Moldova, a little known and very low cost destination: between parks, monuments, kind people and excellent wine, here's what not to miss in Moldova, read here.
It was by chance that I discovered the world of projects Erasmus plus, a program funded by the European Union that gives young people between 18 and 30 years of age the opportunity to participate in trips with cultural initiatives, all fully funded.
This is how I have undertaken my first trip to Moldova.
This is how I met many young people of different nationalities, and I learned a lot about this country, not too sought after as a tourist destination.
Moldova, a low cost destination
What would I recommend to a student looking for something low cost? In Moldova everything is low cost! Think that many many people receive a pension of only one hundred euros a month, and even if it is not possible to live with so little, the figure somehow gives a measure of the cost of living, which is much lower than in Spain. So, if you are looking for a trip that allows you to spend little, surely this is the place for you.
But affordable prices aside, Moldova is definitely a place that will surprise you.
You can get around the city on foot or take the trolley bus for just one leu, a great way to bring back memories of the past.
Here are five must-see stops in Moldova.
1. The statue of Stephen the Great
One of the monuments most dear to Moldovans: the inhabitants in fact have a lot of respect for this character, who was commander of the army and ruler of Moldova from 1457 to 1504, defending it from multiple attacks by neighboring kingdoms, and in particular by the Ottomans . So approach in silence and with respect, contemplate this piece of history, so important for the citizens of the place, so much so that Stefan Cel Mare (this is his name in Moldavian) is considered a saint by the Orthodox Church.
2. The Arc de Triomphe
Once you find yourself strolling through the streets of Chisinau, head towards the "Holy Door", also known as the Arc de Triomphe, which is located on the Bulevard Stefan Cel Mare (Stephen the Great) opposite the National Assembly building. It was built in 1841 by Tsar Nicholas I to celebrate the victory over the Ottomans in 1812; while you are there, walk under its shadow before continuing your walk.
3. The parks of Moldova
Visit i parks of Chisinau it's a great idea if you want to find yourself immersed in tranquility and greenery. You will find an ideal place for families, impeccably composed and maintained. You can, for example, spend time in the Stefan cel Mare park in the city center, or go to Valea Morilor, where you will find a small lake with a beach, great for reading a book. If, on the other hand, you intend to practice sport, I recommend you Dendrarium park, with its wonderful ponds full of water lilies and the friendly squirrels.
4. The cellars
If you are a wine lover you can go and visit some wineries: Moldova is among the world's largest wine producers and boasts some interesting wineries. The most particular are the underground ones, such as "Cricova" and "Milestii Mici", located twenty km from Chisinau. With its more than 120 km of underground tunnels and 2 million bottles it has become part of the Guinness Book of Records. You can observe the old machinery guarded inside, or, leaving the galleries through a door located on a huge barrel, you can enjoy wine and eat in one of the luxurious rooms, with a background of live music.
5. The fortress of Bender
For the more daring I recommend venturing to Transnistria, where it is still possible to breathe a Soviet atmosphere. A place that will surely seem stuck in the 60s, like entering a time machine that will take you back to the Soviet Union with statues of Lenin, the Duma (Parliament) and other symbols of the time.
It is necessary to go very prepared and equipped, you will only find signs in Cyrillic and, to access this separatist region of Moldova, you need a passport. The fortress is, among the various historical buildings present, one of the least restored, it is therefore possible to see its original parts, visit the torture chamber and its small museum.
Moldova is certainly an alternative destination compared to our typical European destinations, but do not be discouraged by this, in fact it is a country that can surprise, a country in which it is possible to fully immerse yourself in the charm of the culture of Eastern Europe. Chisinau may seem like a godforsaken city, with large abandoned buildings contrasting the shiny new buildings, but the population is very hospitable and will put you at ease, making you enjoy every moment spent in this capital.