life through the lens
Transdniestr (also spelt Transnistria, Transdniester and Trans-Dniester) or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is a breakaway Soviet-style republic that waged an independence war against Moldova in 1992. Though still part of Moldova and not recognised by anyone bar South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in practice it's like entering a separate country. Wikipedia info BBC write-up
Take a bus from Chisinau, complete the border formalities, buy the local currency and try your hand at speaking Russian and reading the Cyrillic alphabet (as opposed to Moldovan and the Latin script) - April 2012.
The current version of the Transdniestrian Ruble was introduced in 2000, following years of rampant inflation. It's now stabilised but the currency is useless outside its borders.
Nataly (Ukraine), Brett (US), Fernando and Alberto (Spain) pose outside a currency exchange booth at Tiraspol bus station
Tiraspol bus station - it's about two and a half hours by bus to the Transdniestrian capital, which included about 45 minutes negotiating the 'border'
The first point of interest walking from the bus station to the city centre is Kirov Park - Tiraspol
More posing, this time on the bell tower staircase in Kirov Park - Tiraspol
Like the rest of Moldova there's quite a few horse and carts trotting around - Tiraspol
Close to Kirov Park is the Kvint factory, which produces top quality brandy, some of which are dirt cheap - Tiraspol
I turned my nose up at a 30Ruble bottle and plumped for the far more expensive 33Ruble vintage (1Euro=14.6Rubles).
A trolleybus on the streets of Tiraspol
The House of Soviets on Ulitsa 25 Oktober - Tiraspol
A Soviet star and the red and green flag of Transdniestr flies above the House of Soviets - Tiraspol
Lenin keeps watch outside the House of Soviets - Tiraspol
A gallery of honorable citizens of Tiraspol lines the House of Soviets.
I'm guessing these people, next to the House of Soviets, are prominent Transdniestr politicians - Tiraspol
Transdniestr translates to 'beyond the river Dniestr' and this is the Dniestr River, as seen from Hotel Aist - Tiraspol
Presumably this billboard poster on Ulitsa 25 Oktober celebrates 20 years of independence - Tiraspol
The Museum of Headquarters was closed when I passed by - Tiraspol
Outside a supermarket on Ulitsa 25 Oktober - Tiraspol
A Soviet-style collage at Ploshchad Konstitutii - Tiraspol
The Moldovan language is virtually the same as Romanian and written in the Latin script, whereas Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet - Tiraspol
It's that man Lenin again, this time guarding the Presidential Palace - Tiraspol
The Transdniestr coat of arms includes the Communist symbol of the hammer and sickle - Tiraspol
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Lenin, former leader of the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union, and instigator of the 1917 Russian Revolution - Tiraspol
Current president of Transdniestr Igor Smirnov rules from the Presidential Palace - Tiraspol
Near the entrance to the Tiraspol National United Museum - Tiraspol
The Transdniestr coat of arms inside the Tiraspol National United Museum - Tiraspol
A Transdniestr flag from the 1992 independence war - Tiraspol
A War Memorial dedicated to those who died in the 1992 independence war lies next to the museum - Tiraspol
It lists those who died during the war - Tiraspol
The memorial is also dedicated to those who died in Afghanistan - Tiraspol
The Heroes' Cemetery with its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an eternal flame - Tiraspol
The War Memorial complex - Tiraspol
A chapel lies next to the cemetery - Tiraspol
Also part of the War Memorial is a Soviet war tank - Tiraspol
The Soviet tank, with the Presidential Palace and Lenin in the background - Tiraspol
The War Memorial lies between Ulitsa 15 Oktober and the Dniestr River - Tiraspol
The area on the right looks like an artificial beach on the banks of the Dniestr - Tiraspol
A spot of fishing in the Dniestr - Tiraspol
A mini-market next to the river - Tiraspol
A monument to the founder of the city of Tiraspol, Russian General Alexander Suvorov - Tiraspol
The monument is in the grounds of Ploshchad Konstitutii - Tiraspol
The Nativity Church is a Russian orthodox church in Tiraspol
7 Fridays is a good place for a drink and a bite to eat. It feels a world away from any Soviet model of communism - Tiraspol
Crossing the Dniestr River via the Bendery-Tiraspol bridge - Bendery
The Bendery-Tiraspol bridge at Bendery
Next to the bridge is a Memorial Park for those who died during Transdniestr's war of independence - Bendery
The flag of Transdniestr flies above the tank in the Memorial Park - Bendery
Next to the tank is an eternal flame, leading to the memorial - Bendery
A not-so-good photo of Tighina Fortress. It used to be part of a military training ground but is now open to the public (unless you arrive really early like me) - Bendery
I was in a rush to leave Transdniestr within my 24-hour permit (see photo below) so only had time for a quick look around Bendery
A Transdniestr entry form.
I hoped to stay overnight and return to Chisinau the following evening. However - as seen at the bottom of my entry form in blue - I was given 24 hours precisely and had to leave by 11:20 the next morning. At least I got to stay overnight, at Hotel Aist. Stays of over 24 hours involve registering with OVIR and paying a small fee. Payment of border bribes are now less common.
Getting into the territory took around 45 minutes, which primarily consisted of queueing in a fairly random line at the 'border'. I imagined it would take a similar amount of time to leave, but all was done onboard the bus within five minutes - I just handed in the disembarkation form above.
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www.autogara.md - Bus timetable information, including Chisinau-Tiraspol
www.romaniaandmoldova.com - With a Transdniestr travel guide section
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