Chişinău (kēˌshənouˈ) [key], formerly Kishinev kĭshˈənĕfˌ, city (1996 est. pop. 735,229), capital of Moldova, on the Byk River, a tributary of the Dniester. Major industries include food and tobacco processing, the assembly of consumer and electrical goods, and the manufacture of building materials, machinery, plastics, rubber, and textiles. Founded in the early 15th cent. as a monastery town, Chişinău was taken in the 16th cent. by the Turks and in 1812 by the Russians, who made it the center of Bessarabia. Romania held the city from 1918 to 1940, when it was seized by the USSR. The Jewish population, which formerly constituted about 40% of the total, was largely exterminated in World War II. Chişinău's educational and cultural facilities include a university (1945) and the Academy of Sciences of Moldova.
See E. H. Judge, Easter in Kishinev: Anatomy of a Pogrom (1992).
See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography