Bălți is a city in Moldova. It is the second largest in terms of area and economic importance after Chișinău, and the third largest in terms of population after Chișinău and Tiraspol. The city is one of the five Moldovan municipalities. Sometimes also called "the northern capital", it is a major industrial, cultural and commercial centre and transportation hub in the north of the country. It is situated 127 kilometres (79 mi) north of the capital Chișinău, and is located on the river Răut, a tributary of the Dniester, on a hilly landscape in the Bălți steppe.
The word "bălți" (pl. of Romanian sing. "baltă") in direct translation means "sloughs". It is believed that the city had been named thus because it was founded on a hill dominating the wetland formed where the creek Răuțel ("Little Răut") falls into the river Răut.
In addition to the official name Bălți and the Russian name Бельцы (Beltsy), between 1940-1989 in Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, and after 1989 in Russian, the name was/is also rendered in Cyrillic as Бэлць.
The current coat of arms and flag of Bălți, elaborated by Silviu Tabac from the Moldovan State Commission for Heraldry, have been adopted by the Municipal Council in April 2006.