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Introducing Transdniestr

The self-declared republic of Transdniestr (Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika, or PMR in Russian), a narrow strip of land on the eastern bank of the Dniestr River, is perhaps one of the strangest places in Eastern Europe, a ministate that doesn't officially exist in anyone's eyes but its own.

While on the one side Moldova maintains that Transdniestr was illegally grabbed from its sovereign territory with Russian support, Transdniestr proudly points to its having won its 'independence' during a bloody civil war in the early 1990s. However you look at it, a tenuous, bitter truce has ensued ever since.

Travellers will be stunned by this idiosyncratic region that has developed its own currency, police force, army and borders, controlled by Transdniestran border guards.

Until very recently, a visit to the area meant submitting to sometimes expensive, organised bribe shakedowns with border officials, but in recent years such instances have almost totally ceased and visiting this communist theme park is a relative breeze. Come and see one of Europe's strangest corners.

The Bank of the Republic of Transdniestr (www.cbpmr.net) has daily updated rates for the Transdniestran ruble against all major currencies.