Originally called "Tighina", Bender is situated in Moldova on the western banks of the Dniestr River. In the early 16th century Moldovan prince Ştefan cel Mare built a large fort here, on the ruins of a Roman camp. By 1538, Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent laid claim to the land, improving the fortifications and renaming the city ‘Bender’ (which means ‘belonging to the Turks’). Bender’s key strategic location on the Dniestr River has resulted in a history fraught with conflict, where invasions and annexations form a complex picture of a much-contested city. Most recently, in 1992, Bender was the focus of the fighting in the War of Transnistria, in which Transnistria declared independence from Moldova. Today the city forms part of the demilitarized zone established at the end of the conflict, lying within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova, but under the de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic.
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Given its traumatic history, it's fairly remarkable that Bender is nevertheless an inviting and sociable location, reopening its borders to international tourism and investing money in restoring the historical sites that attract foreign visitors. The remnants of the medieval fortress walls, the Military cemetery and the Transfiguration Cathedral all provide valuable insights into the chequered history of this river-side city. The upheaval in Bender’s recent history means that it has not been a prime destination for expatriate relocation, but it is cities with small expat minorities that often need the global network provided by InterNations the most. Those thinking of relocating to Bender, whether for business or personal reasons, may find first-hand information on visas, housing or jobs difficult to come by (where those moving to, say, Sydney, Australia are inundated with information). InterNations, for example, provides forums in which our numerous members can find and share the answers to questions that matter the most to expats living and working in cities throughout the world, no matter how large or small the expatriate population.
Expatriates working in Bender can use the InterNations forum to get in touch with like-minded expats in the city to find and share information on topics pertinent to expat life. Becoming known for its lively café culture, Bender is increasingly offering more to both its local and expatriate residents. The expressions of emerging and developing communities such as this can take a while to become formalized on the pages of guide books and official literature, so social platforms such as InterNations are invaluable to expatriates in Bender looking for new locations and events to frequent. Expats living in Bender who join the network can also benefit from the Expat Magazine and gain access to a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience which could help with all aspects of expatriate life. Whether socializing in Bender, organizing the nitty-gritty of moving to Bender or simply wanting to share the highlights of a day’s sightseeing, the InterNations community can help get the most out of expatriate experience abroad.