Orheiul Vechi
January 24, 2015

Tiraspol

Tiraspol (IPA: [tɪˈraspəl]; Russian and Ukrainian: Тирасполь, Romanian pronunciation: [tiˈraspol]) is internationally recognised as the second largest city in Moldova, but is effectively the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Transnistria). The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River. Tiraspol is a regional hub of light industry, such as furniture and electrical goods production.

The modern city of Tiraspol was founded by the Russian generalissimo Alexander Suvorov in 1792, although the area had been inhabited for thousands of years by varying ethnic groups. The city celebrates its anniversary every year on October 14.

Pre-history

Tyras (Τύρας), also spelled Tiras, was a colony of the Greek city Miletus, probably founded about 600 BC, situated some 10 kilometres (6 miles). from the mouth of the Tiras River (Dniester). Of no great importance in early times in the 2nd century BC, it fell under the dominion of indigenous kings whose names appear on its coins. It was destroyed by the Getae about 50 BC.

In 56 AD the Romans restored the city and made it part of the colonial province of Lower Moesia. A series of its coins exist that feature heads of Roman emperors from Domitian to Severus Alexander. Soon after the time of the latter, the city was destroyed again, this time by the invasion of the Goths. Its government was in the hands of five archons, a senate, a popular assembly and a registrar. The images on its coins from this period suggest a trade in wheat, wine and fish. The few inscriptions extant are mostly concerned with trade.

Such ancient archeological remains are scanty, as the city site was built over by the great medieval fortress of Monocastro orAkkerman. During the Middle Ages, the area around Tiraspol was a buffer zone between the Tatars and the Moldavians, and inhabited by both ethnic groups.

Foundation

The Russian Empire conquered its way to the Dniester River, taking territory from the Ottoman Empire. In 1792, the Russian army built some fortifications to guard the western border near a Moldavian village named Sucleia. Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov is considered the founder of modern Tiraspol; his statue is city’s most distinctive landmark. The city was named after Tyras, the Greek name of the Dniester River on which it was built.

In 1828 the Russian government established a customs house in Tiraspol to try to suppress smuggling. The customs house was subordinated to the chief of the Odessa customs region. It began operations with 14 employees. They inspected shipments of bread, paper, oil, wine, sugar, fruits and other goods.

Soviet Tiraspol

After the Russian Revolution, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created in Ukraine in 1924, with Balta as its capital. The republic had Romanian, Ukrainian and Russian as its official languages. Its capital was moved in 1929 to Tiraspol, which remained the capital of the Moldavian ASSR until 1940.

In 1940, following the secret provisions of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the USSR forced Romania to cede Bessarabia. It integrated Tiraspol, until then part of the Ukrainian SSR, into the newly formed Moldavian SSR. On August 7, 1941, following the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, the city was taken over by Romanian troops. During the occupation, Tiraspol was under Romanian administration. During that period almost all of its Jewish population died: they were slain in place or deported to German Nazi death camps, where they were murdered.

In 1941 before the occupation, the newspaper Dnestrovskaya Pravda was founded by the Tiraspol City Council of popular deputies. This is the oldest periodical publication in the region. On April 12, 1944, the city was retaken by the Red Army and became again part of Moldavian SSR.

After independence

On January 27, 1990, the citizens in Tiraspol passed a referendum declaring the city as an independent territory. The nearby city ofBendery also declared its independence from Moldova. As the Russian-speaking independence movement gained momentum, some local governments banded together to resist pressure from the Moldovan government for nationalization.

On September 2, 1990, Tiraspol was proclaimed the capital of the new Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. The new republic was not officially recognized by Soviet authorities; however, it received support from some important Soviet leaders, such asAnatoly Lukyanov. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the territory east of the Dniester River declared independence as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), with Tiraspol as its capital. It was not recognized by the international community.

On July 1, 2005, the Lucian Blaga Lyceum, a high school with Romanian as its language of instruction, was registered as a Transnistrian non-governmental establishment. The registration of six Romanian language schools has been the subject of negotiations with the government since 2000. The tension increased in the summer of 2004, when the Transnistrian authorities forcibly closed the schools that used the Moldovan language in the Latin script. According to the official PMR view, this is considered as Romanian. Moldovan, written in the Cyrillic script, is one of the three official languages in the PMR; Romanian is not. Some economic measures and counter-measures were taken on both banks of the Dniester.

Tensions have been expressed in terrorist incidents. On July 6, 2006, an explosion, believed to be caused by a bomb, killed at least eight people in a minibus. On August 13, 2006, a grenade explosion in a trolleybus killed two and injured ten.