Top things to see in Tiraspol, Transnistria. It has its own currency, maintains its own military, has its own flag, and even their own national anthem, yet Transnistria is not recognized by any country in the world (as defined by the 193 sovereign states recognized by the UN). But of course, there is always room for an exception. As I strolled down the main thoroughfare of Tiraspol, the capital Transnistria, I noted two flags fluttering above a door. I didn’t recognize these flags.
After some research, I learned these were the flags of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. South Ossetia and Abkhazia? These are two other unrecognized countries that were liberated in 2008 by Russia in a brief war with Georgia. This club of unrecognized countries has resulted in strange political bedfellows. These three countries have officially recognized each other. There are very few places in the world, where you will see the flags of Transnistria, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia wave in the sky.
These flags are simply one example of the odd and unique things you will encounter in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnsitria. Tiraspol was founded in 1792 by the Russians on the banks of the Dniester River. The quiet capital only numbers 135,000 souls.
Listed below are some of the highlight of Tiraspol. Many of them may be reached by strolling down the main avenue, 25th October.
House of Soviets
A stop at the is a required visit. Feast your eyes on the large bust of a stern-looking Lenin that is centered in front of this governmental building. Stately columns stretch to the roof. The Transnistrian flag flutters on top of the building, with a Soviet star above, placed like a single candle on a birthday cake.
Adjacent to the House of Soviets is a display of the “The Honorable Citizens of City Tiraspol”. These black and white photos of men either in uniforms or bedazzled with medals are accompanied with names in Cyrillic. I did not recognize any of the faces.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
One of the more interesting monuments is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier also located on 25th October Avenue. There is a lot of moving parts to this memorial. This monument commemorates the dead from three conflicts: the Great Patriotic War (WWII), the Afghanistan War, and the Transnistrian War (civil war with Moldova) of 1990-2. Names of the dead are etched in the stone. The city fell in 1941 and was liberated in 1944 during WWII.
There is also an eternal flame that recognizes those who have perished in battle. The inscription reads: “Your name is not known, your deed is immortal. Unknown soldier.”
A petite, golden onion domed Orthodox church stands sentry to the memorial. You can light a candle in honor of those lost.
And rounding out the memorial is a Soviet T-34 tank at the ready.
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great ruled the Russian Empire from 1762 until her death in 1796. Catherine the Great led her country in the second Russo-Turkish War. The Ottomans were soundly defeated during this war. General Suvorov fought on the behalf of Catherine the Great and founded the city. A bust recognizes her contribution.
Russian General Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov is credited for founding of the modern city of Tiraspol back in the late 18th century. He defeated the Ottoman Empire in a series of battles. He is better known for being undefeated: 60-0 in large battles throughout his military career. In his honor, a prominent statue of the General on his steed has been placed on the 25th October Avenue. Spend a moment gazing at the General and grab a selfie.
Near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands the stately Parliament building. Vladimir Lenin stands proudly in front of this brown and white structure. Careful taking pictures here.
Soviet Art and Imagery
One of the great features of Tiraspol, is the time warp factor. It is quite simple to believe you are in the Soviet Union. Spend time trying to point out vestiges to the Soviet Union: a red star, the sickle and hammer, or any other socialist realism art.
If you are in the geographical neighborhood, it is well worth your time to visit this unique capital.
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