Transnistria is a unrecognized country in Eastern Europe. It declared itself as an independent country in 1990. I visited the country in the East of Moldova by hitchhiking. It’s also known as the ‘last part of Soviet Union’.
Communism in Transnistria
The driver goes in the direction of Bender, the second largest city. He strongly advices me to take the bus. Why? Read it in hitchhiking in Transnistria.
From th border to the first proper city is about a quarter drive. Extremely wide roads, almost no traffic, trolley buses and cars with Russian flags. Everything looks like communism in this country.
I knew there are not a lot of tourists in Transnistria. At the bus station of Bender I could notice that. People were staring at me.
Tiraspol is the capital of Transnistria.
In total there live about 500.000 people in Transnistria. Roughly 130.000 live in the capital Tiraspol.
It looks like a peacefull town with not so much traffic. After I dropped my stuff at the hostel I went to downtown.
Huge signs show that Transnistria is an independent country since 1990. Hammer and sickle, the red star and the colors of the nation flag are of course included.
By the way; I think the government had to save some money. It looks like this sign was used before. The nine in 2019 looks like it has been added later.
An unrecognized country with own government, army and even own valuta.
For an unrecognized country Transnistria has pretty much. The country has real border control, own government and even an own army.
Moreover Transnistria is the only country in the world with plastic coins. The plastic coins are part of their own currency, the Ruble of Transnistria.
Inhabitants pay tax to the government of Transnistria. Not to the government of Moldova. Even license plates are marked with the Transnistrian flag.
Victory Day in Transnistria
Today it’s Victory Day in Transnistria. Which means the celebrate the victory against the Nazis in the second World War.
Because of Victory Day a lot of teens walk in Soviet-like army clothes. Some adults walk with big signs in their hands. These signs show pictures of soldiers.
Eventually I discovered that the people at these signs are family members who won the war. They are honoured in this way.
Victory day will be closed with performances of artists and fireworks. I would have liked to see the military parade, but apparently this was in the morning. When I was still in Chisinau, Moldova.
Border of Transnistria in the middle of Moldova
I had no clue what to expect from the border with Transnistria. Today I came from the capital of Moldova, Chisinau.
Seen that Transnistria isn’t recognized, I didn’t expect too much. Maybe a small checkpoint…
In the middle of Moldova a border crossing emerged. Apparently there was proper border control.
First the Moldavan border control, to exit Moldova. Normally you would get a stamp when you exit Moldova. But not here. Because Moldova doesn’t even recognize this country.
Which actually means they don’t recognize you are leaving the country. But there is boundary control, a bit contradictory.
Thereafter we pass a few Russian soldiers. Apparently they protect this unrecognized country. Moreover, the Russians support the retirement system of Transnistria.
At last we arrive at the border control of Transnistria. And also here we find a proper border control. Of course with the communistic logos of Transnistria.
Foreigners who stay more than 24 hours must register. So do I. My passport and address of a possible hostel are enough.
The young woman in an impressive Soviet-like costume enters my data.
Accordingly I get a receipt with some Russian text and my data. Apparently this is my registration. I’ll keep it carefully.
Tips for a visit to Transnistria
In general the inhabitants of Transnistria are very friendly. They hardly speak English, but they seem to be curious after foreigners. It might feel they’ll stare at you.
There are some bad stories about the country. But I didn’t feel unsafe at all. I just found it very interesting to visit this country.
- Transnistria has its own currency. The Ruble of Transnistria.
- You can withdraw money with a creditcard (Mastercard or Visa) and a passport. I did this at a exchange window. My normal debit card (Maestro) didn’t work.
- Exchanging money is possible with Euro’s, Dollars or Moldavian money. They don’t accept Romanian money.
- Like Home Hostel is a good choice to stay. They speak English, it’s a good location, cheap and breakfast included.
- There is a Free Walking tour, you’ll find it on Instagram. Also Little Lenin Hostel offers some kind of walking tour.
- When you go from Transnistria to Ukraine. You must ask for an exit-stamp at the Ukraine controlpoint. Otherwise you’ll not get a stamp. This could lead to problems as it seems you illegally exit Moldova.
Hitchhiking in Transnistria
I hitchhiked through Transnistria. Unless the bad stories about Transnistria, the hitchhiking was very good.
Read about my hitchhiking in Transnistria adventure.
Veronica · December 25, 2019 at 12:55 pm
Interesting perspective of Transnistria. At Political Holidays (www.politicalholidays.com/transnistria), we also do a lot of travelling to Transnistria and other unrecognized countries. Let us know if you want to share ideas!
World Hitchhiker · January 4, 2020 at 7:48 am
Cool! For sure an interesting place to visit!