Quiet and Green : Kişinev

Moldova’s charming capital, chisinau is known as ‘a white city washed by a green sea’ for its white stone buildings surrounded by parks.

And truly, this is a city of wide boulevards, blue lakes and parks in every shade of green, an airy and refreshing city bursting with vitality. Set on seven hills just like Istanbul, Chisinau until the 19th century was small settlement, so tiny as to be termed a village. Declared a sister city of Ankara in 2001, it lies along the shores of the River Bic, a tributary of the Dniester. Known for its vineyards since medieval times, it stands out today for its abundance of artistic venues. Besides such cultural institutions as an opera, a theater and a concert hall, it also boasts the only music and folklore theater of the Soviet era.

Strolling through the city

You can discover the city’s key landmarks by strolling along its main thoroughfare, Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great). The 19th century Cathedral of St. Tiron, the Office of the Governor, the Parliament, the National Theater, the New Opera and Ballet.. all are in this area. The National Museum of Archaeology and History meanwhile is one of the most interesting stops in the city, laying out the history of Moldova, which achieved its independence in 1989.  Our next stop is the Nasterea Domnului Cathedral.

This temple rising in a park at the city center has a bell tower dating to 1836. Touring the museum house where the famous Russian writer Pushkin spent three years is another pleasant way of passing the time here. Following a city tour of a few hours, it’s time to sample the local culinary treats. An amalgam of Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian cuisines, Chisinau repasts feature dishes like mamaliga, made of corn flour, butter and kasheri cheese, sarmali, highly spiced acika, and a variety of beurek called placinta. After we eat, it’s time to branch out into the environs. Situated at the heart of Moldova, Chisinau is an ideal starting point for tours of a day or more into the countryside. Lake Valea Morilor near the city center is a good choice for a boat tour. Featuring all this and more, Chisinau more than deserves a place on your travel agenda.

How to go?
Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Chisinau-Istanbul daily flights. Flight times are 9:40 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. from Istanbul and 12:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. from Chisinau.

Underground Labyrinth

Located at Cricova some 20 kilometers from Chisinau, Mileştii Mici is a giant wine cellar that has entered the Guinness Book of Records. Caves in the foothills of the mountains were transformed into a wine cellar connected by tunnels totaling 120 kilometers in length. Some of the galleries, where white stone was once extracted, can only be toured by automobile today.