As a former part of the USSR Transnsitria Soviet Relics, as well as Transnistria Soviet Mosaics are two things that still very much exist in this strange breakaway republic.
For the uninitiated Transnistria is an unrecognized de facto state located between Moldova and Ukraine. Officially known as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) it’s claimed by Moldova and is currently only recognized by three other breakaway states, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh (which will cease to exist in 2024, click here to find out more).
Transnistria became a separate country following a vicious civil war with Moldova after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian speakers who populated Transnistria feared Moldova’s close relationship with Romania – the wounds haven’t healed since Great Patriotic War when there were many Romanian collaborators with Nazi Germany.
Since the creation of Transnistria in November 1991, very little has changed since the Soviet era in terms of culture, values, and particularly its architecture which often features beautiful mosaics – something which makes Transnistria unique from other former Soviet republics where they are disappearing.
WHAT ARE SOVIET MOSAICS?
Soviet mosaics consist of small pieces of tiles, glass, or stone arranged to depict a picture or pattern. These materials were chosen due to their durability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Many Soviet mosaics served political and ideological interests, often seen by the local authorities as an everlasting poster. The messages portrayed in these beautiful pieces of art can portray Soviet achievements alongside peasants, soldiers, and workers representing a socialist ideology.
Soviet mosaics were highly influenced by the space race, during the Soviet era many pieces of art were created. Click here to learn more about the cultural impact of space and Soviet art.
WHERE CAN I FIND SOVIET MOSACIS?
A particular interest of mine is searching for Soviet mosaics and learning about their artists and what the mosaics represented for the local people’s cultural heritage and the Soviet Union. Often when discovering beautiful and unique mosaics I incorporate them in many of our Soviet Europe Tours.
With our frequent tours to Moldova which boast some of the finest examples of Soviet architecture in the capital city. Click here to read more about Soviet-era architecture in Chisinau.
Soviet mosaics are scattered around Chisinau, some are well persevered such as the “The City is Flourishing and Being Built” tucked away in a bus station while others are falling into disrepair in abandoned sites such as the “Plowman of the Universe” mosaic found in the Gagarin Youth Centre.
Ukraine has a large number of Soviet mosaics located in metro stations, educational institutions, apartment blocks, and public buildings. Since the decommunization of Ukraine laws were drafted early as 2011, but only came into effect in 2015 following the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Many Soviet mosaics were viewed as glorifying the Soviet Union while others argued it was part of Ukrainian cultural heritage. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, a number of mosaics have been destroyed by the conflict, local authorities, and residents.
You can join us in Ukraine to learn more about the ongoing conflict and have the opportunity to visit Soviet mosaics during our Kyiv tour. Click here to learn more about our Ukraine tours.
The Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have pushed to remove signs of their Soviet occupation, this has resulted in the loss of mosaics, monuments, and bas-reliefs. Although our Soviet Baltics Tour encounters some Soviet relics, many have been lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the recent Ukrainian invasion by Russia. To learn more about the disappearing Soviet monuments in the Baltics, click here.
Transnistria is probably the best place to discover Soviet mosaics, the elongated territory has many mosaics perfectly intact located throughout the region – however, the best ones are often hidden away.
DOES TRANSNISTRIA HAVE THE BEST SOVIET MOSAICS?
Transnistria is an extremely unique place nestled away in Eastern Europe, as previously mentioned – very little has changed. The self-governed state has preserved its Soviet heritage making it one of the best places to see Soviet art such as mosaics, murals, bas reliefs, monuments, and stained glass windows.
Often many mosaics go unseen by foreign tourists, since moving to Tiraspol I have been able to document some of the fascinating mosaics found in the former Soviet Union, however many remain off-limits for security purposes.
Having traveled the length of Transnistria on multiple occasions during tours and weekend trips both the North and South of the state have an abundant amount of Soviet mosaics freely displayed in public. However many of these go unnoticed by the residents.
The best way to experience and see these beautiful Soviet mosaics is to join one of our many group or private tours to Transnistria, click here to find out more.