Topography and Drainage
Most of Moldova's approximately 33,700 square
territory (about the size of Maryland) cover a hilly plain
deeply by many streams and rivers. Geologically, Moldova
primarily on deep sedimentary rock that gives way to
crystalline outcroppings only in the north, where higher
elevations are found on the margins of the foothills of
The gently rolling Balti Plain (Stepa Balti, in
Bel'tskaya ravnina, in Russian) in northern Moldova (lying
ninety to 600 meters in elevation in the north) gives way
thick, deciduous forests in the Codri Hills (Podisul
Romanian; Kodry, in Russian), averaging 350 to 400 meters
elevation, where the most common trees are hornbeam, oak,
maple, wild pear, and wild cherry. The country's highest
Mount Balanesti (Balaneshty, in Russian), is located in
central portion of the country and reaches 430 meters.
The Bugeac Plain (Budzhak, in Russian) in the south has
numerous ravines and gullies. Transnistria has spurs of
Volyn-Podolian Upland (Podisul Podolie, in Romanian;
VolynoPodil 's'ka vysochyna, in Ukrainian), which are cut into by
tributaries of the Nistru River.
About 75 percent of Moldova is covered by a soil type
chernozem (see Glossary).
In the northern highlands, more
claytextured soils are found; in the south, red-earth soil is
predominant. The soil becomes less fertile toward the
can still support grape and sunflower production. The
have woodland soils, while southern Moldova is in the
steppe (see Glossary)
zone, although most steppe areas today are
The lower reaches of the Prut River and the southern river
valleys are saline marshes.
Drainage in Moldova is to the south, toward the Black
lowlands, and eventually into the Black Sea, but only
rivers extend more than 100 kilometers. Moldova's main
Nistru, is navigable throughout almost the entire country,
warmer winters it does not freeze over. The Prut River is
tributary of the Danube River, which it joins at the far
southwestern tip of the country.
Data as of June 1995