Budapest And Moldova

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Budapest; names in other languages) is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, the largest in East-Central Europe and the seventh largest in the European Union. It is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre, sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary. According to 2011 Census, Budapest had 1.74 million inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2.1 million due to suburbanizationSony PCG-71313M battery. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3.3 million people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank PestSony PCG-71212M battery.

The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman ruleSony PCG-71311M battery, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification.[18] It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. After the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, when Hungary lost 72% of its former territory, culturally and economically the country became wholly Budapest-dominatedSony PCG-71213M battery. The capital dominates the country both by the size of its population—which dwarfs those of Hungary's other cities[19] Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945, and the Revolution of 1956Sony PCG-61211M battery.

Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Sites includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs,[23] the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament buildingSony VAIO VPCF24Q1E battery. The city attracts about 2.7 million tourists a year, making it the 37th most popular city in the world according to Euromonitor.[25]

Considered a financial hub in Central Europe,[26] the city ranked 3rd (out of 65 cities) on Mastercard's Emerging Markets Index,[27] and ranked as the most livable Central/Eastern European city on EIU's quality of life index. It is also ranked as "Europe's 7th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes,[30] and as the 9th most beautiful city in the world by UCityGuides. Sony VAIO VPCF13M1E/H battery It is the highest ranked Central/Eastern European city on Innovation Cities' Top 100 index.

Budapest is home to the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT),[34] and the first foreign office of the China Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA).

The name "Budapest" is the composition of the city names "Buda" and "Pest", since they were united (together with Óbuda) to become a single city in 1873. One of the first occurrences of the combined name "Buda-Pest" was in 1831 in the book "Világ" ("World" / "Light"), written by Count István Széchenyi. Sony VAIO VPCF12Z1E/BI battery

The origins of the words "Buda" and "Pest" are obscure. According to chronicles from the Middle Ages the name "Buda" comes from the name of its founder, Bleda (Buda), the brother of the Hunnic ruler Attila. The theory that "Buda" was named after a person is also supported by modern scholars.[37] An alternative explanation suggests that "Buda" derives from the Slavic word "вода, voda" ("water"), a translation of the Latin name "Aquincum", which was the main Roman settlement in the region. Sony VAIO VPCF12S1E/B battery

There are also several theories about the origin of the name "Pest". One of the theories[39] claims that the word "Pest" comes from the Roman times, since there was a fortress "Contra-Aquincum" in this region which was referred to as "Pession" ("Πέσσιον", iii.7.§2) by Ptolemaios.[40] According to another theory, "Pest" originates from the Slavic word for cave "пещера, peshtera" or from the word for oven "пещ, pesht"Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E/BI battery, in reference to a cave where fires burned or to a local limekiln.[41] In the old-Hungarian language there was a similar word meaning oven/cave and the original old-German name of this region was also "Ofen". Later, the German "Ofen" referred to the Buda side.

Buda Castle during the Middle Ages.

The first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts[11] before 1 AD. It was later occupied by the Romans. The Roman settlement - Aquincum - became the main city of Lower Pannonia[11] in 106 AD. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E batteryThe Romans constructed roads, amphitheaters, baths and houses with heated floors in this fortified military camp.[42]

The peace treaty of 829 added Pannonia to Bulgaria due to the victory of Bulgarian army of Omurtag over the Holy Roman Empire of Louis the Pious. Budapest arose out of two Bulgarian military frontiers, fortresses Buda and Pest, situated on the two banks of Danube.[43] Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the territory at the end of the 9th century, and a century later officially founded the Kingdom of Hungary. Sony VAIO VPCF13M1E/B battery Research places the probable residence of the Árpáds as an early place of central power near what became Budapest.[45] The Tatar invasion in the 13th century quickly proved that defence is difficult on a plain. King Béla IV of Hungary therefore ordered the construction of reinforced stone walls around the towns[13] and set his own royal palace[14] on the top of the protecting hills of Buda. In 1361 it became the capital of Hungary. Sony VAIO VPCF1318E/H battery

The cultural role of Buda was particularly significant during the reign of King Matthias Corvinus.[9] The Italian Renaissance had a great influence on the city. His library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana,[9] was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles and philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century, and second only in size to the Vatican Library.[9] After the foundation of the first Hungarian university in Pécs in 1367,[46] the second one was established in Óbuda in 1395.[46] The first Hungarian book was printed in Buda in 1473. Sony VAIO VPCF13J0E/H battery Buda had about 5,000 inhabitants around 1500.

The Ottomans pillaged Buda in 1526, besieged it in 1529, and finally occupied it in 1541. The Turkish occupation lasted for more than 140 years. The Turks constructed many fine bathing facilities within the city.[13] Under Ottoman rule many Christians became Muslim. By 1547 the number of Christians was down to about a thousand, and by 1647 it had fallen to only about seventy. Sony VAIO VPCF13E8E batteryThe unoccupied western part of the country became part of the Habsburg Empire as Royal Hungary.

In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda, a renewed campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. This time, the Holy League's army was twice as large, containing over 74,000 men, including German, Croat, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, along with other Europeans as volunteers, artilleryman, and officers, the Christian forces reconquered BudaSony VAIO VPCF13E4E battery, and in the next few years, all of the former Hungarian lands, except areas near Timişoara (Temesvár), were taken from the Turks. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz these territorial changes were officially recognized, and in 1718 the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule.

The city was destroyed during the battle.[9] Hungary was then incorporated into the Habsburg EmpireSony VAIO VPCF12M1E/H battery.

The 19th century was dominated by the Hungarian struggle for independence[9] and modernization. The national insurrection against the Habsburgs began in the Hungarian capital in 1848 and was defeated a little more than a year later.

The Hungarian State Opera House, built in the time of Austria-Hungary.

1867 was the year of Reconciliation that brought about the birth of Austria-Hungary.

Cutaway Drawing of Millennium Underground in Budapest (1894–1896) which was the second

During the Hungarian Republic of Councils in 1919, the Heroes' Square was completely covered by red textile and a statue of Marx was erectedSony VAIO VPCF12F4E/H battery.

This made Budapest the twin capital of a dual monarchy. It was this compromise which opened the second great phase of development in the history of Budapest, lasting until World War I. In 1873 Buda and Pest were officially merged with the third part, Óbuda (Ancient Buda), thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. The dynamic Pest grew into the country's administrative, political, economic, trade and cultural hubSony VAIO VPCF12E1E/H battery. Ethnic Hungarians overtook Germans in the second half of the 19th century due to mass migration from the overpopulated rural Transdanubia and Great Hungarian Plain. Between 1851 and 1910 proportion of Hungarians increased from 35.6% to 85.9%, Hungarian became the dominant language, German was crowded out. Proportion of Jews peaked in 1900 with 23.6%. Due to the prosperity and the large Jewish community of the city at the start of the 20th century, Budapest was often called the "Jewish Mecca"Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI battery

In 1918 Austria-Hungary lost the war and collapsed; Hungary declared itself an independent republic. In 1920 the Treaty of Trianon finalized the country's partition, as a result, Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory, about two-thirds of its inhabitants under the treaty including 3.3 million out of 10 million ethnic HungariansSony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery.

In 1944, towards the end of World War II, Budapest was partly destroyed by British and American air raids. From 24 December 1944 to 13 February 1945, the city was besieged during the Battle of Budapest. Budapest suffered major damage caused by the attacking Soviet and Romanian troops and the defending German and Hungarian troops. All bridges were destroyed by the Germans. More than 38,000 civilians lost their lives during the conflictSony VAIO VPCF23S1E battery.

Hungarian Jewish WWII Memorial

Between 20% and 40% of Greater Budapest's 250,000 Jewish inhabitants died through Nazi and Arrow Cross Party genocide during 1944 and early 1945. The Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg managed to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest by giving them Swedish passports and taking them under his consular protection.[56]

In 1949, Hungary was declared a communist People's Republic. The new Communist government considered the buildings like the Buda Castle symbols of the former regimeSony VAIO VPCF231S1E battery, and during the 1950s the palace was gutted and all the interiors were destroyed.

In 1956, peaceful demonstrations in Budapest led to the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution. The Leadership collapsed after mass demonstrations began on 23 October, but Soviet tanks entered Budapest to crush the revolt. Fighting continued until early November, leaving more than 3000 deadSony VAIO VPCF23Q1E battery.

From the 1960s to the late 1980s Hungary was often satirically referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc, and much of the wartime damage to the city was finally repaired. Work on Erzsébet Bridge, the last to be rebuilt, was finished in 1964. In the early 1970s, Budapest Metro's East-West M2 line was first opened, followed by the M3 line in 1982. In 1987, Buda Castle and the banks of the Danube were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage SitesSony VAIO VPCF23M1E battery. Andrassy Avenue (including the Millennium Underground Railway, Hősök tere and Városliget) was added to the UNESCO list in 2002. In the 1980s the city's population reached 2.1 million. In recent times a significant decrease in population occurred mainly due to a massive movement to the neighbouring agglomeration in Pest county. In the last decades of the 20th century the political changes of 1989-90 concealed changes in civil society and along the streets of BudapestSony VAIO VPCF22S8E battery. The monuments of the dictatorship were taken down from public places, into Memento Park. In the first 20 years of the new democracy the development of the city was managed by Gábor Demszky.

