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Chişinău
The "Gates of Chişinău","Poarta Chişinăului" as seen when entering the city from the direction of the Chişinău airport

Flag

Seal
Location of Chişinău in Moldova
Coordinates: 47°0′00″N 28°55′00″E / 47°N 28.9166667°E / 47; 28.9166667
Country  Moldova
Founded 1436
Government
 - Mayor Dorin Chirtoacă, since 2007
Area
 - City 120 km2 (46.3 sq mi)
 - Urban 635 km2 (245.2 sq mi)
Elevation 85 m (279 ft)
Population (2007)
 - City 592,900
 Density 4,938/km2 (12,789.4/sq mi)
 Urban 785,000
 Metro 911,400
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code MD-20xx
Area code(s) +373 22
Website www.chisinau.md

Chişinău (Romanian pronunciation: [kiʃiˈnəw]; in the past also known as Kishinev, Russian: Кишинёв Kishinyov, lit. "New Spring"), is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc. The population of the city is 592,900 (2007) which grows to 911,400 in the entire metropolitan area.

Chişinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova, and its largest transportation hub. As the most economically and socially important municipality in Moldova, the city has a broad range of educational facilities. The proportion of green spaces in Chişinău is one of the highest among major European cities.[citation needed]

Contents

Name

According to one version, the name comes from the archaic Romanian word chişla (meaning "spring", "source of water") and nouă ("new"), because it was built around a small spring. Nowadays, the spring is located at the corner of Pushkin and Albişoara streets.[1]

An alternative version, by Stefan Ciobanu, Romanian historian and academician, holds it, that the name was formed the same way as the name of Chişineu (alternative spelling: Chişinău) in Western Romania, near the border with Hungary. Its Hungarian name is Kisjenő , from which the Romanian name originates[2]. Kisjenő in turn comes from kis "small" + the "Jenő" tribe, one of the seven Hungarian tribes that entered the Carpathian Basin in 896 and gave the name of 21 settlements.[3]

Chişinău is also known in Russian as Кишинёв (Kishinyov). It is written Kişinöv in the Latin Gagauz alphabet. It was also written as "Кишинэу" in the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet in Soviet times. Historically, the English language name for the city, "Kishinev", was based on the modified Russian one because it entered the English language via Russian at the time Chişinău was part of the Russian Empire (e.g. Kishinev pogrom). Therefore, it remains a common English name in some historical contexts. Otherwise, however, the Romanian-based "Chişinău" has been steadily gaining wider currency, especially in the written language.

Geography

Chişinău gardens

Chişinău is located on the river Bîc, a tributary of the Dniester, at 47°0′N 28°55′E / 47°N 28.917°E / 47; 28.917, with an area of 120 km². The whole municipality claims 635 km².

The city lies in the middle of the central area of Moldova.

Geographically convenient in the largely flat Eastern European country, the city is surrounded by a relatively level landscape with very fertile ground, offering the basis for the cultivation of grapevine and fruit since medieval times.

Climate

Chişinău has a continental climate, characterized by hot dry summers and cold windy winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0 °C (32 °F), although they rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). In summer, the average temperature is approximately 25 °C (77 °F), however, temperatures sometimes reach 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F) in mid-summer in the city centre. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy storms. Spring and autumn temperatures vary between 16 to 24 °C (61 to 75 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be lower than in summer but with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.

Typical temperatures and precipitation for each month:[4]

