Republica Moldova, in English Republic of Moldova. The Russian name is Молдавия (Moldaviya), which is one of the reasons why many people confuse the name with Moldavia - the historic name of East Romania.
Area & Population
|Clickable Map of Moldova|
Moldova covers an area of 33,843 km² (slightly larger than Belgium, same as Maryland).
The population is around 4.4 million* (2003) - (less than half of the population of Belgium). Due to a high infant mortality rate and a decreasing birth rate, the growth rate is almost zero.
Considering the size of Moldova, it has a surprising variety of ethnic groups - Moldovans/Romanians count for 64.5%, Ukrainians: 13.8%, Russians: 13%, Jews: 1.5%, Bulgarians: 2%, Gagauz (see →Comrat) and others 5.2%.*.
Almost 98% are Orthodox. 1.5% are Jews. Smaller Baptist and other minorities.
Eastern European time: GMT +02 hrs, with daylight-saving time (+1 hour) in summer.
*Source: CIA World Factbook
Official language is Moldovan, which is almost identical to →Romanian, which is not a Slavic language and uses the Latin script with some special characters. In →Transdniestr (PMR), Russian is far more common and one of the official languages. Many people are bilingual, and so menus, timetables etc are sometimes in Moldovan, sometimes in Russian and quite often in both languages. English doesn't really help a lot - at least outside the capital. Most ethnic Germans have left the country, but there are still many people speaking German more or less fluently. By the way, there's often a big gap between Russian and Moldovan place names. As for example →Orhei: Many people don't understand the Moldovan name. Instead of that, they use the Russian name Оргеев (Orgeyev), which is obviously quite different.