Year Event

BC   Neolithic, Chalcolithic-, bronze and iron age cultures, Celtic and Eravisci settlements on present day Budapest.

1st century       Romans found the settlements known as Aquincum, Contra-Aquincum and CamponaSony VAIO VPCF22S1E battery. Aquincum becomes the largest town of the Danubian region and one of the capitals of Pannonia.

5th century      The Age of Huns. King Attila builds a city for himself here according to later chronicles. After his death, the sons of his brother Mundzuk (Hungarian: Bendegúz, Turkish: Boncuk), Attila and Bleda (Hungarian:Buda), in control of the united Hun tribes.

896  Following the foundation of Hungary, Árpád, leader of the Magyars from the east (present day Hungarians), settles in the "Town of Attila", usually identified as AquincumSony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery.

1046         Bishop Gellért dies at the hands of pagans on present-day Gellért Hill.

1241         Tatar (Mongol) invasions destroy both towns. King Béla IV builds the first royal castle on Castle Hill, Buda in 1248. The new town adopts the name of Buda from the earlier one (present day Óbuda). Pest is surrounded by city walls.

1270         Saint Margaret of Hungary dies in a cloister on the Isle of Rabbits (present day Margaret Island) Sony VAIO VPCF22L1E battery.

1458         The noblemen of Hungary elect Matthias Corvinus (in Latin) or Hunyadi Mátyás (in Hungarian) as king on the ice of the Danube. Under his reign Buda becomes a main hub of European Renaissance. He dies in 1490, after capturing Vienna in 1485.

1541         The beginning of Ottoman occupation. The Turkish Pashas build multiple mosques and baths in Buda.

1602         An unsuccessful assault on Budapest under Feldmarschall Christof Hermann Graf von Rußworm (2 October - 15 November 1602) Sony VAIO VPCF22J1E battery.

1686         Buda and Pest are reconquered from the Turks with Habsburg leadership. Both towns are destroyed completely in the battles.

1690s       Resettlement of Hungary, initially only a few hundred German settlers.

1773         Election of the first Mayor of Pest.

1777         Maria Theresa of Austria moves Nagyszombat University to Castle Hill.

1783         Joseph II places the acting government (Helytartótanács) and Magyar Kamara on Buda.

1795 20 May    Ignác Martinovics and other Jacobin leaders are executed on Vérmező or 'The Field of Blood'Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery.

1810         A fire in the Tabán district.

1825         Commencement of the Reform Era. Pest becomes the cultural and economic centre of the country. The first National Theatre is built, along with the Hungarian National Museum.

1838         The biggest flood in recent memory in March completely inundates Pest.

1848 15 March         Start of the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49. Pest replaces Pozsony/Pressburg (Bratislava) as the new capital of Hungary and seat of the Batthyány government and the ParliamentSony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery.

1849         The Austrians occupy the city in early January, but the Hungarian Honvédsereg (Army of National Defense) reclaims it in April, taking the fortress of Buda on 21 May after an 18-day siege. In July, the Habsburg army again captures the two towns.

1849 6 October        Lajos Batthyány, the first Hungarian Prime Minister is executed on the present-day Szabadság tér.Sony VAIO VPCF11D4E battery

1849         Széchenyi Lánchíd, or Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Budapest was opened linking Buda (West bank) and Pest (East bank).

1867         Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, followed by unprecedented civic development, resulting in the style of present day Budapest.

1873         The former cities: Pest, Buda and Óbuda are united, and with that the Hungarian capital is established with the name of Budapest.

1874         The Budapest Cog-wheel Railway service is inaugurated.

1878         Electric public lighting was installed in all streets of the city centre.

The first telephone exchange was installed in BudapestSony VAIO VPCF11C5E battery.

1893         Electrification of Budapest finished

1896         Millennium celebrations, the Millennium Underground is inaugurated, and the Ferenc József híd (today's Freedom Bridge) is opened.

1909–1910       Electric public lighting expanded to the suburbs, the nearby towns villages had Electric public lighting.

1910         The census finds 880,000 people in Budapest and 55,000 in the largest suburb of Újpest (now part of Budapest) Sony VAIO VPCF11C4E/B battery.

1918–1919       Following the conclusion of World War I, the Hungarian Republic of Councils is founded and 133 days later overthrown by the Romanian army which then makes excessive requisitions in Budapest. They regarded this as gathering war reparations, while others classify it as looting.

1924         Hungarian National Bank is founded.

1925         Hungarian Radio commences broadcasting.

1933         Disassembly of the Tabán commences.

1944 19 March         The Germans occupy Budapest. At the time of the occupation, there were 184,000 Jews and between 65,000 and 80,000 Christians of Jewish descent in the town. The Arrow Cross collaborated with the Germans in murdering Jews. Fewer than half of Budapest's Jews (approximately 119,000) survived the following 11 monthsSony VAIO PCG-31114V battery.

1944 26 December - 13 February    Soviet and Romanian troops besiege Budapest from 15 to 18 January. The retreating Germans destroy all Danube bridges. On 18 January, the Soviets complete the occupation of Pest. The Buda castle falls on 13 February. World War II took the lives of close to 200,000 Budapest residents and caused widespread damage to nearly all of the buildings in the citySony VAIO PCG-31113V battery.

1956 23 October - 4 November        The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 breaks out, ending in the invasion of a large Soviet force.

1960s       Wartime damage is largely repaired. Work on the final bridge to be repaired, the Elizabeth Bridge is finished in 1964.

1970–1972       The first phase of the East-Western Metro begins.

1982         The first phase of the North-Southern Metro begins.

1987         Castle Hill and the banks of the Danube are included in the UNESCO World Heritage SitesSony VAIO PCG-31112V battery.

1989         19 August. Hundreds of East German citizens escape to West at the western frontier of Hungary with the help of the Hungarian Democratic Forum.

1990         The city is home to 2,016,100 residents.

2002         Andrássy Avenue is added to the list of World heritage Sites, along with the Millennium Underground railway and Heroes' Square.

2006         2006 Hungarian protests.

2006         200 km of the 1000 km road in capital level local government handling is reconstructed after 80 km in the former year. The world's longest trams, Siemens Combino Supras start service on Great Boulevard. By the end of the year, 150 Volvo 7700 buses take part in replacing the aging BKV fleet. Reconstruction of metro line 2 finishesSony VAIO PCG-31111V battery.

2008         The Eastern part of the M0 motorway around the city with Megyeri Bridge is finished and opened to the public. So is the new Northern Railway Bridge.

2008         By this year 400 km road[59] have been reconstructed due to the road reconstruction program paired with pipe (heating and water) replacements to modern, narrow and heat-conserving ones, and where needed sewer system expansion or replacement.

2009         The 2007-2009 complete reconstruction of Liberty Bridge[60] finishes.

2010         The Central Wastewater Treatment Plant starts its normal operation. This increases biologically treated sewage from 51% to 100%Sony VAIO PCG-31114M battery.

2010         The tunnel of Metro line 4 is finished.

2011         The 2009-2011 complete and historical reconstruction of Margaret Bridge[61] finishes.

The 525 km2 area of Budapest lies in central Hungary surrounded by settlements of the agglomeration in Pest county. The capital extends 25 and 29 kilometers in the north-south, east-west direction respectively. The Danube enters the city from the north; later it encircles two islands, Óbuda Island and Margaret Island. Sony VAIO PCG-31113M batteryThe third island Csepel Island is the largest of the Budapest Danube islands, however only its northernmost tip is within city limits. The river that separates the two parts of the city is only 230 m (755 ft) wide at its narrowest point in Budapest. Pest lies on the flat terrain of the Great Plain while Buda is rather hilly.[9] Pest's terrain rises with a slight eastward gradient, so the easternmost parts of the city lie at the same altitude as Buda's smallest hillsSony VAIO PCG-31112M battery, notably Gellért Hill and Castle Hill. The Buda hills consist mainly of limestone and dolomite, the water created speleothems, the most famous ones being the Pálvölgyi cave and the Szemlőhegyi cave. The hills were formed in the Triassic Era. The highest point of the hills and of Budapest is János hill, at 527 metres (1,729 ft) above sea level. The lowest point is the line of the Danube which is 96 metres (315 ft) above sea level. The forests of Buda hills are environmentally protectedSony VAIO PCG-31111M battery.

The city has a humid continental, transitional climate - somewhere between the mild, snowy weather of Transdanubia, the variable continental climate of the flat and open Great Plain to the east and the almost sub-Mediterranean weather of the south.

City Park (Városliget) and Margit Island are perfect places to find some green area in the city. In the City Park in winter you can enjoy ice skating on one of the largest artificial ice surfaces in the worldSony VAIO PCG-41111V battery. Margaret Island offers a wide range of sports from running and cycling to tennis or swimming in the Alfréd Hajós Swimming Center where Budapest proudly hosted the LEN European Aquatics Championships in 2006 and 2010. Budapest was the host for the ITU Triathlon World Championships 2010, too. The 2011 IIHF World Championship (Division I, Group A) and Athletics - 2012 European Cross Country Championships will be held thereSony VAIO PCG-41112M battery.

