Oh, Transnistria, you’re so cute. You want so desperately to be a real country, but nobody will actually take you seriously.
Transnistria (aka Pridnestrovia) is a strip of land along the eastern border of Moldova, Europe’s poorest country. A remnant of the USSR, it claimed sovereignty during the 1990s and actually had armed conflict with Moldova, but has yet to achieve complete independence. However, they try very hard to be a country: for instance, they have border control where I had to show my passport and received an immigration slip:
And they have their own currency, the Transnistrian ruble:
I thought it was amusing that sending a postcard from Transnistria required a Moldovan postage stamp. The people in Transnistria speak Russian, not their own unique language.
You might think this is peculiar, given that Moldova speaks something more similar to Romanian and doesn’t even use the Cyrillic alphabet. However, it makes complete sense when you consider that Transnistria loves Russia, or at least the old Soviet Union. Like, a lot. One fun game to do in the capital of Tiraspol is to find all the statues of Vladimir Lenin!
Oh, there he is, in front of the House of Soviets (City Hall)!:
Oh, there he is again, hiding in a garden!:
And again, in front of the Supreme Council (Parliament)! Oh, so majestic! *swoon*:
(Much like the DPRK and its home portraits of the Kim family) You’ll even find portraits of Lenin inside restaurants etc.:
And where else can you find a postcard with Lenin commanding you to be happy? See, he only wants what’s best for you!:
Outside of the (hilarious) omnipresence of Lenin, Tiraspol doesn’t have a whole lot more to it. While outside the city has a fortress I heard was nice, some interesting things I saw in the city limits included Kirov Park (located on, what else, Lenin Street):
A pretty blue hospital:
A chapel next to a tank as part of a WW2 memorial (because why not?):
Some Soviet-style condos and street market:
A rather impressive headquarters for the Sheriff grocery store company:
And a market where everything is green (except, presumably, the merchandise):
This says “Tiraspol” in Cyrillic:
I also spent a day in the capital of Moldova, Chişinău. There’s not a whole lot to see there, too. They have some nice churches:
Their own Triumphal Arc (with waving Moldovan flag in the center):
A lovely park with nice busts of Moldovan philosophers, artists, etc.:
A nice sitting area with a small monument dedicated to victims of HIV/AIDS:
A majestic statue of their hero, St. Stephen:
And a marketplace, where you can buy EVERYTHING:
Including cat food sold by weight:
Nice image reminding me that I’m still in Europe, but that it’s also very poor here…
So that’s Moldova and Transnistria in a nutshell! I wish I had had more time to see areas outside of the capital; I’ve heard that the fresh produce is fantastic, and a couple of people I know find the country absolutely fascinating. I didn’t see much of the appeal personally, but maybe I’m just missing out. Until next time!
Bonus: anyone remember the boy band O-Zone from around 2004 or so? Most famous for this song. Fun fact, they were from Moldova, too!