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The Republic of Moldova is located in south-eastern
Europe and, with an area of 33.843 km², is roughly the
size of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The
country borders Ukraine to the north, east and south and
Romania to the west .
The river Nistru (Dniester) runs almost parallel to
the northern and eastern border with Ukraine, the Pruth
forms the western border with Romania. Between the
rivers lies a flat, undulating landscape with
loess-rich, fertile soils. The hilly country Kodry in
the center of the country is divided by valleys, here is
also the highest point in the country, the Balaneschty
with 429 m.
The capital Chisinau is centrally located on the
banks of the Byk River, a tributary of the Nistru.
Moldova has a continental climate with large
temperature fluctuations throughout the year. The
average January temperatures in the capital Chisinau are
-4 กใ C, in June the average values are 21 กใ C. The
amount of precipitation is relatively low and is around
350 mm in the south of the country and around 600 mm
annually in the Kodry hills.
Flora and fauna
The original vegetation of Moldova consisted of large
deciduous forests with hornbeams, oaks and linden trees.
Due to the transformation into agricultural land, just
under 10% of the country's area is now forested.
Accordingly, the habitat of many animal species has
been extremely restricted. Only so-called culture
followers such as polecats and martens are still
widespread, while animal species such as wild boar and
badgers only occur in small numbers.
A total of around 4.46 million people live in the
Republic of Moldova, which means an average population
of 132 residents per square kilometer. The largest city
is the capital Chisinau with about 716 500 residents in
the metropolitan area; other cities are Tiraspol
(185,000) and Bãlti (125,000). The Moldovan population
has a slightly negative growth rate.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 65% of the population are Moldovans, who are
ethnically and culturally closely connected to the
Romanians. Ukrainians make up around 8% of the
population, Russians around 6%. The members of these two
population groups live predominantly in an area east of
Nistru (Transnistria) and form the majority of the
population there. The Dniester Republic has been an
autonomous area within Moldova since 1991. Another
ethnic minority in the country are the approximately
180,000 Gagauz, who live mainly in the south of the
country in the Autonomous Republic of Gagauzia (since
The largest religious community in Moldova are the
followers of the Christian Orthodox Church (Russian,
Greek or Romanian Orthdox), who account for over 98% of
the total population. The official languages are
Russian and Moldovan, a variant of Romanian. Ukrainian
and Turkish (in Gagauzia) are also spoken.
The Republic of Moldova is one of the poorest
countries in Europe. Probably 80% of the population live
below the poverty line. The social and health network is
well structured, but is no longer fully functional due
to a lack of funds. Child mortality is high in Europe
(an estimated 4%). The average life expectancy is 69 for
women and 61 for men. School attendance is compulsory
for children between the ages of seven and 16; almost
the entire population can read and write.
According to the 1994 constitution, the Republic of
Moldova is a parliamentary republic. The head of state
is the president, who is elected by parliament for a
term of five years (Nicolae Timofti, since March 2012).
The Prime Minister (Iurie Leancă, since May 2013)
appoints the members of his cabinet.
The legislature lies with the parliament
(Parlamentul), which consists of a chamber with 101
seats. The people are elected by the people for a term
of four years. The main parties are the Moldovan
Communist Party (PCRM), the Liberal Democratic Party
(PLDM) and the Democratic Party (PDM).
The autonomous region of Gagauzia in the south of the
country and the Republic of Transnistria, whose status
has not yet been definitely clarified, belong to the
territory of Moldova. Moldova is divided into 32
districts (Raioane) and two districts.
After independence in 1991, Moldova turned to the
free market economy. For a long time, the country was
unable to recover from the collapse of the Eastern Bloc
markets and the resulting economic losses. After the
economic crisis of 2008/2009, it is experiencing a
significant upswing, but it is still one of the poorest
republics in Europe. In 2012, gross domestic product
(GDP) shrank slightly, by 0.8%. The low level of
unemployment (5.5%) can be explained by the fact that
around a quarter of Moldovans who are able to work work
Agriculture employs more than 28% of the workforce
and contributes 17% to GDP. Moldova has extremely
fertile soils (black earth on 90% of the agricultural
area). The most important agricultural export items are
fruit, vegetables, wine, tobacco and rose oil. Wheat,
corn, sugar beet and sunflowers are grown for the
people's own needs. Cattle and pigs are mainly kept in
The most important branches of the manufacturing
industry are the traditional textile industry and
electrical engineering. The IT sector is growing. The
energy produced by the hydropower plants is not
sufficient for the supply, electricity has to be
imported. Moldova is poor in mineral resources, there
are deposits of limestone, quartz, gypsum and gravel.
Russia remains the most important trading partner for
exports (food, textiles, electrical engineering),
followed by Romania. Romania also follows Russia on
imports (chemical products, oil, food).
The rail network comprises a total of around 1,200
km, the road network around 13,000 km. The Nistru River
is navigable throughout. There is an international
airport near the capital, Chisinau.
The currency is the Moldovan leu (= 100 bani).