Take A Trip To The 'Country That Doesn't Exist' And You'll Feel Like You Went Back In Time

Transnistria is a self-declared country located within the confines of modern-day Moldova. It's not recognized by the UN, the rest of Europe, or Russia, but its existence as an independent country continues to persist to the point where they have their own currency and military. They founded themselves back in 1990, and while the world has rapidly changed since those days, the country feels like a time capsule to the Soviet era. The architecture and general culture reflect this, giving visitors a vivid taste of history in this overlooked country that's not a country.

Getting into Transnistria shouldn't be too much of a stressful task if you're able to get into Moldova. Just be sure to get the proper stamps upon entry and exit. Currently, you might face a little bit more hassle and should exercise a bit more caution (the U.S. Embassy is limited there) due to the war with Russia in the neighboring country of Ukraine. The United States government has issued a Level 2 travel advisory for the country.

Fascinating stops

While it's not necessarily the first spot on most people's travel bucket list, Transnistria can provide a unique, worthwhile trip. The main city that most visitors stop by is Tiraspol, Transnistria's capital. Tiraspol is about a 90-minute drive away from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, another popular spot to visit. Note that when you put Tiraspol into navigation, you'll have to search for it in Moldova because, as we established, Transnistria is not a recognized country.

Spend one to three days wandering its streets and snapping photos of the many Soviet-era buildings and statues; visit fascinating factories and museums; relax and sip on a glass of wine at one of the wineries, and more. The Kvint cognac distillery is a great place to start. There are six different tasting levels that allow you to both tour the factory and learn about the process of making cognac, as well as participate in tastings of various cognacs. Prices range from 25 € (about $27 USD) to 90 € (about $99 USD) and tours last between 90 minutes and two and a half hours. 

Wine, statues, and markets

Another fun thing to do in Tiraspol is to look at the many statues. Some worth seeking out are the numerous tank monuments and war memorials throughout the city, erected to honor those who fought in the Great Patriotic War (World War II), the Soviet-Afghan War, and 1992's Transnistria war, resulting in Transnistria's independent support from Russia. The Lenin statues, particularly in front of the Supreme Soviet building and the House of Soviets, are also definitely worth a visit. Next, attend the Green Market in Tiraspol. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the bazaar that takes place inside of a green building, hence the name.

Overall, Transnistria is an underrated destination and a very unique place to visit. There is an abundance of remnants from the past, making it a great spot for those interested in history and culture. Get your passport and visa and get ready to visit a region with fascinating politics and plenty of activities and sights waiting for you.