The self-declared country of Transnistria clings to its Soviet roots. Located on a sliver of land where the eastern border of Moldova meets Ukraine, Transnistria has its own government, parliament, military, police and postal system, but remains unrecognised internationally.
Though it has all the trappings of an independent nation, it isn’t officially recognised by any other sovereign nation - not even Russia - and to all intents and purposes is still considered to be part of Moldova.
Visitors to Transnistria coming from Moldova must complete all the formalities of a border crossing at a checkpoint manned by Russian, Transnistrian and Moldovan soldiers.
The territory maintains a Soviet feel that has been described as “surreal”, with the flag sporting the hammer and sickle emblem of Communism. Soviet-era monuments still look out over public areas and buildings adorned with socialist-realist murals. These Communist relics are actively cared for and maintained thanks to municipal funds.
Despite scare reports, Tiraspol is very welcoming, mainly because it gets so few tourists. Young people speak English and are helpful. The city is well-policed. Crime is low.