In the northern part, fertile black soil prevails and the primary crop is sugar beet.
In the central and southern zones, wine making and tobacco growing are widespread.
The main rivers are the Dniestr in the east and the Prut in the west. In the 1989 census, 64.5 percent of the population was Moldovan, 13.8 percent Ukrainian, 13 percent Russian, 3.5 percent Gagauz (a Christian Orthodox Turkic people), 2 percent Bulgarian, 1.5 percent Jewish, and 1.7 percent other nationalities, mainly Belarussians, Poles, Greeks, Germans, and Rom (Gypsies).
Both originate in the Carpathians; whereas the Dniestr flows directly into the Black Sea, the Prut joins the Danube at the southern tip of the country. Although the official number of Rom is only 11,600, the real number probably is 100,000.
Gagauz and Bulgarians have concentrated settlements in the southern Budjak region.
The Russian population, for the most part workers and professionals brought to Moldova after World War II, is concentrated in Chişinău, Bălţi, and the industrial zones of Transdniestria.
It includes the Gagauz Autonomous Region in the south and the disputed Transdniestrian region in the east.
The Republic of Moldova is a landlocked country between Romania and Ukraine that covers 13,199 square miles (33,845 square kilometers).Moldova is on a fertile plain with small areas of hill country in the center and north.Only 9 percent of its territory is covered by forest, mostly in the middle.In the eastern part of Moldova, which became the Russian province of Bessarabia in 1812, the language continued to be called Moldovan and the Cyrillic alphabet was used until Bessarabia joined the Romanian kingdom in 1918.After the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia in 1940–1944, the Cyrillic alphabet was reintroduced.The temperate continental climate in the center of the country, with long warm summers, relatively mild winters, and high rainfall, is favorable for agriculture.