Moldova, a mostly rural country roughly the size of Maryland, gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Romanian is the official language, although many Moldovans speak Russian after decades of Soviet rule. More than 95 percent of Moldovans are Eastern Orthodox Protestants.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union brought economic instability to Moldova, now one of the poorest countries in Europe. A quarter of Moldova’s 4 million citizens actually live in Western Europe and the U.S., and the money they send home makes up one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.
With its temperate climate and ample farmland, Moldova is a major wine producer. The country produces hundreds of tons of grapes each year and holds the Guinness Book record for the largest wine collection in Europe.
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