The self-declared republic of Transdniestr (sometimes called Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika, PMR, in Russian), a narrow strip of land on the eastern bank of the Dniestr River, is one of the strangest places in Eastern Europe. It's a ministate that doesn't officially exist in anyone's eyes but its own.
Bendery (sometimes called Bender, and previously known as Tighina), on the western banks of the Dniestr River, is the greener, more aesthetically agreeable counterpart to Tiraspol. Despite civil-war bullet holes still decorating several buildings – Bendery was hardest hit by the 1992 military conflict with Moldova – the city centre is a breezy, friendly place.
The northern city of Soroca occupies a prominent position on the Dniestr River and as such it has played an outsized role in the defence of the Moldavian principality through the ages. The main attraction is the Soroca Fortress, part of a chain of medieval military bastions built by Moldavian princes from the 14th to the 16th centuries to defend the principality's boundaries.
The region of Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) covers 1832 sq km of noncontiguous land in southern Moldova. This Turkic-influenced Christian ethnic minority (pop 171,500) forfeited full independence for autonomy, being subordinate to Moldova constitutionally and for foreign relations and defence. It comprises three towns and 27 villages.