Chisinau Shopping Guide: 20 Moldovan Products to Take Home

Chisinau Shopping Guide: 20 Moldovan Products to Take Home

Once part of the Soviet Union, now independent Moldova is a small country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, of which still very little is known. To mend this, the country has recently opened borders to the outside world. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity and acquaint yourself with the local wines, music, and many other wonderful things which make this part of Europe well-worth exploring.
(To visit the venues mentioned in this article, check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Chisinau)

1. Traditional Pottery

Traditional Pottery
Moldova is often portrayed as a maiden carrying a jug (of wine or water) on her shoulder. The jug is usually brightly painted with simple ornaments - lines, dots and circles - signature to Moldovan pottery. Pottery is one of the country's oldest trades, dating back as far as the Stone Age, and has been practiced only by men for it requires much physical strength and dexterity. Back in the old days, one of the widest-spread decoration tools was a bullhorn with goose feather attached to its tip. The paint would slowly flow down through the horn towards the tip and, from there, onto the goose feather, making it a great instrument for painting the pots. Initially, pots were made primarily as household items, but later also became largely used for decoration and religious rituals. Villagers would have thousands of pots in their houses, from massive bowls made for cooking on religious holidays, to all sort of jugs, plates, mugs, vases, statues, flutes and even kids' toys. Some of the local cuisine dishes are even named after the pots they are cooked in, e.g. Ghiveci, a traditional Moldovan stew prepared in a closed ceramic bowl in an oven.
Where to find it:
Test your cooking skills with one of our traditional pots! Find pots, bowls and jugs of all sizes and colors at Fantezia Specialty Shop, the Artists Square, or UNIC shopping center. Not a cooking fan? Then, simply bright up your kitchen or dinning room with Moldova's finest traditional pottery works. Prices start from as little as $1 apiece, but could rise up to $400 for a wine set (wine jug + cups).
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2. Traditional Musical Instruments

Traditional Musical Instruments
The Moldovans have music in their blood and surely know how to express it! The image of the country is closely associated with some sweet-sounding musical instruments, the most popular of which is, undoubtedly, a flute. In local folklore, playing a flute and herding sheep has long been a traditional motif. Another signature local instrument is a pan flute. It is made up of several pipes (about 20) put together and gradually increasing in length. Similarly to a flute, a pan flute is made of reed or elder. The pipes are sealed with wax at the bottom and have the upper part left open, through which the player blows in the air to produce sound. There is one more ancient, flute-like, wind instrument, called "ocarina". Its name derives from the Italian word “ocarina”, diminutive for “oca”, which means "goose". Ocarina got its name because of the oval shape, resembling a goose head. Ocarinas come in many different sizes and are usually made of clay, glass or, sometimes, metal.
Where to find it:
All these traditional instruments are richly decorated with traditional motifs, which make them fabulous decorative pieces. You can find these unique hand-made instruments at Artists' Square between V.Pircalab and M.Eminescu streets on Stefan cel Mare Blvd, sided by Eminescu Theatre and the Organ Hall, just behind the bus stop opposite the Mobiasbank head office, or at the Fantezia Specialty Shop at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475; open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday 10am-5pm). A good musical instrument is not cheap, but it is equally pleasing to look at and to listen to. Prices range between $5 for flutes and $220 for pan flutes.
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3. Tablecloths

Making tablecloths is a traditional women's craft in Moldova. Until recently, tablecloths have been an inseparable part of any rural household interior. Particularly popular of them are the crochet items, known as dantele înguste (“braid laces”), zimţi (“pearlings”), colţuri/horboțică (“broad laces”) and încheieturi/deschisuri (“cases”), including tablecloths, curtains, towels, shawls, păretare (“wall runners”) and deschisuri de perne (“pillow cases”). Such crochetry formed a substantial part of a heirloom passed on from one generation to another in Moldovan villages. Up until the 1960s, there was even a custom, called nunţile albe (“white weddings”), whereby up to 200-300 crochet towels had to be procured for a wedding party as give-away presents for the guests of honor. This, in turn, prompted many women in villages to become professional crochet-workers. The most commonly practiced ornamental patters were rivers, chickens, butterflies, ram horns and pastoral or ceban (Romanian for “herder”) motifs. Depending on the craftswoman, similar patterns could be called differently. Ornamentation principles in tablecloths are similar to the ones used in woodcarving and pottery – a sequence of zigzags in red, golden, blue and black colors.
Where to find it:
A wide assortment of handmade tablecloths can be found in Fantezia gift store at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475), which is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm and on Saturday from 10am to 5pm, situated right across the street from Central McDonald's. Tablecloths are also available in the nearby Artists' Square, which is between V.Pircalab and M.Eminescu streets on Stefan cel Mare Blvd, sided by Eminescu Theatre and the Organ Hall, just behind the bus stop opposite the Mobiasbank head office. Prices range between $10 (for small napkin) and $200 for large tablecloths.
Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

