Chișinău, also known formerly as Kishinev, is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova. The city is Moldova's main industrial and commercial center, and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc. According to the preliminary results of the 2014 census, the city of Chișinău is home to 492,894 residents. The estimated number of resident population in the Municipality of Chișinău (which includes other nearby communities), as of 1 January 2015, is 736,100. Chișinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova and its largest transportation hub.
Chișinău is located on the river Bâc, a tributary of the Dniester, at 47°0′N 28°55′E, with an area of 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi). The municipality comprises 635 square kilometres (245 sq mi). The city lies in central Moldova and is surrounded by a relatively level landscape with very fertile ground.
Chișinău has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) transitional with a humid subtropical climate and an oceanic climate, characterized by hot dry summers and windy cold winters. Winter temperatures are often below 0 °C (32 °F), although they rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). In summer, the average maximum temperature is approximately 25 °C (77 °F), however, temperatures sometimes reach 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F) in mid-summer in downtown. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy storms. Spring and autumn temperatures vary between 16 to 24 °C (61 to 75 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be lower than in summer but with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.
Historically, the city was home to fourteen factories in 1919.
Chișinău is the financial and business capital of Moldova. Its GDP comprises about 60% of national economy reached in 2012 the amount of 52 billion lei (US $4 billion). Thus, the GDP per capita of Chișinău stood at 227% of the Moldova's average. Chișinău has the largest and most developed mass media sector in Moldova, and is home to several related companies ranging from leading television networks and radio stations to major newspapers. All national and international banks have their headquarters located in Chișinău.
Notable sites around Chișinău include the cinema Patria, the new malls Malldova, Megapolis Mall and best-known retailers, such as N1, Fidesco, Green Hills, Fourchette and Metro. While many locals continue to shop at the bazaars, many upper class residents and tourists shop at the retail stores and at Malldova. Elăt, an older mall in the Botanica district, and Sun City, in the center, are more popular with locals.
Several amusement parks exist around the city. A Soviet era one is in the Botanica district, along the three lakes of a major park, which reaches the outskirts of the city center. Another, the modern Aventura Park, is located farther from the center. A circus, which used to be in a grand building in the Rîșcani sector, has been inactive for several years due to a poorly funded renovation project.
Chișinău's growth plan was developed in the 19th century. In 1836 the construction of the Kishinev Cathedral and its belfry was finished. The belfry was demolished in Soviet times and was rebuilt in 1997. Chișinău also displays a tremendous number of orthodox churches and 19th century buildings around the city such as Ciuflea Monastery or the Transfiguration Church.
Much of the city is made from limestone dug from Cricova, leaving a famous wine cellar there.
Many modern-style buildings have been built in the city since 1991. There are many office and shopping complexes that are modern, renovated or newly built, including Kentford, SkyTower, and Union Fenosa headquarters. However, the old Soviet-style clusters of living blocks are still an extensive feature of the cityscape.