Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Stefan cel Mare Blvd Walk (Self Guided), Chisinau

Known as the "Green Capital", Chisinau traces its history to 1436, it represents the cultural, economic and political center of Moldova. Stefan cel Mare Blvd is one of the oldest and most prominent streets in the city, here you will find a lot of beautiful churches, fine architectural pieces, important historic sights, as well as tranquil and picturesque parks. Be sure to visit some, if not all the attractions listed below, when you have a chance.
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Stefan cel Mare Blvd Walk Map

Guide Name: Stefan cel Mare Blvd Walk
Guide Location: Moldova » Chisinau (See other walking tours in Chisinau)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • National Theater Mihai Eminescu
  • Artists' Square
  • Organ Hall
  • City Hall
  • Nativity Cathedral
  • Bell Tower
  • Triumphal Arch
  • Great National Assembly Square
  • Stephen the Great Monument
  • Patria Cinema
  • National Opera and Ballet Theatre
  • Parliament Building
  • Presidential Palace
  • Hertz and Kligman House
  • Transfiguration of the Savior Church
  • St. Nicolae's Church
1
National Theater Mihai Eminescu

1) National Theater Mihai Eminescu

The National Theater Mihai Eminescu was established on October 10, 1920 by a group of prominent Romanian cultural and public figures, led by the Minister of Bessarabia in the Government of Romania, Sergiu T. Niţă. The troupe worked only one season, delivering 25 performances. In 1935, by ministerial order, theaters in Chisinau, Craiova and Chernivtsi were closed for financial reasons. Although short-lived, the first National Theater in Chisinau has made an important contribution to the culture of Bessarabia.

In 1933, the Moldavian National Theater was founded in the capital of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Tiraspol. After June 28, 1940, when the territory between the Prut and the Dniester rivers was incorporated into the Soviet Union, on the basis of the Tiraspol theater a new Moldavian State Theater was formed in Chisinau [then Kishinev]. In 1945, it was named after Alexander Pushkin. Shortly afterward, the majority of the Tiraspol troupe moved to Chisinau to join the local artists. The present building was constructed in 1954 and is now counted among the most treasured architectural monuments in the city. Designed by renowned architect Galadjeva, it boasts a grand neoclassic façade, which gives it a timeless appeal. The interior - credited to architects V.F. Alexandrov and V.P. Smirnov - is regal, elegant and opulent. With the walls painted with mural depicting ‘Hora’, and the balconies and lodges having ornate and delicate decoration, the interior of the theater is nothing short of splendour.

In 1994, the theater got the status of national and was renamed Mihai Eminescu. A new page in its history has been opened by talented young actors - students of renowned theater schools in Moscow, Tbilisi, Iasi and Chisinau.
2
Artists' Square

2) Artists' Square (must see)

Artists' Square, also nicknamed "Arbat", found between Eminescu Theater and the Organ Hall, is a designated tourist market for Moldavian souvenirs, crafts, and paintings of local artists. Within the market, there are also stalls selling rare coins (Romanian, European, but mostly Russian), old postcards, stamps, various Soviet memorabilia (badges, awards) and some militaria. There are stalls selling old jewelry, random cutlery, glassware, ceramics, old clocks, figurines and tinware. Don't be surprised to find some of them coming from German or French fleas. If you are looking for some rare Moldavian or Russian Empire collectibles, you may just hang around to acquaint yourself with those who sell them by a hand-made catalogue, but note that the prices they offer are usually much higher.

Operation Hours:
Daily: 10am-4pm
3
Organ Hall

3) Organ Hall (must see)

Originally, the Organ Hall building was designed as the City Bank. In 1902 the Municipal Council of Chisinau launched a competition of architectural projects with a prize of 1,500 rubles, which was a fairly large amount in those days. The winner – engineer Mikhail Chekerul-Kush, aged 38 at that time – received commendation from the famous architect Alexander Bernardazzi himself.

In Soviet times, the building housed the regional office of the USSR State Bank. The decision to turn it into a concert hall was taken by the then leader of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Ivan Bodiul. His daughter, Svetlana Bodiul, was an accomplished organist who had graduated from the Moscow Conservatory and long dreamed of a decent venue for classical music in her hometown. Reconstruction started in 1975 and lasted until 1978, led by architect Y.L. Leonchenko.

