Bălţi (Moldova)

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Bălţi (Polish: Bielce, Russian: Бельцы [Bel’tsy] and Бэлць [Bėlts’], Ukrainian: Бєльці [Byel’tsi], Yiddish: בעלץ [Belts]) is a city in Moldova. It is the second largest in terms of area and economic importance after Chişinău, and the third largest in terms of population after Chişinău and Tiraspol. The city is one of the five Moldovan municipalities. Bălţi, sometimes also called „the northern capital”, is a major industrial, cultural and commercial centre and transportation hub in the north of the country. It is situated 127 kilometres (79 mi) north of the capital Chişinău, and is located on the river Răut, a tributary of the Dniester, on a hilly landscape in the Bălţi steppe.

The word „bălţi” (pl. of Romanian sing. „baltă„) means „swamps”, „puddles”, or „pools”. It is believed that the city had been named thus because it was founded on a hill dominating the wetland formed where the creek Răuţel („Little Răut”) falls into the river Răut.

In addition to the official name Bălţi and the Russian name Бельцы (Beltsy), between 1940-1989 in Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, and after 1989 in Russian, the name was/is also rendered in Cyrillic as Бэлць.

Theaters:

  • Vasile Alecsandri theatre
  • „Eugene Ionesco” Theatre
  • „Licurici” Republican Puppet Theatre
  • „B.P.Hajdeu” Republican Drama-Muzical Theatre
  • „Mihai Eminescu” National Theatre
  • „Luceafarul” Republican Theatre
  • Municipal Theatre „Satiricus I.L. Caragiale”

Museums and art galleries

  • „Exhibition of the Union of painters „Constantin Brâncuşi”
  • Artum Art Gallery

According to the 2004 Moldovan Census, data submitted by the Department of Statistics and Sociology of the Republic of Moldova, the population of municipality of Bălţi was 127,561, of which the population of the city itself was 122,669, and that of the suburban villages of Elizaveta and Sadovoe was of 3,523, respectively 1,369. Of these, 58,418 were men and 69,143 were women.

Ethnic Groups, 2004:

Ethnicity Number %
Moldovan 66,877 52.4 %
Ukrainian 30,288 23.7 %
Russian 24,526 19.2 %
Romanian 2,258 1.8 %
Pole 862 0.7 %
Jewish 411 0.3 %
Bulgarian 297 0.2 %
Roma 272 0.2 %
Gagauz 243 0.2 %
other 1,527 1.2 %
not declared 183 0.1 %

A info panel with international routes in the bus station of Bălţi

Bus station (Autogară)

A soviet scales 😀

This nice dog diddn't want to eat our plăcinta 😦

The main street near the bus station.We take the bus from here, which goes to the city center

An old soviet trolley

The mayor prepare the city for the date of May 9, when Germany lost the war and sign the surrender act before soviets at Berlin

A street near to the center

Memorial for soviet soldiers from WWII

Mishka (Мишка) mascot from 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union

Bălţi-City Station at Moldovan Railway

On the platform of Bălţi-City Station

A guide panel in the center

Decebal street (Decebal was the king of Dacia in the time of wars against romans 101-102,105-106)

We pass on this street when we come from railway station to city center

Theoretical Highschool Mihai Eminescu

In left it was nr 3 🙂

Now it is 589...

A nice XIX century building in the center (i think this is matrimonial palace)

A wedding in the city center

Vasile Alecsandri theatre in the square from the city center with the same name

Cinema Patria (the subtitle is in russian)

A panel with some great citizens from the city

A monument for the holocaust

It says "for the jewish victims killed by fascists in the second world war"

Gogol Theoretical Highschool-School nr. 6 (you can notice the soviet coat of arms up)

A soviet medium tank T-34

A banner with the message "the victory day for the soviet people in the great war for defending the homeland"

A monument of Stefan the Great (2003)

An old Lada car for the Police (Poliţia)

A panel with the train routes in the Bălţi-City Station

Inside the train Moscow-Chişinău (you can notice the curtains with Moldova)

We buy a ticket on platzcart on the route Bălţi-Chişinău with the international train from Moscow. The price for the ticket is 31 moldavian lei, which means 8 romanian lei or 2 euro. (the time of travel is about 3.20 hours because train pass through Ungheni)

Odessa (Ukraine)

For more details click on the map

For more details click on the map

Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Одеса; Russian: Одесса; Romanian: Odesa; Greek: Οδησσός; Yiddish: אדעס) is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast (province) located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).

