Tiraspol is the capital of Pridnestrovie.
Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and the capital of the independent country of Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The city is located on the Northern and Eastern banks of the Dniester River.
The city is modern compared to the rest of Pridnestrovie, with good urban transport links. The city is home to hotels and restaurants.
Contrary to popular perceptions, Tiraspol is a quiet and peaceful city with no military activity since 1992. The only people in uniform you will usually see are military officers and policemen. Military parades are held annually on Independence Day (2 September) and on Victory Day (9 May).
There are no commercial airports in Tiraspol, the closest airport is in Chișinău. Buses and maxi-taxis link Tiraspol to Chișinău and stop on the Chișinău-Тираспіль (R2) trunk road.
Trains are few and link Tiraspol to Odessa and Chisinau once a day in each direction. Tiraspol station is 1km North of the city centre. From the post office, walk North past the KVINT shop and the tourist office and the church of Presentation of the Child Jesus up the tree lined avenue to station square.
CFM (Moldovan Railways) service leaves Chișinău at 07:09. The evening service back to Chisinau leaves Tiraspol at 21:05. The full schedule can be found on the CFM website (railway.md). Tickets can be purchased at the CFM counter at Chișinău station or at Tiraspol station. Tickets purchased on the Russian Railways website may **not** be withdrawn from CFM stations as ticket desks have no email facility to confirm the reservation. Purchase tickets on the CFM website or at the station. Tickets can be purchased up to shortly before departure.
Facilities at Tiraspol station include ticket office, money exchange, bus station with ticket office and border control. The Border Control office opens when the Chisinau - Odessa train passes - queue up to receive your 'visa'. The visa is a white piece of paper which details the time of your stay. Do not lose this piece of paper as it will be checked by the Pridnestrovian authorities when you leave.
Roads in Pridnestrovie are of varied quality. Traffic includes heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) as well as agricultural vehicles. Drivers have little regard for safe European driving practices and will overtake dangerously, even in blind bends. Keep right, but not so much that you are on the hard shoulder. Beware of potholes and isolated objects on the road. Use maxi-taxis as much as you can.
Hire a taxi from Chisinau airport for US$35-$40 one way. Make sure to negotiate.
There is regular bus and maxi-taxi service to Chișinău (40 Pridnestrovian roubles in Oct 2019), Бендеры (Bendery), Causeni, Odessa and other Ukrainian and Moldovan cities. The main bus/rail station is about a kilometre north from the city centre and has clearly posted schedules.
There is luggage storage in the bus station part of the building.
From Бендеры (Bendery), trolleybuses 19 and 19A (2.80/3.00 Pridnestrovian roubles). Departs from улица Сергея Лазо (Lazo Street). (January 2020)
Entering the city
Entry to Pridnestrovie is simple. When entering the country by road, immigration checks will occur at the border. No visa or payment are required for EU, Moldovan or US citizens. During passport checks, you will be asked how long your stay is and asked to confirm hotel address.
Most visitors these days visit the country with no problems and are not asked for bribes. In the past there were stories of visitors facing demands for bribes from the border guards either on entry or exit from Pridnestrovie (or both).
Getting around Tiraspol
Tiraspol has a trolleybus network serving most areas a typical visitor will want to travel to. Tickets can be obtained on board, and cost 2.50/2.80 roubles for trolley buses and 4 roubles for maxi taxis (January 2020). Trolleys are in operation 7-days a week. In 2012 delivery of new-generation trolley buses from Belarus.
Most sights in Tiraspol can be seen walking up and down 25th October Street (вулиця 25 Жовтня). Most monuments are at the south end of the city, about 2km from the Palace of Soviets. Visit many Soviet monuments that remain in Tiraspol since the days of USSR. You may also want to visit the local drama theatre, which is located near the university, and local museums in the central part of the city. The Museum of Local Lore near the parliament is also quite interesting; note that foreigners have to pay ten times more than locals - 20 rubles. The Zelinsky Museum is also worth a visit and shows the house where the inventor of the first effective charcoal gas mask Nikolay Zelinsky was born over the course of the first world war around 11 million gas masks based on his concept were produced. There is also a War Museum located in the building of the Defence Ministry of Pridnestrovie, but it is only accessible by local citizens.
You might enjoy a visit to the main street with its parliamentary building boasting a relatively new Lenin statue. 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. You probably won't miss the Soviet-style banners either! On the other side of the city, in the Balka district, there is a monument with an old MiG-19 fighter, erected in 1975 on the 30th anniversary of victory in World War II in commemoration of Soviet fighter-pilots.
