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Sunday 23 March 2014

Fact 11. Hull is twinned with Chisinau.

Following the last blogs link with current events with a Russian connection today's also links with the current 'unrest in the region.

Chisinau is the capital of Moldova and became twinned with Hull in 1982, out second longest link with a twinned city.
File:Flagge-Chisinau-01-11 (Flagge).pngFile:Flag of Moldova.svg
             The City of Chisinau flag.                                            The national flag of Moldova.

In 2013 there was a population of 800,600 in greater Chisinau. 72% of the population were Moldavian or Romanian and Russians about 14%. &6% have Romanian as their first language and this is the state language. Since independence there has been much debate as to whether Romanian and Moldavian are the same language or even ethnic grouping or are distinct from each other. 16% have Russian as their first language and this is also an official language in some regions along with Gagauzia which is a Turkic language.

The city was founded in 1436 as a monastery town and in the 16th Century was part of the Otterman Empire. By the 19th Century there  was a population of 7000. Following the Russian-Turkish War in 1812 East Moldavia, called Bessarabia, was passed to Russia and Chisinau became the capital of this region, with a population of 9200. By 1862 it had become 125750. During this period the town planning and building developed on a modern grid  system with wide boulevards other than around the old town. Following anti Jewish sentiments in other parts of Russian the Jewish population swelled to 47%. Even here though there were several pograms against them.

The Orthodox Cathedral built in 1830. It was badly damaged in WW2 and the Russians pulled down the bell tower in 1960's. It was restored in 1990's.

After the Russian Revolution Bessarabia became independent and then joined Romania. The development of the city that took place over this period was destroyed in WW2. It started in 1940 when the Red Army occupied the city. That November a 7.3 earthquake caused severe damage to the city. The Nazis and their puppet Romanian Army bombarded the city but it is said that more damage was caused by the Russian  troops that were tasked with denying the Germans anything useful in their scorched earth policy. The Jewish population suffered severely like elsewhere under the control of the Germans and in August 1944 the city was retaken by the Russians following a decisive pincer movement offensive when around 100000 Germans were killed and 115000 were captured. After the war Bessarabia was integrated into the Soviet Union. 70% of it passed to the Moldavian Soviet Republic and 30% to the Ukraine  Soviet Republic. 70% of all the buildings had been destroyed over the period of the war and it was rebuilt in the Stalinist style of severe looking buildings, built quickly and cheaply. There was a quite severe earthquake in 1977 when several people were killed and independence finally came in 1991.

Modern architecture in Chisinau.

90% of Chisinau are Christians of which 88% are Orthodox. The money is Leu and there are roughly 22 to the Pound Sterling. The city is not rich compared with western Europe but is developing quickly  with universities and museums, theaters etc. Some of the sights are the Stephen III statue that was erected in 1927. Stephen stood up to and prevented the advance of the Turks further in to Europe. The statue was removed and hidden and replaced at various times in its history depending on the political climate of the times.

Stephen the Great monument
Stephen III Statue, Chisinau.

File:Triumphal arch - Chisinau.jpg
Triumphal Arch erected in 1841 and restored in 1973 and to remember the Russian-Turkish war.

With the tensions in eastern Europe over Ukraine Moldovia will be hoping problems are resolved peacefully as they have a Russian minority which could give excuses for problems with their nations borders.

I can find no reason why Chisinau and Hull became twinned, and can find no information about any recent exchanges between the two cities. I assume that the twinning occurred during  the time of a Left Wing Council in Hull. Hopefully links will be built up for the Year of the City of Culture as they have a distinctive culture that would add colour and diversity to Hull's big year

International Children's Day Celebrations in Chisinau, Moldova

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