The first concert was held on 16 September 1978 played by prominent Soviet organist Harry Y. Grodberg. That concert also featured local opera diva Maria Bieshu, cellist Ion Josan, Svetlana Bodiul herself, and the choir conducted by Veronica Garstea.

Many prominent musicians have played the Organ Hall ever since. Among them Igor Oistrakh, Vladimir Spivakov, the "Madrigal" Moscow Philharmonic Ensemble, the National Chamber Orchestra of Russia under Viktor Tretyakov, and many other stars of classical organ and instrumental chamber music from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic, the USA, and other countries. Annually, the Organ Hall hosts a variety of festivals, competitions and art exhibitions. Among the most important cultural events held here are the International Music Festival "Martisor", the International Classical Music Festival "Crescendo", the "New Music Days" festival of contemporary classical music, as well as national and international competitions of instrumental performers and singers.

Why You Should Visit:
This place provides some good acoustics! At the least, one of the most accessible, unlikely to be discovered, concert halls in all of Eastern Europe.
Although the recently renovated building is not very large, it looks almost like a palace, so you'll have a neat spot for taking pictures as well.

Tip:
Don't miss the very nice antique store on the left upon entering! It is worth visiting. Also, the prices are okay for both the shop and for the concerts.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 11am-6pm
4
City Hall

4) City Hall (must see)

There aren't many old buildings in Chisinau fit to captivate the eye of the beholder. One of them, undoubtedly, is the City Hall building, an architectural landmark in its own right, located in the downtown part of the city, standing majestically on the corner of Stefan cel Mare Boulevard and Vlaicu Parcalab Street.

This two-story building was raised in the early 20th century and features classic Gothic Italian style with a quad-shaped plan. Designed by Alexander Bernardazzi, the building has an elegant façade with arched windows, ornately crowned by triangular pediments. The walls, draped in a faint shade of beige and white, are marvelously complemented by an elegant clock tower at the top. The City Hall is lavishly embellished with medieval Gothic and Renaissance style decorations, revealing a heavy influence of Italian decorative style. The building suffered terrible damage during the Second World War and required painstaking efforts to be returned to its former glory. Today, a commemorative plaque to architect Bernardazzi is placed on its front wall.

Tip:
Best appreciated from the sidewalk in front where you are able to see all the details of the ornamentation. Next door is a souvenir shop.
5
Nativity Cathedral

5) Nativity Cathedral (must see)

The Nativity Cathedral is a magnificent example of Russian architecture in Chisinau. Built in the early 19th century, it was designed by architect Avraam Melnikov – one of that period's finest architects of the Russian Empire. Like most religious buildings in the city, it was repurposed to an exhibition center during the Soviet era. Only recently has it again found life as a place of worship, sporting beautifully painted walls in pure Orthodox style.

Construction was commissioned by Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov, the governor of New Russia. Considering the importance of the project, great care was taken for the building to appear elegant, regal and timeless. Renowned for his many creations across the Russian Empire, Avraam Melnikov was hired to run the project. A fine piece of neoclassic construction, the cathedral boasts an eclectic style, featuring a combination of Byzantine architecture with a hint of Renaissance on a Greek Cross, a perfect brew for neoclassic design.

In the course of centuries, this remarkable building has sustained multiple damages caused by wars and political upheavals following the collapse of, first, the Russian Empire and, then, the Soviet Union. Today, the cathedral stands as the main temple of the Russian Orthodox Church in Chisinau and is a definite must-see for any visitor to the city.

Why You Should Visit:
Located in a nice square (good for meditating and/or people watching), this place looks very large and simple from the outside, but inside it is very small yet with bright tones; a great example of such type of cathedral.

Tip:
Go inside, you might be surprised by what you'll find and how you will feel.
You can also feed the pigeons and play a game of chess on the big chess table nearby.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-4pm
Free admission
6
Bell Tower

6) Bell Tower (must see)

Standing right behind the Holy Gates is a beautiful bell tower, an important religious and historic site in Chisinau city. It represents the exact replica of the original bell tower built in 1830 (the same year as the Metropolitan Cathedral was built), only to be demolished in the 1960s and then restored again in 1998. The bell tower comprises four levels with a small chapel on the ground level and several bells at the top.

Tip:
Notice the flowerbeds surrounding, but make sure to visit the many flower shops on the side.
7
Triumphal Arch

7) Triumphal Arch (must see)

Also known as the Holy Gate, the Triumphal Arch is an important structure in the center of Chisinau. It commemorates the victory of Russia over Turkey and was built in 1846 to a design by architect I. Zaushkevich. The Arch is a major tourist sight, overlooking the Government building on Stefan cel Mare Boulevard from across the Great National Assembly Square.

The Arch is a classic, square-shaped piece of architecture, featuring ornately decorated Corinthian columns and beautiful clock on the side, chiming every fifteen minutes. It stands 13 meters high and is distinctly divided into two tiers. The lower tier comprises four sturdy pylons, decorated with classic Corinthian columns, which give the structure its regal look. Aside from architecture, the Arch (Gate) is also noted for its fascinating history. After the Russians had defeated the Turkish army, Tsar Nikolai I, acting on the request of General M.S. Vorontsov, one of the most prominent war veterans, ordered the making of bells from captured Turkish canons. The bells were to be installed on the bell tower inside the Arch. However, upon their completion, it became obvious that the bells were too big for the tower and therefore a separate belfry had to be erected nearby to hold the bells.

Why You Should Visit:
Historical significance aside, it is quite refreshing to find a monument of this type in Moldova. You can't go in it or up it, but it gives a little relief to the city itself.
Quite successful in its miniature form and a must-see of the Moldavian Champs-Élysées as it marks the dead center of town.

Tip:
Take a walk to see it at dusk as it is beautifully lit in the evening. You can also spend some time in the very nice park.
8
Great National Assembly Square

8) Great National Assembly Square

Laid out in the very heart of Chisinau, framed by Cathedral Park and the Government building, the Great National Assembly Square is the centermost spot in the city. Apart from being a historically important place of gathering, today it is also a popular venue for concerts and public celebrations.
9
Stephen the Great Monument

9) Stephen the Great Monument (must see)

The monument to Stephen the Great is located outside the main entrance to the park of the same name in downtown Chisinau. The bronze monument commemorates Stefan cel Mare ("the Great"), Moldova's ancient ruler who successfully defended the country in the 15th century from Turkish invasion. The statue was cast in Bucharest in the early 20th century and was intended to replace the monument of the Russian Emperor Alexander II, previously demolished in 1918 by Romanian authorities.

Sculptor Alexandru Plamadeala traveled far and wide in order to find a portrait of Stefan cel Mare prior to starting the work on the monument. It is said that the sculptor had made three different copies of the monument, one of which stands today. Over the years, the monument has been moved from place to place several times. A few days before the 1940 Soviet occupation of Bessarabia, it had traveled to Vaslui in the eastern part of Romania and then back to Chisinau in 1942. After that, in 1944, the monument again was sent to Romania. Eventually, after a long while, in 1989, it was restored in its original location in Chisinau. The inscriptions on the monument also have been restored. Nowadays situated in the center of the city, the monument is one of the top sights for tourists visiting the Moldovan capital.
10
Patria Cinema

10) Patria Cinema

Apart from being the main theater of the Patria Cinema multiplex network, this building is also a fine example of 19th century style urban architecture. It stands in the downtown part of Chisinau, on Stefan cel Mare Boulevard, with Stefan cel Mare Park at the back and the Parliament building to its right, on the site where the former Nobility Assembly Hall once stood and where the people of Chisinau saw a miracle - the movie! - for the first time over a hundred years ago. The first – wooden - cinema was built in Chisinau right after WWII and was located slightly behind the modern "Patria", in the place where now are a few cafes. The modern cinema building was inaugurated on December 27, 1952, upon which its wooden predecessor was demolished.
11
National Opera and Ballet Theatre

11) National Opera and Ballet Theatre (must see)

Housed in a building on the Stefan the Great Boulevard, the main road in Chisinau, this is one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in Eastern Europe. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the theatre was one of the few to retain its own ballet, opera and orchestra, with its own soloists and chorus, and now has some great equipment and facilities. In 2012, it was given the name of the renowned opera singer Maria Bieșu.

