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"Capital of Obscurity – Chisinau: A Non-Visitor’s Guide" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2020 10:14 p.m. PST

"Many years ago, I tried to stump a close friend and Cambridge educated historian with a trivia question. My question arose while we were discussing geography, specifically national capitals. My friend had always been dismissive of Eastern Europe as an underdeveloped region full of strange peoples who historically could not get their acts together. For him, the region was filled with superstitious peasants speaking unintelligible languages. Four decades of communism had only made matters worse, adding to a long history of despotic dictatorships. All this banter aside, our discussion turned to a sort of impromptu trivia quiz.

As I began to rattle off one Eastern European nation after another, he named each of their capitals with a startling indifference, as if to say: "Do you really think I don't know the capital of Albania?" I should have known better. After all, this was a man who read the World Almanac while eating dinner. It was not long before I was running short of nations. Then I stumbled upon the one country that I thought just might have a capital that would escape his base of knowledge. At the very least this country might make him pause while deep in thought before excavating an answer from his memory bank. I said with barely disguised glee, "Moldova." He paused, but only for a second before saying "Chisinau." After that the game ended.

Anyone who can name Chisinau as the capital of Moldova is either an academic, a Moldovan or a madman. Of all the European capitals, Chisinau is by far the most obscure. How could it not be? Most people have little idea where Moldova is to begin with, let alone its capital. Those who do, myself included, have been known to get it mixed up with Moldavia, which is one of the three main regions of Romania. To make matter more confusing, Moldavia borders Moldova. Furthermore, Chisinau used to be a provincial capital in the Soviet Union's most obscure republic before 1991. Moldova (Bessarabia when it was part of pre-1940 Romania) was never seen as an independent nation until the Soviet Union collapsed. For geo-political and economic reasons Moldova was not reattached to Romania. Thus, Chisinau ended up as a national capital. Today it is the sixty-first largest city in Europe and without a doubt, the most obscure capital…"
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Chuckaroobob02 Jul 2020 8:43 p.m. PST

My bro was there when he was in the peace corps 25 years ago. Not sure what the capital of East Transdneistria is….

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2020 12:28 p.m. PST



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