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Moldova is an integral part of Europe and has a rich history. This country is situated in the contact zone between different cultural and historic trends – Carpathian-Balkan, Central-European and Eurasian, and during its multi-millennial history harmoniously absorbed diverse cultural traditions of Proto-Indo-Europeans and archaic Indo-European peoples, including the Thracians, Slavs, Celts, Goths, Huns, etc., thus obtaining specific and unparalleled features.
On the territory of the Republic of Moldova we find a special concentration of historical and archeological monuments (approximately eight thousand) which have a cultural and historical value not only at the national level, but also in the general context of human European values.
The territory of Moldova was populated from ancient times. Numerous archeological vestiges confirm the existence of human beings in these places since the epoch of the Inferior Paleolithic (approximately 500 thousand years ago).
At the end of the Vth and beginning of the IVth millennium B.C., in the Eneolithic epoch, the Cucuteni-Tripolie, one of the most remarkable cultures, was formed, with incomparable performances in the field of art of those times.
The Getho-Dacian civilization is dated back to the VI-I centuries B.C., and was spread throughout Moldova. Since 105 B.C. - after the conquest of Dacia by Emperor Trajan, the local population was romanized, taking from the conquerors their language and advanced culture of the Roman Empire.
After the evacuation of the Roman legions from these territories (in 271, in the reign of Aurelian), there began the “migrating nations” epoch (Goths, Huns, Avars, Slavs), which ended up with the formation of the Moldovan feudal state in 1359. Bogdan I is considered to be its founder.
In 1812 as a result of the Russian-Turkish Peace Treaty signed in Bucharest, the eastern part of Moldova situated between the Prut and Nistru rivers, named Bessarabia, was annexed to the Russian Empire, thus being a Russian province until 1918.
In 1918 the supreme authority of the Bessarabian state – Sfatul Tarii, decided to unite with Romania. This unity lasted till 1940, the year when the country was annexed by the Soviet Union as a consequence of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of 1939. Moldova functioned as a territorial entity within the USSR until the last decade of the XXth century.
Culture of the Republic of Moldova
The culture of the Republic of Moldova represents a large gamut of cultural activities: literature, theatre, music, fine arts, architecture, cinematography, broadcasting and television, photographic art, design, circus, folk art, archives and libraries, books editing, scientific research, cultural tourism and so on.
Three concert performing institutions carry out the academic concert activity: ”Serghei Lunchevici” National Philharmonic Society (2 concert halls, symphony orchestra, choral chapel, folk songs group); Organ Hall (chamber orchestra and chamber choir); National Palace („Moldova-concert” Concert and Impresario Organization: artistic formations of music and folk dance, light music).
The Republic of Moldova has a total of 22 theatrical performance institutions: 18 drama theatres, an opera and ballet theatre, an ethno-folkloric theatre and 2 puppet shows. 17 are situated in the country capital and 5 – in other areas. The most important theaters successfully participate in festivals abroad, organize international festivals inside the country, tours to France, Italy, USA, Russia, Japan, China, Romania, other countries.
The term „fine arts” naturalized in the Republic of Moldova includes three genres: painting (monumental and easel painting), graphics (easel, books, posters, advertisement and others) and sculpture („en ronde-bosse” plastic, bas-relief, high relief, perspective relief etc.). Over the last years in Moldova there appeared „video-art”, „kinetic sculpture”, „computer graphics”, „body-art”, „performance” and others.
The folk art is being represented by a reach variety of genres, types and species. The most of them are referred to the sphere of „decorative arts”: ceramics, popular carpet, traditional clothes, stonework and woodwork, leather, rod, metal working, popular toys etc.
Exhibition halls: „Constantin Brancusi” Exhibition Center, Moldova National Museum of Arts, private exhibition galleries.
The Moldovan folklore has a strong basis of Dacian-Latin origin and embraces a system of popular confessions and customs, which are specifically defined by means of music and dance, oral poetry and prose, mythology, rites, popular theatre etc. This cultural inheritance in all its manifestations represents a large area of national art of special value, which not only preceded its cultural forms but also continued to develop in the modern era conferring to the professional culture its ethnical originality.
The Republic of Moldova has an important cultural inheritance of incontestable value: archeological sites, dwelling houses, country estates, fortresses, cloisters / monasteries and churches, monumental art works, monuments and technical equipment, building ensembles – squares, streets, quarters, villages and urban centers or traditional architecture ethnographic areas.
The mobile cultural inheritance is owned by 87 country museums, of them 5 museums and 7 branches are directly subordinated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism; 66 of them – to local public authorities. Their funds include about 700.000 units which are a part of national and world culture and history.
The archeological inheritance of the Republic of Moldova is reach in ancient works of art. There were discovered sculptural models of as far back as the late Paleolithic age. The ceramics of „Cucuteni-Tripolie” culture from the Eneolithic Age is attested in several areas of the Republic of Moldova and it has incontestable artistic valences representing a whole mythology in pictures.
Culture of ethnic minorities
In the Republic of Moldova there are many ethno-cultural associations. 18 minorities – the Ukrainians, Russians, Bulgarians, Gagauzians, Jews, Byelorussians, Poles, Germans, Gypsies, Greeks, Lithuanians, Armenians, Azerbaijanians, Tatars, Chuvashs, Italians, Koreans, Uzbeks – have associations which operate under the form of communities, societies, unions, centers, cultural foundations etc.
By virtue of the principle of equality and universality of cultural legislation, the ethnic minorities have the possibility to develop their traditional culture and national art. In Chisinau there is the Russian Dramatic Theatre „A.P.Cehov”; in Ceadir-Lunga (ATU Gagauzia) – the Gagauzian Dramatic Theatre „Mihail Cekir”; in Taraclia – the Theater of the Bulgarians from Bessarabia „Olimpii Panov”.