TIRASPOL, TRANSNISTRIA: A ROAD TRIP TO “NOWHERE”

We went to Transnistria yesterday. Trans-what? Exactly. Doesn’t really exist, but yet, it does…

Tiraspol is internationally recognized as the second largest city in Moldova, but is currently the capital and administrative center of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Transnistria.) 

IMG_4525
Beginning the trip from Chișinău: “Solidarity”
IMG_4521
The peaceful road to Tiraspol.

IMG_4524IMG_4523IMG_4522IMG_4520IMG_4518

 

As we were leaving Chisinau, I was warned by Moldovans to “Be careful with your American passport!” I asked why, but there was no real answer in return. Just “Be careful. Maybe the border guards won’t be so nice.” That was nothing new to me as I’m used to being treated pretty badly at all road borders around the globe. I was traveling with a Ukrainian in her car, so I thought, “we’ll see how it goes. Worse comes to worst, we’ll just turn around at the border and head back to Chisinau.”

IMG_4494

IMG_4498
On September 2, 1990, Tiraspol was proclaimed the capital of the new Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Naturally, I couldn’t take any photos at the border crossings, but suffice it to say, the experience was hands-down the best, most pleasant experience either of us have ever had with border controls. At the first crossing, the guard eyed over my friend’s Ukrainian passport for a lengthy bit of time, but declined to look at mine at all. (What?!)  

 

IMG_4503
“I love Tiraspol”
IMG_4504
Soviet era trolley bus

At the second stop, as we went to register for a day trip, my friend overheard a guard saying to another visitor in Russian, “We’re very friendly ~ we welcome everyone!” No problems there, either, and we crossed over into Transnistria. Gone were any signs in English – everything was in Russian, and some Ukrainian.

IMG_4505
a T-34 tank from the Great Patriotic War era forms part of a monument which also contains soil from the pivotal battle of Stalingrad.

IMG_4507IMG_4510IMG_4509IMG_4508IMG_4506

IMG_4499
We couldn’t figure out why, in the midst of the “Soviet era vibe,” there were these freaky dwarf-gnomes on the street. Just gold. Just looking at us. Then, there were more at a market.

IMG_4500IMG_9537

 

Walking up and down October 25th street, the “main drag,” as they say…we couldn’t help noticing that the streets seemed quite empty. The whole place was quiet and subdued.

IMG_4501
“First, I’ll invade my coffee, then I’ll invade the world.”

IMG_4502

IMG_4490
This breed/type of dog is prevalent on the streets here.
IMG_4481
Cool cat. Got some fish from us.

IMG_4533

IMG_4530IMG_4531IMG_4532IMG_4513IMG_4516IMG_4511

IMG_4497
Vladimir Lenin statue in front of Supreme Soviet (Parliament) Building.

IMG_4496IMG_4495IMG_4529IMG_4491IMG_4480IMG_4479IMG_4477

IMG_4473
Abandoned ferris wheel

IMG_4474IMG_4476

IMG_4546
The modern city of Tiraspol was founded by Russian Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov in 1792.

IMG_4541IMG_4551IMG_4561

IMG_4558
Beach on Dniester River

IMG_4548IMG_4534IMG_4535IMG_4536IMG_4537IMG_4540IMG_4539IMG_4549IMG_4550IMG_4553IMG_4552IMG_4554IMG_4555IMG_4556IMG_4557IMG_4559IMG_4560IMG_4562

Here are some questions I wanted answered:

  1. What do people here do about passports? = “…it appears that people here still identify themselves as Soviet citizens, though they often carry double passports: Russian, Moldavian or Ukrainian, depending if they have family living in one of these countries. The Transnistrian passport itself is a thing on its own. It cannot be used anywhere else in the world. It is basically a book, which looks like a passport from the outside, but where on the inside you will find hand written personal details, approved with some official stamps.” http://www.offbeattravelling.com/transnistria-trans-what/
  2. As simply explained as possible, what happened to cause the breakaway from Moldova? = “The ostensible cause of the conflict was the fear, which was not beyond reason, that Moldova would merge with Romania. And these Slavic speakers in Transnistria did not want that to happen as they would become a minority in greater Romania.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adst/moldovas-transnistrian-co_b_11180694.html

IMG_4475

We left a place that doesn’t really exist – ( it was like being ferreted back through history in a time capsule to the Soviet period ) – at sunset, and were more than happy to have had the experience and to have seen it for ourselves.

Border crossing on way back: Different guards from earlier, and still friendly. This time, one of them did take my passport, but it was more to just read about the places I’ve been and to ask about them. 

Notes: They have their own currency, Transnistrian Rubles. About 14TRB = 1USD. Between my friend and I, we had about $20 and had a HUGE lunch (a whole fish with vegetables, a Greek Salad, a large pork chop with vegetables), 2 beers, then later on two coffees, and souvenir cookies and still had 2 rubles to spare. 

8jul17. Tiraspol, Transnistria. 

Advertisements