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Location - Eastern Europe (part of Moldova); Capital - Tiraspol; Population - 550,000; Currency - Transnistrian Ruble

Transnistria (also spelt Transdniestr, 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.


transdniestrnote4The current version of the Transnistrian Ruble was introduced in 2000, following years of rampant inflation. It's now stabilised but the currency is useless outside its borders.







transd2Nataly (Ukraine), Brett (US), Fernando and Alberto (Spain) pose outside a currency exchange booth at Tiraspol bus station


transd1Tiraspol bus station - it's about two and a half hours by bus to the Transnistrian capital, which included about 45 minutes negotiating the 'border'



transd4The first point of interest walking from the bus station to the city centre is Kirov Park - Tiraspol












transd4bMore posing, this time on the bell tower staircase in Kirov Park - Tiraspol















transd8Like the rest of Moldova there's quite a few horse and carts trotting around - Tiraspol


transd7Close to Kirov Park is the Kvint factory, which produces top quality brandy, some of which are dirt cheap - Tiraspol


transd7aI turned my nose up at a 30 ruble bottle and plumped for the far more expensive 33 ruble vintage (1Euro=14.6 rubles).
If you're looking for a decent tipple aim at spending a bit more than 2 Euros.. Tiraspol
















transd9A trolleybus on the streets of Tiraspol













transd12The House of Soviets on Ulitsa 25 Oktober - Tiraspol


transd13A Soviet star and the red and green flag of Transnistria flies above the House of Soviets - Tiraspol



transd15Lenin keeps watch outside the House of Soviets - Tiraspol













transd17A gallery of honorable citizens of Tiraspol lines the House of Soviets.
I don't know who they are and the captions are in Cyrillic, though I did spot an astronaut in there - Tiraspol











transd18I'm guessing these people, next to the House of Soviets, are prominent Transnistria politicians - Tiraspol


transd19Transnistria translates to 'beyond the river Dniestr' and this is the Dniestr River, as seen from Hotel Aist - Tiraspol


transd21Presumably this billboard poster on Ulitsa 25 Oktober celebrates 20 years of independence - Tiraspol













transd22The Museum of Headquarters was closed when I passed by - Tiraspol













transd24Outside a supermarket on Ulitsa 25 Oktober - Tiraspol


transd25A Soviet-style collage at Ploshchad Konstitutii - Tiraspol


transd27The Moldovan language is virtually the same as Romanian and written in the Latin script, whereas Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet - Tiraspol













transd61It's that man Lenin again, this time guarding the Presidential Palace - Tiraspol












transd28The Transnistria coat of arms includes the Communist symbol of the hammer and sickle - Tiraspol


transd30Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Lenin, former leader of the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union, and instigator of the 1917 Russian Revolution - Tiraspol


transd36Current president of Transnistria Igor Smirnov rules from the Presidential Palace - Tiraspol













transd35Near the entrance to the Tiraspol National United Museum - Tiraspol
















transd32The Transnistria coat of arms inside the Tiraspol National United Museum - Tiraspol


transd33A Transnistria flag from the 1992 independence war - Tiraspol


transd37A War Memorial dedicated to those who died in the 1992 independence war lies next to the museum - Tiraspol















transd40It lists those who died during the war - Tiraspol












transd38The memorial is also dedicated to those who died in Afghanistan - Tiraspol


transd46The Heroes' Cemetery with its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an eternal flame - Tiraspol


transd43 The War Memorial complex - Tiraspol













transd45A chapel lies next to the cemetery - Tiraspol












transd47Also part of the War Memorial is a Soviet war tank - Tiraspol


transd49The Soviet tank, with the Presidential Palace and Lenin in the background - Tiraspol


transd51The War Memorial lies between Ulitsa 15 Oktober and the Dniestr River - Tiraspol












transd52The area on the right looks like an artificial beach on the banks of the Dniestr - Tiraspol













transd53A spot of fishing in the Dniestr - Tiraspol


transd54A mini-market next to the river - Tiraspol


transd55A monument to the founder of the city of Tiraspol, Russian General Alexander Suvorov - Tiraspol












transd56The monument is in the grounds of Ploshchad Konstitutii - Tiraspol















transd59The Nativity Church is a Russian orthodox church in Tiraspol


transd647 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


transd66Crossing the Dniestr River via the Bendery-Tiraspol bridge - Bendery













transd72The Bendery-Tiraspol bridge at Bendery













transd68Next to the bridge is a Memorial Park for those who died during Transnistria's war of independence - Bendery


transd69The flag of Transnistria flies above the tank in the Memorial Park - Bendery


transd70Next to the tank is an eternal flame, leading to the memorial - Bendery















transd71A 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












transd73I was in a rush to leave Transnistria within my 24-hour permit (see photo below) so only had time for a quick look around Bendery


transd74aA Transnistria entry form.

As Moldova doesn't recognise the territory as a separate state there's no Moldovan exit formalities. Complete the entry form above (there's embarkation and disembarkation sections, the above being the latter) and hope that you're given enough time!

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.


Transnistria notes:







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LINKS - Bus timetable information, including Chisinau-Tiraspol - With a Transnistria travel guide section


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