Posted on August 27, 2014
Today Moldova celebrates its Declaration of Independence from the Soviet Union on this date in 1991.
Moldova is located between Romania and Ukraine, and its location was both fortunate and unfortunate in that it was strategically positioned on a trade route between Asia and Europe. The region was made part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires during ancient times, and much later the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. In between, it was invaded again and again: by Goths and Huns, by Tatars and Turks, by Bulgarians and Mongolians and Magyars and many other groups.
Moldova is landlocked (it does not touch any ocean or sea), but it is close enough to the Black Sea to enjoy a mild, generally sunny climate.
Unfortunately, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. I think the breakup of the Soviet Union particularly affected this region, as it experienced energy shortages and decreases in industrial and agricultural output. The service sector now dominates the economy; the service sector includes things like entertainment, computers, communications, health, media, tourism and hospitality, banking, gambling, education, and law. That sounds like everything, right? What the service sector does NOT include is growing food (farming, ranching), mining, and manufacturing goods.
Some of the things I might want to see, if I were ever to visit Moldova, include Emil Racovita, a karst cave that is one of the longest caves in the world, which has 20 underground lakes and whose rooms are covered with soft, colorful clays in green, blue, red, black and white.
Another cool thing is the medieval walled cities such as Bender and Soroca. I would also have to check out the rock-hewn churches and other structures of Orheiul Vechi.
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