The basis for the name might also lie in a bucolic legend of lovers, Cimiş şi Lia (Cimiş and Lia), for whom jewels appeared, birds sang, and springs appeared from the earth.
In fact, the reality of the locale is much harsher. Although in 1827 Cimişlia became an administrative center, many of its residents died of a plague and there was need of a special cemetery in the southeast part of town. Situated on the steppe of Budjak, by the rivulet Cogîlnic, the city has often suffered from the droughts typical of the area. Dimitrie Cantemir, referring to this river in his work Descriptio Moldaviae, says "...one could say that it doesn't arise from a spring: it is only full after the rains of autumn and only then can one call it even a rivulet. All summer it is dry..." This would apply as well in our time.
In 1840 the locality received a statute as a market town. Its first school opened in 1844, and in 1885 the "hospital" of Zemstva (treating both people and animals). Between the two World Wars, (1918–1940), Cimişlia formed part of Tighina county; later, as part of the Soviet Union, it became a district center.
It is located 73 km from the capital, Chişinău, at the intersection of several of the country's more important roads: it is on the route from Chişinău to Bolgrad or Giurgiuleşti, and is also on the Tiraspol – Leova road. It is 30 km from Comrat, 57 km from Căuşeni, 35km from Hînceşti, 28km from Basarabeasca, and 52km from Leova, at latitude 46°30'10" N. longitude 28°48'30" E.
The city proper covers 2.084 km²; the associated area extends to 146.12 km², including 84.13 km² of agricultural land, including orchards and pasture.
The Cimişlia railroad station, which takes advantage of the broad network of links toward the warehouses of the industrial and commercial companies of the city, is located in the village Mihailovka at a distance of 12km.