The Full Wiki

Bălţi: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Bălţi ( ; , [ ] and [ ], [ ], [ ]) is a city in Moldovamarker, the second largest in terms of area and economic importance (after Chişinăumarker), and the third largest in terms of population (after Chişinău and Tiraspolmarker). The city is one of the five Moldovan localities having the status of municipalities. Bălţi, sometimes also called "the northern capital", is the major industrial, cultural, commercial centre and transportation hub in the north of the country. It is situated north of the capital Chişinăumarker, and is located on the river Răut, a tributary of the Dniestermarker, on a hilly landscape in the Bălţi steppe.


The word "bălţi" (pl. of Romanian sing. "baltă") means "swamps", "puddles", or "pools". English <-> Romanian Online Dictionary - a Bilingual Dictionary from ECTACO It is believed that the city had been named thus because it was founded on a hill dominating the wetland formed where the creek Răuţel ("Little Răut") falls into the river Răut.

In addition to the official name Bălţi and the Russian name Бельцы (Beltsy), between 1940-1989 in Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, and after 1989 in Russian, the name was/is also rendered in Cyrillic as Бэлць ( ).

History and symbols

Coat of arms

Current coat of arms
The current coat of arms and flag of Bălţi, elaborated by Silviu Tabac from the Moldovan State Commission for Heraldry, have been adopted by the Municipal Council in April 2006.

A shield, with alternating six silvery strips (symbolizing water), and six blue strips (symbolizing earth) form the background (symbolizing the name of the city). The central element of the shield is an archer in red clothes, in the military outfit (yellow) of Stephen III of Moldavia times (15th century). The archer represents the medieval military recruitment, formed by local free peasants.

On top of the shield there is a silver crown in the shape of fortress wall, with seven towers. (The crown represents the fact that the locality is a city. Apart from Bălţi, only the capital Chişinăumarker, and Tiraspolmarker are allowed to have seven towers, while other cities must limit this number to three or five.) The shield is supported by two rearing silver horses. (The white horse is the traditional symbol of the region, which was part of Iaşi County before 1812.) Under the shield there is a ribbon with the Latin inscription CIDANT ARMA TOGAE, meaning arms yield to togas.


The city's flag is composed of two horizontal strips: a blue one on top, and a silver one on bottom. The shield and archer elements from the coat of arms are also present in the centre of the flag.


In the Middle Ages, the archer was featured on the coats of arms of the region. In the 19th century, the city and district coats of arms featured also a horse head. In the early 20th century, a shield representing an archer, standing on a hill, the sun, and three bullrush sticks (elements quite sufficient to identify the place where Bălţi is situated in the landscape of the north of Moldova) formed the coat of arms of the Bălţi county, while these and horse elements - the coat of arms of the city proper.


Bălţi is situated on the tops and slopes of three hills and in two small valleys. The land in the north of Moldovamarker is very fertile, mostly consisting of black earth or chernozem. Several extraction sites for raw materials used in the construction industry are also found in the vicinity of Bălţi. The creeks Răuţelmarker, Copăceanca, and Flămândă cross the territory of the municipality, and flow into the river Răut. Also, several lakes are situated in Bălţi: City Lake, Komsolskoe Lake, Chirpicinoe Lake, Strâmba Lake.

The all-time maximum temperature registered in the city was , the all-time minimum . There are 450 to 550 mm of annual rainfall, mostly during summer and fall. Winds are generally from the north-east or the north-west at about 2–5 m/s. The city is situated in the 7th zone of seismic activity , with a well-felt earthquake (generally without any serious structural damage to the city's buildings) striking every 35 years on average.

The municipality covers an area of , of which the city proper , the village Elizavetamarker (an eastern suburb) , and the village Sadovoemarker (a north-western suburb) . Of these, an important portion ( ) is agriculturally cultivated.

The city itself is located on portions of three hills. The river Răut separates one of the hills to the north-east, the slopes of this hill are occupied by the neighbourhood Slobozia. Răut's affluent Răuţel separates another hill in the south, the slopes of which are the Podul Chişinăului district. The largest of the three hills dominates the valleys of the creek and river, and contains the downtown area and the old town, and the neighbourhoods Pământeni, Dacia, 6th district, 8th district, the city's main industrial area, and Molodova neighbourhood. The top of this hill is occupied by the medical facilities district. Bălţul Nou neighbourhood is situated in the valley of the Răuţel creek.A canoe-kayak channel, Autogara neighbourhood, 9th district, the area of the former Bălţi concentration camp, and the Bălţi City Airportmarker are situated in the valley of the Răut river.