The city is the proud home for many Olympic, World, and Europen Championship winners and medalists. The city's largest football stadium is named after the world famous Ferenc Puskás; top class player of Real Madrid and the Hungarian National Team, who was recognized as the top scorer of the 20th century and who the FIFA's Puskás Award[64] (Ballon d'Or) was named after. (read more about the award {[64]|here})Sony VAIO PCG-41111M battery

The city is also home to Hungarian bandy. The Bandy World Championship for women 2007 and the Bandy World Championship 2004 /B-group/ were held here.[66]

The Hungarian Grand Prix in Formula 1 is a recurring event since 1986, being held at the Hungaroring just outside the city.

Originally Budapest had 10 districts after coming into existence upon the unification of the three cities in 1873. On 1 January 1950 Budapest was united with several neighboring towns and the number of its districts was raised to 22 (Greater Budapest) SONY VAIO PCG-21214V battery. At that time there were changes both in the order of districts and in their sizes. Now there are 23 districts, 6 in Buda, 16 in Pest and 1 on Csepel Island between them. Each district can be associated with one or more city parts named after former towns within Budapest. The city centre itself in a broader sense comprises the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 13th districts on the Pest side, and the 1st, 2nd, 11th and 12th on the Buda side of the city. SONY VAIO PCG-21213V battery

Richter research and development building

Budapest became a global city due to industrialization. In 1910, 45.2% of the total population were factory workers. The Hungarian capital was one of the largest industrial cities in Europe with 600,000 factory workers in the 1960s. Between 1920 and the 1970s more than half of Hungary's total industrial output was made in Budapest. Metalworking (FÉG), textile industry and automobile industry (Ikarus) were the main sectors before the structural changes. SONY VAIO PCG-21212V battery

Now nearly all branches of industry can be found in Budapest. Main products are communication engineering and computer appliances, electric machines, incandescent lamps (General Electric). Pharmaceutical industry is also important, well-known Egis, Gedeon Richter Ltd. and Chinoin companies are Hungarian, Teva also has a division here.

Industry is rather in the suburbs, the centre is place for the main national and international service and financial companies like Hungarian TelekomSONY VAIO PCG-21212M battery, General Electric, Vodafone, Telenor, Erste Bank, CIB Bank, K&H Bank&Insurance, UniCredit, Budapest Bank, Generali Providencia Insurance, ING, Aegon Insurance, Allianz. Regional base of Volvo Co., Saab, Ford, GE, IBM, TATA Consultancy Services Limited are in Budapest. MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company which with its Subsidiaries, is a leading integrated oil and gas company in Central & Eastern Europe, and OTP Bank which is the biggest Hungarian bank, with branches in 8 other countries as well, are based in the capitalSONY VAIO PCG-21211M battery.

Budapest is the centre of services, financial counselling, money transactions, commercial and estate services. Trade and logistic services are well-developed. Tourism and catering also deserve mention, the capital being home to thousands of restaurants, bars, coffee houses and party placesSONY VAIO PCG-51212M battery.

The neo-Gothic Parliament, containing amongst other things the Hungarian Crown Jewels. Saint Stephen's Basilica, where the Holy Right Hand of the founder of Hungary, King Saint Stephen is on display. The Hungarian cuisine and café culture: for example, Gerbeaud Café, and the Százéves, Biarritz, Fortuna, Alabárdos, Arany Szarvas, Kárpátia and the world famous Mátyás Pince Restaurants. There are Roman remains at the Aquincum Museum, and historic furniture at the Nagytétény Castle Museum, just 2 out of 223 museums in BudapestSONY VAIO PCG-51211M battery.

The Castle Hill, the River Danube embankments and the whole of Andrássy út have been officially recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Castle Hill and the Castle District; there are three churches here, six museums, and a host of interesting buildings, streets and squares. The former Royal Palace is one of the symbols of Hungary – and has been the scene of battles and wars ever since the 13th century. Nowadays it houses two impressive museums and the National Széchenyi LibrarySONY VAIO PCG-51112M battery. The nearby Sándor Palace contains the offices and official residence of the President of Hungary. The seven-hundred year-old Matthias Church is one of the jewels of Budapest. Next to it is an equestrian statue of the first king of Hungary, King Saint Stephen, and behind that is the Fisherman's Bastion, from where opens out a panoramic view of the whole city. Statues of the Turul, the mythical guardian bird of Hungary, can be found in both the Castle District and the Twelfth DistrictSONY VAIO PCG-51111M battery.

The Holy Crown, a key symbol of Hungary

In Pest, arguably the most important sight is Andrássy út. As far as Kodály Körönd and Oktogon both sides are lined with large shops and flats built close together. Between there and Heroes’ Square the houses are detached and altogether grander. Under the whole runs continental Europe’s oldest Underground railway, most of whose stations retain their original appearance. Heroes’ Square is dominated by the Millenary MonumentSONY VAIO PCG-51111V battery, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front. To the sides are the Museum of Fine Arts and the Kunsthalle Budapest, and behind City Park opens out, with Vajdahunyad Castle. One of the jewels of Andrássy út is the Hungarian State Opera House. Statue Park, a theme park with striking statues of the Communist era, is located just outside the main city and is accessible by public transportSONY VAIO PCG-81211V battery.

The city is home to the largest synagogue in Europe (Dohány Street Synagogue),[73] and second largest working in the World .[74] The synagogue is located in the Jewish district taking up several blocks in central Budapest bordered by Király utca, Wesselényi utca, Grand Boulevard (Budapest) and Bajcsy Zsilinszky road. The city is also proud at the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third largest Parliament building in the worldSONY VAIO PCG-81111V battery, once the largest in the world. The third largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica) and the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Gödöllő) are in the vicinity.

The world's largest panorama photograph was created in (and of) Budapest in 2010.[75]

Aerial panorama with the Margaret Island

Seven islands can be found on the Danube: Shipyard Island, Margaret Island, Csepel Island, Palotai-sziget (now a peninsula), Népsziget, Háros-sziget, and Molnár-sziget.

Notable islands include:

Margaret Island is a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long island and 0.965 square kilometres (238 acres) in area. The island mostly consists of a park and is a popular recreational area for tourists and locals alikeSONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery. The island lies between bridges Margaret Bridge (south) and Árpád Bridge (north). Dance clubs, Swimming pools, an Aqua park, athletic and fitness centres, bicycle and running tracks can be found around the Island. During the day the island is occupied by people doing sports, or just resting. In the summer (generally on the weekends) mostly young people go to the island at night to party in its terraces, or to recreate with a bottle of alcohol on a bench or on the grass Sony VAIO PCG-81112M battery (this form of entertainment is sometimes referred to as bench-partying).

Csepel Island (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈtʃɛpɛlsiɡɛt]) is the largest island of the River Danube in Hungary. It is 48 km (30 mi) long; its width is 6–8 km (3.75–5 mi) and its area comprises 257 km2 (99 sq mi), whereas only the northern tip is inside the city limits.

Hajógyári-sziget ([ˈhɒjoːɟaːri siɡɛt], or Óbudai-sziget) is a man built island, located in the third district. This island hosts many activities such as: wake-boarding, jet-skiing during the day, and dance clubs during the nightSONY VAIO PCG-71111M battery. This is the island where the famous Sziget Festival takes place, hosting hundreds of performances per year and now around 400,000 visitors in its last edition. Many building projects are taking place to make this island into one of the biggest entertainment centres of Europe, the plan is to build Apartment buildings, hotels, casinos and a marina.

Luppa-sziget is the smallest island of Budapest, located in the north region.

Rock of Ínség can be found in the river Danube under the Gellért mountain, it can be seen just in a drought period when the river level is very low and this is a bad signal for a crop.

Rudas Baths is a thermal and medicinal bath that was first built in 1550SONY VAIO PCG-7192V battery

One of the reasons the Romans first colonized the area immediately to the west of the River Danube and established their regional capital at Aquincum (now part of Óbuda, in northern Budapest) is so that they could utilize and enjoy the thermal springs. There are still ruins visible today of the enormous baths that were built during that period. The new baths that were constructed during the Turkish period (1541–1686) SONY VAIO PCG-7191V battery served both bathing and medicinal purposes, and some of these are still in use to this day. Budapest gained its reputation as a city of spas in the 1920s, following the first realization of the economic potential of the thermal waters in drawing in visitors. Indeed, in 1934 Budapest was officially ranked as a "City of Spas". Today, the baths are mostly frequented by the older generation, as, with the exception of the “Magic Bath” and "Cinetrip" water discosSONY VAIO PCG-7196M battery, young people tend to prefer the lidos which are open in the summer. Construction of the Király Baths started in 1565, and most of the present-day building dates from the Turkish period, including most notably the fine cupola-topped pool.

The Rudas Baths are centrally placed – in the narrow strip of land between Gellért Hill and the River Danube – and also an outstanding example of architecture dating from the Turkish period. The central feature is an octagonal pool over which light shines from a 10 m diameter cupola, supported by eight pillarsSONY VAIO PCG-7195M battery.

The Gellért Baths and Hotel were built in 1918, although there had once been Turkish baths on the site, and in the Middle Ages a hospital. In 1927 the Baths were extended to include the wave pool, and the effervescent bath was added in 1934. The well-preserved Art Nouveau interior includes colourful mosaics, marble columns, stained glass windows and statuesSONY VAIO PCG-7194M battery.

