The second-largest city of Moldova is Balti. Commonly known as the "northern capital" of our country, Balti city is also the second-largest city in terms of population, area, and economic importance. Chisinau's leadership is threatened in popularity because, nowadays, Balti plays a huge role not only as the economic epicenter but also as a touristic one. The history of Balti is typical for most of the Moldavian cities: it has been known, firstly, as a village of Balti (since 1421), but after a few hundreds of years as a big city with the same name (since 1818). Whenever you visit Moldova, I recommend you to come to Balti and feel the atmosphere of the past Moldavian times, because the city, even in the current modern circumstances, has kept its own peculiar and authentic scent, that will not leave you indifferent. Let's learn more about it!
The history of Balti city starts from the year 1421 when it has been mentioned in the official documents for the first time. Then, in the 15th century, Tsar Alexander Dobry presented his former wife Princess Ringall with several villages and “desert places”. One of these "deserts" was the Balti settlement. The next interesting note about Balti appeared in the travel notes of one Italian traveler who visited Moldova and researched our lands. Until the middle of the 18th century, Balti was a small village among the swamps, which were sources of fever, which contributed to further shrinking the population of the place. Because of that, village was even nicknamed as the "feverish nest". In 1818, the Russian emperor Alexander I visited these lands. On his way to Chisinau, he stopped in Balti, and there he received the news of his nephew's birth. Before leaving, Alexander I proclaimed Balti a city.
During the period of the interwar, Balti was almost the only big city in Moldova, that continued to be built up with the specific amount of cathedrals and historical monuments. They, fortunately, survived until nowadays and will make your trip to Balti even more special. One of the most famous cathedrals in the north of our country is St. Constantine and Elena Cathedral. This spot is not only about the holy services and prays. Besides nurturing Christian traditions and customs, the cathedral lets everyone in its beautiful small garden, where you can have a walk and rethink your common issues and questions. The answers to your most problematic questions will appear almost immediately! At least that is what the legend says.
One more interesting cultural and historical spot is dedicated to the Great ruler of Moldova - Stefan cel Mare. It is a bronze monument on the National Independence Square in the center of Balti. Nearby, you can note a splendid municipal park. Once, in April 2019, the bronze crown was stolen from the ruler's head. The robbers still are not caught. Although the crown nowadays can be noted again on Stefan's head - it's just a replica, as the authorities decided to replace it with another one. Thus, whenever you visit Balti city, be ready to take a photo with Stefan cel Mare as fast as you can. You never know if the crown will still be there next time when you visit.
Balti, being the northern capital of Moldova, grows more and more interesting and attractive for the travelers each year. With its historical monuments and great nature, the city can become a real concurrent for our main capital. To get to Balti from Chisinau, you need to take a car and follow the navigation. The road will take about 2 hours. However, to see the other landscapes of Moldova, you can take a bus or a train ticket and spend more hours on the road (about 4), seeing a lot of other places through the window.
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