The names of city neighborhoods reflect different historic influences, such as names of 19th century suburbs that are currently within city limits: Păminteni, Slobozia, Molodova, Podul Chişinăului, Bălţul Nou; others are known by their Sovietmarker-era names: 6th district, 8th district, 9th district. A neighbourhood in the northern part of the city is called Dacia, and is colloquially sometimes referred to as BAM. A district in the eastern part is known as Autogara.



Cultural venues in the city include:
  • Vasile Alecsandri theatre
  • the oldest surviving building, a two-stories boyar house, presently right in the centre of the downtown area, dates back to 1609, but it has been re-constructed and re-modelled many times with total disregard to conservation to the extent that now it simply looks like an odd two-storey building.
  • Monument of Stephen the Great (2003)
  • others (see down through the text)



There are parks in Bălţi.

Culture and contemporary life

Entertainment and performing arts

  • Vasile Alecsandri theatre
  • "Eugene Ionesco" Theatre
  • "Licurici" Republican Puppet Theatre
  • "B.P.Hajdeu" Republican Drama-Muzical Theatre
  • "Mihai Eminescu" National Theatre
  • "Luceafarul" Republican Theatre
  • Municipal Theatre "Satiricus I.L. Caragiale"

Museums and art galleries
  • "Exhibition of the Union of painters "Constantin Brâncuşi"
  • Artum Art Gallery


The night life in the centre of Bălţi is mainly concentrated around the central Vasile Alecsandri square, which, together with adjoining Independence street forms a large esplanade. Numerous cafés and restaurants with international cuisine can be found there, and most of the city's feasts take place in the area. One of the favourite pastimes of residents of Bălţi is an evening stroll along the Independence street and Vasile Alecsandri square.

Bălţi is home to two of the biggest clubs in the north of Moldova. The Soho Club, 500m from the city centre, in the Palace of Culture (Convention Centre) of the "Răut" Company, is known for its 1980-style parties on Thursdays. The A-Club, located near the Bălţi-Slobozia Railway Station, is known for its after parties on weekends for younger visitors, as well as an after-work Wednesday party.


Civil society

Bălţi is a source of civil society development both locally and nationwide. Bălţi is home to numerous independent and apolitical organisations such as Second Breath, one of the Moldovan NGO for care of socially vulnerable persons, Tinerii pentru Dreptul la Viata ("Youth for the right to live"), a youth organisation.


Cultural trivia

The Yiddish song “Beltz, Mayn Shtetele” is a moving evocation of a happy childhood spent in the shtetl (little town) Beltz. Its composer Alexander Olshanetsky (1892-1946) had moved to the US from Bessarabia in 1921, the lyrics are by Jacob Jacobs (1892-1972).


Most of the city's industry centres on food processing, notably in the production of flour, sugar, and wine. Manufacturing of furniture and agricultural machinery also plays an important role in Bălţi's economy.

The service sector has developed after 1989 to cover the basic needs of the population.


This city is an important economic centre, with manufacturing playing an important role. Besides traditional for Moldova wine making, sugar, meat processing, flour milling, oil production, and light industry in general, Bălţi is the centre for manufacturing of agricultural machinery, of various construction materials, fur, textile, chemical and furniture industries. A mammoth Soviet-type conglomerate 8,000-worker factory (called "Lenin" before 1989 and "Răut" afterwards) produced a large variety of machine building products for consumer or industry use, from irons and telephone sets to sonar equipment for Soviet military submarines. However, due to swift changes in the economic environment after the breakdown of the Soviet planned economy system, the manufacturing base of the city has severely suffered. Nevertheless, more recently, new economic ties are being created, with collaboration and direct investment mostly from the European Union.

Energy and utilities

The main energy supply of the city comes from the local thermoelectric plant CET Nord, which uses a variety of imported carbon-based fuel (easier to obtain and cheaper than oil). The city is well-connected by high-voltage lines, and there are recent plans for the construction of a new line. Russian-imported natural gas is distributed to households. Winter heating is partially distributed centrally throughout the city by pipelines. Although the city was often left without electricity and heating during the economic upheaval of 1994-2001, it has experienced no major shortages or interruptions since then. The water (which is also drinkable) is supplied into the pipes from a network of local artesian wells (which however are insufficient) and from the river Dniestermarker through a 60 km long pipeline connecting Bălţi to Sorocamarker (which however is not economically feasible ).