4. Basket Weaving

Basket Weaving
For thousands of years, people have used natural, growing nearby, materials - such as straw, reed mace or osier - to make their living more comfortable. Even today, in some villages of Moldova these materials are still applied in house construction and making household items, such as baskets. Back in the old days, these baskets were indispensable for harvesting, traveling and shopping. Methods of weaving a shopping basket could vary, depending on the shape, texture and decoration needed. The most common method of making it begins with weaving the basket bottom on a wooden board. After the bottom is finished, the board is removed and the work continues on a table. Today, there is a recurring interest in weaved baskets in Moldova.
Where to find it:
A wide choice of these and other household goods and souvenirs can be found on the Central Market in downtown Chisinau. Also worth checking out the nearby UNIC supermarket and Fantesia gift shop on Stefan cel Mare Blvd.

5. «Nucul de Aur» Balsam

«Nucul de Aur» Balsam
Balsam "Nucul de Aur" (golden nut) is a salubrious, 45% alcoholic drink that has generously absorbed many aromatic extracts of medicinal herbs, roots, fruits, and essential oils, including - most importantly - the extract of green walnut which contains digestible iodine. It is the presence of these natural pure ingredients that give the balm its distinct brown color, as well as the incredibly wide range of flavors and rich, balanced aroma. The balm has a stimulating and toning effect and is an excellent remedy for physical and mental fatigue, malaise, weakness, and upset stomach. Best served chilled, it goes well with tea, coffee, and ice cream. The balm contains rectified purest ethyl alcohol, softened water, sugar, as well as the extracts of walnut, wormwood, St. John's wort, chamomile, peppermint, strawberry, propolis, sage, and lavender.
Where to find it:
Nucul de Aur is available in Cricova Wine Shop at 128 Stefan cel Mare (tel.+373-22-220377, hours: Mon-Fri: 9.00-19.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00-16.00), as well as in Milestii Mici Wine Shop at 45 Banulescu Bodoni Str. (tel.+373-22-220031, hours Mon-Fri: 9.00-19.00, Sat: 9.00-17.00, Sun: 9.00-15.00). The prices start from 33lei (EUR1.5) per 250ml glass bottle to 290lei (EUR18) per 500ml ceramic bottle.

6. Buzdugan (Mace)

Buzdugan (Mace)
Buzdugan is a blunt weapon which was widely in use in the Middle Ages throughout the Romanian territory. Resembling a spiked club, buzdugan takes credit for many heroic battles fought by the Romanian and Moldovan kings. Historically, buzdugan was made exclusively from hard wood. It had a prominent wooden head plated with iron spikes, followed by a long handle, which later was covered in leather for a better grip. This type of buzdugan would measure up to 50 cm and weigh more than 3 kg. The weapon was also seen as a symbol of political leadership or a high commanding rank. Legends say that Stephen Voievod (the king) had two silver buzdugans and, most likely, a gold one too, which was solemnly displayed during processions and ceremonies, carried by his right-hand man. Today, a miniature buzdugan, skilfully carved from wood and richly decorated with traditional Moldovan motifs, makes an exotic and impressive decorative item.
Where to find it:
If you feel like taking a piece of Moldova's history with you, you can purchase a miniature buzdugan in Artists' Square. For a greater selection, try “Fantezia” Specialty Shop located nearby. Prices vary, depending on the size and decorative work, from $7 to $130 (MDL80 to 1600).

