Dorin Lozovanu / Olesea Bondarenco

(Association of Geography and Ethnology of Moldova, Chisinau, Moldova)

The Republic of Moldova has an area of 337.000 sq. km and it is situated in the south-eastern part of Europe, between the rivers Prut and Nistru. The western neighbor of the country is Romania while the Ukraine surrounds it to the north, east and south. The maximum north-south distance within the country is 350 km and the east-west one is 150 km.
In the latest census, from 2004, there were 3.388.071 inhabitants registered, the populace density being one of the highest in Europe (about 130 inhabitants on sq. km).
A country of legends and ballads, Moldova is a picturesque part of the continent, where many natural reserves, archaeological and architectural documents, as well as a historical, cultural and artistical inheritance have been preserved throughout the millennia.
A very diversified relief, hills and valleys, rivers and lakes, cliffs and mounds, ancient forests and vineyard terraces, and small villages among them, all of these preserve the remembrance of centuries past, of the values created here by Cimmerians, Scythes, Thracians, Greeks, Romans, with the latest infusion of Slavic, Iranian, Turkic and Hungarian tribes. We can discover on Moldova territory a chain of cultures having left visible traces in the local traditions, folklore, art, architecture and general specific of population.