Odessa was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named Khadjibey after him. After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.

The Russians renamed the city Odessa in 1794. From 1819–1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On January 1, 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years.

In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.

Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 during World War I, Odessa was occupied by several groups, including the Ukrainian Tsentral’na Rada, the French Army, the Red Army and the White Army. Finally, in 1920, the Red Army took control of Odessa and united it with the Ukrainian SSR, which later became part of the USSR.

During World War II, from 1941–1944, Odessa was subject to Romanian administration, as the city had been made part of the Transnistria occupation district. Romanians used the name ‘Odessa’ as the Ukrainian version of the city. The Romanian occupation may be described a „soft one” compared to the short period of German occupation in 1944.

The Romanian commanding General made an unofficial armistice with the partisans hidden in the city’s catacombs, who in turn did not mount much resistance to the Romanians.

When the people of Odessa suffered from hunger, the Romanians transported grain from Bessarabia to Odessa in 1942 and 1943. It is told that the Romanians imported the best cognac and wines, in addition to two train loads of the best French food in 1942 to the restaurants of Odessa, from France.

During the April 1944 battle Odessa suffered severe damage and many casualties. Many parts of Odessa were damaged during its siege and recapture on 10 April 1944, when the city was finally liberated by the Red Army.

Following the Siege of Odessa, and the Axis occupation, approximately 25,000 Odessans (mostly Jews) were murdered and over 35,000 deported. Most of the atrocities were committed during the first six months of the occupation which officially begun on 17 October 1941, after the bombing of the Romanian HQ and the subsequent brutal response of the Romanian military.

After this time period, the Romanian administration changed its policy, refusing to deport the remaining Jewish population to extermination camps in German occupied Poland, and allowing Jews to work as hired labourers. As a result, despite the tragic events of 1941, the survival of the Jews in this area was higher than in other areas of occupied Europe.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

If you are in Chisinau and you want to arrive in Odessa, the best idea is to get a vehicle –a bus from North Station (near Calea Basarabiei market).

So we did.

At 07.30 we took the first bus which goes to Odessa and we paid for a ticket 93 Moldavian lei (it means 5.8 euros). The bus-driver gave us an inquest to complete for entering in Ukraine.

A half of this inquest you give when you come in the country and another one when you leave it. We passed the customs very quickly, without problems and in 4-5 hours we arrived in Odessa.

As we didn’t have a map for orientation, we started to ask people how to arrive to Potemkin Stairs, which was our first visit. Honestly, we tell you, you must be patient with Ukrainian people because how many people you ask, you will receive different contradictory answers to arrive at the place you need 🙂

In this way, we took the trolley number 5, we paid for the ticket 1 grivna (0.08 euros) and after 4 stations we were on Tiraspol’skaya Street. We walked for other 15 minutes among some nice old buildings and we arrived at the Poteomkin Stairs.

By the way, the streets from Odessa are very nice in autumn :P.

We visited the Passage from Odessa which impressed us very much by its architecture. We have to recognize the prices from those shops were pretty high. On the streets, we saw a lot of expensive bars, restaurants and pubs, but interesting arranged, however, with few clients.

From the beginning, we were a bit disappointed a cause of those stairs-we thought it would be more imposing, but it looked like some usually stairs. From the right side, there was a funicular which leave you down, at the beginning of the stairs.

Sincerely, we don’t see the meaning of this funicular because the distance is not so long, it’s only 142 meters you can descend in 2 minutes!

A funny moment was when we had to split thousands of balloons threw from the roof of a building-people from Odessa celebrated the inauguration of a shopping center. It was nice to see people of all ages doing a thing that gave them a smile on theirs faces.

If you are in Ukraine, it is impossible to not respect the tradition- we bought beer and dry salt fish! How the harbour was near, we had a freezing walk on the promenade; the sea was not so hospitable with us.