Climate data for Chişinău
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.5
(60)
20.7
(69)
25.1
(77)
31.6
(89)
35.9
(97)
37.1
(99)
39.4
(103)
39.2
(103)
37.3
(99)
32.6
(91)
23.6
(74)
18.3
(65)
39.4
(103)
Average high °C (°F) 0.7
(33)
1.6
(35)
7.1
(45)
15.3
(60)
21.3
(70)
24.5
(76)
26.1
(79)
26.2
(79)
21.4
(71)
14.8
(59)
7.3
(45)
2.8
(37)
14.1
(57)
Daily mean °C (°F) -2.5
(28)
-1.7
(29)
3.0
(37)
10.0
(50)
16.0
(61)
19.3
(67)
20.8
(69)
20.7
(69)
16.0
(61)
10.0
(50)
4.0
(39)
0.0
(32)
9.6
(49)
Average low °C (°F) -5.2
(23)
-4.3
(24)
-0.3
(31)
5.7
(42)
11.2
(52)
14.6
(58)
16.2
(61)
15.8
(60)
11.4
(53)
6.1
(43)
1.3
(34)
-2.5
(28)
5.8
(42)
Record low °C (°F) -28.4
(-19)
-28.9
(-20)
-21.1
(-6)
-6.6
(20)
-1.1
(30)
3.6
(38)
7.8
(46)
5.5
(42)
-2.4
(28)
-10.8
(13)
-21.6
(-7)
-22.4
(-8)
-28.9
(-20)
Precipitation mm (inches) 30
(1.18)
32
(1.26)
35
(1.38)
42
(1.65)
56
(2.2)
74
(2.91)
74
(2.91)
47
(1.85)
47
(1.85)
30
(1.18)
39
(1.54)
34
(1.34)
539
(21.22)
Snowfall cm (inches) 6
(2.4)
7
(2.8)
4
(1.6)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
3
(1.2)
21
(8.3)
% Humidity 81 80 75 64 62 64 64 63 66 72 80 83 71
Avg. rainy days 9 9 11 14 13 13 11 9 9 10 13 12 133
Avg. snowy days 14 13 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.7 4 12 53.7
Source: Pogoda.ru.net[5] 01.01.2009

Municipality

Moldova is administratively subdivided into 3 municipalities, 32 districts, and 2 autonomous units. Chişinău is one of these municipalities.[6] Besides the city itself, the municipality comprises 34 other suburban localities: 6 towns (containing further 2 villages within), and 12 communes (containing further 14 villages within). The population at the 2004 Moldovan Census is shown in brackets:

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Cities/towns

Communes

History

Founded in 1436 as a monastery village, the city was part of the Moldavian Principality, which, starting with the 16th century fell under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the 19th century it was a small town of 7,000 inhabitants. In 1812 it came under Russian imperial administration, which made it the capital of the newly annexed gubernia of Bessarabia. Its population had grown to 92,000 by 1862 and to 125,787 by 1900.

Industrial age

Stephen the Great Monument in the center of the city
Chişinău, 1889.
Chişinău, as seen from a SPOT satellite

By 1834, an imperial townscape with broad and long roads had emerged as a result of a generous development plan, which divided the city roughly into two areas: The old part of the town – with its irregular building structures – and a newer City Center and station. Between 26 May 1830 and 13 October 1836 the architect Avraam Melnikov established the 'Catedrala Naşterea Domnului' (an Eastern Orthodox cathedral) with a magnificent bell tower. In 1840 the building of the Triumphal arch, planned by the architect, Luca Zaushkevich, was completed. Following this the construction of numerous further buildings and landmarks began. The town also played an important part in a war between Russia and Turkey (1877–78), as the main staging area of the Russian invasion.

Pogrom and pre-revolution

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

A large anti-Semitic riot took place in the town on 6–7 April 1903, which would later be known as the Kishinev pogrom. The rioting continued for three days, resulting in 47–49 Jews dead, 92 severely wounded, and 500 suffering minor injuries. In addition, several hundred houses and many businesses were plundered and destroyed. The pogroms are largely believed to have been incited by anti-Jewish propaganda in the only official newspaper of the time, Bessarabetz (Бессарабецъ). The reactions to this incident included a petition to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia on behalf of the American people by the US President Theodore Roosevelt in July 1905.[7]

On 22 August 1905 another violent event occurred, whereby the police opened fire on an estimated 3,000 demonstrating agricultural workers. Only a few months later, 19–20 October 1905, a further protest occurred, helping to force the hand of Nicholas II in bringing about the October Manifesto. However, these demonstrations suddenly turned into another anti-Jewish pogrom, resulting in 19 deaths.[7]

World War I

Following the Russian October Revolution the country declared independence from the crumbling empire, before joining the Kingdom of Romania. During this period, Chişinău was in the background, being regarded as no more than a large provincial city. Only with the advent of modern technology and industrialization, it slowly rose into prominence.