7. Traditional Dolls

Traditional Dolls
Traditional dolls are an artful personification of Moldovan folk dressed up in their “best day” attire. The costume exhibits beautiful and intricate detailing, combining our grandmother's well preserved secrets of weaving, sewing and embroidering. These skills were considered indispensable in a young girl, illustrated by popular sayings such as “a girl ready for marriage, is the one who can weave a rug”. Many dolls feature elements which are indispensable when showcasing Moldova's rich cultural heritage and lifestyle. "He"-doll might carry a wine flask or ripe grapes, or play a traditional instrument, e.g. flute (fluier) or reed pipe (nai), while “she” gets busy with a broom or a spindle, or carries a jug filled with delicious wine. These traditional dolls are collectible items, which can often provide more information on Moldova's history, culture and lifestyle, than any history book ever will. Their beauty is shown in the face of the peasant, who stands courageous, kind and hopeful before the trails of history.
Where to find it:
Find this one of the kind gift in the Artists' Square, located on Ștefan cel Mare Blvd, between V. Pârcălab and M. Eminescu Streets. Or, easier, between the National Theatre “M. Eminescu” and the Organ Hall, right at the bus station.

Want to see more? Try “Fantezia” Specialty Shop, which lies on 83, Ștefan cel Mare Blvd, vis-a-vis from Chișinău's central McDonalds. Drop by anytime Monday to Friday between 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Prices in both locations vary, therefore expect to pay between $8 to $50 for one doll. (100 to 700 lei in the local currency).

Another excellent option is the Universal Department Store “UNIC” - a glass and concrete building erected in 1983. UNIC was Chisinau's biggest department store in the Soviet times and one of locals' favorite choices today. Located at 8, Ştefan cel Mare Blvd, the store welcomes shoppers Monday through Saturday, from 8am to 7pm.

8. National Carpets

National Carpets
Carpet making is a fundamental part of artistic identity of the Moldovan people, clearly reflecting their aesthetic views and, above all, helping to understand their vision of beauty and harmony. Moldovan carpet making is deeply rooted in the ancient times and through centuries has absorbed many influences: Thracian, Roman, Slavic, Turkish.

The oldest surviving Moldovan carpets date back to the late 18th century, whilst the mention of the locally made kilims, carpets and bedspreads (cergi, macate, laicere) can be found in 15th-16th century deeds of gift and dowry inventories. Centuries-old traditions and skills of yarn dyeing have contributed to the creation of soft tones so typical of Moldovan carpets. In the 17th-18th centuries, regional differences in carpet making began to show. Up north and in central parts of Moldova carpets were made on vertical looms with extensible frames (razboi, druci, virstat), whereas in the south, an ancient type of loom with a fixed frame was used. Moldovan-made long-hair carpets (cerga, niturca, satranca) are similar in technology to the oriental pile carpets. A distinctive feature of these rugs is that the weft is attached to the base by nodes and the fluffy cover is created on the surface.

Floare-Carpet - the flagship of Moldova's carpet industry - was established in 1978. Its production is found in many parts of the world, including Russia, Romania, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain, the USA, Japan, and Australia.
Where to find it:
If you feel like taking back home a rug or two for yourself, pay a visit to Fantezia gift store on Stefan cel Mare Blvd, or UNIC shopping center and see what's on offer. Prices range between $10 and $50 for a small size rug.

9. Traditional Costume

Traditional Costume
The elements of Moldovan national costume go back centuries and have stayed unchanged throughout history. These costumes used to be entirely hand-made, and every young girl in a village was supposed to be able to weave cloth and do elaborate embroidery.

The main garment for both men and women was cămasă or a white embroidered shirt made from hemp, linen or woolen fabric. It used to be tied around waist with a fabric belt, narrow for women and wider for men. Similar in cut, cămasă differed in length, - those for women were usually ankle long whereas men's shirts were shorter and worn over trousers or leggings made from strips of fabric. Women always wore an apron over their cămasă. Other traditional female's garments included a white embroidered blouse, an embroidered vest trimmed with sheep fleece, and a white skirt with lace on the hem, usually covered by a black embroidered overskirt. Traditional men's outfit, apart from the shirt, included white trousers, waistcoat and/or an overcoat, a vest similar to that of women, a hat or a sheep fleece cap, and a wide belt. Both men and women wore opinci, leather shoes with leather laces that tie around the ankles. Belts (cingătoare, pl. cingători) were made of woven fabric or leather. Depending on the region, men could wear either leather or fabric belts or both, whereas women would use fabric belts only, which they made themselves at home.
Where to find it:
Much of the ancient costume tradition - embroidered blouses and belts - still fit in nicely with today's fashion. If you wish to have some of these garments in your wardrobe, explore Fantezia Specialty Store at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475; open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday 10am-5pm)

