I’m looking out my hotel room window and can see the hammer and sickle waving right in front of me on the flag….
I am in Tiraspol, the capital city of Transnistria. A tiny, tiny breakaway (uber Russian) republic squeezed between Moldova and the Ukraine border.
Transnistria is the only place left that flies the Soviet hammer and sickle on their flag. The reason being that they are a pro Russia part of Moldova that announced their separation from Moldova and their aliegence to Russia about 20 years ago… problem is no one noticed, including Russia. Currently Transnistria has it’s own currency, the Transnistrian ruble, their own army and passports and none of it is recognized by any other country in the world. You can’t even get the currency from ATMs here, you withdraw US dollars and then go next door to convert them to rubles.
Why not visit! Time machine, the place is as close as you can get today to a Soviet state from the 1980s, tanks and MIGs on display, statues of Lenin everywhere, rumours that the entire place is run by ex KGB agents and that the hotel rooms are bugged.
Train from Moldova take two hours and $1.50. Being very Soviet there is really fun stuff to do to enter. I literally spent the first few hours walking from building to building getting stamps and forms needed to visit, they want to see them all when you leave so it’s not really optional. They dont stamp your actual passport tho, they know actual countries would not be cool with that, instead they stamp a piece of paper and insert it in your passport. Moldova on the other hand couldn’t care less, as far as they are concerned you never left Moldova.
Waiting to change dollars to rubles
Local grocery store
Paperwork involved getting forms on train, taking forms to police in train station for stamps and more forms, being interviewed about who my father is, taking new forms and stamps to my hotel, hotel staff give me more forms and directions to this building across town:
Get new forms and directions up this alley:
To this building:
And this office:
Eventually ending up with the five stamps and forms that I need to carry with me to be an approved visitor
It’s neat here, friendly, those who speak English know they live somewhere unique and want to talk. Also, as in Moldova, the food is outstanding.