Theme Week Moldova – Bender City

Saturday, 31 October 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Freedom Square © Maturion/cc-by-sa-4.0

Freedom Square © Maturion/cc-by-sa-4.0

Bender or Tighina (Romanian) is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under control of the unrecognized Transnistria since 1992. It is located on the western bank of the river Dniester in the Romanian historical region of Bessarabia. Together with its suburb Proteagailovca, the city forms a municipality, which is separate from Transnistria (as an administrative unit of Moldova) according to Moldovan law. Bender is located in the buffer zone established at the end of the 1992 War of Transnistria. While the Joint Control Commission has overriding powers in the city, Transnistria has administrative control. The fortress of Tighina was one of the important historic fortresses of the Principality of Moldova.

First mentioned in 1408 as Tyagyanyakyacha in a document in Old Slavonic (the term has Cuman origins), the town was known in the Middle Ages as Tighina in Romanian from Moldavian sources and later as Bender in Ottoman sources. The fortress and the city were called Bender for most of the time they were a rayah of the Ottomans (1538–1812), and during most of the time they belonged to the Russian Empire (1828–1917). They were known as Tighina in the Principality of Moldavia, in the early part of the Russian Empire period (1812–1828), and during the time the city belonged to Romania (1918–1940; 1941–1944). The city is part of the historical region of Bessarabia and of Bessarabia Governorate within the Russian Empire. Today the city is officially named Bender, but both Bender and Tighina are in use.

The town was first mentioned as an important customs post in a commerce grant issued by the Moldavian voivode Alexander the Good to the merchants of Lviv on October 8, 1408. The name “Tighina” is found in documents from the second half of the 15th century. The town was the main Moldavian customs point on the commercial road linking the country to Tatar Crimea. During his reign of Moldavia, Stephen III had a small wooden fort built in the town to defend the settlement from Tatar raids. In 1538, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the town from Moldavia, and renamed it Bender. Its fortifications were developed into a full fortress under the same name under the supervision of the Turkish architect Koji Mimar Sinan. The Ottomans used it to keep the pressure on Moldavia. At the end of the 16th century several unsuccessful attempts to retake the fortress were made: in the summer of 1574 Prince John III the Terrible led a siege on the fortress, as did Michael the Brave in 1595 and 1600. About the same time the fortress was attacked by Zaporozhian Cossacks. In the 18th century, the fort’s area was expanded and modernized by the prince of Moldavia Antioh Cantemir, who carried out these works under Ottoman supervision. In 1713, the fortress, the town, and the neighboring village Varnița were the site of skirmishes (kalabalik) between Charles XII of Sweden, who had taken refuge there with the Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa after his defeat in the Battle of Poltava, and Turks who wished to enforce the departure of the Swedish king. During the second half of the 18th century, the fortress fell three times to the Russians during the Russo-Turkish Wars (in 1770, 1789, and in 1806 without a fight).

Bender Fortress - Citadel © Vadim Tolbatov/cc-by-sa-3.0 Bender Fortress - Northern side © Ivo Kruusamägi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Bender Fortress - South side © Ivo Kruusamägi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Art Gallery © Ruslan1881 Freedom Square © Maturion/cc-by-sa-4.0 Gorki Cinema Theatre © Донор/cc-by-sa-3.0 Nistru Hotel © Ruslan1881
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Bender Fortress - Northern side © Ivo Kruusamägi/cc-by-sa-3.0
Along with Bessarabia, the city was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1812, and remained part of the Russian Governorate of Bessarabia until 1917. Many Ukrainians, Russians and Jews settled in or around Bender, and the town quickly became predominantly Russian-speaking. By 1897, speakers of Romanian and Moldovan made up only around 7% of Bender’s population, while 33.4% were Jews. Tighina was part of the Moldavian Democratic Republic in 1917–1918, and after 1918, as part of Bessarabia, the city belonged to Romania, where it was the seat of Tighina County. In 1918, it was shortly controlled by the Odessa Soviet Republic which was driven out by the Romanian army. The local population was critical of Romanian authorities; pro-Soviet separatism remained popular. On Easter Day, 1919, the bridge over the Dniester River was blown up by the French Army in order to block the Bolsheviks from coming to the city. In the same year, there was a pro-Soviet uprising in Bender, attempting to attach the city to the newly founded Soviet Union. Several hundred communist workers and Red Army members from Bessarabia, headed by Grigori Stary, seized control in Bender on May 27. However, the uprising was crushed on the same day by the Romanian army. Romania launched a policy of Romanianization and the use of Russian was now discouraged and in certain cases restricted. In Bender, however, Russian continued to be the city’s most widely spoken language, being native to 53% of its residents in 1930. Although their share had doubled, Romanian-speakers made up only 15%.

Along with Bessarabia, the city was occupied by the Soviet Union on June 28, 1940, following an ultimatum. In the course of World War II, it was retaken by Romania in July 1941 (under which a treaty regarding the occupation of Transnistria was signed a month later), and again by the USSR in August 1944. Most of the city’s Jews were killed during the Holocaust, although Bender continued to have a significant Jewish community well until the 1990s. From 1940–41, and 1944–1991 it was one of the four “republican cities”, not subordinated to a district, of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union. Since 1991, the city has been disputed between the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria. Due to the city’s key strategic location on the right bank of the Dniester river, 10 km (6 mi) from left-bank Tiraspol, Bender saw the heaviest fighting of the 1992 War of Transnistria. Since then, it is controlled by Transnistrian authorities, although it has been formally in the demilitarized zone established at the end of the conflict. Most of the city’s remaining Jews emigrated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Moldovan authorities control the commune of Varnița, a suburb fringing the city to the north. Transnistrian authorities control the suburban communes of Proteagailovca, which borders the city to the west and Gîsca, which borders the city to the south-west. They also control Chițcani and Cremenciug, further to the south-east, while Moldovans are in control of Copanca, further to the south-east.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Bender Stadt, LonelyPlanet.com – Bender Fortress, Wikipedia Sheriff, Wikivoyage Bender City and Wikipedia Bender city. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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