10. “Martisor”

Each year, on March 1, people of Moldova and those fellow-Romanians around the world celebrate Martishor (Romanian: Mărţişor), a holiday which marks the end of winter and the arrival of new life. On this day, men offer their beloved women a small decoration, called Martishor, which resembles a brooch and is usually worn next to heart as a symbol of serenity and happiness. Martishor features red and white colors, and could be as simple as a thread worn around the wrist. According to a local legend, when the first snowdrop flower fought its way through the snow, Spring tried to help it by moving away the thorns. Seeing this Winter got angry and raised a strong wind that wounded the Spring with a thorn. A drop of her blood fallen onto the snow symbolizes the victory of Spring over Winter. Martishors are usually worn throughout March and then hung on trees for wish making. All these wishes, according to the legend, always come true.
Where to find it:
Martishors come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be bought from street vendors in the downtown area February through March. A good variety of them is also available all year round in Fantezia gift shop at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475; Monday to Friday - 8am to 6pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm) right across from Central McDonald's, as well as in the nearby Artists' Square. Another good spot to buy Martishors is UNIC department store, further down the road at 8 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-273036; souvenir section on the ground floor, opposite the main entrance). Prices range from 5 to 60 lei (US$.5-5) apiece.
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11. Walnut Jam

Walnut Jam
Moldova is an established agricultural nation long known for its great fruit and vegetable production. Moldovan-made canned products, such as natural juices and nectars, jams, purees, marmalades and baby food are deservedly recognized both inside and outside the country. As one of Europe's major exporters of walnut kernels, Moldova is also renowned for such fairly unique product as walnut jam (made of fresh green walnuts). A taste of this essentially Moldovan thing, combining the sweetness and juiciness of a green walnut, will have you immerse into the intoxicating world of the Orient, bringing you the unique flavor and delightful crunchy, yet smooth, texture, fit to satisfy even the most discerning taste.
Where to find it:
When the sweet tooth kicks in, feel free to explore the abundant line of Moldovan delights and try rose petals marmalade, quince jam, blackcurrant jam, pitted white cherry marmalade and chokecherry marmalade/jam available at all the major grocery stores and supermarkets around the city. Look out particularly in Nr.1 and Green Hills Nistru on Stefan cel Mare Blvd. The average price of a jar is $12.

12. Wood Carving Works

Wood Carving Works
Wood carving has always been a popular occupation among Moldova's oldest inhabitants, who passed this art from father to son with great pride and responsibility. As the decoration tools themselves are rather simple (axe, hatchet, chisel, penknife), and so are the techniques (incision, pyrography, encrustation, braiding, ronde-bosse technique), carving wood was accessible for anyone with brisk hands and a little imagination.

Most gift items of the kind are not actually carvings in wood, but a mere decoration of it. That doesn't mean however, that beautifully sculpted treasure chests, wooden dolls, masks and other decorative items cannot be found in Chisinau. Specialty shops and artist's squares abound in wooden spoons, bowls, vases and cutting boards which have transformed in the patient hands of the master from simple kitchenware to intricately-designed objects of art. Their rich ornamental motifs are also varied, from simple geometric forms (squares, circles, spirals, ropes) to vegetal ornaments (evergreen branches, leaves, flowers), anthropomorphic designs (herdsman with his sheep) and cosmic objects (Sun, Moon, stars).
Where to find it:
Visit Fantezia Specialty Shop at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475; open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday 10am-5pm), the Artist's Square between V.Pircalab and M.Eminescu streets on Stefan cel Mare Blvd, or UNIC shopping center located on 8, Ştefan cel Mare Blvd, (working hours: Monday through Saturday, from 8am to 7pm) for a walnut treasure chest box to store all your most precious belongings or wooden figurines that make great gifts for friends and a wonderful way to remember Moldova by. Prices vary between $15 and $250.

