Sunday, May 8, 2022

Travel the World - Moldova

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe that consists mostly of hilly plains between the rivers of Prut and Dniester. The country is one of five European countries to have only two neighbors (Estonia, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Andora). In Moldova’s case, the two neighboring countries are Romania and Ukraine.

Before World War II, Moldova was part of Romania. After World War II, it belonged to the Soviet Union until 1991, when it gained its independence.

Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova became an independent republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It follows then that Moldova is a relatively new country, but its history actually stretches back millennia; some of Moldova’s key archaeological sites house ancient tools dating back 1.2 million years. 

Geographically, Moldova is about the size of the state of Maryland.

Most of the land is fertile. Roughly three-quarters of the country’s territory is covered by agricultural landscape while the rest consists of forestland (around 15%) and wetlands (around 4%).

Moldova’s roadways are two-lane, badly maintained, and full of distractions, thanks to the presence of inattentive pedestrians and aggressive intoxicated drivers.

Despite having no access to the sea, it does have a slither of sand to speak of on Chisinau Lake, which is located in the capital, Chisinau. Okay, so it’s a man-made beach and it’s in a city, but if you close your eyes you could almost be on the coast. Sort of.  

There are also thick forests in Moldova.

The country has a wide variety of trees including hornbeam, oak, linden, beech, maple, wild pear, and wild cherry.

Most Moldovans are multi-lingual. Romanian is the native language, but most Moldovans also speak Russian. Lots of the population also speak Gagauz, a Turkik language.

Moldova is one of the least visited countries in Europe.

Moldova is home to the world's largest bottle-shaped building. The Strong Drinks Museum, in Tirnauca Village is 92 feet tall.

Mămăligă is a porridge made out of yellow maize flour and often considered the country’s national dish. It’s traditionally served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes, and is commonly garnished with cottage cheese, sour cream or pork rind.

Breakfast may be the primary meal of the day for inhabitants in rural regions, who frequently eat more substantial meals of kasha (hot porridge), potatoes, bread, and sheep cheese, except on weekends, when it is lunch. Lunch is usually the major meal in cities, consisting of soup, salad, and the main entrée.

The national animal is a big cow, or an auroch, to be precise. These beefy bovines are now extinct, but have been immortalized on Moldova's flag.

Moldova has surprisingly rich wildlife. In Moldova, you can find, boars, badgers, wolves, deer, hare, muskrats, deer, wildcats, foxes.

Moldova is home to an impressive array of birds, with roughly 300 different species calling it home. Some are year-round residents, some come to breed, some simply pass through en route to warmer climes, and others come to escape harsh winters further north.

The main industries of Moldova include sugar, wine, vegetable oil, food processing, textiles, refrigerators, washing machines, and agricultural machinery.

Moldova’s most important (and, arguably, most beautiful) historical site, Orheiul Vechi is a crumbling open-air monastic complex that dates back more than 2,000 years. The rambling ruins feature ancient fortifications, baths and monasteries.

Orheiul Vechi, 50 kilometers north of Chişinău, is famous for its Cave Monastery, a network of chambers and tunnels carved into a rocky slope above the Răut River.

Moldova went nearly three years without a president. In 2012, after nearly three years of political deadlock, Moldova elected the veteran judge, Nicolae Timofti, as president – for the first time in 917 days, the country had a leader. 

Moldova boasts the largest wine collection in the world with more than 1.5 million bottles in a 34-mile underground cellar.

Despite being surrounded by poverty, rich residents in the town of Soroca have taken to flaunting their wealth by building flamboyant homes inspired by landmarks such as St Peter’s Basilica and the Bolshoi theatre. Consequently, the town, dubbed Gypsy Hill, has become something of an tourist attraction, with people coming to admire the madcap architecture.

In rural areas, many households don’t have electricity, heat, or access to clean water. Unpaved roads and abandoned buildings are common.

Whenever a baby is born in Moldova, its first bath should always be given by the oldest lady on the father’s side of the family. During this custom, the lady puts flowers (for the baby to see pretty things in life), milk (so life would flow as easy as milk), honey (for life to be as sweet as possible), and even some money (open for interpretation) in the bathwater.

When entering someone's home in Moldova, it's considered impolite to leave your shoes on. They should be left at the door.

Almost 90% of Moldova's population is Christian.

Christmas and Easter are the two biggest holidays in Moldova because they are religious holidays.

Moldova celebrates Christmas from December 24 to 26, unlike its Russian-Orthodox neighbors (their main event is in January). Traditional preparations start in November, with the baking of cakes and the slaughtering of pigs, and culminate in three days of feasting, parties and gift-giving. The Russian Father Frost fairytale was banned after Moldova gained independence: these days, children's presents are delivered by Mos Craciun – who looks remarkably like our Santa Claus. 

At Easter, a special bread called pasca is baked in every home. Children paint eggs, and families visit the graveyard to honor their ancestors. 

Europe’s Largest Jewish Cemetery is in Chisinau the capital of Moldova. Nearly 60,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust in Moldova; sadly, more than 23,500 are buried in this cemetery on the outskirts of Chisinau.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Moldova... Sunflower seeds is one of the main agricultural products in Moldova.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Unity Happy World stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Bumble Bee CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Paper Roses Stitched Circles

Embellishments: Eyelet Outlet Bee Brad and Gina Marie Glitter Enamel Dots

1 comment:

kiwimeskreations said...

This is fabulous Jeanette - loving the card with the rustic look of the papers, especially the gingham, and sunflower. Thanks for you interesting research on Moldova, I enjoyed reading it