After the collapse of the USSR, Transdniester, a strip of land sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine, declared its independence from Moldova.
A brief civil war followed in 1992, eventually ending in an awkward stalemate.
After the welcome meeting this evening, you might like to get a head start and explore the city by night, or perhaps head out for a group dinner to get a first sample of Romania's unique cuisine. Often called the 'Little Paris of the Balkans', Romania's capital is known for its Belle Epoch architecture, thumping nightlife and communist sites.
Moldova is a Republic led by a president and a prime minister. Two years of military service are mandatory for all men over 18.
The majority of the people are of Moldavian-Romanian descent, with sizable Ukrainian and Russian communities as well.
Gagauz, Jewish and Bulgarian minorities comprise the remainder of the population.
Country Calling Code: 373 Capital City: Chisinau Other Cities: Tiraspol, Balti, Tighina, Rîbnita Government: Type: Republic. Climate: Temperate continental, moderate winters, warm summers. Population: 3.55 million, (2017) excluding the estimated Transnistrian population of 520,000.
Ethnic groups: Moldovans 75.8%, Minor ethnic groups: Ukrainians 8.4%, Russians 5.8%, Gagauz 4.4%, Bulgarians 1.9%.