At half past 5 we had to take the bus to return in Chisinau so we had to hurry to arrive at the bus station. We had the same problem: all people we asked what trolley we must take gave us different answers, but in the end we arrived to the final destination. 😛

From the bus station we bought some carrot pies (3.5 griva=0.25 euros each pie). The ticket price Odessa-Chisinau was 53 grivnas/person (equal 4 euros). At the customs; we gave the second part of that inquest we completed before we entered in Ukraine and in 4 hours we were in Chisinau.

Odessa seemed us to be a nice, pretty big city, with a lot of interesting places to visit, however, better in summer 😉

Bus station (Avtovokzal)

Bus station (Avtovokzal)

A kiosk with all kind of crumpets, just near to bus station

A kiosk with all kind of crumpets, just near to bus station

A soviet block

A soviet block

A very width tram

A very width tram (the ticket is 1 UAH which means 0.08 EURO)

Just a photo from the center, with ukrainian yellow marshutka

Just a photo from the center, with ukrainian yellow marshrutka

A bus...

A bus...

A nice building, with Cuba Cafe Bar

A nice building, with Cuba Cafe

Paved road in the old center

Paved road in the old center

Trolley...

Trolley...

Old center (the road to harbour)

Old center (the road to harbour)

DE TRADUS

Military of Ukraine (Southern forces)

Real hypermarket

Real hypermarket

You can observe the colour of the bars (Ukrainian flag)

You can observe the colour of the bars (Ukrainian flag)

I think this is Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral from Sobornaya Square

I think this is Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral from Sobornaya Square

Beeline mobile phone company from Russia and life:), Kyivstar, Golden Telecom and MTS from Ukraine

Beeline mobile phone company from Russia and life:), Kyivstar, Golden Telecom and MTS from Ukraine

The Passage from Odessa (1899) with baroque style

The Passage from Odessa (1899) "baroque style"

Built in 1899, by polish architect Lev Vlodek, the passage belonged to the merchant Mendelevich. Now, passage is one of the lare largest auction centers in Odessa

Built in 1899, by polish architect Lev Vlodek, the passage belonged to the merchant Mendelevich. Now, passage is one of the lare largest auction centers in Odessa

McDonald's

McDonald's

An exchange panel

An exchange panel

This is the monument of the founders of the city, build in 1900, restored in 2007

This is the monument of the founders of the city, build in 1900, restored in 2007

Nice buildings...

Nice buildings...

That was near to the Potemkin Stairs

That was near to the Potemkin Stairs

The 142-metre-long Potemkin Stairs

The 142-metre-long Potemkin Stairs

Slavic style :)

Slavic style 🙂

Wedding near to the Black Sea :P

Wedding near to the Black Sea 😛

The Potemkin Stairs were constructed between 1837–1841

The Potemkin Stairs were constructed between 1837–1841

Hair for all Ukraine from Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko (Ukrainian: Юлія Володимирівна Тимошенко), the Prime Minister of Ukraine

Hair for all Ukraine from Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko (Ukrainian: Юлія Володимирівна Тимошенко), the Prime Minister of Ukraine 🙂

In Kiev the machine is cheaper :)

In Kiev is cheaper 🙂

Trains near to the Odessa Harbour

Trains near to the Odessa Harbour

I love you, my Odessa :P

I love you, my Odessa 😛

The highway from the harbour

The highway from the harbour

An info panel at the harbour

An info panel at the harbour

An ukrainian vessel

An ukrainian vessel

Other vessels

Other vessels

Hotel Odessa on the Black Sea, just near to the harbour

Hotel Odessa on the Black Sea, just near to the harbour

UKRFERRY "Caledonia" which can take you to Istanbul :P

UKRFERRY "Caledonia" which can take you to Istanbul 😛

Lenin is alive :(

Lenin is alive 😦

A cute ukrainian cat :)

A cute ukrainian cat 😛

Public phone cabin

Public phone cabin

A panel with the condition of weather in the Bus station

A panel with the condition of weather in the Bus station

Cricova (Moldova)

Cricova is the famous Moldovan winery, located in the city with the same name located at 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Chişinău. Famous wine cellars make it a popular attraction for tourists.

