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Europe > Balkans > Transnistria > Tiraspol

Tiraspol

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Tank memorial in Tiraspol

Tiraspol (Russian: Тирасполь; Ukrainian: Тираспіль) is the capital and largest city in Transnistria.

You might enjoy a visit to the main street with its parliamentary building boasting relatively new Lenin and Stalin statues. Opposite, a T-34 tank from the Great Patriotic War era forms part of a monument which also contains soil from the pivotal battle of Stalingrad and, in the same square, a monumental warplane decorated with flowers. You probably won't miss the Soviet-style banners either.

Understand[edit]

Tiraspol has relatively modern infrastructure. The state-run bus service is a simple, fairly accessible method of transportation operating at peak hours during the day, made up of trolleybuses and maxi taxis (the latter cost 3.50 rubles), you pay on board. Night-time operations were halted due to an increase in criminal drug trafficking, which became rampant on the bus system during the mid-1990s. Subsequent reforms by ex-President Smirnov and other officials enabled the bus system to remain open for at least the better part of the day, restoring a much needed public service to the Transnistrian population.

The Palace of the Soviets

Tiraspol is landlocked and is largely closed off from the outside world due to a lack of transcontinental infrastructure. There is neither an airport nor a seaport in Transnistria. The nearest international airport is located in neighbouring Moldova.

The local sewer system and electrical grid is state of the art. Recently adapted from models based in western Europe, the Transnistrian basic infrastructure was built in the mid-1990s with the profits gained after the war of independence in 1992.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

There are bus and maxi-taxi services from Chişinău every 30 min through most of the day. They leave from the northeast corner of the Chişinău Autogara (at Str. Tighins). Buy your ticket at the Cada de Peron window on the platform, not inside the station. (2 hr 20 min, 36.50 Moldovan lei in September 2018).

There are also regular services from Bendery, Causeni, Odessa, and other Ukrainian and Moldovan cities. The main bus/train station is about 1 km from the city centre and has clearly posted schedules.

The Tiraspol bus/train station does not have a luggage depot.

There is a bank/exchange office, which is closed on Sunday. And no, you cannot pay for the toilet in the station with Moldovan lei.

Border issues[edit]

No visa or payment is required for EU, Moldovan or US citizens when staying for less than three days, but you must remember to register with the police unless you are just on a day trip.

At the Ukrainian border, visitors may face demands for bribes from the border guards either on entry or exit from Transnistria (or both). Despite official orders from the previous President Smirnov to act professionally and to decline such payments, bribery is rife and your passport may be destroyed if you do not pay. Indeed, you may be turned away from the border on the Ukrainian side if you are unwilling or unable to pay the border guards a bribe. To avoid this, ensure that you are not obviously carrying hard currency (therefore stash it away in carefully concealed areas on your person) as the border guards will check you thoroughly for it.

See[edit]

Presidential palace
Tiraspol stadium

You can see most of what there is to see in Tiraspol by walking along 25 October, the main street. There are several nice parks in the city, including the Culture Park near the university. This has abundant trees and a mixture of abandoned and enthusiastically used amusement park rides, and is a good place for people-watching. Most of the big monuments are at the south end of the city, about 2 km from the Palace of Soviets. It is also worth taking a small detour off the Main Street and going down to the Dniester river, where locals tend to gather in the summer.

Do[edit]

Visit many Soviet monuments that remain in Tiraspol since the days of USSR. You may also want to visit the local drama theatre and local museums near the centre of the city. The war museum near the parliament is also quite interesting; note that foreigners have to pay ten times more than locals - 20 rubles. There are cheap boat tours on the Dniester which take about 30 minutes; just board the boat, the guide will collect the money after the ship departs (25 rubles).

  • Iceskating - near where the mashrutkas from the Ukrainian border arrive is an ice rink. 65 rubles.
  • Sheriff Casino - inside the Russia Hotel
  • A point of interest is that although there are no foreign embassies in Transnistria, both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have representative offices in Tiraspol and Russia itself has a consulate.
  • The information office on the Main Street has friendly, English-speaking staff. It also doubles as what is apparently the state's only souvenir shop, offering a range of postcards, shot glasses and other goods.

Buy[edit]

In order to purchase goods, services or souvenirs in Tiraspol, or in any Transnistrian locale you must exchange your outside currency into Transnistrian rubles. The Transnistrian central bank sets their own exchange rate and prints their own money, so the number of rubles you will get on any given day for your euros varies significantly from week to week. Currency exchanges are everywhere, including inside many popular stores, and will change most local and major currencies. Some exchange booths will ask for your passport. You can't pay with credit or debit cards in Transnistria.

  • The famous Transnistrian 'Kvint' vodka and cognac can be purchased at several liquor stores throughout the city, as well as the Kvint factory (the latter being an attraction in itself). The vodka is approximately 3US/ litre.

