Baltsi is a tough, grimy and polluted industrial town. It has a winery, but don't bother trying to visit unless you can get a special invitation from the government. Attractions include an enormous Lenin mural on the side of what was once the Lenin factory, which is now an abandoned, crumbling eyesore. The bell tower of Nikolayevsy Cathedral (built in 1791) was leveled by Stalinists during the Brezhnev era and rebuilt in 1994. If you do visit, stop by the university to talk with students, who are eager to meet native English speakers. Stroll down Independence Street (formerly Lenin Street), which passes the market, post office and central square. If you stay overnight, see a play (usually in Romanian) at the State Theater. East of Baltsi, near the town of Rezina, is the medieval cave monastery of Tsipova. Baltsi is 70 mi/110 km northwest of Chisinau.

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