The wine cellars of Cricova is second largest wine cellar in Moldova, after Milestii Mici (largest in the world). It boasts a mere 120 kilometres (75 mi) of labyrinthine roadways, versus MM’s 200 kilometres (120 mi), tunnels have existed under Cricova since the XVth century, when limestone was dug out to help build Chisinau. They were converted into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s.

The territory used to be a mine for limestone, a building material. In some branches excavation is still active, so the cellar is still growing. Other famous wineries in Moldova include Cojuşna and Mileştii Mici.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel Journal

„We decided a long time ago to visit Cricova. It seemed to be a nice destination for the end of this spring.

So the big day came. At nine o’clock in the morning we all were ready to start our trip, so we got up in the bus and took our seats. We must say the price of a trip to Cricova, for a group of 20 persons costs 135 lei (~9 euros). How Cricova is situated only at 11 Km from Chisinau, in over 20 minutes we were there. It was a good idea to start our trip in the morning, because the day was very hot, so we could “get fried” in the minibus! =D

Arriving there, the guide told us a sad little rumor: the electric train that should carry us through the tunnels of Cricova was broken, so we should take the bus, because the distance was pretty big: over 60 km to see!

The gates opened, so the trip began. We saw in front of our eyes a big, wide road, which was dishing too fast. The first impression was that we hit in a little scary story, but this feeling passed quickly.

From the beginning we felt the difference concerning the air: in the tunnels, the temperature never rises up 12-14 C, while the humidity also stays constants-97 %. We can give you an important advice: if you want to visit Cricova, in no matter what season, you have to take some warm clothes, if not; you’ll get a bit frozen ;).

While we were advancing in the subways of Cricova, the guide told us that we are at 40-50 meters under ground. You should know that at the beginning, this place was a mine from where was taking out white rock, used to build edifices in Chisinau-from here it comes the name of “white city”. Totally, the roads of Cricova have a length of 120 Km, but only 60 are intended for wines, other 60 km serve as a mine; in present from there they are extracting white rock.

The roads become streets and boulevards, as they have names: Ariadne’s thread Street, Cabernet Street, Dionysus Street, Champaign’s Boulevard, names chosen by the type of wine placed on that “street”.

Our first stop was on the Cabernet Street. We saw a lot of barrels, smalls (232 litters) and big (453 litters), plenty of this kind of wine. The casks were made of oak wood, so the taste of wine can change if it rests for a long time put in there.

At the second stop, we stepped on the Champaign’s Boulevard, where the guide led us into a chamber where were kept the future Champaign. Here we found out how does this drink is made. The all period while the wine changes into Champaign, ready to be sold, takes 5 years.

The third hall we saw was in that are kept the personal collection of different persons, but also the most important bottles of wine from there. At the beginning of the chamber, we noticed a memorial made for the persons who founded Cricova and the statue of Dionysus.

We saw the Hermann Göring wine’s collection, (Mosel from 1935) brought here by the Bolsheviks after World War II. In the same area, we caught sight on old French wines (1936) and other collections of states from USSR. The personal wine collection of Vladimir Putin is kept at Cricova, the rental of a bottle costs 1$/year.Altogether, the whole cellar comprises over 1.3 million bottles.

After visiting this extraordinary place, we left it for another site: the formal halls from Cricova, avaible only for the officials. We hadn’t the permission to touch the table that has about 60 seats, because we could leave stamps, ha-ha! We saw also the favourite chamber of the ex- president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, who comes there to “take a break”.

After a one and half hour our trip finished and we had the vague sensation that we have lost something there. Maybe that was because we rested a bit amazed, but pleased for everything we saw. We didn’t want to leave that place, but we had to.

We advise everyone to visit Cricova, with any occasion, because there you have the possibility to pass a little part of your life in a “forgiven” place, where the Time does nothing more than to dust the bottles and to raise the quality and the price of a good wine.”


An imitation of a stronghold on the territory of Cricova.

An imitation of a stronghold on the territory of Cricova.

First view of the road which leads us to the Cricova's cellar.

First view of the road which leads us to the Cricova's cellar.

A cellar located on Cabernet Street, where is kept the Pinot wine.

A cellar located on Cabernet Street, where is kept the Pinot wine.