Eat[edit]

  • Andy's Pizza. A Moldovan chain serving amix of Western-style foods such as the "English Breakfast" and other Eastern European favourites. The menu is in English and Russian, and some waiters may speak good English also. The atmosphere is clean and modern, but the toilets are the Eastern European squat variety, which starkly contrasts with the rest of the restaurant. Décor is on par with restaurants in countries much further West. Free Wi-Fi.
  • Bottle Museum [dead link] Tourist complex where you can taste wines and brandies produced in Moldova and the Moldovan sample dishes of national cuisine, decorated in the Moldovan national style.
  • Cafe Eilenburg, Sverdlov Street 1 (at the corner of Sverdlov Street and 25. October Street). German-style restaurant with view over the main square with monuments and government buildings. The menu is in Russian, English and German, with the staff being fluent only in Russian.
  • Kumanek, Sverdlov Street 37, +373 533 72034. Traditional Ukrainian food set around a garden. English menu. Has smoking and non-smoking rooms. Prices are higher than in other Tiraspol restaurants. Main dishes from 40 rubles.
  • La Placinte, Ul. Svedlova at its east end. Another Moldovan chain with a branch in Tiraspol. Provides traditional Moldovan food at reasonable prices and free Wi-Fi. Menu in Russian but with pictures.
  • 7 Пятницъ (7 Fridays), 25. October Street 112, +373 533 92 210. Western-style restaurant on the main street. Very modern and clean, with some English-speaking staff and a comprehensive menu with various international dishes of high quality including a wide selection of sushi, but no local specialities except for the local cognac (Tiras). Free Wi-Fi. There is another branch on maxi taxi routes 2 and 3, behind Sheriff Supermarket/Andy's Pizza, whose menu has a picture of every dish on offer. An average meal with salad and main course costs about 80 Transnistrian rubles, 50 cl beer c. 17 rubles and 5 cl cognac 9 rubles.

Drink[edit]

There are many shops and markets to purchase local food, drink and their famous Transnistrian Vodka drink commonly referred to as a "smirnovka" - appropriately named after president Igor Smirnov. Further along the river in the city centre are a handful of bars and restaurants which usually are open until about midnight.

There are several large and modern discos in the centre. They are usually open until late, seven days a week. Tourists are rare and the few English speakers that might be around are often very happy to communicate with foreigners.

Sleep[edit]

In some hotels hot water and showers are not standard. They often cost extra on top of the price of a basic room, although often no more than a few dollars on top of the base price.

  • Hotel Russia, Svedlova, 67 (down the street from the Parliament building, a 15-min walk from the train/bus station), +373 533 38 000. A modern business hotel with restaurant, terrace, casino. Breakfast 95 roubles. From €50 without breakfast.
  • Tiraspol Hostel, Mira 36 (opposite the Pobedi Park), +373 68 571-472, e-mail: . There are a number of bars within walking distance, with centre reachable by public transport, or just a few dollars in a taxi. (As of June 2015 the owner was running homestays for 200 rubles per night per person. He meets guests at the bus/train stations and takes them to the accomodation).
  • Hotel Aist, Naberezhnyi 3. Soviet museum of a hotel but is well located near the main square and overlooks the river. Do not expect the comfort of a decent hostel or even hotel. The showers are barely dripping and there is no laundry service, etc. The "luxury" rooms are equipped with a TV set and a fridge. There's a bar on the second floor with a terrace that overlooks the river Dniestr. Do not expect anybody to speak English. A two-room en suite twin without hot water costs 250 rubles, 400 with hot water.
  • Hotel Timoty, 395A, Karl Libknecht str. Rooms at Hotel Timoty with standard western amenities are available for around US$50, depending on the size of the room, the date of your reservation, and your nationality. Note that many hotel rooms at cheaper hotels may not havd a private bathroom. And even if you have a private bathroom, hot water is not guaranteed. Ask in advance.

A cheaper alternative to staying in a hotel is to rent a private apartment.

Connect[edit]

Don't expect your Moldovan SIM to work in Tiraspol -- Moldcell doesn't, for example.

Go next[edit]

The last bus to Chişinău leaves at 18:35 from the main bus/train station. The bus timetable can be found at this website: [1] by selecting "AB тирасполь" from the drop-down menu, choosing the departure date, and looking at the times for "Тирасполь - Кишинев". A taxi from the city centre to there costs 50 rubles (39 if you speak Russian without an accent) and the price for the bus will be 40 rubles. Bus tickets to Chişinău have to be bought inside the bus station, and not from the driver. There is an exchange office at the station.

If you miss the last bus, you can take a taxi to anywhere in Chişinău for US$30.

If you're heading the other way, there's a train to Odessa which leaves at 15:58 - and a bus to Kiev (if you ask nicely, the driver will let you go as far as the Ukrainian border where you can get a bus to Odessa) leaves around 16:30 - after that, there is no scheduled transport to the Ukraine; you might get lucky with a maxi-taxi, but don't count on it. If you get to the bus/train station too late, a taxi to Odessa will cost about US$50: a lot in local terms, but 125 km (80 miles) for US$50 is a bargain by western standards, and is a lot less hassle than finding a place to sleep and getting an extension on your visa.

There is a bus to Odessa which leaves about 14:00. It should be booked earlier in the day if possible as it will only take as many passengers as can be seated and, as it starts from Bendery, it can already be quite full when it arrives at the train-station in Tiraspol. Tickets for the bus can be booked in the train-station, and the bus leaves from outside it.

You may go to the Ukraine border by bus which goes to Pervomajsk (it has no railway station, but has a bus station near the Park of Victory [park Pobedy in Russian] and swimming pool. Cross the border and take another bus in the direction you need. Besides, it's a bit cheaper.

This city travel guide to Tiraspol is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.