13. Woven Bag - Traistă

Woven Bag - Traistă
Traistă and desagi are the types of bags which were widely in use, back in the old days, in rural parts of Moldova for carrying food and other domestic goods. Traistele (pl: knapsacks) were considered showy and more suitable for going out to fairs/markets, whereas desagii (pl: saddlebags) had a more utilitarian function and were used mostly in day-to-day life.

The traistă bags were traditionally made of flax or woven wool, and normally carried colored stripes or checkered patterns, or were decorated with geometric motifs woven in the so-called alesãturã technique. Less often they would have sewn ornaments and colored tassels. In terms of decor and weaving techniques, traistă bags are grouped as follows: striped (traiste vrîstate), three heddle woven (ridicate), embroidered (brodate), heald woven (iţate), small checkered (în ochiurele), etc. Knapsacks in central parts of Moldova have a narrow strip of fabric (35-40 cm) sewn in, which is called îngusturele.

Large-size traistă is made of a single piece of cloth woven on four heddles for extra strength. The cloth is folded and sewn on the two sides with hemstitch. A strap made of plaited colored wool (baiere) or a woven bete is used for tying the neck or for carrying on a shoulder.
Where to find it:
If you're loaded with gifts to take home, why not see them nicely packed in some of the traistă bags offered in Fantezia gift shop at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475; open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday 10am-5pm). There is also a wide choice of traistas available in the nearby Artists' Square. Prices range from 80 to 290 lei apiece.

14. Pastrami

Pastrami (Romanian: pastramă), is a popular local delicacy traditionally made of beef, pork or mutton. Just like corned beef, Moldovan pastrami was originally created as a recipe to preserve meat before the invention of modern refrigerators. The very term “pastrami” is etymologically rooted in Romanian "a păstra" translating as "to keep/preserve". To produce pastrami, the raw meat is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, and then smoked and steamed.
Where to find it:
It is widely produced by local meat plants, including the most famous Carmez. Carmez has a network of shops around the capital city, with the biggest one located at 73 Stefan cel Mare Blvd, tel.+373-22 27-86-69. Open 07.00- 20.00, seven days a week.

15. “Negru de Purcari” Wine

“Negru de Purcari” Wine
Negru de Purcari - Moldova's premium wine brand - is made traditionally from Cabernet Sauvignon, Rara Neagră and Saperavi grapes grown and harvested in the eponymous region of Purcari, on the right bank of the Dniester river. The name "Negru de Purcari" translates to “dark red of Purcari” and is due to the fact that the wine is left to mature for several years in oak casks at one of the country's oldest cellars. Acknowledged internationally for its superb quality, Negru de Purcari has won several prestigious awards. Fossilized imprints of grape vine found on Moldovan territory suggest that it has grown here since as early as 6 million years ago. Strong political and economic ties with Greece at the end of III B.C., followed by the arrival of the Romans, boosted the development of Moldovan viticulture. In the middle ages, Moldova became a prominent wine exporter. Traditional local varietals include Fateasca Alba, Fateasca Neagra, Rara Neagra, Galbena and Plavai. Moldova also cultivates major French varietals, such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Aligote, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat. Domestic wine-making is widespread across the country and no celebration takes place without a hearty volume of homemade wine being consumed. Some of the national wine brands, such as Fateasca Alba, Fateasca Regala and Rara Neagra, reportedly have even made their way to the royal courts of Europe.
Where to find it:
These and other splendid wines can be bought in Cricova Wine Shop at 128 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-229362, hours Mon-Fri: 9.00-19.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00-17.00), adjacent to Bucuria candy store; also, in Milestii Mici Wine Shop at 45 Banulescu Bodoni Str. (tel.+373-22-220031, working hours Mon-Fri: 9.00-19.00, Sat: 9.00-17.00, Sun: 9.00-15.00). Other high street grocery stores offer a good choice of wines too, particularly the downtown supermarkets Green Hills Nistru at 77 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (working hours 09.00 - 24.00) and "Nr. 1" at 132 Stefan cel Mare Blvd, open 24/24. Prices for Purcari wines range between 160 and 360 lei (EUR10-25) per bottle.

