Gagauzia: The Ultimate Travel Guide
Updated: Nov 17, 2019
Gagauzia is an autonomous region of Moldova, not far from from the border with Transnistria. In fact, this autonomous region was a short-lived unrecognized country as well - shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Its inhabitants are the Gagauz people. The Gagauz people speak a Turkic language, adhere to the Orthodox Christian faith and live in a Romanian (Moldovan) speaking country.
Unlike Transnistria however, Gagauzia was able to successfully resolve the conflict with Moldova and integrate with the country as an autonomous region.
The region is filled with a large number of authentic Soviet monuments and other imagery - a physical reminded of better days in a place which is largely nostalgic for its communist and Soviet past.
Why Should I Travel to Gagauzia?
Gagauzia is a very unique region of Eastern Europe. It is an almost forgotten region with a language that has only around 200,000 speakers worldwide.
Visiting this autonomous region can be coupled with a tour to Transnistria, as the two are only a short drive away. Most of the streets, squares and monuments in the region have not changed since the time of the Soviet Union and serve as great history relics for curious travellers.
Gagauzia is a truly authentic destination with interesting sights, culture and unique tastes. In addition, it is an easy extension to a tour of Transnistria.
Getting to Gagauzia
Getting to Gagauzia is simple. Upon arriving in Moldova, travellers can make their way to the autonomous region from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.
This involves taking a bus to Valea Perjei (1 hr 18 min, every 30 minutes) from Chisinau and changing to another bus to Comrat, the capital of Gagauzia.
If already in Transnistria, the autonomous region can also be visited by bus from Tiraspol. Alternatively, travellers can join a guided tour to the region, with all transportation included in the tour.
Is Gagauzia Safe?
Gagauzia as a tourist destination is considered quite safe. Locals have a very hospitable culture and tourists don't have many issues to report.
Tourism in Gagauzia
The tourism industry in Gagauzia is still very new and undeveloped. Moldova itself is one of the least visited country in Europe and most of those tourists generally stay in and around the capital, Chisinau.
As such, only a small number of tourists to Moldova actually venture to this little-known region called Gagauzia. A true off-the-beaten-path destination in Eastern Europe.
Do I Need a Visa to Enter Gagauzia?
As Gagauzia is an autonomous region within Moldova, Gagauzia itself does not require any addition travel permits to that of Moldova. The good news is that citizens of the USA, Canada, the UK, the EU, Australia and New Zealand all have visa-free access to Moldova and Gagauzia!
Top Things to See in Gagauzia
1) Monument of Vladimir Lenin
Just like Transnistria, Gagauzia is a remnant of its Soviet past. The country is home to a large collection of authentic Soviet statues and monuments which have not been taken down like in many other post-Soviet states.
2) Kara Gani Winery
For travellers who are eager to get a taste of local food and wine, this family wine courtyard is a must-visit!
3) National Gagauz History Museum
If you want to know more about the history of the region and its people, this is a great place to start.
4) Sankt loan Botezator
Picturesque church in the most beautiful part of central Comrat, the capital of Gagauzia.
Food in Gagauzia
Gagauz cuisine is a reminder of the history of its inhabitants. A emphasis on dairy products and meat can be traced to the Gagauz people’s nomadic past, while the importance of grains reflects their current farming lifestyle with roots in the Soviet Union.
The Gagauz maintain a unique method of processing milk and preserving meat, curds, and sheep milk cheese in animal skins. From a culinary perspective, Gagauz cuisine has a lot to offer curious travellers with adventurous palates.
Where to Stay in Gagauzia
Gagauzia can be toured over the course of a few days, or even in just a day tour. If you do decide however that you would like to stay overnight in Gagauzia, you need to know where to stay.
In addition to local homestays, traditional-style hotels and apartments, international hotel chains have begun to enter the Gagauz market.
The region is home to hotels that give foreign tourists the option of staying in Western-style accommodations during their short time in this autonomous region.
Travellers can opt to go down the more traditional route and get a better feeling of this region staying in a local AirBnB, which operates in the region, or at smaller boutique type accommodations.
Other local accommodations such as the Gagauz Sofrasi, give travellers more of a classy and traditional type of experience.
When booking a tour, we are able to accommodate any type of accommodation the traveller wishes to experience in Gagauzia.
Who are the Gagauz People?
The Gagauz people are a Turkic people living mostly in Gagauzia, Moldova, southwestern Ukraine, northeastern Bulgaria, Greece, Brazil, the United States and Canada. Although their are of Turkic decent, unlike the majority of Turkic people around the world, the Gagauz actually practise Eastern Orthodox Christianity, as opposed to Islam.
What Language is Spoken in Gagauzia?
The language spoken in Gagauzia is the Gagauz language. The Gagauz language is a Turkic language spoken by the Gagauz people of Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey.
It is the official language of the Autonomous Region of Gagauzia in Moldova. The language belongs to the Oghuz branch of Turkic languages, alongside Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Crimean Tatar, and Turkish.
However, many Gagauz people can also speak Moldovan (Romanian) and Russian.
What Currency is Used in Gagauzia?
Since Gagauzia is part of Moldova, the autonomous region uses the national Moldovan currency called the Moldovan Lei.
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Updated: November, 2019