The Lukács Baths are also in Buda and are also Turkish in origin, although they were only revived at the end of the 19th century. This was also when the spa and treatment centre were founded. There is still something of an atmosphere of fin-de-siècle about the place, and all around the inner courtyard there are marble tablets recalling the thanks of patrons who were cured there. Since the 1950s it has been regarded as a centre for intellectuals and artistsSONY VAIO PCG-7192M battery.

The Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest bathing complexes in all Europe, and the only “old” medicinal baths to be found in the Pest side of the city. The indoor medicinal baths date from 1913 and the outdoor pools from 1927. There is an atmosphere of grandeur about the whole place with the bright, largest pools resembling aspects associated with Roman bathsSONY PCG-8113M battery, the smaller bath tubs reminding one of the bathing culture of the Greeks, and the saunas and diving pools borrowed from traditions emanating in northern Europe. The three outdoor pools (one of which is a fun pool) are open all year, including winter. Indoors there are over ten separate pools, and a whole host of medical treatments is also available.

Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, formerly called Budapest Ferihegy International AirportSONY PCG-8112M battery , which has only one passenger terminal: Ferihegy 2/A and Ferihegy 2/B connected with the Sky Court building. The airport is located to the east of the centre in the XVIII. district in Pestszentlőrinc. In March 2011, the Hungarian Government announced that the name of the Airport is to be changed from "Budapest Ferihegy International Airport" to "Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport".

Outside Budapest, there are alternative international airports in Debrecen, Sármellék, Győr-Pér and Pécs-Pogány, all of which can all be reached within three hours by train or busSONY PCG-7134M battery .

Budapest is the most important Hungarian road terminus; most of the major highways end near the city-limits. The road system in the city is designed in a similar manner to that of Paris, with several ring roads, and avenues radiating out from the center.

Ring road (beltway) M0 around Budapest is nearly completed, with only one section missing on the west side due to local disputes. Currently the beltway is around 80 kilometers in length, and once finished it will be near 100 kilometers of highway in lengthSONY PCG-7131M battery.

Budapest public transport is provided by BKV,[76] the company operates buses, trolleybuses, trams, suburban railway lines, the metro, a boat service, a cogwheel railway, a funicular, and a chairlift, called Libegő.

Budapest's tram network is extensive, and reliable despite poor track infrastructure and an ageing fleet. Routes 4 and 6 combined form the busiest traditional city tram line in the world, with the world's longest passenger trams (54-metre (177 ft) long Siemens Combino) running at 60 to 90 second intervals at peak time and 3–4 minutes off-peak and usually packed with peopleSONY PCG-7122M battery.

Day services operate from 4:30 am until 11:30 pm each day. Night traffic (a reduced overnight service) has a reputation for being excellent.

There are three metro lines and a fourth is currently under construction. The Yellow line, built in 1896, is one of the oldest subway lines in the world, following the London Underground built in 1863SONY PCG-7121M battery.

Hungarian main-line railways are operated by MÁV. There are three main railway termini in Budapest, Keleti (eastbound), Nyugati (westbound), and Déli (southbound), operating both domestic and international rail services. Budapest is one of the main stops of the Orient Express on its Central and Eastern European route.[77] There is also a suburban rail service in and around Budapest, operated under the name HÉVSONY PCG-7113M battery.

Budapest East railway station (Hungarian: Budapest Keleti pályaudvar)

Venice Simplon Orient Express (16 April 2012). "Orient Express Website". Destinations. VSOE. Retrieved 16 April 2012..

The river Danube flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea. The river is easily navigable and so Budapest has historically been a major commercial port (at Csepel). In the summer months a scheduled hydrofoil service operates up the Danube to ViennaSONY PCG-7112M battery .

The dance tradition of the Carpathian Basin is the unique area of the European dance culture, which is also a special transition between the Balkans and Western Europe regions. Several authentic Hungarian folk dance ensembles work in Budapest, some of them professional. Budapest is one of the only few cities in the world where a high school for folk dance learning existsSONY PCG-8Z3M battery.

In Budapest there are currently 837 different monuments, which represent the most of the European artistic style. The classical and unique Hungarian Art Nouveau buildings are prominent.

The city glories in 223 museums and galleries, which presents several memories, not only the Hungarian historical, art and science ones, but also the memories of universal and European culture and science. Here are the greatest examples among themSONY PCG-8Z2M battery : the Hungarian National Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Budapest Historical Museum, the Memento Park and the Museum of Applied Arts.

In Budapest there are forty theaters, seven concert halls and an opera house. Outdoor festivals, concerts and lectures enrich the cultural offer of summer, which are often held in historical buildings. The largest theater facilities: the Budapest Operetta and Musical TheatreSONY PCG-8Z1M battery , the József Attila Theatre, the Katona József Theatre, the Madách Theatre, the Hungarian State Opera House, the National Theatre, the Vigadó, Radnóti Miklós Theatre and the Comedy Theatre.

A lot of libraries have unique collection in Budapest, such as the National Széchenyi Library, which keeps historical relics from the age before the printing of books. The Metropolitan Szabó Ervin Library plays an important role in the general education of the capital’s population. Other libraries: The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Eötvös University Library, the Parliamentary Library and the National Library of Foreign LiteratureSONY PCG-8Y3M battery .

If we mention cultural events, Hungary’s the largest outdoor festival is the Sziget Festival, which is really popular in all over Europe, as well. Other major events: Budapest Spring Festival, Budapest Autumn Festival, the Budapest Wine Festival and the Budapest Pálinka Festival.

Tourists visiting Budapest are provided with free maps and information about "points of interest" by BTDM at its info-pointsSONY PCG-8Y2M battery .

24 h and 72 h Budapest card is available for visitors. During the card's validity public transport is free, and discount is available in lots of museums, restaurants, and other places of interest.[79]

The 1906 novel The Paul Street Boys, the 1937 novel Journey by Moonlight, the 1957 book The Bridge at Andau, the 1975 novel Fateless, the 1977 novel The End of a Family Story, the 1986 book Between the Woods and the Water, the 1992 novel Under the FrogSONY PCG-7Z1M battery , the 1987 novel The Door, the 2002 novel Prague, the 2003 book Budapeste, the 2004 novel Ballad of the Whisky Robber, the 2005 novels Parallel Stories and The Historian, the 2012 novel Budapest Noir are set, amongst others, partly or entirely in Budapest.

Some of the better known feature films set in Budapest are Kontroll, The District!, Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod, Sunshine, An American Rhapsody, As You Desire Me, The Good Fairy, Hanna's War, The Journey, Ladies in Love, Mehbooba, Music Box, The Shop Around the Corner, Zoo in Budapest, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolSONY PCG-6W2M battery.

Moldova i/mɔːlˈdoʊvə/,[6][7] officially the Republic of Moldova (Moldovan/Romanian: Republica Moldova pronounced [reˈpublika molˈdova]) is a landlocked nation in Eastern Europe located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The capital city is Chișinău. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991 as part of the dissolution of the Soviet UnionSONY PCG-5J5M battery. On 29 July 1994, the new constitution of Moldova was adopted. A strip of Moldova's internationally recognized territory on the east bank of the river Dniester has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990.

The nation is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. Moldova is a member state of the United Nations, Council of Europe, WTO, OSCE, GUAM, CIS, BSEC and other international organizationsSONY PCG-5K2M battery. Moldova currently aspires to join the European Union,[8] and has implemented the first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).[9]

The name "Moldova" is derived from the Moldova River; the valley of this river was a political center when the Principality of Moldavia was founded in 1359.[10] The origin of the name of the river is not clear. There is an account (a legend) SONY PCG-5K1M battery  of prince Dragoș naming the river after hunting an aurochs: after the chase, his exhausted hound Molda drowned in the river. According to Dimitrie Cantemir and Grigore Ureche, the dog's name was given to the river and extended to the Principality.[11]

During the Neolithic stone age era, Moldova's territory was the center of the large Cucuteni-Trypillian culture that stretched east beyond the Dniester River in Ukraine, and west up to and beyond the Carpathian Mountains in RomaniaSONY PCG-5J4M battery . The inhabitants of this civilization, which lasted roughly from 5500 to 2750 BC, practiced agriculture, raised livestock, hunted, and made intricately designed pottery.[12]

Soroca Fort was built on the site of the former Genoese fortress Polihromia

In Antiquity Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the south was intermittently under the Roman, then Byzantine Empires. Due to its strategic location on a route between Asia and EuropeSONY PCG-5J1M battery, the territory of modern Moldova was invaded many times in late antiquity and early Middle Ages, including by Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Mongols and Tatars.

The Principality of Moldavia, established in 1359, was bounded by the Carpathian mountains in the west, Dniester river in the east, and Danube and Black Sea in the south. Its territory comprised the present-day territory of the Republic of MoldovaSONY PCG-5G2M battery , the eastern eight of the 41 counties of Romania, and the Chernivtsi oblast and Budjak region of Ukraine. Like the present-day republic and Romania's north-eastern region, it was known to the locals as Moldova. Moldavia was invaded repeatedly by Crimean Tatars and, since the 15th century, by the Turks. In 1538, the principality became a tributary to the Ottoman Empire, but it retained internal and partial external autonomy. Sony VAIO PCG-8131M battery

In accordance with the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812 and despite numerous protests by Moldavian nobles on behalf of their autonomous status, the Ottoman Empire (of which Moldavia was a vassal) ceded to the Russian Empire the eastern half of the territory of the Principality of Moldavia along with Khotyn and old Bessarabia (modern Budjak).

