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Bessarabia (Besarabya in Turkish, Besarabya in Romanian, Бессарабія in Ukrainian, Бессарабия in Russian, Бесараби in Bulgarian), is a historical region in south-eastern Europe, at east of Romania between the rivers Prut and Dniester, the Danube Delta and the Black Sea.
Bessarabia’s natural borders are in the north Bukovina, in the west the river Prut, in the east the river Dniester and in the south the Danube Delta and the Black Sea.
The name Bessarabia was given by the Russian Empire at the eastern part of the Principality of Moldova after the 8th Russian-Turkish War (1806-1812) in 1812.
Bessarabia covers an area approximately 45,000 km2. It has a length of 450 km and an average width of 100 km.
North Bessarabia, a Carpathian foothill, is a plateau, which sea level amounts to about 400 meters. The vegetation of the wooded hills are mainly oak and beech forests.
Also in Central Bessarabia till Bender (Thigina) you can find these forests.
From Bender landscape is gradually changing into South Bessarabian’s steppe. This part of the territory, the originally Germans settlement area, was called by Romanians Tartaria or Bugeac (Budjak from Tatar: angle, triangle) or Bessarabian steppe, where my parents were born.
It has light wavy hills and its sea level amounts to about 200 meters. Originally, this part of the country was covered with six-foot-high steppe grass. The acacia forests were planted later from settlers.
Given that influence of the Black Sea on South Bessarabian’s climate is less, the rainfall here compared to those in Northern Bessarabia are significantly lower and more irregular.
Hot and dry summers, which brought to drought and poor harvests and cold snowy winters with many dry east and northeast winds are identifying a continental climate. In the north you can find a temperate climate instead.
Fertile black soils, especially in Budjak makes Bessarabia a productive agricultural land. Mainly cultivated products were wheat, maize, sunflower, tobacco, fruit and wine, latter particularly in the Pruth and Dnister valley slope. Even the livestock had a not insignificant role.
Bessarabia was considered as the granary of the great Russian Empire. Today North and Central Bessarabia belongs almost entirely to Moldova (with exception of Khotyn area, which belongs to Ukraine) and South Bessarabia, Budjak or historic Bessarabia, to Ukraine.