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National Museum of History of Moldova


The compartment „Bessarabia in the 19th Century”

(Permanent Exhibition “History and Civilization”)

This compartment of exhibition reflects the history of Bessarabia in the modern time. As a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812 (that were fought in the area of Romanian Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia and ended with the conclusion of the Treaty of Bucharest of 16 / 28 May 1812) the Russian Empire annexed the eastern part of the Principality of Moldova (the territory between the Prut and Dniester) and incorrectly extended the name of Bessarabia to all the lands between the Danube and Hotin (the Turkish rayahs of Hotin, Bender, and Ismail were also annexed). The exhibition also aims to reflect the main events which determined the evolution of Bessarabia for 106 years of foreign domination.

The compartment „Bessarabia in the 19th Century”

Administration. One of the main instruments of the imperial policy of integration, standardization, and / or Russification was the provincial administration, a phenomenon illustrated by the Statute of 1828 or "The Concise Code of Laws" by Andronache Donici (1850). The second half of the 19th century - the era of "great reforms" - have led to the establishment of "zemstvo" in Bessarabia (1869) - a body of local self-administration, focused primarily on the issues related to the daily needs of the population: taxes, welfare, education, medicine, agriculture. In this sense, it should be noted the construction of the impressive buildings of the hospital in Costiujeni and the Zemstvo Museum.

Chisinau is presented in the exhibition as a place of residence of the tsarist military administration, and then as the administrative center of the region (since 1818). Russification has influenced even the architectural look of the town. The intense process of urbanization can be traced through the exhibits: the architectural project of a house from Chisinau, town views of the times: Shumsky's House, Swiss Hotel, as well as the images of outstanding persons: Carol Schmidt, a mayor of Chisinau (1877-1903) and the city's chief architect Alexander Bernardazzi, both of which contributed greatly to the modernization of the city.

The main features of Bessarabian economy in the period between 1812 and 1918 are presented by items related to agricultural and industrial work. They confirm the almost exclusively agrarian character of the economy of the province, which to some extent also contributed to the process of Russification of the population.

Cultural and scientific life of the province is marked by the appearance of local press. It is official press written almost entirely in Russian. However, there are some publications in Romanian: "Buletinul Eparhiei Chișinăului" („Bulletin of the Eparchy of Chisinau") (1868) "Luminatorul" ("Luminary") (1913), "Cuvant Moldovenesc" ("Moldavian Word") (1915). Other original exhibits reflect the formation of educational system in Bessarabia (a photograph of a group of teachers from the Chisinau Non-Classical Secondary School, "The Initial Course of Romanian language" by I. Doncev (1865), various certificates of graduation) and the activities of some scientific societies from Bessarabia ("Report on the status and activities of the Bessarabian Church Historical and Archaeological Society", "Proceedings of the Bessarabian Society of Naturalists").

In the segment of the exhibition devoted to the rural and urban life of the province the original household items and furniture are incorporated into the reconstructions of a shop showcase, a living room, and a study of the 19th century. Russian influences in the urban environment clearly contrasts with preserved traditionalism in the villages of Bessarabia.


Independent Moldova
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Bessarabia and MASSR between the Two World Wars
Bessarabia and Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the Period between the Two World Wars
Revival of National Movement
Time of Reforms and their Consequences
Abolition of Autonomy. Bessarabia – a New Tsarist Colony
Period of Relative Autonomy of Bessarabia within the Russian Empire
Phanariot Regime
Golden Age of the Romanian Culture
Struggle for Maintaining of Independence of Moldova
Formation of Independent Medieval State of Moldova
Era of the
Great Nomad Migrations
Early Middle Ages
Iron Age and Antiquity
Bronze Age
Aeneolithic Age
Neolithic Age
Palaeolithic Age


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