Bălţi has several major shopping chain outlets, such as the German Metro Group AG, Ukrainian Fourchette and Moldovan Fidesco.

Numerous shops, can be found in the central (retail), eastern (en gros) and northern (retail) parts of the city. The biggest shopping galleries are located in the centre and in the Dacia district (north) of the city. Souvenir boutiques are mostly found around the central square Vasile Alecsandri. The central marketmarker, busy from early morning, and its historical building offer just about anything from genuine butcher's products, all varieties of fresh vegetables and fruits, to a new dog.

A variety of small private stores and supermarkets opened. Also, there are six public-owned and four private-owned markets; these are places where small-scale businessmen or women can for a tax trade different goods: imported or local-made clothing (quite often counterfeit) or agricultural products from farms in the villages neighbouring Bălţi. More recently several supermarket chains have opened stores in the city.

Tourist industry

  • Hotel Bălţi (former Basarabia)

Hotel Tinereţe

Health facilities

The city has a big Republican hospital, another multifunctional municipal hospital, a children's hospital, and a range of other medical facilities (smaller clinics and hospitals, as well as buildings, named poly-clinics, gathering doctors offices):

  • Republican Multifunctional Hospital
  • Municipal Hospital/Clinic
  • Children's Municipal Hospital/Clinic
  • Emergency Medical Services Centre (with subsections throughout the city)
  • Tuberculosis Clinic
  • Hospital for Mental Illnesses
  • Hospital of Moldavian Railroads
  • Network of Family Doctors
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Private Hospital/Clinic Centre of Laser Therapy "Incomed"
  • Dental Clinic


According to the 2004 Moldovan Census, data submitted by the Department of Statistics and Sociology of the Republic of Moldova, the population of municipality of Bălţi was 127,561, of which the population of the city itself was 122,669, and that of the suburban villages of Elizavetamarker and Sadovoemarker was of 3,523, respectively 1,369. Of these, 58,418 were men and 69,143 were women.

Ethnic Groups, 2004:
Ethnicity Number %
Moldovan 66,877 52.4 %
Ukrainian 30,288 23.7 %
Russian 24,526 19.2 %
Romanian 2,258 1.8 %
Pole 862 0.7 %
Jewish 411 0.3 %
Bulgarian 297 0.2 %
Roma 272 0.2 %
Gagauz 243 0.2 %
other 1,527 1.2 %
not declared 183 0.1 %

The census includes at least some Moldovans who had been living abroad over one year at the time of the census, and the precision of numbers about nationality/ethnicity and language is questionable, since some enumerators apparently encouraged respondents to declare that they were "Moldovan" rather than "Romanian", and even within a single family there may have been confusion about these terms, which designate a single ethnic group.

The population of Bălţi in accordance with available census data.
Year 1897 1930 1959 1970 1979 1989 2004
Population 18,500 30,570 67,666 105,505 126,950 161,475 127,561

In 1897, the first Russian Empire Census was carried out, in 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989, Soviet Unionmarker population census, and in 1930 a census of Romaniamarker (according to which, of the 30,570 inhabitants of the city, 14,200 were Jews, 8,900 Romanians, 5,400 Russians and Ukrainians, 1,000 Poles; 14,400 were Christian Orthodox, 14,250 Judaic, 1,250 Romano-Catholic). In 1939 another Romanian census was carried out, but its data was never processed because of the beginning of the World War II. The decrease in population in the 1990s was also affected by the emigration of most of the Jewish population to Israelmarker and other developed countries.


At the last census, 90.7% of the population (110,961 people) identified themselves as Christian Orthodox, 2.1% (2,609 people) as Baptist, 0.8% (990 people) as Catholic, 0.5% (576 people) as Seventh-day Adventist, 0.4% (487 people) as Pentecostal, 0.2% (296 people) as Methodist, 0.1% (166 people) as Evangelicalist, 0.09% (106 people) as Muslim, 0.06% (77 people) as Presbyterianist, 0.04% (47 people) as Old Believers, 0.04% (44 people) as Reformed, 1.8% (2161 people) as followers of other religions, 0.4% (544 people) as atheist, and 2.7% (3,304) as non-religious.