16. “Bucuria” Chocolates

“Bucuria” Chocolates
Among the products Moldova has been particularly renowned for in recent years are the sweets made by local confectionery Bucuria. Established in 1946, this factory produces annually over 450 types of sweets, including candies, biscuits, numerous varieties of chocolates, crispy waffles, and finger-licking delicious marshmallows, to mention but a few. One of Bucuria's most popular specialties is "Chişinăul de Seară" (Evening Chisinau). These chocolate candies are made of prunes with dark chocolate coating which leave distinct bittersweet taste on the palate. Chişinăul de Seară have been repeatedly awarded at various international competitions, including gold medal at the XV International exhibition ProdExpo-2008 in Moscow, Russia. Chişinăul de Seară, along with other sweets from Bucuria's long range, can be found in any of the factory shops around the city.
Where to find it:
The choice they offer is truly spoiling for a sweet tooth. “Meteorit”, “Doremi”, “Favorit” and chocolate coated fruits are particularly recommended. Prices range between 40 and 70 lei (EUR 2,5-5) per box. Bucuria head store is located at 128 Stefan cel Mare Blvd, (working hours 08.00 -20.00, Sunday 08.00-17.00).

17. Sheepskin Hat

Sheepskin Hat
Sheepskin hats - căciulă (pl. căciuli) - are worn in winter all over the Romanian space. Fur hats are made by furriers and are usually black, although white căciulă are also worn in central and northern parts of Moldova.

Back in the old days, almost every village had a skilled hat maker, capable of producing hats of any imaginable shape and size. There are four main types of căciulă: high conical cap; round low cap, resembling a lampshade (consisting of two parts); caps made of a single piece of fur; and cylindrical fur cap whose top is larger than the bottom.

These hats can be worn in many different ways: peaked, with top bent forward, back or sideways, or with the top sunk inwards, depending on the local fashion, age and social status. In rain or snow, the sharp ends are turned upward. Hats with bent sharp tops used to be worn by young men at the wedding, whilst the elderly wore hats with bent round tops. The youth mostly wore gray hats, whereas the elderly preferred black.
Where to find it:
Sheepskin hats are the best headgear for Moldovan winters when temperatures can drop down to -20 Celsius. If your head is sensitive to frost bites, then perhaps you should do “as Moldovans do” (paraphrasing the famous proverb) and get yourself one of the local hats which are sold at Fantezia Specialty Store at 83 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-222475; open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday 10am-5pm) or Chisinau's Central Market (aka “Bazaar” or Piaţa Centrală) – framed by Armeneasca and Tighina Streets, Stefan cel Mare Blvd and Mitropolit Varlaam Street. The average price of a sheepskin hat is 600 lei (US$50).

18. “Lăutarii Orchestra” Folk Music CD

“Lăutarii Orchestra” Folk Music CD
“Lăutarii” National Folk Music Orchestra is one of Moldova's greatest cultural achievements, repeatedly recognized as the best folk music orchestra in the entire Romanian space. The term “lăutar” literally denotes a (semi-) professional musician, who historically played one of Moldova's traditional instruments and gathered in groups, also known as tarafs. Lăutarii enjoyed great public recognition, however the most legendary of them is considered to be Barbu Lăutarul, who lived somewhere between 1780 and 1860 on the Iași territory (nowadays, part of Romania). The Lăutarii orchestra was founded in 1970 by Moldova's most loved folk singer, Nicolae Sulac. Since then, the orchestra has performed all over the world including Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Denmark, USA, etc. A CD of Moldova's finest folk music, featuring traditional dance melodies such as hora, sârba, ciuleandra or bătuta, can guarantee a great party in Moldova's ardent, temperamental and authentic spirit and will give the listener a deeper understanding of Moldovans' core values and aspirations.
Where to find it:
Many shopping centers in Chișinău have a specialized boutique with folk and modern music available for sale. One such store - “Gemenii” - is located at 136, Stefan cel Mare Blvd, and has a lot of traditional folk music on offer. The working hours are 10am to 8pm, including weekends.

