Each year on the 9th of May, Transnistrians stage an elaborate Victory Day celebration in the capital Tiraspol to remember the victims of WWII, known as the Great Patriotic War. We’ll see how they celebrate, meet and talk to locals, visit their capital Tiraspol, understand their religion – Russian orthodox, see their country, history and discover how they live and what they have to offer. This is a glimpse into the closest living relic of the Soviet Union.
How about celebrating the 9th of May with a Victory Day Transnistria military parade in a non-existing Soviet country? Strange, isn’t it? Strange but possible… Transnistria is one of the former Soviet Union’s original “frozen conflicts”, and a template for later Russian-backed disputes including Eastern Ukraine. It has remained unrecognized by any states other than Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia after its 1992 war of independence from Moldova. Using Soviet rituals for its legitimacy rather than its governing ideology, the territory is ruled by a nationalized mafia and guaranteed by the Russian military.
In the afternoon, we’ll continue to Tiraspol, checking into our 4-star hotel. Free dinner.
Transnistria – is a breakaway territory within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova. Although not recognized by any state or international organization, it is a de facto independent state named the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The country’s national coat of arms still includes the traditional hammer and sickle and the Lenin statue hasn’t yet been pulled down. The Pridnestrovia today may still retain the look of a Communist state and it’s called “the last remaining Stalinist dictatorship in Europe”.
Next stop – the Museum of Bender Tragedy. In 1992, during the bloody conflict at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, 1,000 people, both military and innocent civilians, died. A memorial museum of the Bendery Tragedy opened September 1, 1997, on the fifth anniversary. In the evening, let’s pay a visit to the Noul Neamt Monastery. Dinner in the monastic style is quite an experience. A local monk will guide us around, showing the monastery library, giving us wine from the Monastery Cellars and explaining to us how religion survives in the Last Soviet Frontier of Europe. Same accommodation in Tiraspol.
Later we’ll drive to Old Orhei, Moldova’s most picturesque and important historical site. We’ll start with a local lunch with a farmer and continue by visiting Old Orhei, famous for the cave monasteries located there. This zone was ideal for the primary monasticism of early Christian community. It was isolated from the outer world. At the time when Christians came here there should have been smaller and bigger caves in the calcareous rocks cut by pre-historic tribes living on this territory. Today the monastery is inhabited by only one monk. Here we will have a typical Moldovan lunch in a nice cozy Moldovan house. Later we’ll drive back to Chisinau. Check-in and farewell dinner in a local wine bar specializing in promoting quality Moldovan wines produced by small producers.
Accommodation will be in 3-4 star hotels. Guests of the same gender will be paired in twin rooms. Those wishing to stay in single rooms can opt for the single supplement which costs $200 extra.
Your travel provider for this tour: Ways Travel
“Ways Travel” – is a company situated in Chisinau, in the Republic of Moldova, specializing in group travel throughout Moldova and surrounding countries Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. They offer set itinerary trips groups as well as custom-tailored private tours. Ways Travel will help you discover unforgettable places that are unique in their own way. So let’s discover Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union together and we will change the way you think about successful vacations and opinions about traveling in this corner of Europe.