Presently, the theater employs a group of talented seasoned as well as young artists, some of whom are graduates from the Choreographic College in Chisinau. In recent years the troupe has traveled far and wide, often touring in the near and far abroad countries – Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, France, Spain, Britain, etc. – adjusting its repertoire to the wishes of foreign impresarios, focused on specific national tastes.

Why You Should Visit:
The theatre is always full which adds to the atmosphere, and prices are some 10% of those in London so you certainly get excellent value for money.

Ticket Office Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11am-6pm; Sat, Sun: 11am-4pm
With lunch break between 1-2pm
12
Parliament Building

12) Parliament Building (must see)

Built under the Soviets in 1976-79, the former headquarters of then mighty Communist Party now houses Moldova's Parliament. The building has the shape of an open book with the central part of the facade supported by four high-standing vertical columns. In spring 2009 the building came under attack of rioting students in what later became known as the "Twitter Revolution". During the years 2012-13 repairs have advanced and the Parliament moved back in the building in February 2014.
13
Presidential Palace

13) Presidential Palace (must see)

Located in the very heart of Chisinau, the Presidential Palace is a relatively new monument of national importance. The glass-clad building was erected in 1984-87 by Yuri Tumanean, A. Zaltman, and V. Iavorski. It was made to be the new building of the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR. After Moldova gained its independence, the building became the residence of the President of Moldova. The building was devastated during protests on April 7, 2009 against President Vladimir Voronin. As a result of the protest, the palace was closed off. In the early years of the Dodon presidency, steps were taken to renovate the palace with the help of the Turkish government. The newly renovated palace was opened on October 17, 2018, in the presence of President Dodon and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
14
Hertz and Kligman House

14) Hertz and Kligman House

The Kligman House was built in 1898 by Chisinau lawyer Moses Kligman on the site of a regular town house. The new building had an elegant asymmetrical facade and the entrance, decorated with two Ionic columns, moved off-center to the right, perfectly balanced by the facade architecture featuring a number of relief poles between the windows with carved cornices, echoeing the columns at the entrance. A little later - in 1903 - close aboard, the titular counselor Vladimir Hertz built a residence in the place previously occupied (since 1845) by an orphanage, held by landowner Iorgu Balş.

Experts say the Hertz project was done by Austrian architect Heinrich Lonski. The building resembles a birthday cake for its protruding from the roof risolits, and the roof featuring somewhat bizarre looking domes. The exterior decoration - ornate molding, vases on top of the facade, richly adorned with bas-reliefs in the form of floral ornament and allegorical figures - completes the front outlook. Inside the house was once rife with decorative elements too - walls and ceilings adorned with frescoes on mythological themes, lavishly decorated with gilded moldings. Inspired by Viennese Baroque and Art Nouveau, with a touch of Moorish style, the building represents a wonderful piece of eclecticism, so typical of the Chisinau architecture at the turn of the century.

During the Soviet period, the Hertz house was linked to the neighboring and more sober looking Kligman house by a gallery.

This beautiful complex miraculously survived unharmed the WWII and, as of the mid 1950s, had housed for 45 years the local arts museum. The museum first opened in November 1939 as the Pinakothek located in the Primaria [City Hall] Palace. Its first collection comprised 161 works, most of which were donated to the newly-born museum by members of the Tenth Salon of The Society of Fine Arts of Bessarabia which took place that year in Chisinau.

The museum's second birth came in 1944 when a collection of artworks - mostly by Russian and Soviet artists - was transferred to Chisinau from the vaults of Moscow and Leningrad museums by order of the Soviet Ministry of Culture. Later, in 1947, the museum was presented with several thousands of European prints and paintings, as well as works by famous Russian artists from the collection of Paul Shillingovsky who was born in Kishinev in 1881 and then lived in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts.

The magnificent piece of architecture, Hertz and Kligman House has long stood out against the background of severe monumental buildings of the Stalin period, allowing visitors to unmistakably determine where in Chisinau is an art museum. Presently, the museum is closed for restoration which has been on hold recently due to the lack of funds. Another reason is the lack of qualified personnel fit to complete the job.
15
Transfiguration of the Savior Church

15) Transfiguration of the Savior Church

Chisinau may be small a city but it is still not short of legendary structures attesting to Moldova's rich and vibrant past.