Another option is Sun City shopping center at 22, Pușkin Street. Working hours: 9.00-21.00.

19. “Calarasi Divin” Brandy

“Calarasi Divin” Brandy
Renowned alcohol producer such as Moldova is famous for its hard liquors. Of them particularly noticeable is Calarasi Divin brandy, distilled in accordance with the French cognac methodology. The Calarasi brand (wines and spirits) was established in the late 1800s; among its products you can find vintages up to 30 years of age. The Calarasi oldest brandy on sale is the 25 year “Stefan Voda” named after Moldova's prominent ancient ruler; a bottle of it costs about US$100 and is well worth it. For cheaper options, consider seven year old divins ranging in price between 120 and 410 lei apiece.
Where to find it:
These can be found in great variety in Calarasi Divin factory store at 180 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (tel.+373-22-229362, hours Mon-Fri: 9.00-19.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00-17.00), as well as in Cricova Wine Shop at 126 Stefan cel Mare (tel +373-22-220377, hours Mon-Fri: 9.00-19.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00-16.00), next door to Bucuria store (Moldova's #1 confectionery) a short walk from UNIC Department Store.

20. “Chisinau” Beer (Blonda, Aurie, Draft)

“Chisinau” Beer (Blonda, Aurie, Draft)
One of the things strangers usually want to know about a new destination is “What's the beer like?” Surely, no trip to Moldova is complete without trying the local brews, especially Chişinău Bere by Efes Beverage Group - Blonda, Draft and Aurie.

Chişinău Blondă (Chisinau Light) is a premium Moldovan lager brewed from the finest malts and hops. It has a pronounced malt flavor with pleasant hop bitterness and aroma. Chişinău Blondă is very easy to drink and is a great thirst quencher.

Chişinău Draft has a rich taste and aroma of fresh beer. The Draft is characterized by pleasant bitterness and clearly expressed hop aroma corresponding to the highest quality standards.

Chişinău Aurie Originală (Chisinau Gold Original) is a clear taste fermented malt beverage with soft hop bitterness and a velvety taste. Thanks to the highest-quality malt and aromatic hops combined with the latest production technologies, Chişinău Aurie is rightfully regarded as one of Moldova's finest beers.
Where to find it:
Cans or bottles of these can be found in all of Chisinau's major supermarkets, including "Nr. 1" at 132 Stefan cel Mare Blvd, 24/7, and Green Hills Nistru at 77 Stefan cel Mare Blvd (working hours 09.00 – 24.00); or tried on a tap at several downtown bars, such as Villa Pizza (12 Puscin Str., hours 8.00 – 23.00; tel.+373-22 22-43-34), Napolis (6 Cosmonautilor Str., 24/24-non stop, tel.+373-22 21-21-91), and Avtobus (83 Alexandru cel Bun Str., 24/24-non stop, tel.+373-22 22-51-13; 21-09-66).
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Walking Tours in Chisinau, Moldova

Create Your Own Walk in Chisinau

Create Your Own Walk in Chisinau

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chisinau is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chisinau Historical Sites

Chisinau Historical Sites

Although the history of Chisinau accounts for just over 500 years, whilst that of Moldova, as a nation, even less than that – since 1991, Moldovan culture and language are deeply rooted in the ancient Roman tradition. Just as the Eternal City, Chisinau rests on seven hills – in the valley of the River Bic, and has a replica statue of the Capitoline Wolf in the downtown area. Whereas most of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Bernardazzi Architecture Walking Tour

Bernardazzi Architecture Walking Tour

Talented people are often able to leave their mark in the hearts of the posterity long after they are gone. Centuries fly but the power of the beauty persists, especially if set in the stones of the buildings designed by distinguished architects. Moldova's capital is blessed in this respect as the place associated with Alexander Bernardazzi, a Russian architect of Swiss-Italian descent who...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Best Wine and Brandy Shops

Best Wine and Brandy Shops

Given the lack of stunning scenery – no turquoise waters or snow-clad mountains – Moldova is a country not overrun by tourists. Still, those who come here, usually do so to taste the local wines and brandies – Moldova is a seasoned grape and spirit producer. The locals are very lovable and hospitable people, genuinely ready to delight strangers with their internationally-renowned booze. Here...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles