One of the least visited countries in Europe, Moldova has a complex history. It was under the control of the Ottoman Empire for a while then was annexed by the Russian Empire. Over the years, Moldova went through multiple changes in its political status, including being part of Romania, Soviet Union, and eventually gaining independence in 1991. Nowadays, Moldova faces challenges related to economic development and regional conflicts. Moldova is known for its rich wine culture and holds the Guinness World Record for producing the largest bottle of wine.
The post Soviet atmosphere has almost dried out in Chisinau but it is still noticeable. The capital does not have many highlights so a few days is enough. Buy your food at the central market, stroll in the parcs or on Stefan Cel Mare boulevard, and have a drink at one of the numerous terraces. A cool thing to do is sneak into Circ, an abandoned Soviet Union era circus, providing an eerie glimpse into Communist era entertainment.
Tiraspol / Transnistria
Transnistria is a "breakaway republic" that officially is part of Moldova, but unilaterally declared itself an independent state, with Tiraspol as its capital. Transnistria has its own currency, flag and stamps that are useless outside the province. Going to Tiraspol is like going back in time to the Communist era. It's one huge open-air museum of Soviet rule, complete with Lenin statues, Russian troops on the roads and an intelligence agency still called the KGB. The propaganda department is very active, with countless billboards celebrating patriotism and past Russian triumphs.