Located in the heart of the capital, the Church of Schimbarea la Faţă a Mântuitorului is one of the finest such structures. It is located between the Parliament and the Presidential Administration, and represents a splendid piece of architecture which comprises grandeur, elegance and architectural poise.

The Schimbarea la Faţă a Mântuitorului [the Transfiguration of the Christ] Church was built between 1898 and 1902, thanks to a large donation made by Governor General Constantin Alexandrov.

The same year it was built, the church was sanctified and opened for public service. During the years of the Communist rule, when Moldova was part of the Soviet Union, the church was used as a planetarium. Since Moldova gained its independence in 1992, the building has been serving the original purpose.

Other than rich historic past, the church is particularly noted for its impeccable architecture - elegant exterior and awe inspiring interior filled with elaborate murals, ornate sculptures and other beautiful decorations. Designed by architect Michael Seroţinski, the building features a spectacular Russian-Byzantine style, with an elaborate closed Greek Cross plan.
16
St. Nicolae's Church

16) St. Nicolae's Church

If you are an architecture buff, you will definitely find something interesting to look at in Chisinau. Whether you are in for a short stay or have planned a long vacation, the architectural landscape of the city is sure to enthrall and captivate your attention.

Another remarkable piece of Russian-style architecture is the St. Hierarch Nicolae Church. Built in 1901, this church was designed by V. Ţâganco who is well known for many beautiful structures recognised as part of the architectural heritage of the city.

The church initially served as the chapel for hospital for which it was originally built. Nowadays, though, it is looked upon as an individual entity, and can be accessed through both the hospital and the adjacent street.

St. Nicolae’s Church may not be at par in terms of scale with many other architectural monuments in the city, but it does manage to grab the attention of passers-by. With rich and ornate detailing on the façade complimenting its splendid design, St. Nicholae’s Church manifests the very essence of Russian architecture. Enchanting as it is on the outside, the church is equally splendid on the inside and surely deserves a visit if you are nearby.

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.
Best Wine and Brandy Shops

Best Wine and Brandy Shops

It would be an true pity to visit Chisinau without having explored its specialized wine and brandy shops, and picking up at least one bottle. Moldova is a renowned producer of wine and spirits, it offers true quality products based on centuries-old traditions, and at bargain prices too. This tour will take you to some of the best shops in town selling wines and liquors, all within a walk of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Go About Daily Life Tour of Chisinau

Go About Daily Life Tour of Chisinau

Ever wondered what it is like living in Chisinau? Well, now you have the chance to find out. Visit the Afghan War Memorial to Sons of Motherland, see where and how kids and students receive "occupational guidance", or unwind at the local park. Follow this walking tour to discover the daily life of Chisinau's Riscani district.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Bernardazzi Architecture Walking Tour

Bernardazzi Architecture Walking Tour

Alexander Bernardazzi, the Russian architect of Swiss descent, was the chief architect of Chisinau from 1856 until 1878. His work marked the dawn of a new architectural era in the city. Although during his life Bernardazzi created more than 30 buildings, very few of them have survived until our days. This tour offers a unique opportunity to see some of the beautiful creations of Alexander...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Chisinau Introduction Walk

Chisinau Introduction Walk

Chisinau is the capital of Moldova, the country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania in Eastern Europe, which had for many years been part of the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union until it finally got independence in 1991. Moldovan culture and language are deeply rooted in the Roman tradition. Just like the eternal city of Rome itself, Chisinau rests on 7 hills in the valley of the River...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Chisinau History Walk

Chisinau History Walk

The history of Chisinau goes back over 500 years and may reveal itself to the eyes of the beholder in the walls of the buildings, the stones of the monuments, and the once cobblestone but now asphalt-covered roads of the old city. Some of the narrow streets of Chisinau are rarely trotted by locals and thus have retained much of their original character. Most of the listed here attractions are not...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Stefan cel Mare Blvd Shops

Stefan cel Mare Blvd Shops

It would be a pity to leave Chisinau without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of stores along Stefan cel Mare Blvd which offer unique gifts and souvenirs that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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...