Between 1918 and 1940 the center of the city undertook large renovation work. In 1927 the Stephen the Great Monument, by the sculptor Alexandru Plămădeală, was erected.

World War II

Eternity – a memorial complex now dedicated to the soldiers who fell in World War II and the military conflict in Transnistria.

In the chaos of the Second World War Chişinău was almost completely destroyed. This began with the Soviet occupation by the Red Army on 28 June 1940. As the city began to recover from the takeover, a devastating earthquake occurred on 10 November 1940. The epicenter of the quake, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, was in eastern Romania and subsequently led to substantial destruction in the city.

After scarcely one year, the assault on the newly created Moldovan SSR by the German and Romanian armies began. Beginning with July 1941 the city suffered from large-scale shooting and heavy bombardments by Nazi air raids. The Red Army resistance held until Chişinău finally fell on 17 July 1941.

Following the occupation, the city suffered from the characteristic mass murder of its predominantly Jewish inhabitants. As had been seen elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the Jews were transported on trucks to the outskirts of the city and then summarily shot in partially dug pits. The number of Jews murdered during the initial occupation of the city is estimated at approximately 10,000 people.[8]

As the war drew to a conclusion, the city was once more pulled into heavy fighting as German and Romanian troops retreated. Chişinău was taken by the Red Army on 24 August 1944 as a result of the Jassy-Kishinev Operation. By this point the city had lost about 70% of its buildings – the earthquake of 1940 and the air raids contributing to the largest part of this.

After the war, Bessarabia was fully integrated into the Soviet Union. Most of Bessarabia became the Moldavian SSR with Chişinău as its capital; smaller parts of Bessarabia became parts of the Ukrainian SSR.

Soviet Union

In the years 1947 to 1949 the architect Alexey Shchusev developed a plan with the aid of a team of architects for the gradual reconstruction of the city.

The beginning of the 1950s saw a rapid population growth, to which the Soviet administration responded by constructing large-scale housing and palaces in the style of Stalinist architecture. This process continued under Nikita Khrushchev, who called for construction under the slogan "good, cheaper and built faster". The new architectural style brought about dramatic change and generated the style that dominates today, with large blocks of flats arranged in considerable settlements.

The period of the most significant redevelopment of the city extended from 1971, when the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union adopted a decision "On the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev", which secured more than one billion rubles in investment from the state budget,[9] which continued until the independence of Moldova in 1991.

After independence

Many streets of Chişinău are named after historic persons, places or events. Independence from the Soviet Union was followed by a large-scale renaming of streets and localities from a Communist theme into a national one.

Politics and administration

The Government Building – seat of the Moldovan government
The presidential palace.

Chişinău is governed by the City Council and the City Mayor (Romanian: Primar), both elected once every four years. The current Mayor of Chişinău is Dorin Chirtoacă.

His predecessor was Serafim Urechean. Under the Moldovan constitution, Urechean – elected to parliament in 2005 – was unable to hold an additional post to that of an MP. The Democratic Moldova Bloc leader subsequently accepted his mandate and in April resigned from his former position. During his 11 year term, Urechean committed himself to the restoration of the church tower of the Catedrala Naşterea Domnului, as well as improvements in public transport. From 1994, Chişinău saw the construction and launch of new trolleybus lines, as well as an increase in capacities of existing lines, in order to improve connections between the urban districts.

Next elections took place on 10 July, 24 July, 27 November and 11 December 2005. On the first occasion only 26.93% of voters participated, below the one-third turnout necessary to validate the poll. Three subsequent attempts in July, November and December saw the election turnout fall further to 19.82%, 22.37% and 22.07% respectively. After several months in limbo it was announced that the momentary office holder Vasile Ursu, could continue to hold the position, until the next scheduled elections in 2007.

The last elections took place on 3 June 2007. Dorin Chirtoacă from the Liberal party was declared victor in second round of voting on 17 June 2007. 36,26 % of the voters took part in the voting, just over the validation threshold.

Local government

Administrative sectors of Chişinău

The municipality in its totality elects a mayor and a local council, which then name 5 pretors, one for each sector. They deal more locally with a number of administrative matters. Each sector claims a part of the city and several suburbs:[10]

Botanica
Buiucani
Centru
Ciocana
Rîşcani

Economy

Chişinău is the most economically developed and industrialized city in Moldova. It is a major industrial and services center; its main industries include consumer and electrical goods, building materials, machinery, plastics, rubber, and textiles. The main service fields are banking and shopping/commerce. The economy of Chişinău is mainly centered on industry and services, with the latter particularly growing in importance in the last ten years.

Transportation

Airport

Chişinău has an international airport, which offers connections to a number of major cities including Athens, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Vienna and others. The airport handled 847,900 passengers in 2008.

Bus and minibus

The most popular form of internal transport in Moldova is generally the bus. Bus services in Chişinău are inexpensive, ranging from 1 leu to 3 lei for a ticket (ca. $0.10–0.30). Although the city has just three main terminals, buses generally serve as the means of transport between different cities within and outside of Moldova. Popular destinations include Tiraspol, Odessa (Ukraine), Iaşi and Bucharest (Romania).

Within Chişinău and its suburbs, privately operated minibuses, known as "marshrutkas" generally follow the major bus and trolleybus routes and appear more frequently. A minibus ride costs 3 lei within the city.

Rail

Railway Station exterior
Chişinău Railway Station

An international railway terminal exists with possible connections to Bucharest, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Moscow, Samara, Varna and Saint Petersburg. Due to the simmering conflict between Moldova and the unrecognized Transnistria republic the rail traffic towards Ukraine is occasionally stopped.

Education

The city is home to 12 public and 11 private universities, the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, as well as a number of institutions offering both high school education, as well as 1–2 years of college education.

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

Architecture

The city's growth plan was developed in the 19th century. Many buildings were designed and built in a beautiful architectural style, some remaining to this day. In 1836 the construction of the Cathedral and its belfry was finished. The belfry was demolished in Soviet times, but was rebuilt in 1997.

Modern architecture

Many modern-style buildings were built in the city since 1991. There are also a lot of office and shopping complexes – modern, renovated or newly built. These are Kentford, SkyTower, Union Fenosa headquarters and many others. However, the old Soviet-style clusters of living blocks are still an extensive feature of the cityscape.

People and culture

Demographics

According to the World Gazetteer, the total population of the city proper was 647,513 in 2004.[11]

According to the 2004 census, the population of the municipality was 712,218, of which that of the city itself 589,204.[12]

Ethnic composition
Ethnic group 1930 census 2004 census
The city itself The municipality
Moldovans (Romanians)[t 1] -    379,149 481,626 67.62%
Russians 19,631 92,690 99,149 13.92%
Ruthenians, Ukrainians 563
Ukrainians - 54,061 58,945 8.28%
Romanians[t 1] 48,456 25,346 31,984 4.49%
Bulgarians 541 8,307 8,868 1.25%
Gagauzians 34 5,982 6,446 0.91%
Jews 41,065 2,603 2,649 0.37%
Poles 1,436 786 834 0.12%
Gypsies 896 273 507 0.07%
others 20,249 7,615 1.07%
Armenians 490
Albanians 22
Czechs, Slovaks 80
Croats, Serbs, Slovenes 86
Germans 979
Greeks 421
Hungarians 141
Tatars 7
Turks 48
did not declare 13,595 1.91%
Total 114,896 589,446 712,218 100%
  1. ^ a b Since the independence of Moldova, there is an ongoing controversy over whether Romanians and Moldovans are the same ethnic group. At the census, every citizen could only declare one nationality. Consequently, one could not declare oneself both Moldovan and Romanian.

Sport

FC Zimbru Stadium

There are four professional football clubs in Chişinău, all playing in the Divizia Naţională (national league): FC Zimbru Chişinău, FC Dacia Chişinău, FC Academia Chişinău and CSCA-Rapid Ghidighici. Of the larger public multiuse stadiums in the city is the Stadionul Dinamo (Dinamo Stadium) which has a capacity of 2,692. The Zimbru Stadium, opened in May 2006 with a capacity of 10,500 sitting places, meets all the requirements for holding official international matches, and was the venue for all Moldova's Euro 2008 qualifying games. Chişinău was where David Beckham made his international football debut, in a 3–0 World Cup qualifying win for England on 1 September 1996.[13]

Media

The majority of Moldova's media industry is based in Chişinău. The only national broadcaster in the country is the state-owned Moldova 1, which has its head office in the city. The broadcasts of TeleradioMoldova have been criticized by the Independent Journalism Center as showing 'bias' towards the authorities.[14] There are some hopes that a new broadcasting code will resolve some of these issues.

The Romanian Pro TV Chişinău also broadcasts locally. It was repeatedly thwarted in its attempts to obtain a national license by the government. The station broadcasts a mixture of independent local news, in addition to entertainment and documentary programs from Romania. Pro TV remains on air despite numerous threats from Communist officials to close it down.[15]

Other TV channels are Antena C, CTC, DTV, Euro TV, MTV, MuzTV, NIT and TV 7. In addition to television, most radio and newspaper companies have their headquarters in the city. Broadcasters include the national radio, Vocea Basarabiei, Antena C, BBC Moldova, Europa Libera, Kiss FM, Pro FM, Radio 21, Fresh FM (Romanian radio station Naţional FM), Radio Nova, Russkoe radio, Hit FM, and many others.

The biggest broadcasters are SunTV, Satellit and Zebra TV. In 2007 two companies, SunTV and Zebra launched digital TV cable networks.

International relations

Twin Towns - Sister Cities

Chişinău is twinned with:

In popular culture

In Peter Manseau's Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, Kishinev (Chişinău) is the birthplace and hometown of the protagonist Itsik Malpesh.

Gallery

See also

Notes

  1. ^ (Romanian) History of Chişinău on Kishinev.info, Retrieved on 2008-10-12
  2. ^ (Romanian) Istoria Orasului
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ weather. "Monthly Averages for Chişinău, MDA". Weather.msn.com. http://weather.msn.com/monthly_averages.aspx?wealocations=wc:MDXX0003&q=Chi%C5%9Fin%C4%83u%2c+MDA+forecast:averagesm. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Pogoda.ru.net" (in Russian). http://pogoda.ru.net/climate/33815.htm. Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  6. ^ Moldovan Ministry for Local Public Administration, Moldovan Law 764-XV from December 27, 2001, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 16/53, December 29, 2001
  7. ^ a b Virtual Kishinev, accessed 23 December 2007
  8. ^ "Memories of the Holocaust: Kishinev (Chisinau) (1941-1944)" from jewishvirtuallibrary.org
  9. ^ Architecture of Chişinău on Kishinev.info, Retrieved on 2008-10-12
  10. ^ Moldovan Ministry for Local Public Administration, Moldovan Law 431-XIII from April 19, 1995, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 31-32/340, June 9, 1995
  11. ^ Chişinău World Gazetteer
  12. ^ 2004 census results in Moldova
  13. ^ "Moldova 0 - England 3". englandstats.com. http://www.englandstats.com/matchreport.php?mid=727. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  14. ^ Monitoring of programs on Radio Moldova and TV Moldova 1PDF
  15. ^ 2003 World Press Freedom Review
  16. ^ "Ankara Metropolitan Municipality: Sister Cities of Ankara". © 2007 Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi - Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Kullanım Koşulları & Gizlilik.. http://www.ankara-bel.gov.tr/AbbSayfalari/hizmet_birimleri/dis_dairesi_baskanligi/avrupa_gunu_kutlamasi.aspx. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  17. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Grenoble.fr. http://www.grenoble.fr/jsp/site/Portal.jsp?page_id=92. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  18. ^ designated by Sister Cities International
  19. ^ "Tel Aviv sister cities" (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality. http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/Hebrew/Cityhall/TwinCities/Index.asp. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  20. ^ "Yerevan Municipality - Sister Cities". © 2005—2009 www.yerevan.am. http://yerevan.am/main.php?lang=3&page_id=194. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 

Further reading

References

Notes

External links

Maps

Coordinates: 47°00′39″N 28°52′07″E / 47.0107°N 28.8687°E / 47.0107; 28.8687


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