My tour of Tiraspol sort of officially begins but then it is quickly interrupted by a gentleman who approaches my guide as we are walking away from the train station. An engaging conversation takes place and I am impressed that my guide who is American is holding his own communicating in Russian. Tim gives me a quick insight into the conversation which is interesting to me.
Surprisingly, the taxicab recognized him as we were strolling by. As is the norm here, so I am told, at the time of Tim’s run in with the police they took a laptop computer from him as a part of the items he had in his personal possession. In trying to retrieve his personal items at a later date, Tim was told it was this taxicab driver that stole it from him. In reality the story was just the opposite. Here there is no real crime just corruption and this is one example of it. Fortunately this gentleman has promised to help Tim get his computer back.
An unusual introduction to Transnistria but it demonstrates how it's citizens have little trust for government officials. Here I am told there is also little interest in the political system because of the way the government works. Similarly, I read that in Chisinau it took three attempts to elect the Prime Minister because voter turnout was below that required for the election process.
From the train station it is a short walk into town and I need to lighten my load so we hop on the No.2 bus for a ride to my apartment for the night. Although on the outside many apartment buildings look dilapidated on the inside can be a completely different story.
I enjoy the experience of being accommodated like a local.
Back on another bus and we hop off at one of the famous parks in the city. Mostly deserted this time of the year, however, over fifty years of Soviet amusement park history is still here.
With rides made of mostly cast iron they will probably still be here for another thousand and fifty years. Famous among the rides here is a Ferris wheel similar to the one at Chernobyl although this one does not have a glow to it.
Even today there is still a close bond between Transnistrians and Ukrainians.
Near the university we stop at a bakery/cafe that is popular with students because of it's cheap quart size beers. We both have hot tea while I sample a local pastry filled with potatoes.
A stop at a souvenir shop then we pause a few minutes in front of the Transnistria Central Bank where they print “Monopoly Money”. The currency here is very controlled and can be pretty much only used and exchanged here.
To my surprise some of the best Cognac in the world is produced here. A bottle that would cost you about 40 euros elsewhere can be purchased here for about 2 euros.
Built in 1999 this church is a part of the Moldovan Orthodox Diocese.
Taking in the works of art which I am told was painted by Transnistria University students is amazing as I listen to a beautiful and harmonic sound that echos from a hidden choir.
From the Christmas Church we take a short walk to visit a few on Tiraspol more notable monuments which are less than a ten minute walk away.
For me, the most sobering one of these monuments is a memorial similar to Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Just a few feet from an old Soviet tank an “Eternal Flame” burns for about one thousand soldiers who lost their lives during a 1990's war with Moldova.
Just across the street from this memorial is one of the largest remaining statues in the world of Vladimir Lenin former Soviet Union communist leader. For some perceived security reasons pictures of this statue can only be taken from across street as the Parliament Building is in the background. Although some believe close up pictures cannot be taken because they might capture government workers doing nothing.