Soroca (Russian: Сороки Soroki, Ukrainian: Сороки Soroky, Polish: Soroki, Yiddish: סאָראָקע Soroke) is a Moldovan city situated on the Nistru (Dniester) river about 160 km north of Chişinău. It is the administrative center of Soroca District.
The city has its origin in the medieval Genoese trade post of Olchionia, or Alchona. It is known for its well-preserved stronghold, established by the Moldavian Prince Stephen the Great (Ştefan cel Mare in Romanian) in 1499. The origins of the name Soroca is not fully known.
The original wooden fort, which defended a ford over the Nistru/Dniester, was an important link in the chain of fortifications which comprised four forts (e.g. Akkerman and Khotin) on the Dniester, two forts on the Danube and three forts on the north border of medieval Moldova. Between 1543 and 1546 under the rule of Petru Rareş, the fortress was rebuilt in stone as a perfect circle with five bastions situated at equal distances.
During the Great Turkish War, John Sobieski’s forces successfully defended the fortress against the Ottomans. It was of vital military importance during the Pruth Campaign of Peter the Great in 1711. The stronghold was sacked by the Russians in the Russo-Turkish War (1735–1739). The Soroca fortress is an important attraction in Soroca, having preserved cultures and kept the old Soroca in the present day.
The locality was greatly extended in the 19th century, during a period of relative prosperity. Soroca became a regional center featuring large squares, modernized streets, hospitals, grammar schools and conventionalized churches. In the Soviet period the town became an important industrial center for northern Moldova.