The new Russian province was called "Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia", and initially enjoyed a large degree of autonomySony VAIO PCG-8152M battery. After 1828 this autonomy was progressively restricted and in 1871 the Oblast was transformed into the Bessarabia Governorate, in a process of state-imposed assimilation, "Russification". As part of this process, the Tsarist administration in Bessarabia gradually removed the Romanian language from official and religious use.[14] The western part of Moldavia (which is a part of present-day Romania) remained an autonomous principality, and in 1859, united with Wallachia to form the Kingdom of RomaniaSony VAIO PCG-31311M battery.

The Treaty of Paris (1856) returned three counties of Bessarabia — Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail — to Moldavia, but in the Treaty of Berlin (1878), the Kingdom of Romania agreed to return them to the Russian Empire. Over the 19th century, the Russian authorities encouraged colonization of the south of the region by Ukrainians, Lipovans, Cossacks, Bulgarians, Germans, Gagauzes, and allowed the settlement of more Jews, Sony VAIO PCG-31111M battery to replace the large Nogai Tatar population expelled in the 1770s and 1780s, during Russo-Turkish Wars;[18] the Moldovan proportion of the population decreased from around 86% in 1816[19] to around 52% in 1905.[20]

World War I brought in a rise in political and cultural (ethnic) awareness among the inhabitants of the region, as 300,000 Bessarabians were drafted into the Russian Army formed in 1917; within bigger units several "Moldavian Soldiers' Committees" were formedSony VAIO PCG-8112M battery. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, a Bessarabian parliament, Sfatul Ţării, was elected in October–November 1917 and opened on December 3 [O.S. November 21] 1917. The Sfatul Ţării proclaimed the Moldavian Democratic Republic (December 15 [O.S. December 2] 1917) within a federal Russian state, and formed a government (December 21 [O.S. December 8] 1917) Sony VAIO PCG-7186M battery.

Bessarabia proclaimed independence from Russia on February 6 [O.S. January 24] 1918 and requested the assistance of the French army present in Romania (general Henri Berthelot) and of the Romanian army, which had occupied the region in early January.[21] On April 9 [O.S. March 27] 1918, the Sfatul Ţării decided with 86 votes for, 3 against and 36 abstaining, to unite with the Kingdom of RomaniaSony VAIO PCG-7171M battery. The union was conditional upon fulfillment of the agrarian reform, autonomy, and respect for universal human rights.[22] A part of the interim Parliament agreed to drop these conditions after Bukovina and Transylvania also joined the Kingdom of Romania, although historians note that they lacked the quorum to do so.

MPs of the Moldavian Democratic Republic in 1918

This union was recognized by the principal Allied Powers in the 1920 Treaty of Paris, which however was not ratified by all of its signatoriesSony VAIO PCG-9Z1M battery. Some major powers, such as the United States and the newly communist Russia, did not recognize Romanian rule over Bessarabia, the latter considering it an occupation of Russian territory.[30]

In May 1919, the Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed as a government in exile. After the failure of the Tatarbunary Uprising in 1924, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian ASSR) was formedSony VAIO PCG-5S1M battery.

In August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret additional protocol were signed, by which Nazi Germany recognized Bessarabia as being within the Soviet sphere of influence, which led the latter to actively revive its claim to the region.[31] On June 28, 1940, the Soviet Union, with the acknowledgement of Nazi Germany, issued an ultimatum to Romania requesting the cession of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, with which Romania complied the following daySony VAIO PCG-5P1M battery. Soon after, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian SSR) was established,[31] comprising about 70% of Bessarabia, and 50% of the now-disbanded Moldavian ASSR.

As part of the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania seized the territories of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria. Romanian forces, working with the Germans, deported or exterminated about 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabia and Bukovina (of the latter, approximately 90,000 perished). Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M battery The Soviet Army re-captured the region in Fe

bruary–August 1944, and re-established the Moldavian SSR. Between the end of the Jassy-Kishinev Offensive in August 1944 and the end of the war in May 1945, 256,800 inhabitants of the Moldavian SSR were drafted into the Soviet Army. 40,592 of them perished.[33]

Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic

Main article: Moldavian Soviet Socialist RepublicSony VAIO PCG-3C2M battery

During the Stalinist period (1940–1941, 1944–1953), deportations of locals to the northern Urals, to Siberia, and northern Kazakhstan occurred regularly, with the largest ones on 12–13 June 1941, and 5–6 July 1949, accounting from MSSR alone for 18,392[34] and 35,796 deportees respectively.[35] Other forms of Soviet persecution of the population included 32,433 political arrests, followed by Gulag or (in 8,360 cases) executionSony VAIO PCG-8161M battery.

In 1946, as a result of a severe drought and excessive delivery quota obligations and requisitions imposed by the Soviet government, the southwestern part of the USSR suffered from a major famine. In 1946–1947, at least 216,000 deaths and about 350,000 cases of dystrophy were accounted by historians in the Moldavian SSR alone. Similar events occurred in 1930s in the Moldavian ASSR.[35] In 1944–53, there were several anti-Soviet resistance groups in MoldovaSony VAIO PCG-8141M battery; however the NKVD and later MGB managed to eventually arrest, execute or deport their members.

In the postwar period, the Soviet government arranged migration of workforce (mostly Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians), into the new Soviet republic, especially into urbanized areas, partly to compensate for the demographic loss caused by the war and the emigration of 1940 and 1944.[37] In the 1970s and 1980s, the Moldavian SSR received substantial allocations from the budget of the USSR to develop industrial and scientific facilities and housingSony VAIO PCG-3J1M battery. In 1971, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a decision "About the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev" (modern Chișinău), that allotted more than one billion Soviet rubles from the USSR budget for building projects,[38] subsequent decisions also directed substantial funding and brought qualified specialists from other parts of the USSR to develop Moldova's industrySony VAIO PCG-3H1M battery.

The Soviet government conducted a campaign to promote a Moldovan ethnic identity distinct from that of the Romanians, based on a theory developed during the existence of the Moldavian ASSR. Official Soviet policy asserted that the language spoken by Moldovans was distinct from the Romanian language (see Moldovenism). To distinguish the two, during the Soviet period, Moldovan was written in the Cyrillic alphabet, in contrast with Romanian, which since 1860 had been written in the Latin alphabetSony VAIO PCG-3F1M battery.

After the death of Stalin, political persecutions changed in character from mass to individual. All independent organizations were severely reprimanded, with the National Patriotic Front leaders being sentenced in 1972 to long prison terms. The Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Moldova is assessing the activity of the communist totalitarian regimeSony VAIO PCG-3C1M battery.

In the 1980s, political conditions created by the glasnost and perestroika, a Democratic Movement of Moldova was formed, which in 1989 became known as the nationalist Popular Front of Moldova (FPM). Along with several other Soviet republics, from 1988 onwards, Moldova started to move towards independence. On August 27, 1989, the FPM organized a mass demonstration in Chișinău that became known as the Grand National AssemblySony VAIO PCG-9Z2L battery. The assembly pressured the authorities of the Moldavian SSR to adopt a language law on August 31, 1989 that proclaimed the Moldovan language written in the Latin script to be the state language of the MSSR. Its identity with the Romanian language was also established. The year 1989 that had seen Communist Party increasingly pummeled, was also marked by November riots. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery

Deputy Gheorghe Ghimpu replaces the Soviet flag on the Parliament with the national one on April 27, 1990

The first democratic elections for the local parliament were held in February and March 1990. Mircea Snegur was elected as Speaker of the Parliament, and Mircea Druc as Prime Minister. On June 23, 1990, the Parliament adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the "Soviet Socialist Republic Moldova", which, among other things, stipulated the supremacy of Moldovan laws over those of the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO PCG-9131L battery After the failure of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, on August 27, 1991, Moldova declared its independence, Romania being the first state to recognize its independence.

On December 21 of the same year Moldova, along with most of the other Soviet republics, signed the constitutive act that formed the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moldova received official recognition on December 25. On December 26, 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to existSony VAIO PCG-8161L battery. Declaring itself a neutral state, it did not join the military branch of the CIS. Three months later, on March 2, 1992, the country gained formal recognition as an independent state at the United Nations. In 1994, Moldova became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program and also a member of the Council of Europe on June 29, 1995. Sony VAIO PCG-8152L battery

In the region east of the Dniester river, Transnistria, which includes a large proportion of predominantly russophone East Slavs of Ukrainian (28%) and Russian (26%) descent (altogether 54% as of 1989), while Moldovans (40%) have been the largest ethnic group, and where the headquarters and many units of the Soviet 14th Guards Army were stationed, an independent Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed on August 16, 1990Sony VAIO PCG-8141L battery, with its capital in Tiraspol.[39] The motives behind this move were fear of the rise of nationalism in Moldova and the country's expected reunification with Romania upon secession from the USSR. In the winter of 1991–1992 clashes occurred between Transnistrian forces, supported by elements of the 14th Army, and the Moldovan police. Between March 2 and July 26, 1992, the conflict escalated into a military engagementSony VAIO PCG-8131L battery.

On January 2, 1992, Moldova introduced a market economy, liberalizing prices, which resulted in rapid inflation. From 1992 to 2001, the young country suffered a serious economic crisis, leaving most of the population below the poverty line. In 1993, a national currency, the Moldovan leu, was introduced to replace the temporary cupon. The economy of Moldova began to change in 2001; and until 2008 the country saw a steady annual growth of between 5% and 10%Sony VAIO PCG-81312L battery. The early 2000s also saw a considerable growth of emigration of Moldovans looking for work (mostly illegally) in Russia (especially the Moscow region), Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and other countries; remittances from Moldovans abroad account for almost 38% of Moldova's GDP, the second-highest percentage in the world. Sony VAIO PCG-81214L battery

In the 1994 parliamentary elections, the Democratic Agrarian Party gained a majority of the seats, setting a turning point in Moldovan politics. With the nationalist Popular Front now in a parliamentary minority, new measures aiming to moderate the ethnic tensions in the country could be adopted. Plans for a union with Romania were abandoned,[39] and the new Constitution gave autonomy to the breakaway Transnistria and GagauziaSony VAIO PCG-81115L battery. On December 23, 1994, the Parliament of Moldova adopted a "Law on the Special Legal Status of Gagauzia", and in 1995 the latter was constituted.

After winning the 1996 presidential elections, on January 15, 1997, Petru Lucinschi, the former First Secretary of the Moldavian Communist Party in 1989–91, became the country's second president (1997–2001), succeeding Mircea Snegur (1991–1996). In 2000, the Constitution was amended, transforming Moldova into a parliamentary republicSony VAIO PCG-81114L battery, with the president being chosen through indirect election rather than direct popular vote.

Winning 49.9% of the vote, the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (reinstituted in 1993 after being outlawed in 1991), gained 71 of the 101 MPs, and on April 4, 2001, elected Vladimir Voronin as the country's third president (re-elected in 2005). The country became the first post-Soviet state where a non-reformed Communist Party returned to power. Sony VAIO PCG-81113L battery New governments were formed by Vasile Tarlev (April 19, 2001 – March 31, 2008), and Zinaida Greceanîi (March 31, 2008 – September 14, 2009). In 2001–2003 relations between Moldova and Russia improved, but then temporarily deteriorated in 2003–2006, in the wake of the failure of the Kozak memorandum, culminating in the 2006 wine exports crisis. The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova managed to stay in power for eight years. The fragmentation of the liberal (aka the democrats) Sony VAIO PCG-7142L battery helped consolidate its power. The decline of the party started in 2009 after Marian Lupu joined the Democratic Party and thus attracted many of the Moldovans supporting the Communists.[45]

2009 Moldova civil unrest at the Parliament building

In the April 2009 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won 49.48% of the votes, followed by the Liberal Party with 13.14% of the votes, the Liberal Democratic Party with 12.43%, and the Alliance "Moldova Noastră" with 9.77%. The controversial results of this election sparked civil unrestSony VAIO PCG-7141L battery

In August 2009, four Moldovan parties – Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party, and Our Moldova Alliance – agreed to create a governing coalition that pushed the Communist party into opposition. On August 28, 2009, this coalition chose a new parliament speaker (Mihai Ghimpu) in a vote that was boycotted by Communist legislators. Vladimir Voronin, who had been President of Moldova since 2001, eventually resigned on September 11, 2009Sony VAIO PCG-71111L battery, but the Parliament failed to elect a new president. The acting president Mihai Ghimpu instituted the Commission for constitutional reform in Moldova to adopt a new version of the Constitution of Moldova. After the constitutional referendum aimed to approve the reform failed in September 2010,[48] the parliament was dissolved again and a new parliamentary election was scheduled for 28 November 2010.Sony VAIO PCG-61411L battery On December 30, 2010, Marian Lupu was elected as the Speaker of the Parliament.[50] In accordance with the Constitution, he will be serving as the Acting President of Republic of Moldova.

Moldova is a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic. The 1994 Constitution of Moldova sets the framework for the government of the country. A parliamentary majority of at least two thirds is required to amend the Constitution of MoldovaSony VAIO PCG-61112L battery, which cannot be revised in time of war or national emergency. Amendments to the Constitution affecting the state's sovereignty, independence, or unity can only be made after a majority of voters support the proposal in a referendum. Furthermore, no revision can be made to limit the fundamental rights of people enumerated in the Constitution. Sony VAIO PCG-61111L battery

The country's central legislative body is the unicameral Moldovan Parliament (Parlament), which has 101 seats, and whose members are elected by popular vote on party lists every four years.

The head of state is the President of Moldova, who is elected by the Moldovan Parliament, requiring the support of three fifths of the deputies (at least 61 votes). The president of Moldova has been elected by the parliament since 2001Sony VAIO PCG-5T4L battery, a change designed to decrease executive authority in favor of the legislature. The president appoints a prime minister who functions as the head of government, and who in turn assembles a cabinet, both subject to parliamentary approval.

The 1994 constitution also establishes an independent Constitutional Court, composed of six judges (two appointed by the President, two by Parliament, and two by the Supreme Council of Magistrature), serving six-year termsSony VAIO PCG-5T3L battery, during which they are irremovable and not subordinate to any power. The Court is invested with the power of judicial review over all acts of the parliament, over presidential decrees, and over international treaties, signed by the country.

After achieving independence from the Soviet Union, Moldova established relations with other European countries. A course for European Union integration and neutrality define the country's foreign policy guidelinesSony VAIO PCG-5T2L battery. In 1995 the country was admitted to the Council of Europe. In addition to its participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, Moldova is also a member state of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Francophonie and the European Bank for Reconstruction and DevelopmentSony VAIO PCG-5S3L battery.

In 2005, Moldova and the EU established an action plan that sought to improve the collaboration between the two neighboring structures. At the end of 2005 EUBAM, the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine, was established at the joint request of the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine. EUBAM assists the Moldovan and Ukrainian governments in approximating their border and customs procedures to EU standards, and offers support in both countries' fight against cross-border crimeSony VAIO PCG-5S2L battery.

After the War of Transnistria, Moldova sought a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Transnistria region by working with Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, calling for international mediation, and co-operating with the OSCE and UN fact-finding and observer missions. The foreign minister of Moldova, Andrei Stratan, repeatedly stated that the Russian troops stationed in the breakaway region are there against the willSony VAIO PCG-5S1L battery of the Moldovan Government and called on them to leave "completely and unconditionally."[52] In 2012, the death of Vadim Pisari has raised the tension with Russia and has revived a decades-old debate over security in Moldova.[53]

In September 2010, the European Parliament approved a grant of €90 million to Moldova.[54] The money will supplement $570 million in International Monetary Fund loans,[55] World Bank and other bilateral support already granted to Moldova. Sony VAIO PCG-5R2L battery In April 2010, Romania offered to Moldova development aid worth of €100 million while the number of scholarships for Moldovan students will double to 5,000.[56] According to a lending agreement signed in February 2010, Poland will provide US$15 million and will support Moldova in its European integration efforts.[57] The first joint meeting of the Governments of Romania and Moldova, held in March 2012, concluded with several bilateral agreements in various fields. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1L battery The European orientation “has been the policy of Moldova in recent years and this is the policy that must continue,” Nicolae Timofti told lawmakers before his election.”[60]

The Moldovan armed forces consist of the Ground Forces and Air and Air Defense Forces. Moldova has accepted all relevant arms control obligations of the former Soviet Union. On October 30, 1992, Moldova ratified the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipmentSony VAIO PCG-5P4L battery and provides for the destruction of weapons in excess of those limits. The country acceded to the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in October 1994 in Washington, D.C. It does not have nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Moldova joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's Partnership for Peace on March 16, 1994.

Moldova is committed to a number of international and regional control of arms regulations such as the UN Firearms Protocol, Sony VAIO PCG-5P2L battery Stability Pact Regional Implementation Plan, the UN Programme of Action (PoA) and the OSCE Documents on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition.

Main article: Human rights in Moldova

According to Amnesty International, "Torture and other ill-treatment in police detention remained widespread; the state failed to carry out prompt and impartial investigations and police officers sometimes evaded penalties. Political dissidents from Ilaşcu Group were released from arbitrary detention only after an order of the European Court of Human Rights. Sony VAIO PCG-5N4L battery In 2009, when Moldova experienced its most serious civil unrest in a decade, several civilians like Valeriu Boboc were killed by police and many more injured.[62] According to Human Rights Report of the United States Department of State, released in April 2011, "In contrast to the previous year, there were no reports of killings by security forces. During the year reports of government exercising undue influence over the media substantially decreased. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2L battery" But "Transnistrian authorities continued to harass independent media and opposition lawmakers; restrict freedom of association, movement, and religion; and discriminate against Romanian speakers."[63] Moldova "has made “noteworthy progress” on religious freedom since the era of the Soviet Union, but it can still take further steps to foster diversity," said the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt, in Chișinău, in September 2011Sony VAIO PCG-51513L battery.

