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Moldova attracts tourists from countries all over the world.
From January 2007, Moldova established a visa-free regime for the US, Canada, Japan and Switzerland which should facilitate more trips by foreign tourists. Hotels in Moldova also charge high prices, while the quality of service on average is quite low.
Moldova is well known for its rich traditions in wine making. Wine tours are offered to tourists in Chișinău and other towns across the country. Vineyards/cellars include Cricova, Purcari, Ciumai, Romănești, Cojușna, Mileștii Mici and others.
Number of foreign tourists accommodated in collective tourist reception with functions of accommodation, 2004–13:
The system of fortresses built by Stephen the Great is one of the best preserved in Europe. The Soroca Fortress, with its imposing stone towers, attracts the tourists with souvenir kiosks and objects dating from the end of the 14th century. In 2013, the fortress was renovated to reproduce faithfully the medieval model.
The Old Orhei complex is the most important cultural site in Moldova, being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list. It constitutes a system from cultural and natural components: archaic natural landscape, biodiversity (flora and fauna well preserved), exceptional archaeological framework (human settlements, fortresses, rock carved complexes of different historical epochs), historical and architectural variety, traditional rural habitat and original ethnography.
The Tighina Fortress, one of the strongest fortresses of medieval defense system of Moldova, dominates Tighina skyline by the ten bastions and eleven towers surrounded by the same traditional moat. Conquered in 1538 by Suleiman the Magnificent, it was rebuilt and enlarged after the project of an Ottoman architect. Using local resources and labor of the peasants from the surroundings, the Porte has turned the citadel into a well-fortified combat outpost. Today, it is one of the most impressive Moldovan fortresses.
Chișinău, country's capital and largest city, is nicknamed the "White rock city", because most buildings are built of stone extracted from a limestone quarry in Moldova. Chișinău is shielded by City Gates, architectural construction that impresses from the first contact with the city. Every year, Chișinău hosts the Maria Bieșu Opera and Ballet Festival, attracting talented young people from United States, Austria, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia and Romania. Chișinău boasts an impressive number of museums. The most charming of them is the open-air Village Museum. Inaugurated in 1995, it reconstitutes the Bessarabian village of 17th–19th centuries, comprising six ethnographic regions with monuments as: windmills, houses, wooden churches, watermills or crucifixes. The architectural ensemble in the center of Chișinău is a magnet for tourists. It comprises the Cathedral of the Nativity, the Bell Tower, the Triumphal Arch (or the Holy Gates), the Grand National Assembly Square and the Government building. It is one of the greenest cities in Europe, situated on seven hills. In total, in the city are 19 parks plus three in the suburbs of Chișinău.
Tiraspol, the second largest city in Moldova, is a regional hub of light industry. Even though it is in an area of conflict, Tiraspol has plenty of things to offer in terms of tourism. The city on the Dniester has a nice and quiet aspect, with plenty of green spaces and resting places. Such a delightful location is found right in the center and is represented by an old dendrologic garden in Moldova. Also in the city center are the monuments of great personalities from this city: statue of Alexander Suvorov, erected in 1979, in Central Square, 250 years after his birth, or statue of V. Raievski. Can be visited in the city objectives as Museum of History and Ethnography, Dramatic Theatre or Cathedral of the Nativity, largest Orthodox church in Tiraspol.
Bălți is Moldova's third largest city. The name of this city come from the fact that, in the past, area in which the city is located was full of mud puddles, with narrow and unpaved streets, muddy during the autumn, swampy during the winter and dusty during the summer. The city is called "the nest of frost", due to the fact that these puddles attracted the frost. Now, all these things have changed, Bălți is a thriving city, occupying third place as size, after Chișinău and Tiraspol. Bălți is a very important city in Moldova, because is a major industrial and cultural center. In Bălți can be found numerous green spaces, monuments and a splendid artesian fountain in the city center. The city's largest hotel is Bălți Hotel. It is located in the city centre, near Basarabia restaurant, leisure park for children, House of Culture, Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre and commercial centres Elite and Unic-Bălți.
Travelling in certain areas of Moldova, tourist can't get rid of the thought that is in a mountainous country. And it's not surprising, some of the attractions of this country in ancient times were called or Moldovan Switzerland or Bessarabian Switzerland. And this despite the fact that mountains, per se, in the country don't exist, impression being created, especially, by sudden changes of altitude, veritable mountain switchbacks, for example in Hîncești, Ungheni or Călărași districts. Moldova is particularly beautiful in spring, when the orchards bloom or in late autumn, when the frenzy of colors simply delights the eyes.
Tourists can visit nature reserves of rare beauty. Among them is the Pădurea Domnească (Royal Forest). Located in Glodeni District, it is the largest nature reserve in Moldova, where can be found endangered species of plants and animals. The forest in the Prut floodplain, taken under state protection in 1993, is one of the most valuable and old floodplain forests in Europe. Likewise, here is one of the few places where the European bison can be seen.
The Prut Toltrels is one of the most impressive natural monuments in the country, with a unique presence in Europe. They are chains of limestone reefs consisting of skeletons of corals, shellfish, algae, animals and marine organisms that filled the Tortonian and Sarmatic tropical seas 10-20 million years ago. These Bessarabian reefs have the same genesis as Australia's Great Barrier Reef, only that it's almost entirely under water, its peaks coming from the ocean to a height of 2–5 m, while the Bessarabian reefs reach or pass 100 m. And all their height is overland, from where they can be admired in their greatness and splendor.
Created in 1971 on an area of 5,177 ha, the Codru Scientific Reserve serves as a deposit of central European forest gene pool. Here are placed under protection about 1,000 species of plants, 43 mammalian species, 145 species of birds, 7 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians and over 10,000 species of insects. The main species of trees in the forest are the pedunculate oak, the sessile oak and the beech. In the reservation works a rich "Museum of Nature".
Suta de Movile (Hundred Knolls) presents a landscape of great scientific and aesthetic value. Some savants have noted that Suta de Movile ("Centum monticulli" after Dimitrie Cantemir) is the only place in Europe where are concentrated in a number so large the underwater reefs of the Mediterranean Sea. This unique landscape is located on the slope of the valley of the Prut River, and its originality is imprinted by the multitude of relief microforms – over 3,500 knolls, mainly elongated, pronounced, with steep slopes and heights from 1–3 m to 30 m.
Lower Prut Nature Reserve is the synonym of nature's virginity. It is composed of Beleu Lake and a network of ponds that, on the whole, form a unique ecosystem of importance not only national but international.