The Soviet-era buildings of Chișinău | TOP5

The Soviet-era buildings of Chișinău | TOP5

Moldova was part of the Soviet Union between 1940 and 1991, so it’s no surprise that the country’s capital, Chișinău, is often home to the zigzagging and curving, angular and rounded ferroconcrete architectural monuments of Eastern European communism, which stand out from the greenery like timeless relics of the Soviet era.

Chișinău State Circus

Built in 1981, the Chișinău Circus entertained the city’s audiences with clowns, performers, bears, lions, and elephants for twenty-three years. Closed for renovations in 2004, it has been abandoned ever since. In the Soviet Union, circuses were important places of entertainment, the cornerstones and the pride of Soviet culture—perhaps this cultural significance explains why they were able to operate for so long, even when so many other places had to close after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Romanița House

The Romanița apartment block was part of an ambitious social housing project in the 1980s. Seventy-seven meters tall, the building’s elongated shape, its repeated arched balconies, and its saucer-like structure on the top still look futuristic today. It stands on the edge of one of Chișinău’s largest and most popular parks, the Valley of Roses (Valea Trandafirilor), and was once the tallest in the city.

Cosmos Hotel

Rising at the end of Gagarin Avenue, the Cosmos Hotel preserves the characteristics of the Soviet world even in its name, having begun construction in 1974, just as the Soviet-American space race was ending. In the 1980s, Moldova was a popular tourist destination, so for nearly a decade after its 1983 opening, the hotel welcomed a vast number of guests. The rhythm of the Cosmos’ repetitive angular elements and its balconies reminiscent of spaceship cabin windows are striking reminders of Soviet-era architecture.

Casa de Moda

On the avenue named after the Moldavian prince Stefan III (Ștefan cel Mare), close to the city center and not far from the Triumphal Arch, the statue of Pushkin, and the country’s only McDonald’s, this 1970s fashion mall is notable for the wave-like structure of its façade.

Gates of Chişinău

Situated next to the zoo and the botanical gardens, the stepped buildings were built in the late 70s and early 80s, with a height of 70 meters. On Dacia Avenue from the airport to the city center, Chișinău’s iconic twin buildings known as the City Gate are visible from a great distance, greeting those arriving from Chișinău International Airport and bidding farewell to those leaving.