1436 as a monastery town, the city was part of the Moldavian Principality, 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 village of 7,000 inhabitants. In 1812 it was occupied by Russia, who made it the centre of Bessarabia. Its population had grown to 92,000 by 1862 and to 125,787 by 1900.

[edit] Industrial age

Image:Chisinau Center.jpg
Triumphal Arch and Orthodox Cathedral - Central Chişinău
From 1834 an imperial townscape, with broad and long roads, emerged as a result of a generous town 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 Centre and station. Between 26 May 1830 and 13 October 1836 the architect Avraam Melnikov established the 'Catedrala Naşterea Domnului' (an Orthodox Cathedral) with a magnificent bell tower. In 1840 the building of the Triumphal Arch, planned by the architect, Luca Zauşkevici, was completed. Following this the construction of numerous further buildings and landmarks began. The town also played an important part in the war between Russia and Turkey (187778), as the chief centre of the Russian invasion.

[edit] Pogrom and Pre-Revolution

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

However, during April 1903 a large anti-Semitic riot took place, which would later be known as the Kishinev pogrom. The events spanned three days of rioting, with 47-49 Jews killed, 92 severely wounded, and 500 slightly wounded. In addition several hundred households and many businesses were plundered and destroyed. The excesses are largely believed to have been a result of anti-Jewish propaganda in the only official newspaper of the time, 'Bessarabets' (Бессарабецъ)), which encouraged such acts. The reactions to this incident, included a petition to the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, on behalf of the American people by President Theodore Roosevelt in July 1905.

On 22 August 1905 another bloody event occurred, whereby the police opened fire on an estimated 3,000 demonstrating agricultural workers. Only a few months later a further protest occurred, helping to force the hand of Nicholas II in bringing about the October manifesto. However, these demonstrations suddenly turned into an attack on Jews wherever they could be found, resulting in 19 deaths. (See Kishinev pogrom)

[edit] The First World War Period

Following the Russian October Revolution the country declared independence from the fallen empire, before joining the Kingdom of Romania. With Moldova only autonomous in the new state, Chişinău lost its title as Capital and moved into the background.

Between 1918 and 1940 the center of the city undertook large renovation work. In 1927 a monument to the famous prince Stephen III of Moldavia, by the artist Alexandru Plămădeală was erected.

[edit] The Second World War

In the chaos of the Second World War Chişinău was nearly completely destroyed. This began with the Soviet occupation led by the Red Army from 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 modern-day Moldova by the German army began. Beginning with July 1941 the city suffered from large-scale shooting and heavy bombardments by Nazi air raids. The Red Army resistance held until Chişinău finally fell on 17 July 1941.

Following the occupation, the city suffered from the characteristic mass murder of predominantly Jewish inhabitants. As had been seen elsewhere in Europe, the dwindling followers of Judaism were transported on trucks to the outskirts of the city. There they were then shot in partially dug pits. The number of Jews murdered during the occupation of the city is estimated at approximately 10,000 people.[citation needed]

As the War drew to a conclusion the former capital was pulled once more into heavy fighting as German troops retreated. After nearly six months of warfare, Chişinău finally fell on 24 August 1944 to the Red Army. 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 most of Bessarabia was fully integrated into the Soviet Union as the Moldavian SSR with Chişinău as its capitall, with smaller parts of Bessarabia going to the Ukrainian SSR.

[edit] Soviet Union

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 1950's saw a rapid population growth, with which the Soviets 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 development of the city was from 1971, when the Council of Ministers of the USSR has adopted a decision "On the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev", which secured more than one billion rubles of investments from the state budget, until 1991, when Moldova gained independence.

In Chişinău, large number of streets are named after historic persons, places or events.

[edit] Politics and administration

Image:Chisinau GouvernamentalBuilding.jpg
Government Building in Chişinău

Chişinău is governed by the City Council and the City Mayor, both elected once every four years. The current mayor is Vasile Ursu. Ursu is the former vice-mayor, but continues to act on an interim basis due to a low turnout in repeated elections. His predecessor, between August 1994 and April 2005 was Serafim Urechean. Under the Moldovan constitution, Urechean - elected to parliament in 2005 - was prevented from holding 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 Naşterea Domnului, as well as improvements in public transport. From 1994, Chişinău saw the construction and launch of new trolley bus lines, as well as an increase in capacities of existing lines, in order to better connect the urban districts.

Between 23 May and 10 June 2005, the Central Election Commission received the applications of possible candidates for the office of mayor. The elections took place on 10 July, 24 July, 27 November and 11 December 2005. On the first occasion only 26.93% of voters participated, narrowly 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, possibly until the next scheduled elections in 2007.

The first mayor of Chişinău was Angel Nour in 1817. In 1941 the office was abolished. After the Soviet era and the re-establishment of the office in 1990 Nicolae Costin became the first democratically elected mayor.

[edit] Economy

Image:Chisinau Center3.jpg
Street and businesses in city centre

Chişinău is the most economically-developed and industrialised city in Moldova. Chişinău is a major industrial and services centre; its main industries include consumer and electrical goods, building materials, machinery, plastics, rubber, and textiles. The main service fields are banking and shopping/commerce. Chişinău's economy is mainly centred on industry and services, with services particularly growing in importance in the last ten years. Due to a difficult legal situation, the ongoing Transnistrian conflict in the country and stagnating corruption, an influx of large foreign investors, like those seen in other formerly communist republics, has so far been missing.