In order to purchase goods, services or souvenirs in Tiraspol, or in any Pridnestrovian locale you must exchange your outside currency into Pridnestrovian rubles. The Pridnestrovian central bank sets their own exchange rate and prints their own money, so the amount 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 (e.g. those of the Agroprom Bank which are located at the Sheriff stores) will ask for your passport. You can't pay with credit or debit cards in Pridnestrovie. Credit cards can be used to withdraw a prefered currency for small commission (+/- 5€), this service is provided by several banks and exchange offices (August 2019). This opportunity to withdraw money using credit cards is a good solution for running out of cash. Although there was once only one ATM in Tiraspol there are now ATMs located outside most Sheriff Supermarkets from which you can withdraw only Russian Rubles or US dollars. These can be exchanged promptly at the nearest exchange kiosk. Almost every Sheriff Supermarket has an exchange booth, and they are also located on the street and in markets. The buy-sell spread for dollars, euros, and other major currencies is very close (less than 0.5% as of July 2019). The currency appears to be pegged to the dollar, because the rate does not seem to change for dollars.
There are many shops and markets to purchase local food, drink and their famous Pridnestrovian Vodka drink commonly referred to as a "smirnovka" - appropriately named after president Igor Smirnov. Along the river downtown, a handful of bars and restaurants can be found, usually open till about midnight. Nightclubs do not get busy until after 11 pm and stay open until at least 6 am.
There are river boats which cruise for about an hour for 30 rubles. You can bring your own alcohol or purchase alcohol on the boat. Be prepared for just about everyone on the boat to be intoxicated.
Tiraspol is a very safe city. Few bars on windows, and very casual police presence. Nightlife is mostly of the ice cream, coffee, and casual beers type. There are a couple of discos in town. Best people watching, and surprisingly good range of International food, is at Mafia restaurant.
Hotels available on airbnb.com and booking.com (and other online booking systems). Payment is in cash (Pridnestrovian ruble)
Here are some hotels in the city center:
There is a choice of cheap and nearly cheerful hotels. Be aware that 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 is currently the best hotel in town, but with the highest rental cost. The Hotel Sofia (previously - Hotel Timoty) also has good reviews. Rooms at this hotel with standard Western amenities are available for around $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 come with a private bathroom. And even if you have a private bathroom, hot water is not guaranteed, ask in advance. Hotel Aist has an old decor and a low assortment and quality of services, but is well located near the main square and overlooks the river. A two-room ensuite twin without hot water costs 250 PMR rubles, 400 with hot water. As of July 2019, lobby is under construction, so you must enter from rear.
We do not recommend using local hostels. You run the risk of encountering a very poor quality of services, up to unsanitary conditions in the room and lack of sleeping places, as well as fraud. These shelters are usually a remodeled cramped small-sized apartments with prison-style beds. A better option would be to use a hotel with verified reviewsor a cheaper alternative to staying in a hotel is to rent a private apartment - For the same money, you will receive a full-fledged apartment with all the necessary attributes (parking, hot water, kitchen, Wi-Fi, etc.). You can choose the best ratio of cost and quality on online booking systems. We recommend that you carefully read the reviews of previous guests.
The last bus to Kishinev leaves at 18.30 from the train station (50 MDL single or 40 Pridnestrovian Roubles return, August 2019). A taxi ride from the city centre to there costs 50 roubles (39 if you speak Russian without accent).
If you miss the last bus, you can take a taxi to any place in Kishinev for 250 Pridnestrovian rubles.
If you're heading the other way, there's a train to Odessa which leaves at 08:27 - and a bus to Kiev ( if you ask nicely, the driver will let you go as far as the Ukrainian border where you can jump on 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 560 Pridnestrovian Rubles (Jan 19) : a lot in local terms, but 80 miles for $50 is a bargain by western standards, and is a lot less hassle then finding a place to sleep and getting an extension on your visa. Be aware that travelling into Ukraine by taxi, if your driver does not hold a Moldovan/Ukrainian/Russian passport, they can not freely enter Ukraine. Many taxi drivers will want to drop you off at Два Стовпи (Two Columns), which is on the outskirts of the city. You can take another taxi from there quite easily. There is a currency exchange (обмен валют), just before the Ukrainian border. It’s your last change to exchange Pridnestrovian rubles into an otherwise spendable currency.
You may go to the Ukraine border by bus which goes to Pervomajsk (it's not on railway station, but on the auto station near the park of Victory (park Pobedy in Russian) and swimming-pool), cross the border and take another bus in direction you need. Besides, it costs a bit cheaper.
You can head to the Pridnestrovıan 'seaside' south of the territory on a big Dniestr artificial lake. Take a minibus to 'Limon'.
The city is safe at night but usual precautions apply. Streets are lit at night, stay in lit areas. Try staying on 25th October Street.