In these barrels is kept the Cabernet wine, the white dust on the floor testifies the fact that in the past, this place was a mine of withe rock.

In these barrels is kept the Cabernet wine, the white dust on the floor testifies the fact that in the past, this place was a mine of withe rock.

A common barrel in the subways of Cricova,made of American oak. The wine changes its taste if it's kept in this kind of cask.

A common barrel in the subways of Cricova,made of American oak. The wine changes its taste if it's kept in this kind of cask.

A 453 litters barrel for keeping the Cabernet wine.

A 453 litters barrel for keeping the Cabernet wine.

The same barrel, with a wine inquest on it (Cabernet-Sauvignon, made in 2007).

The same barrel, with a wine inquest on it (Cabernet-Sauvignon, made in 2007).

A shower that attentions the pedestrian crossing.

A shower that attentions the pedestrian crossing.

The name of the chamber where the Campaign is kept.

The name of the chamber where the Campaign is kept.

A schedule which explains the process of Remuage-process used for preparing the Champagne.The improvement of this drink till it can be sold is based on changing the angle of the bottle, for all the uncleanliness set in the cork. After that,the cork is frozen, so the uncleanliness can be taken without damaging the Champagne. The whole procedure takes 5 years.

A schedule which explains the process of Remuage-process used for preparing the Champagne.The improvement of this drink till it can be sold is based on changing the angle of the bottle, for all the uncleanliness set in the cork. After that,the cork is frozen, so the uncleanliness can be taken without damaging the Champagne. The whole procedure takes 5 years.

The "first" Champagne containing uncleanliness, before passing through "Remuage" process.

The "first" Champagne containing uncleanliness, before passing through "Remuage" process.

The cellar where the Champagne is kept, place located on Champagne's Boulevard.

The cellar where the Champagne is kept, place located on Champagne's Boulevard.

A view through the subways of Cricova.

A view through the subways of Cricova.

Old wine from 1995.

Old wine from 1995.

The Hermann Goring wine's collection, Mosel from 1935. Another part of collection is conserved in Ukraine,Crimea.

The Hermann Goring wine's collection, Mosel from 1935. Another part of collection is conserved in Ukraine,Crimea.

Mouldiness and bacterium developed on a wine bottle. As we said, the humidity in the cellars of Cricova is over 97 %.

Mouldiness and bacterium developed on a wine bottle. As we said, the humidity in the cellars of Cricova is over 97 %.

The cellar where is kept the wine collections.

The cellar where is kept the wine collections.

The personal wine collection of Vladimir Putin.

The personal wine collection of Vladimir Putin.

A closer view on the slate information.

A closer view on the slate information.

The oldest bottle of Wine from Cricova, taken from Israel, in 1902.

The oldest bottle of Wine from Cricova, taken from Israel, in 1902.

A Romanian "Grasa de Cotnari" wine bottle, from 1979.

A Romanian "Grasa de Cotnari" wine bottle, from 1979.

An old French wine from 1936. In 2008, a bottle of this kind was sold for 60.000 euros, for a personal collection.

An old French wine from 1936. In 2008, a bottle of this kind was sold for 60.000 euros, for a personal collection.

The guide told us that this small table with small chairs is an imitation of an old Moldavian custom "La botul calului"("At the muzzle's horse").We don't know if we should believe her or not.Anyway, the cart didn't go in the photo :) .

The guide told us that this small table with small chairs is an imitation of an old Moldavian custom "La botul calului"("At the muzzle's horse").We don't know if we should believe her or not.Anyway, the cart didn't go in the photo 🙂 .

A small official chamber from Cricova.

A small official chamber from Cricova.

A picture of "Moldavian wedding" painted on a wall.

A picture of "Moldavian wedding" painted on a wall.

Another official place.

Another official place.

The official chamber from Cricova,with the "untouchable" table. Around it,there are 60 chairs.

The official chamber from Cricova,with the "untouchable" table. Around it,there are 60 chairs.

The favourite relaxing chamber from Cricova of the ex-president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin.

The favourite relaxing chamber from Cricova of the ex-president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin.

A modern WC, including a small chamber for the smokers.

A modern WC, including a small chamber for the smokers.