09 june Tiraspol (TRANSNISTRIA)

On board an old Skoda we leave Odessa, Ukraine and the carefreeness of a very pleasant vacation spot! We head towards Chisinau, through the mysterious Transnistria!

I have heard a lot of controversial stories about this little Russian-Moldovan territory... it's an area that intrigues me a lot!

We cross a series of rather isolated Ukrainian villages, dedicated only to agriculture and in an hour we reach the border between Ukraine and Transnistria. Yes, this small territory, although has its own flag, a Parliament, a currency (ruble of Transnistria), post, police, army and borders controlled by its own frontier force!

The checks are quick and, in less than no time, we head towards Tiraspol, its capital!

The self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria (also Transdnestria, Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika or PMR), half a million inhabitants, is a very curious and unknown country to most.

For years it has continued to be one of the last bastions of communism; a land where there are still monuments to Lenin or to other Soviet heroes, because, as my contact Andrey Smolenskiy, manager of Transnistria-tour explains to me: we must not break down the signs of our past! That is their story and as such it must be preserved as a treasure!

Located on the eastern bank of the Dnestr River, the scene of a bloody civil war (1990-92), this pro-Soviet republic, unilaterally proclaimed its independence from Moldova but not recognized by any state in the world.

When we enter the suburbs of Tiraspol, we are stopped twice by the very efficient local police... two fines... overcoming speed limit and a counter-sense... our poor Ukrainian driver Denys, almost is regretting having brought us here... tragicomic situation... but at the end we manage to meet our contact!

Andreiy is very proud of his land, he tells us, with passion, many stories and really interesting anecdotes!

We start the visit from the Tiraspol Theater, the place where the independence of Transnistria was declared in 1990... What to visit here?

At the western end of ulitsa 25 Oktober there is the Soviet tank on which the green and red flag of Transnistria is waving with the yellow sickle and hammer.

Right behind there is the cemetery of the heroes with the tomb of the unknown soldier near which burns a perennial flame. "You do not have a name but your deeds are eternal"; the plaque, in Russian, says aloud.

Along this tree-lined and impeccable cleanliness street, ordinary people walk peacefully. Everything is silent, slow, dull.

These huge buildings and monuments of the Soviet Empire are triumphing while the common people struggle to get by on a land the rest of the world knows absolutely nothing about.

We leave Tiraspol with many doubts about the future of this unknown republic that belongs to an equally little known nation: Moldova.

10 june Chisinau (MOLDOVA)

Bad roads, thick woods and in an hour and a half we reach the decaying outskirts of Chisinau, capital of Moldova.
I confess that everything seems arranged, old rusty Lada run next to expensive and modern cars, people with plastic bags and buckets of cherries wait at the old bus stops...

In the outskirts, we drive along roads of obvious workmanship and Soviet style... but luckily the old town is very different from the outskirts... there are many nice and westernized restaurants and cafes...

10 june Chisinau (MOLDOVA)

Chisinau does not abounds in places of tourist interest, obligatory stops for a tour, but the absence of such highlights pushes you to wander through its narrow streets discovering the city on the way...

Not much left in the city center after the heavy bombardment of the Second World War...
We begin our visit from the Government Palace, which faces a small "Arc de Triomphe", the so-called "Holy Door" and in front of the "Parcul Catedralei" (the austere Orthodox Cathedral Park).

Nearby there is a small flower market open 24/7, although it is nothing special, much more characteristic is the central market that extends over a huge area along Str Mitropolit Varlaam.

The incessant cry of busy people who come from rural villages "in the capital" reminds me of many Middle Eastern bazaars... I’m impressed by the many elderly women lined up next to each other along the sidewalks, each showing one or two dresses for sale to passersby or a bucket of cherries from their garden and that's the only merchandise on sale...

There are porters running up and down with trolleys laden with goods, Gypsy women spitting sunflower seeds while begging, small groups of elderly who bargain on prices when they do not play chess in the various "soviet style" parks of the city.

We leave Chisinau passing by a statue of the Capitoline wolf (lupoaica romei) that the Moldovans consider a symbol of their Latin roots!

з беларусь
спасибі українці

mulțumesc Moldaviei


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