Social aspects

The post-independence decrease in the city population is mainly due to economic and demographic situation of Moldova, which prompted a wave of permanent or temporary emigration.

Remittances from the migrant workers account for 30% of Moldova's GDP, the highest percentage in all of Europe. Often, elderly relatives and children of these workers are left to live in Bălţi. Due to that, in Bălţi, many children are left with minimal parental supervision for months, or more.

The majority of the population of Bălţi is bilingual (Romanian and Russian), but some people only know one of these two languages. Many people in the city also understand and/or speak Ukrainian.


Bălţi Municipality is a territorial unit of Moldovamarker (one of its 3 municipalities not subordinated to other territorial units; it has the status of municipality since 1994), containing the city itself, and the villages of Elizavetamarker and Sadovoemarker.

The Mayor Office ( ) is headed by the Mayor ( ), and administers the local affairs, while the Municipal Council serves as a consultative body with some powers of general policy determination. It is composed of 35 council members elected every four years. As a result of the last regional elections of local public administration held in June 2007, the Communist Party (PCRM) holds 21 mandates, 11 mandates are held by representatives of other parties, and 3 mandates by independents. There are two factions in the Municipal Council: the PCRM faction (21 members) and "Meleag" (Romanian for "Native land") faction (3 independents and 4 representatives of different parties).

The mayor of the municipality is elected for four years. Vasile Panciuc, PCRM, is the incumbent from 2001 and was re-elected twice: in 2003 during the anticipated elections (as a result of a new reform of the administrative division in Moldova), and in 2007.


The 1st motorized infantry brigade "Moldova" of the Moldovan army (out of a total of 6 brigades - three infantry, one artillery, one airborne and one anti-aircraft) is located in Bălţi. A unit of Sovietmarker "Tochka-M" short-range rockets, each carrying 500 kg of conventional explosive, was known to be based in the city. No up to date information is available.


Primary and Secondary Education

There are 13 high schools (Lyceums):

  • "Dimitrie Cantemir" Lyceum
  • "Nikolai Gogol" Lyceum
  • "Alexander Pushkin" Lyceum
  • "Vasile Alecsandri" Lyceum
  • "Mihai Eminescu" Lyceum
  • "Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu" Lyceum
  • "Maxim Gorky" Lyceum
  • "George Coşbuc" Lyceum
  • "Ştefan cel Mare" Lyceum
  • "Ion Creangă" Lyceum
  • "Lucian Blaga" Lyceum
  • "Mikhail Lomonosov" Lyceum
  • "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" Lyceum

6 professional institutions ( ) offering the last 3 years of high school education and 2 years post-high school technical education:

Alos, 14 secondary schools (numbered 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 23), 7 professional or professional-technical schools (numbered 1 through 7), and 3 boarding school, including one for visually impaired are located in the city.

Higher Education

These schools teach either in Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, English or are mixed. The later case was inherited from the Sovietmarker system, which provided for education in Russian and Romanian (Moldovan) languages, where mixed schools were created with the administration being carried out in both languages.

Historical monuments and architecture

Monument to Taras Shevchenko
  • Saint Nicolas Cathedral (1795)
  • Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (1884)
  • Saint Gregory Armenian Church (1916)
  • Saint Constantine and Helen Cathedral (1935)
  • Saint Parascheva Church (1934)
  • Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (1929)
  • Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel (1933)
  • Bălţi Bishopric (1934)
  • Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre
  • Matrimonial Palace
  • History and Ethnography Museum
  • A monument of Stefan the Great (2003)
  • Bust of Mihai Eminescu
  • Bust of Vasile Alecsandri
  • Bust of Taras Shevchenko (2001)
  • A monument to soldiers killed in Afghanistanmarker (1999)



Bălţi was and is an important transportation hub of Moldovamarker. The best inter-city transportation is done by coach or van (privately or publicly owned). 135 km of Sovietmarker-style highway (portions in good or fair condition) connect the city to the capital Chişinăumarker. By road one can also reach Ukrainemarker (in about 2 hours) to the north or to the east, and Romaniamarker (in about 1 hour) to the south-west by the Sculenimarker-Sculenimarker crossing point, which leads to the Romanian city of Iaşimarker (104 km from Bălţi), or to the west by the Stâncamarker-Costeştimarker crossing.

