Comrat might not be the financial center of Eastern Europe, but when it comes to capitals it’s got its well-deserved spot on the map. The little capital of the Autonomous Region of Gagauzia, which is home to around 150 thousand predominantly Gagauz ethnics – a migrant group of Turkic people – is where the World Bank and the United Nations inaugurated a joint documentation center on October 23, 2009.
We were greeted by the Bashkan (Governor) of Gagauzia on our arrival. The Governor’s assistant, used to visiting delegations and proud of local hospitality, was quickly flagged out of the room as she tried to serve us some filtered coffee. Clearly, with a Turkish coffee machine by his office desk, Bashkan Formuzal doesn’t tolerate a drop of dilettantism! He runs to his desk to prepare the coffee himself. It’s delicious! We reflect on the importance of local autonomy!
Comrat is not only the administrative center of Gagauzia. It is home to one of the largest Universities in Moldova, as well as a distinct regional culture when it comes to matters of arts, music, painting and folklore. Gagauz speak their own language and cherish a unique taste for cuisine and local specialties.