[ben-der-ee; Russ. byin-dye-ri]
Bendery or Bender: see Tighina, Moldova.

Bendery or Bender, also known as Tighina, is a city in Moldova. Although located on the right bank of the river Dniester, it is controlled by the authorities of the breakaway region of Transnistria. Together with its surrounding villages, the city forms a municipality, which is separate from Transnistria according to Moldovan laws. Bendery is located in the buffer zone established at the end of the War of Transnistria. While the Joint Control Commission has overriding powers, Transnistria has de facto administrative control and both Moldova and Transnistria have small police forces in the city.


First mentioned in 1408 as Тягянакача (Tyagyanakacha) in a document in Old Slavonic, the town was known in the Middle Ages as Tighina in Romanian/Moldavian sources and Bender in Turkish sources. It was called Bender for the most part of the time the city belonged to the Ottoman (1538-1812) and Russian Empires (1812-1917), and as Tighina when it belonged to the Principality of Moldavia (before 1538), in the early part of the Russian Empire (1812-1828), and during the time the city belonged to Romania (1918-1940) as part of Bessarabia. During the Soviet period the city was known in the Moldavian SSR as Бендер (Bender) in Moldovan written then with the Cyrillic alphabet, and as Бендéры (Bendery) in Russian. After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova kept the name "Bender" as the official name of the city. However, the name "Tighina" is sometimes used as well.. The breakaway authorities of Transnistria (which control the city since 1992) use the names Бендер/Bender, Бендéры/Bendery, and Бендéри/Bendery in Moldovan, Russian, and Ukrainian, respectively.


Year Population Moldovans Russians Ukrainians Others
1979 101,000 - - - -
1989 130,000 - - - -
2004 97,027 24,500 (25.5%) 41,500 (42.8%) 17,000 (17.4%) 14,000 (14.6%)


Vyacheslav Kogut is the city's current mayor.


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 custom point on the commercial road linking the country to Tatar Crimea. A fortress was built in the town around this period.

In 1538, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the town from Moldavia, and renamed it Bender. Its fortress was re-built under the supervision of the Turkish architect Koji Mimar Sinan, and was renamed the Bender Fortress (cf. Turkish language: Bender, "gate"). The Ottomans used it to keep the pressure on Moldavia.

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 1709, 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 their defeat in the Battle of Poltava, and Turks who wished to take the Swedish king hostage and exploit the political difficulties of central Europe.

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 finally in 1806 without a fight).

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

As a part of Bessarabia, Tighina belonged to the Moldavian Democratic Republic (1917-1918), and Romania (1918-1940, 1941-1944).

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 is part of the independent Republic of Moldova.

During the War of Transnistria (1992), because of the city's key strategic location on the right bank of Dniester river, 10 km from left-bank Tiraspol, it was the biggest of the three battlefields of that war.

Since 1992, Bendery is formally in the demilitarized zone established at the end of the conflict, but is de facto controlled by Transnistrian authorities. Moldovan authorities control the village of Varniţa, which fringes the city to the north.

Famous natives

Famous people born in the city include:


External links

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