The Bălţi Inter-City Coach Station provides for regular bus connections throughout Moldova, as well as for numerous European and international connections (Eurolines).


Regular railroad connection to Ocniţa (north), Rezina (east) and Unghenimarker (south-east), as well as to Chişinăumarker exists, however it takes today 6 hours to cover the 200 km to Chişinău. The railroad lines are not electrified, and contain only a single track between stations. Since Moldova gained independence, the railroad lines became the responsibility of Calea Ferată din Moldova (Railways of Moldova) state company.

There are two railroad stations: Bălţi-City Station and Bălţi-Slobozia Station (the name of a city neighborhood), which both serve internal and international traffic.


The city also has two operational airports. One of them, Bălţi International Airportmarker, 15 km north of the city center (near the village of Corlăteni), was built in 1980s, modern by Soviet standards, is officially certified. Large aircraft can land (one 2,200 meters runway), it operates both charter passenger and cargo flights. As of October 2007, it does not operate regular passenger flights.

A second airport, for small aircraft, Bălţi-City Airportmarker, is located on the Eastern outskirts of the city. It was the most important airport in the surrounding region during World War II, but currently is only used for municipal and regional public services, agriculture, emergency services and pilot training.

Public transportation in the city

Passenger transport in Bălţi is mainly carried out by the Bălţi Trolleybus Authority and Bălţi Bus Authority, as well as by private bus, minibus and taxi companies. The total amount of transported passengers in Bălţi for 2004 was 35,4 million passengers.

There are around 25 minibus lines in Bălţi and its agglomeration. The Bălţi Bus Authority (B.B.A.) provides for 10 regular bus routes in Bălţi and suburbs. There are also private bus and minibus services, which are not regulated by the B.B.A.

There are 3 trolleybus lines in Bălţi, the fourth line being planned to be constructed in 2007-2008. Most trolleybuses used by the Bălţi Trolleybus Authority (B.T.A.) are different modifications of the Soviet ZiU-682, one Czech Škoda-14TrM, three Belorussian АКСМ-20101 and seven "Trans-Alfa" 5298.00 (375)
Line Length In service from Number of stations Number of cars on route Serviced by
Quarter "Molodovo" – Airport Bălţi-Oraş 16.8 km / 10.44 miles 1972 20 4 B.T.A.
North train station – Quarter "Dacia" 17.0 km / 10.56 miles 1972? 30 16 B.T.A.
SA "Basarabia Nord" – Bus station 14.0 km / 8.7 miles 1972? 14 8 B.T.A.

Bălţi offers a choice of taxi services, most of which operate with a fixed fee in the inner city (ca. 2 euros). Three taxi companies are branches of Moldovan national companies, two taxi companies are Bălţi registered businesses. The "per km/time" fees is currently being enforced by the government through difficult negotiations with taxi trade unions.

Notable people


During the 1980s, the constituency that included the city delegated to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Unionmarker the Soviet marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, one of the most preeminent hard-liners in the Soviet power system. He was one of the close allies of the 1991 putchists that tried to overthrow Gorbachev.

International Relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Bălţi is twinned with:


Notes and References

  1. In medieval Moldavia Arcaşii lui Ştefan (Stephen's archers) - free peasants paying tax only to the country's ruler and ready to serve at the first call - formed the first line of defence against invading enemies, and often had to defend their villages and families themselves, or hide them in the forests, before the Principality's army would come to relief. Throughout the hilly part (i.e. most) of Moldova, many summits have an additional man-made earth addition of up to 10 meters in some places, where warning fires were located in the early Middle Ages. One can easily recognize these spots on the Moldovan, now deforested, mainly cultivated landscape, all the way to the banks of the river Dniester, across from which the Asian steppe begins, and can observe a repeating peculiarity: From each of the summits the otherwise obscured neighbourhood is very well observable, with at least 3 other such spots in clear view, although possibly at a couple hours' walking distance.
  2. In ancient Rome, a toga was the loose outer garment worn by citizens in public.
  3. Health institutions on
  5. official ethnicity statistics
  6. Experts Offering to Consult the National Statistics Bureau in Evaluation of the Census Data, Moldova Azi, May 19, 2005, story attributed to AP Flux. Retrieved October 11, 2005.
  7. official census data
  8. official religion statistics
  9. Romanii din strainatate vor sa revina in tara
  10. Bălţi schools

External links

Private and commercial

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address