Going to Moldova without visiting the Transnitria Republic is akin to visiting Rome without going to the Vatican.
I felt like I was in a time capsule. Although I was not that young, I never experienced the USSR era. So this was my chance!
At the border, we had to present our Passport and we received our permit on a piece of paper. Day trippers have only about ten hours to stay in Transnitria. It was pleasantly civil.
We first stop in the border town, called Bender. We visited an old citadel/fort, which was used for Russian Army base. We can still see a soldier patrolling the next door base. It was a lonely job.
We also passed a former gun factory. I love the propaganda decoration on the building.
I love the plastic coins, which are their currency. For political and psychological reasons, the value of the currency is stronger than Moldovian Lei. The Republic pledges allegiance to Russia and yet Russia does not recognize them as a country. They do put soldiers there though. As a matter of fact, Transnitria is only recognized by only by three nations: Abkhazia, Republic of Artsakh, and South Ossetia, who themselves are trying to assert their recognitions and independence. I suppose they support each other for solidarity.
For the Tiraspol Day celebration, ironically, on one stage, Moldovian music was being sung. The City, being the capital of Transnitria and having a celebratory day, was surprisingly empty. There were people, but it was not a crush one would expect. On the main stage, the performance was more patriotic. I happened to stop and film where a group of school kids performed for the Transnitrian President.
Sending a postcard from Transnitria requires two stamps (one representing Transnitria and the other Moldova) to ensure delivery. It arrived a week after my trip! A quick stroll in the centre of Tiraspol brought us to the Soviet House, where they display the photos of the accomplished people that has served Transnitria. One wall is from our time. The other features those from the USSR days. In the old days of Communism, everyone was equal including in salary, so the wall was their way of giving some people “bonuses-in-kind”.
Every Russian city seems to have a war memorial (in this case the Afghan War which depleted the resources of the USSR) with an eternal fire burning and a Lenin statue. In Tiraspol, Lenin was portrayed in an artistic style.
I enjoyed my day in Tiraspol, and recommend the Transnitrian experience to everyone!