Moldova is divided into thirty-two districts (raioane, singular raion), three municipalities and two autonomous regions (Gagauzia and Transnistria).[65] The final status of Transnistria is disputed, as the central government does not control that territory. The cities of Comrat and Tiraspol, the administrative seats of the two autonomous territories also have municipality status. Moldova has 65 cities (towns), including the five with municipality statusSony VAIO PCG-51511L battery, and 917 communes. Some other 699 villages are too small to have a separate administration, and are administratively part of either cities (40 of them) or communes (659). This makes for a total of 1,681 localities of Moldova, all but two of which are inhabited.

Moldova lies between latitudes 45° and 49° N, and mostly between meridians 26° and 30° E (a small area lies east of 30°).The total land area is 33,851 km2Sony VAIO PCG-51412L battery

The largest part of the nation lies between two rivers, the Dniester and the Prut. The western border of Moldova is formed by the Prut river, which joins the Danube before flowing into the Black Sea. Moldova has access to the Danube for only about 480 m (1,575 ft), and Giurgiulești is the only Moldovan port on the Danube. In the east, the Dniester is the main river, flowing through the country from north to south, receiving the waters of Răut, Bâc, Ichel, BotnaSony VAIO PCG-51411L battery. Ialpug flows into one of the Danube limans, while Cogâlnic into the Black Sea chain of limans.

The country is landlocked, even though it is very close to the Black Sea. While most of the country is hilly, elevations never exceed 430 m (1,411 ft) — the highest point being the Bălănești Hill. Moldova's hills are part of the Moldavian Plateau, which geologically originate from the Carpathian Mountains. Its subdivisions in Moldova include Dniester Hills Sony VAIO PCG-51312L battery (Northern Moldavian Hills and Dniester Ridge), Moldavian Plain (Middle Prut Valley and Bălţi Steppe), and Central Moldavian Plateau (Ciuluc-Soloneţ Hills, Cornești Hills (Codri Massive; "Codri" meaning "forests"), Lower Dniester Hills, Lower Prut Valley, and Tigheci Hills). In the south, the country has a small flatland, the Bugeac Plain. The territory of Moldova east of the river Dniester is split between parts of the Podolian Plateau, and parts of the Eurasian SteppeSony VAIO PCG-51311L battery.

The country's main cities are the capital Chișinău, in the center of the country, Tiraspol (in the eastern region of Transnistria), Bălţi (in the north) and Bender (in the south-east). Comrat is the administrative center of Gagauzia.

Moldova's proximity to the Black Sea gives it a mild and sunny climate.[66]

Moldova's climate is moderately continental: The summers are warm and long, with temperatures averaging about 20 °C (68 °F), and the winters are relatively mild and dry, with January temperatures averaging −4 °C (25 °F) Sony VAIO PCG-51211L battery. Annual rainfall, which ranges from around 600 millimeters (23.6 in) in the north to 400 millimeters (15.7 in) in the south, can vary greatly; long dry spells are not unusual. The heaviest rainfall occurs in early summer and again in October; heavy showers and thunderstorms are common. Because of the irregular terrain, heavy summer rains often cause erosion and river silting.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Moldova was +41.5 °C (106.70 °F) on July 21, 2007 in Camenca.[67] The lowest temperature ever recorded was −35.5 °C Sony VAIO PCG-41112L battery (−31.9 °F) on January 20, 1963 in Brătușeni, Edineţ county.[68]

A portrait of Stephen III is found on the front of each leu banknote.

Main article: Economy of Moldova

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the relative weight of the service sector in the economy of Moldova started to grow and began to dominate the GDP (now about 63,5%), as a result of decrease in industry and agriculture. The main economic indicators contracted dramaticallySony VAIO PCG-3A4L battery.

As of 2009, Moldova has been described by the European Parliament as the poorest country in Europe in terms of GDP.

Moldova imports all of its supplies of petroleum, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia. Moldova is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancing energy security, convergence of member state energy markets on the basis of EU internal energy market principles, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of common and regional interest. Sony VAIO PCG-3A3L battery

1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 bani coins of the Moldovan leu.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, energy shortages contributed to sharp production declines. As part of an ambitious economic liberalization effort, Moldova introduced a convertible currency, liberalized all prices, stopped issuing preferential credits to state enterprises, backed steady land privatization, removed export controls, and liberalized interest ratesSony VAIO PCG-3A2L battery. The government entered into agreements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to promote growth.

Recent trends indicate that the Communist government intends to reverse some of these policies, and recollectivise land while placing more restrictions on private business. The economy returned to positive growth, of 2.1% in 2000 and 6.1% in 2001. Growth remained strong in 2007 (6%), in part because of the reforms and because of starting from a small baseSony VAIO PCG-3A1L battery. The economy remains vulnerable to higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the skepticism of foreign investors.

Following the regional financial crisis in 1998, Moldova has made significant progress towards achieving and retaining macroeconomic and financial stabilization. It has, furthermore, implemented many structural and institutional reforms that are indispensable for the efficient functioning of a market economySony VAIO PCG-394L battery. These efforts have helped maintain macroeconomic and financial stability under difficult external circumstances, enabled the resumption of economic growth and contributed to establishing an environment conducive to the economy's further growth and development in the medium term.[citation needed]

General Statistic Diagrams of Internet in Moldova, in terms of download speed country ranked 9 in WorldSony VAIO PCG-393L battery

Despite these efforts and recent resumption of economic growth, Moldova ranks low in terms of commonly used living standards and human development indicators in comparison with other transition economies. Although the economy experienced a constant economic growth after 2000: with 2.1%, 6.1%, 7.8% and 6.3% between 2000 and 2003 (with a forecast of 8% in 2004) Sony VAIO PCG-391L battery, one can observe that these latest developments hardly reach the level of 1994, with almost 40% of the GDP registered in 1990. Thus, during the last decade little has been done to reduce the country's vulnerability. After a severe economic decline, social and economic challenges, energy uprooted dependencies, Moldova continues to occupy one of the last places among European countries in income per capita.Sony VAIO PCG-384L battery

In 2005 (according to the Human Development Report), the registered GDP per capita was US $ 2,100 PPP, which was 4.5 times lower than the world average at the time (US $ 9,543). Moreover, GDP per capita was under the average of its statistical region (US $ 9,527 PPP). In 2005, about 20.8% of the population were under the absolute poverty line and registered an income lower than US $ 2.15 (PPP) per day. Sony VAIO PCG-383L battery Moldova is classified as medium in human development and is at the 111th spot in the list of 177 countries. The value of the Human Development Index (0.708) is below the world average. Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe in terms of official (i.e., excluding the black and grey economy) per capita which currently stands at $3,400 [71] The GDP(PPP) in 2011 constituted $12.15 billion.[72] .

Mileștii Mici contains the world's largest wine cellarsSony VAIO PCG-382L battery

Main articles: Moldovan wine and Moldovan wine producers

Moldova is known for its wines. For many years viticulture and winemaking in Moldova were the general occupation of the population. Evidence of this is present in historical memorials and documents, folklore, and the Moldovan spoken language.

The country has a well established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 147,000 hectares (360,000 acres), of which 102,500 ha (253,000 acres) are used for commercial production. Most of the country's wine production is made for exportSony VAIO PCG-381L battery. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations.

Moldova consumes the highest amount of alcohol per capita in the world.[73]

Main article: Agriculture of Moldova

Moldova's rich soil and temperate continental climate (with warm summers and mild winters) have made the country one of the most productive agricultural regions since ancient times, and a major supplier of agricultural products in southeastern Europe. In agriculture, the economic reform started with the land cadastre reformSony VAIO PCG-7185L battery.

Tourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its history. Wine tours are offered to tourists across the country. Vineyards/cellars include Cricova, Purcari, Ciumai, Romanesti, Cojușna, Milestii Mici.

Main articles: Transport in Moldova and Rail transport in Moldova

The main means of transportation in Moldova are railroads 1,138 km (707 mi) and a highway system (12,730 km/7,910 mi overall, including 10,937 km/6,796 mi of paved surfaces). The sole international air gateway of Moldova is the Chișinău International AirportSony VAIO PCG-7184L battery. The Giurgiulești terminal on the Danube is compatible with small seagoing vessels. Shipping on the lower Prut and Nistru rivers plays only a modest role in the country's transportation system.

The first million of mobile telephone users was registered in September 2005. The number of mobile telephone users in Moldova increased by 47.3% in the first quarter of 2008 against the last year and exceeded 2.89 million.[74]

In September 2009, Moldova was the first country in the world to launch high-definition voice services (HD voice) for mobile phones, and the first country in Europe to launch 14.4 Mbit/s mobile broadband at a national scale, with over 40% population coverage. Sony VAIO PCG-7183L battery

As of 2010 there are around 1,295,000 Internet users in Moldova with overall Internet penetration of 35.9%.

