Places to Visit in Transnistria

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistriainfo-icon, is a self-proclaimed state between Ukraine and the Dniester River. The state is not recognized by the United Nations which considers Transnistria as a part of Moldova. The problems started shortly after the independence of Moldovainfo-icon from the URSS. In 1992, they developed into a military conflict that lasted several months. A ceasefire was decided in July 1992 and an agreement was signed. Transnistria is under a security control of Russiainfo-icon, Moldova, and Transnistria, but in reality, it is an independent state with its own organization (government, parliament, military, flag, constitution, and so on).

In terms of history, there are some interesting places to visit in Transnistria. The region has been inhabited for millennia and in time was visited or governed by migratory peoples, the Roman Empire, the Grand Duchy of Lithuaniainfo-icon, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. More recently, it was part of Romaniainfo-icon and URSS. There are still many ethnic groups here, Moldavians being the majority. Ukrainians, Russians, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Polish form the largest communities.

You can get to Transnistria by road or by two international trains: Moscow-Chisinau and Saratov – Varna. The closest airports are in Chisinau (Moldova) and Odessa (Ukraine).

Transnistria is a valley along the Dniester River. The beautiful and peaceful river adds value to the places to visit in Transnistria. Take a boat tour on the river and imagine a world without wars. Like Moldova, Transnistria has good wines, but it also has very good cognac. If this is one of your interests, you should know that you can visit Kvint Distillery where cognacs, brandies, wine, and vodka are made. Yes, the tour includes tasting.

Local travel agencies offer guided tours of Transnistria. These include crossing the river by ferry, visits to villages, a visit to Bender and its fortress, a visit to Kitskany Monastery, a visit to the city of Dnestrovsk, bathing in Cuchurgan-Lake, and so on. Bicycle tours are also organized, as well as thematic tours (Jewish, German, Brandy, Art, My New Stockholm etc.) The tours include transportation and meals, guided visits, and exquisite facts. This is the best way to get to know life in this country and to discover the best places to visit in Transnistria.


In the streets of Tiraspol, Transnistria
In the streets of Tiraspol, Transnistria

The capital of Transnistria and one of the ten cities of the country is Tiraspol. The capital city is definitely one of the places to visit in Transnistria. The town has old roots; Tiraspol was built over the medieval fortress Monocastro. Today, the archeological site is poor; more recent constructions are catching the attention. Drama and Comedy Theater and Transdniestrian State University, the City Hall, once House of the Soviets, old Orthodox churches are just some of them. Christmas Cathedral is the largest and the most beautiful Orthodox Church in town.

General Alexander Suvoror, the founder of Tiraspol, has his statue to guard the city. He was a hero of the Turkish – Russian wars from the XVIIIth century.

The Dniester has always a pleasant view to offer. Take a walk along its shore to admire statues and bridges, telling the history of this little place.

If you are interested in car history, Tiraspol is one of the few places in the world where you can see functional Lada and Volga cars.

Many parks can attract the tourists, as can Natural History Museum and the Art Gallery.

When it comes to food, many surprises await you here. First, Kvass, a drink made of bread, with a very low alcohol concentration (the locals say it is non-alcoholic). You can buy Kvass in the street from a huge jerrycan. Than polenta, heavy and full of sauces meet dishes, borscht, and pies and pastry. Last but not least, ecologically produced black caviar! The sturgeons are grown in farms and black caviar can be bought from the shops of Tiraspol.

Fruit and vegetable shops along the roads of Tiraspol
Fruit and vegetable shops along the roads of Tiraspol

It's easy to judge a country after the news you see on TV. But the truth is that countries are made by people and not by their leaders. There are a lot of beautiful, peaceful, and interesting places to visit in Transnistria. Ancient history, mix ethnic cultures, joyful traditions, and beautiful landscapes are just a few of them. People here don't have an easy life, but they still enjoy a good meal and a drink. They still remember their traditions and you should only see them during festivals and local holidays.

To be safe and without worries, travel through agencies, take a local guide, and read carefully the travel conditions before you go. Avoid taking parts and getting involved in political argues. Most of all have no prejudices, travel with your heart open and get to know the people. Russian is spoken here, so it would not hurt to have a dictionary or to learn a few words.

Monica Radulescu a freelance writer for
Travelling is a joy. It's a way to become a better and wiser person. Mountain paths and road trips are my favourites.