Travel in Transnistria: The Last Remnant of the Soviet Union

Transnistria is a strip of land sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova that is considered to be the last remnant of the Soviet Union!☭

DSC_5291According to most of the world, they are part of Moldova, but Transnistria maintains its independence with its own flag, currency, customs, and military border.

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Transnistrian region courtesy of Google images

Essentially, when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1990, this region decided it didn’t agree with the system in Moldova, so they decided to declare independence. This resulted in a two-year war between Moldova and Transnistria in which 1,000 people were killed and over 3,000 were injured. Ultimately, this war ended in a ceasefire with no concrete resolution. In the town, there almost seems to be an excess of plaques, monuments, and posters, which commemorate the war.

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DSC_5246DSC_5254DSC_5247DSC_5271And as of today, Russia still provides military, political and economic support to Transnistria helping it maintain its autonomy. Most of the citizens here also speak Russian and hold a Russian passport. 🇷🇺

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And although the government maintains that Transnistria is NOT a communist state, their is a fair deal of corruption in their elections, and you’ll still find giant statues of Lenin, Stalin, Soviet stars, and T-34 military tanks throughout the capital.

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Heck, even their flag has a red star, and hammer and sickle, which is a symbol of a socialist society.

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Anyway, here are the logistics of my trip. To get there from Chisinau, I took a 2-hour bus ride to the capital of Tiraspol. 🚌

IMG_3163There was a cute baby on board to keep me entertained! 👶

IMG_3183I also spotted this hilarious guy on a motorbike that reminded of Cousin Eddie from National Lampoons.

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Cousin Eddie: Merry Christmas! Sh*tter was full! 😂😂

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Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation courtesy of Google images

Anyway, as we crossed the military border into Transnistria, I had to get off the bus to register with my passport. Here’s my Google Maps as our bus (the blue dot) crossed over the border into Transnistria. 📑

IMG_3199The officers either give you a 10-hour pass or a 24-hour pass depending on whether you have proof of accommodation. I just showed them my hotel confirmation from booking.com.

IMG_3187I arrived in the country’s main capital of  Tiraspol at the train station where I converted my money into the local currency, the Transnistrian Ruble. 💰

IMG_3217IMG_3228As I made my way from the train station to my hotel, I felt immediately an eerily quiet vibe in the streets. The surroundings were very industrial and the sidewalks were more or less abandoned. Like a ghost town! 😮

IMG_3340IMG_3233IMG_3245DSC_5263IMG_3247IMG_3254I even wandered into the Megadom Mall, which literally had three open stores with no shoppers and a few guys playing billiards in the back.

DSC_5206IMG_3251IMG_3246 I also noticed a lot of business owned by the same company, Sheriff. 😬👮

IMG_3260Sheriff owns the gas stations, grocery stores, and even the sports teams.

IMG_3235DSC_5251Apparently, Kvint, their cognac distillery, is also owned by Sheriff.

DSC_5266The style of the town was like straight from the Soviet era. Walking here was such a time warp! 😮

DSC_5294DSC_5280There were long, grand boulevards with giant flags and Soviet decor just oozing communist pride.

DSC_5212IMG_3271I look so tiny compared to my surroundings! 😮

IMG_3270Fun fact: Over 90% of the residents are Orthodox Christians.

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Fun fact: There are only two embassies in Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are also unrecognized countries.

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Anyway, when I checked into my hotel, the woman didn’t speak any English and only made a gesture with her hands to ask for the money. I had the whole dorm room to myself, since I was apparently the only guest. 🛏️

IMG_3330In fitting with the Russian influence, the window to my hotel room actually didn’t look outside, but was attached to an old ice hockey ring. What a view! So bizarre! 🏑

IMG_3337I thought for sure that I’d spend the day here by myself, but luckily enough, after wandering around for a few hours, I ran into a girl from Poland who was traveling solo as well. 🙏

IMG_3291We ended up visiting the most ‘lively’ cafe in town, Dolce Vita, and trying kvass, a fermented beverage made from black bread.🍺

DSC_5298Although black bread beer was strange, I had read about another delicacy here, which is pickle covered in lard and dipped in chocolate, so this seemed like a safer alternative. 🤮

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pickle fat ball courtesy of Google images

My Polish friend was also staying with a host who took her out for zucchini pancakes with sour cream. I opted to go grocery shopping at the local Sheriff market instead and came out with a huge stash of food for the next few meals! 4.50 USD for all this! 😀

IMG_3263Overall, there were DEFINITELY some unique things about visiting Transnistria, and of course I found some things I thought were charming, like this vending machine that reminded me of Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast. 💜

DSC_5267But in the end, I was just as happy to check this place off my list as I was to leave. Peace out!✌️

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I ❤ Tiraspol? Not convinced. 🤔

Anyway, less than 24 hours later I was happily on a train to Odessa in Ukraine.

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Stay tuned to hear all about it! Until then! 😃

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