There is an ongoing controversy whether Romanians and Moldovans are the same ethnic group, namely whether Moldovans' self-identification constitutes an ethnic group distinct and apart from Romanians or a subset. There were also numerous allegations that the ethnic affiliation numbers were riggedSony VAIO PCG-7182L battery, 7 out of 10 observer groups of the Council of Europe reported a significant number of cases when census-takers recommended respondents to declare themselves Moldovans rather than Romanians. Complicating the interpretation of the results, 18.8% of respondents that identified themselves as Moldovans declared Romanian to be their native language.[77]

A Limba noastră social ad in Chișinău, with the word "Română" sprayed onto it

The Constitution of 1994 states that the national language of the Republic of Moldova is Moldovan, and its writing is based on the Latin alphabet.[78] The 1991 Declaration of Independence names the official language Romanian. Sony VAIO PCG-7181L battery The 1989 State Language Law speaks of a Moldovan-Romanian linguistic identity.

There is a political controversy over the name of the main ethnicity of the Republic of Moldova. During 2003–2009, the Communist government adopted a national political conception which states that one of the priorities of the national politics of the Republic of Moldova is the insurance of the existence of the Moldovan language. Sony VAIO PCG-7174L battery Scholars agree that Moldovan and Romanian are the same language, with the glottonym "Moldovan" used in certain political contexts.[83]

Russian is provided with the status of a "language of interethnic communication" (alongside the official language), and in practice remains widely used on all levels of the society and the state. The above-mentioned national political conception also states that Russian-Moldovan bilingualism is characteristic for Moldova. Sony VAIO PCG-7173L battery

As of the 2004 census, the country has significant Russian (6%) and Ukrainian (8.4%) populations. 50% of ethnic Ukrainians, 27% of Gagauz, 35% of Bulgarians, and 54% of smaller ethnic groups speak Russian as first language. In total, there are 541,000 people (or 16% of the population) in Moldova who use Russian as first language, including 130,000 ethnic Moldovans. On the other hand, 47,000 members of ethnic minorities use Romanian as first languageSony VAIO PCG-7172L battery.

Gagauz and Ukrainian have significant regional speaker populations and are granted official status together with Russian in Gagauzia and Transnistria respectively.

For the 2004 census, Orthodox Christians, who make up 93.3% of Moldova's population, were not required to declare the particular of the two main churches they belong to. The Moldovan Orthodox Church, autonomous and subordinated to the Russian Orthodox ChurchSony VAIO PCG-7171L battery, and the Orthodox Church of Bessarabia, autonomous and subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox Church, both claim to be the national church of the country. 1.9% of the population is Protestant, 0.9% belongs to other religions, 1.0% is non-religious, 0.4% is atheist, and 2.2% did not answer the religion question at the census.

In Moldova, there are 16 state and 15[85] private institutions of higher education, with a total of 126,100 studentsSony VAIO PCG-7162L battery, including 104,300 in the state institutions, and 21,700 in the private ones. The number of students per 10,000 inhabitants in Moldova has been constantly growing since the collapse of the Soviet Union, reaching 217 in 2000–2001, and 351 in 2005–2006.

The National Library of Moldova was founded in 1832. The Moldova State University and the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, the main scientific organizations of Moldova, were established in 1946Sony VAIO PCG-7161L battery.

The CIA World Factbook lists widespread crime and underground economic activity among major crime issues in Moldova.[86]

Main article: Health in Moldova

The average birth rate is at 1.5 children per woman.[87] Public expenditure on health was 4.2% of the GDP and private expenditure on health 3.2%.[87] There are about 264 physicians per 100,000 people.[87] Health expenditure was 138 US$ (PPP) per capita in 2004. Sony VAIO PCG-7154L battery

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the country has seen a decrease in spending on health care and, as a result, the tuberculosis incidence rate in the country has grown.[88] Because of this, Moldova is struggling with one of the highest incidence rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world. Sony VAIO PCG-7153L battery

Main article: Emigration from Moldova

Emigration is a mass phenomenon in Moldova and has a major impact on the country's demographics and economy. The Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service has estimated that 600,000 to one million Moldovan citizens (almost 25% of the population) are working abroad, most illegally.[90]

Mihai Eminescu, national poet of Moldova and RomaniaSony VAIO PCG-7152L battery

Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and other cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining some of the traditions of its neighbors and of other influence sources.

The country's cultural heritage was marked by numerous churches and monasteries built by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great in the 15th century, by the works of the later renaissance Metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei, and those of scholars such as Grigore UrecheSony VAIO PCG-7151L battery, Miron Costin, Nicolae Milescu, Dimitrie Cantemir,[91] Ion Neculce. In the 19th century, Moldavians from the territories of the medieval Principality of Moldavia, then split between Austria, Russia, and an Ottoman-vassal Moldavia (after 1859, Romania), made a significant contribution to the formation of the modern Romanian culture. Among these were many Bessarabians, such as Alexandru Donici, Alexandru Hâjdeu, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, Constantin Stamati, Constantin Stamati-Ciurea, Costache Negruzzi, Alecu Russo, Constantin StereSony VAIO PCG-7148L battery.Mihai Eminescu, a late Romantic poet, and Ion Creangă, a writer, are the most influential Romanian language artists, considered national writers both in Romania and Moldova.[92]

The largest ethnic group is a speaker of Romanian and share the Romanian culture. Their culture has been also influenced (through Eastern Orthodoxy) by the Byzantine culture.[citation needed]

The country has also important minority ethnic communities. Gagauz, 4.4% of the population, are Christian Turkic people. Greeks, Armenians, Poles, Ukrainians, although not numerous, were present since as early as 17th centurySony VPCW21M2E/WI battery, and had left cultural marks. The 19th century saw the arrival of many more Ukrainians from Podolia and Galicia, as well as new communities, such as Lipovans, Bulgarians and Bessarabian Germans.

In the second part of the 20th century, Moldova saw a massive Soviet immigration, which brought with it many elements of Soviet culture.

In October 1939, Radio Basarabia, a local station of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company, was the first radio station opened in ChișinăuSony VPCW21C7E battery. Television in Moldova was introduced in April 1958, within the framework of Soviet television. Through cable, Moldovan viewers can receive a large number of Russian channels, a few Romanian channels, and several Russian language versions of international channels in addition to several local channels. One Russian and two local channels are aired.

A popular Moldovan dish of stuffed cabbage rolls (sarma), accompanied by sauerkraut and mămăligăSony VPCW12S1E/WZ battery.

Moldovan cuisine is similar to neighboring Romania, and has been influenced by elements of Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian cuisine. Main dishes include beef, pork, potatoes, cabbage, and a variety of cereals. Popular alcoholic beverages are divin (Moldovan brandy), beer, and local wine.

Total recorded adult alcohol consumption is approximately evenly split between spirits, beer and wine; and the average annual adult per capita consumption, in terms of pure alcohol, in 2003–2005, was 18.2 litres, the highest in the world. Sony VPCW12S1E/W battery

Zdob și Zdub performing at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.

Main article: Music of Moldova

Among Moldova's most prominent composers are Gavriil Musicescu, ștefan Neaga and Eugen Doga.

In the field of popular music, Moldova has produced the band O-Zone, who came to prominence in 2003, with their hit song "Dragostea Din Tei." Moldova has been participating in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2005. Another popular band from Moldova is ska rock band that represented the country in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing 6thSony VPCW12S1E/T battery. In May 2007 Natalia Barbu represented Moldova in Eurovision Song Contest 2007 with her entry "Fight", in Finland, Helsinki. Natalia squeezed into the final by a very small margin. Her rock song was aggressive in nature and performance. She took 10th place with 109 points. Then Zdob și Zdub again represented Moldova in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing 12th. Dan Bălan, another popular artist, released the album Chica Bomb in 2010Sony VPCW12S1E/P battery.

The band SunStroke Project with Olia Tira represented the country in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest with their hit song "Run Away." Their performance gained international notoriety as an internet meme due to the pelvic thrusting and dancing of Sergey Stepanov, the band saxophonist. He has been fittingly dubbed "Epic Sax Guy." Among most prominent classical musicians in Moldova are Mark Pester, a distinguished violinist, conductor and the first professor of the State ConservatorySony VPCW11S1E/W battery. Mark Pester was a student of the famous violin teacher Leopold Auer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. As a conductor, he staged the first operas in Moldova and performed with the greatest soloists including Sergei Rachmaninov. Other prominent classical musicians in Moldova are Maria Biesu, one of the leading world's sopranos and the winner of the Japan International Competition; pianist Mark Zeltser, winner of the USSR National CompetitionSony VPCW11S1E/T battery, Margueritte Long Competition in Paris and Busoni Competition in Bolzano, Italy. Another outstanding pianist is Oleg Maisenberg, the winner of the Schubert International Competition in Vienna.

Main article: Public holidays in Moldova

Most retail businesses close on New Year's Day and Independence Day, but remain open on all other holidays.

Moldovan football team Sporting Chișinău in 1925.

Main article: Sport in Moldova

Trânta (a form of wrestling) is the national sport in Moldova. Association football is the most popular sport in Moldova.[citation needed]

Rugby union is popular as well. Registered players have doubled, and almost 10,000 spectators turn up at every European Nations Cup match. Sony VPCW11S1E/P batteryThe most prestigious cycling race is the Moldova President's Cup, which was first run in 2004.

In the 2012 Summer Olympics Cristina Iovu won the Bronze Medal in the Women's Weightlifting Competition (Women's weight class 48–53 kg).

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