[edit] Transport

[edit] Bus and rail

The most popular form of internal transport in Moldova is generally the bus. The Chişinău service can be very inexpensive when used over several hours or days. Whilst the city has just three main terminals, buses generally serve as the means of transport between different cities within, and also outside, of Moldova. Popular destinations include Odessa (Ukraine) and Bucharest (Romania).

An international railway terminal also exists with possible connections to Athens, Istanbul and Moscow. Due to the conflict between Moldova and the unrecognized Transnistria republic the rail traffic towards Ukraine is occasionally stopped.

In addition to the aforementioned services, there is a private taxi and minibus system.

[edit] Airport

An international airport (Chişinău International Airport) exists, offering connections to several cities, including Athens, Bucharest, Budapest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Kiev, Lisbon, Limassol, Moscow, Prague, Rome, Tel Aviv and Vienna. The airport has a capacity of 1,200,000 passengers per year.

[edit] Education

The city is home to thirty-six universities, and to the Academy of Sciences of Moldova.

List of public schools in Chişinău

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

[edit] People and culture

Image:Chi stefan park.jpg
Ştefan cel Mare Central Park

[edit] Demographics

Total population - 647,513 [2]

Census held in 2004 reports the following ethnic composition:<ref>2004 census results in Moldova</ref>

Official census data showed 67.6% Moldovans and 4.5% Romanians; however, due to the contested status of the Moldovan ethnicity and OSCE objections over procedure, organizations such as the CIA World Factbook present them together. According to the "Moldova Azi" news agency, <ref>Experts Offering to Consult the National Statistics Bureau in Evaluation of the Census Data, Moldova Azi, May 19, 2005, story attributed to AP Flux. Retrieved October 11, 2005.</ref> a group of international census experts described the 2004 Moldovan census as "generally conducted in a professional manner", while remarking that that "a few topics… were potentially more problematic", in particular,

  1. The census includes at least some Moldovans who had been living abroad over one year at the time of the census.
  2. The precision of numbers about nationality/ethnicity and language was questioned. Some enumerators apparently encouraged respondents to declare that they were "Moldovan" rather than "Romanian", and even within a single family there may have been confusion about these terms. Also it is unclear how many respondents consider the term "Moldovan" to signify an ethnic identity other than "Romanian".

[edit] Sport

In Chişinău there are four professional football clubs, all playing in the Divizia Naţională (national league). They are: FC Zimbru Chişinău, FC Dacia Chişinău, FC Politehnica Chişinău and CS Steaua Chişinău, which placed 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th respectively in the 2004/5 season. Of the larger football stadiums in the city, the Stadionul Republica (Republic Stadium) has 7687 seats<ref>Moldova on UEFA website. Accessed 9 November 2006.</ref> and the Stadionul Dinamo (Dinamo Stadium) has a capacity of 2,692. The stadium of Zimbru Chişinău Football Club, opened on May 20, 2006, has a capacity of 10,600. Construction lasted 27 months at a cost of almost 11 million USD. The VIP box is reserved for 250 people. Sports journalists have 44 places at their disposal. The arena meets all the requirements towards holding official international matches; however, the smaller Stadionul Republica has been designated as the venue for Moldova's Euro 2008 qualifying matches.

[edit] Media

The majority of Moldova's small media industry is based in Chişinău. 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<ref>Monitoring of programs on Radio Moldova and TV Moldova 1</ref>. There are some hopes that a new broadcasting code will resolve some of these issues.

The Romanian Pro TV Chişinău also broadcasts locally - 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 programmes from Romania. Pro TV remains on the air despite numerous threats<ref>2003 World Press Freedom Review</ref> from Communist officials to close it down.

In addition to television, most radio and newspaper companies have their HQ's in the city. Broadcasters include the national radio, BBC Moldova, Antena C, Pro FM and Kiss FM, Russkoe radio, Hit FM, and a lot of others.

[edit] Music and nightlife

Chişinău is home to Moldova's largest recording labels, and is often the residence of Moldovan, and more recently Ukrainian, musicians. The city's music scene is quite eclectic. Many Moldovan rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s continue to be popular, particularly with the middle-aged, while since the 1990s there has been growth in the boy band and hip hop genres. A famous band, Lăutarii, was established and also operates successfully in Chişinău. There is also a renowned dance group, Codreanca, which participates and wins prizes in international festivals.

[edit] Sister cities

[edit] Photo Tour

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

<references />

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] Maps

Subdivisions of Moldova Image:Flag of Moldova.svg
Raions: Anenii Noi | Basarabeasca | Briceni | Cahul | Cantemir | Călăraşi | Căuşeni | Cimişlia | Criuleni | Donduşeni | Drochia | Dubăsari | Edineţ | Faleşti | Floreşti | Glodeni | Hînceşti | Ialoveni | Leova | Nisporeni | Ocniţa | Orhei | Rezina | Rîşcani | Sîngerei | Soroca | Străşeni | Şoldăneşti | Ştefan Vodă | Taraclia | Teleneşti | Ungheni
Municipalities: Chişinău | Bălţi | Bender | Comrat | Tiraspol
Autonomous regions: Găgăuzia | Stînga Nistrului (disputed)

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