Moldova, which is also called Moldavia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe; bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. Its capital city is ChiÈinÄu.
The country's cultural heritage is marked by numerous churches and monasteries built by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great in the 15th century, by the works of the later renaissance Metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei, and those of scholars such as Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin, Nicolae Milescu, Dimitrie Cantemir and Ion Neculce. Moldavian culture is also evident in its exotic cuisine which happens to be similar to that of neighboring Romania with influences from Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian cuisine. Main dishes include beef, pork, potatoes, cabbage, and a variety of cereals.
Moldova is well famed for its established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 148,500 hectares (367,000 acres) of which 107,800 hectares (266,000 acres) are used for commercial production. The remaining 40,700 hectares (101,000 acres) are vineyards planted in villages around the houses used to make home-made wine, or "vin de casa". Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations.
Fun fact: In 2009, Moldova was ranked the twenty-second largest wine producing country in the world.