Chişinău in Moldova

Thursday, 19 July 2018

My recent eastern Europe circuit paused at Chişinău, the capital of Moldova, before progressing to that leftover sliver of forgotten Soviet Russia: Tiraspol the capital of the unrecognized state of Transnistria.

▲ Chişinău certainly had some Soviet style as well, particularly at our hotel – incidentally I was travelling with Simon Calder, the travel editor at The Independent in London. He’d booked us into the Hotel Chişinău which boasted that it was ‘like visiting your granny, not modern, but clean, warm and relaxing.’ Perhaps it should have added an adjective ‘your Soviet granny’ because it was definitely a hotel out of the old Soviet-era playbook, pretty clean, but also pretty worn and faded and it certainly dished out the worst hotel breakfast I’ve experienced for awhile. The very Soviet Liberty Monument fronting the hotel hinted what it was all about.

◄ A short stroll from the hotel the Chişinău Railway Station was also very Soviet – very clean, neat, tidy and well kept and with quite an elegant frontage. The Monument to the Victims of the Communist Regime out front of that elegant train station perhaps wasn’t quite so Soviet?

We’d gone round to the station to enquire about the service from Chişinău via Tiraspol in Transnistria to Odessa in Ukraine. Having painstakingly written down all the departure and arrival times for us the station information expert then informed us that unfortunately the train wasn’t running at the moment. Those times were what they would have been if it had been operating.

Not everything was old school Russian in Chişinău, the Pavel Obreja statue of two lovers for example. Note the girlfriend, hurrying up behind her clock watching boyfriend, is carrying her high heels in her hand. ►

Our Chişinău explorations started with the Nativity of Christ Metropolitan Cathedral in the central park which also sports the town’s own Arc de Triomphe. In the next park there’s a statue of Stephen the Great, from where we continued to the not terribly interesting Archaeological Museum and after more exploration ended up with a beer, a bottle of red wine and pretty good food at Robin Pub,