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"Tighina" redirects here. For the village in Vâlcea County, Romania, see Voiceşti.
Bendery, Tighina[1]
Transfiguration Cathedral

Coat of arms

Municipality of Bender (in red)

Coordinates: 46°50′N 29°29′E / 46.833°N 29.483°E / 46.833; 29.483

Country Moldova
Autonomous Region Transnistria[2]
Founded 1408
 • Head of the State Administration of Bendery Yuriy Gervachuk[3]
 • Total 97.29 km2 (37.56 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 93 751
Time zone EET (UTC+2)

Bender[4] (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈbender]), also known as Bendery (Russian: Бендеры, tr. Bendery, IPA: [bʲɪnˈdɛrɨ]; Ukrainian: Бендери, Bendery) and Tighina (Romanian pronunciation: [tiˈɡina]), is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic (PMR) since 1992. Located on the right (western) bank of the river Dniester in the historical region of Bessarabia, together with its suburb Proteagailovca, the city forms a municipality, which is separate from Transnistria according to the 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 de facto administrative control.


First mentioned in 1408 as Тягянякяча (Tyagyanyakyacha) in a document in Old Slavonic (the term is of Cuman[5] origin), the town was known in the Middle Ages as Tighina in Moldavian sources and later as Bender in Ottoman sources. The fortress and the city were called Bender for the most part 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 (Тигина) 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. During the Soviet period the city was known in the Moldavian SSR as Бендер (Bender) in Moldovan (Romanian) written then with the Cyrillic alphabet, and as Бендéры (Bendery) in Russian. In the independent Moldova, officially it is known as Bender, but otherwise both names Bender and Tighina are used.[6]


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.[7] During his reign of Moldavia, Stephen III had a small wooden fort built in the town to defend the settlement from Tatar raids.[8]

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 Varniţa 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.[9]

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).

Along with Bessarabia, the city was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1812, and remained part of the Russian Governorate of Bessarabia until 1917.

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. On Easter Day, 1919, the bridge over the Dniester River was blown up by the French Army in order to block the Bolshevik's from coming to the city.[1]

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, and again by the USSR in August 1944.

In 1940-41, and 1941-1991 it was one of the four "republican cities" (i.e., 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 part of the independent Republic of Moldova.

Due to the city's key strategic location on the right bank of Dniester river, 10 km (6 mi) from left-bank Tiraspol, Bender saw the heaviest fighting of the 1992 War of Transnistria.

Since 1992, Bender has been formally in the demilitarized zone established at the end of the conflict, but is de facto controlled by Transnistrian authorities. Moldovan authorities control the commune of Varniţa, which fringes the city to the north. Transnistrian authorities control the communes of Proteagailovca, which borders the city to the west, Gîsca, which borders the city to the south-west, Chiţcani and Cremenciug, further to the south-east, while Moldovans are in control of Copanca, further to the south-east.


Yuriy Gervachuk is the current head of the state administration of Bendery, replacing Vyacheslav Kogut by a decree of the president of Transnistria in 2013.[10]

List of Heads of the state administration of Bendery

  • Vyacheslav Kogut (? ~ 2012)
  • Valery Kernichuk (February 9, 2012[11] ~ November 15, 2012[12])
  • Yuriy Gervachuk (January 24, 2013[3] ~ )

People and culture


In 1920, the population of Bender was approximately 26,000. At that time, one third of the population was Jewish. One third of the population was Romanian. Germans, Russians, and Bulgarians were also mixed into the population during that time.[1]

At the 2004 Census, the city had a population of 100,169, of which the city itself 97,027, and the commune of Proteagailovca, 3,142.

Ethnic composition
Ethnic group 1930 census 1959 census 1970 census 1979 census 1989 census 2004 census
the city
Proteagailovca The
Russians 15,116 N/A N/A N/A 57,800 41,949 1,482 43,431 43.35%
Moldovans1 - N/A N/A N/A 41,400 24,313 756 25,069 25.03%
Romanians1 5,464 N/A N/A N/A - 61 0-5 61-66 0.06%
Ukrainians2 - N/A N/A N/A 25,100 17,348 658 18,006 17.98%
Ruthenians2 1,349 N/A N/A N/A - - - - -
Bulgarians 170 N/A N/A N/A 3,800 3,001 163 3,164 3.16%
Gagauzians 40 N/A N/A N/A 1,600 1,066 25 1,091 1.09%
Jews 8,279 N/A N/A N/A - 383 2 385 0.38%
Germans 243 N/A N/A - - 258 6 264 0.26%
Poles 309 N/A N/A N/A - 190 0-12 190-202 0.20%
Armenians 46 N/A N/A N/A - 173 0-16 173-189 0.18%
Roma 24 N/A N/A N/A - 132 0-5 132-137 0.13%
Belorussians 188 N/A N/A N/A - 713 19 732 0.73%
others N/A N/A N/A 8,300 7,440 0-31 7,440-7,471 7.44%
non-declared 51 N/A N/A - N/A
Greeks 37 N/A N/A - N/A
Hungarians 24 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Serbs, Croats, Slovenes 22 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Czechs, Slovaks 19 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Turks 2 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Albanians 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total 31,384[13] 43,000 72,300 101,292[14] 138,000[15] 97,027[16] 3,142[16] 100,169 100%

Note: 1 Since the independence of Moldova, there has been ongoing controversy over whether Romanians and Moldovans should be counted officially as the same ethnic group or not. At the census, every citizen could only declare one nationality. Consequently, one could not declare oneself both Moldovan and Romanian.
Note: 2 The Ukrainian population of Bessarabia was counted in the past as "Ruthenians" in a similar way the Romanian population is counted as "Moldovan" today

Native language
Language 1930 census 2004 census
Russian 16,566 N/A
Yiddish 8,117 N/A
Romanian 4,718 N/A
Ukrainian 1,286 N/A
German 225 N/A
Polish 219 N/A
Bulgarian 78 N/A
Turkish 26 N/A
Greek 21 N/A
Hungarian 20 N/A
Gypsy 16 N/A
Czech, Slovak 14 N/A
Armenian 11 N/A
Serbo-Croatian, Slovene 8 N/A
Albanian 2 N/A
other 11 N/A
non-declared 46 N/A
Total 31,384[13] 100,169


  • Radio Chişinău 106.1 FM

Notable people

Famous natives

Famous people born in the city include:


FC Dinamo Bender is the city's professional football club, formerly playing in the top Moldovan football league, the Divizia Naţională, before being relegated.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Bender is twinned with:



External links

  • (Polish) Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland (1880)
  • City portal

Coordinates: 46°50′N 29°29′E / 46.833°N 29.483°E / 46.833; 29.483

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