Brief description: Timişoara’s appeal lies in its distinctive cultural life and an impressive combination of Byzantine, Baroque and modern architecture. Some of the most interesting sights of the city are the elegant baroque buildings around the main city squares. Timişoara is one of the most important and beautiful cities in Romania. If you are planning a vacation in Romania, this city should definitely be on your list.
More information – Historical Attractions Sightseeing features
Timişoara means “Castle on Timiş”, is the capital and largest city of Timiş County, in the historical Banat region, in western Romania. Timişoara got its name from the Timiş River (which, however, does not flow through the city itself). The first official mention of the city is dated between 1212 and 1266 but is disputed. However, Timiş County is first mentioned in 1175.
The area, later called Banat, with the administrative center in “Urbis Morisena” (then Cenad) was conquered by the Hungarians around 1030 and added to the Hungarian Empire. Timişoara is located at a strategically important point from which a large part of the Banat plain could be controlled.
The appointment of Jan Hunyadi as Count of Timiş in 1440 marked a special chapter in the history of Timişoara. Johann Hunyadi became known throughout the region for his notable victory in Belgrade over the Turks and was revered as a defender of Christianity. He converted the city into a permanent military base and his family home. The castle came into the possession of the Corvin family until 1490.
On December 20, 1989, Timişoara was declared free from communism as the first city in Romania. Timişoara is a multicultural city that has been influenced by different ethnic communities, mainly German, Hungarian and Serbian, but also Bulgarian, Italian and Greek communities. The cultural heritage and cultural diversity are the strengths of the city. With 12 cultural institutions, Timişoara offers the third largest cultural country in terms of size and variety of cultural offerings, after Bucharest and Iasi.
The theater in Timişoara has a great tradition, which was the first in Europe to offer multicultural performances in Romanian, German and Hungarian in the three state theatres: national theatre, German theater and Hungarian theatre. The three institutions share the same building with the Romanian Opera.
In terms of tourism, Timişoara has the largest collection of historical buildings in Romania, consisting of 10 districts and diverse architecture. The influences of the Viennese Baroque and many parks have brought the city of Timişoara the nicknames “Little Vienna” and “City of Parks”.
The city of Timisoara at night
It was founded at the beginning of the 20th century at the same time as the fortress was demolished. The palaces on Victoriei Square were built in the style of the 20th century (especially Art Nouveau) and impress with their elegance. They resemble the buildings of the great European cities of that time. The north and south sides of the square are bounded by the Cathedral of the Three Holy Hierarchs and the Palace of Culture. Some of the most important cultural events are held on Victoriei Square: JazzTM, Timfloralis, FEST-FDR Theater Festival, Opera and Operetta Festival, Easter and Christmas fairs, New Year’s concerts and many more.
Here you will find Baroque-style buildings such as the Baroque Palace, the Roman Catholic Dome, the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, the Palace of the Serbian Orthodox Episcopate and the centrally located Holy Trinity Monument.
From the beginning it housed several buildings with a military function. Here are the garrison command, the Old Town Hall, the former War Chancellery (next to the Old Town Hall), the military casino, but also an important Baroque monument “Monument to Saints Mary and John of Nepomuk”.
The Timişoara Fortress (inspired by the design of Vauban’s French fortresses) was built between 1732 and 1761. Until the beginning of the 20th century it was the largest military fortress in a bastion system on Romanian territory. The fortress had three “rings” and included 9 bastions. Over time, the walls encircled the city center and prevented its growth until 1892 when it was decided to demolish the walls. The only remaining bastion that bears witness to the once gigantic fortress is the “Bastion Maria Theresa”.
The numerous and beautiful parks give Timisoara the reputation of “the city of flowers and parks”. It is possible to cross the whole city from one park to another. In the 19th century, rose growers who were famous throughout Europe lived here.
Currently, many cultural events are held in the parks, such as Bega Bulevard, Hearts Festival, an international folklore festival, Ruga Timişoara, film festivals, children’s festivals or the famous Timfloralis Festival, during which the parks are planted with tens of thousands of tulips and the eyes of a make every visitor shine.
Until the 18th century, the Timişoara area was a swampy area. A canal had to be built for the rehabilitation of the swamps and for the economic and social development of the city. The construction of the Bega Canal started in 1728, and already in 1732 the first ship sailed from Timişoara down the Bega, the Tisza and then the Danube to Pancevo in Serbia. The total navigable length of the Bega Canal was 116 km. For this reason, Timişoara was connected to Budapest, Vienna and other major European cities by water. Until the second half of the 19th century, the Bega Canal was the gateway for the main transport goods from the entire Banat. It was also important for passenger services, with a regular timetable until 1966.
Today, the Bega Canal represents an important offer for public transport and leisure traffic. There are paths for hiking and jogging along the banks, as well as cycle paths.
Originally an abandoned industrial area, Iulius City is now a real small town in the center of Timişoara and one of the main business, shopping and entertainment attractions in the western part of the country. The building ensemble, built according to a modern urban concept, houses hundreds of shopping facilities with national and international brands, restaurants and cafés, fitness centers, cinemas, but also offices and state-of-the-art conference rooms. The associated Iulius Gardens, laid out as a beautiful modern park, invite you to stroll and relax.
The Museums of Timisoara
The Art Museum with Romanian and European works of art.
The December 1989 Revolution Monument, which displays images and films taken during the 1989 revolution.
The Village Museum, the only open-air museum in the western part of the country.
The National Museum of Banat, with exhibitions from the past of Timişoara and the Banat.
Popa’s Museum with works by the world’s fastest caricaturist.
The Museum of the Communist Consumer, with objects from Romania’s 80s.
The Museum of the Cathedral of the Three Holy Archbishops, with religious artifacts.
To name just a few. Art galleries and other exhibitions also create a wide range of cultural activities for you.
Roman Catholic dome
After more than 700 years, the residence of the Roman Catholic bishops was moved from Cenad to Timișoara in 1733, where the first church of the Jesuit monks was to be built. The plan of today’s church was drawn up in Vienna in the Baroque style under the guidance of the architect Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach or, according to other opinions, by Johann Jakob Schelblauer, the technical adviser to the city of Vienna. The cornerstone was laid in 1736 and work began in 1738. Because of the swampy terrain, the church was built on wooden pillars. It is 55 m long, 22 m wide, the nave is 16.90 m high and the towers 35.5 m. The first bells were cast in 1763, and the clock was then installed in 1764. The work was completed in 1774. By a decree of Empress Maria Theresa in 1756, the church was elevated to the rank of the first church in Timişoara. During the siege of 1849 the building was badly damaged. The church has 9 altars. The icon of Saint George in the main shrine dates back to 1754 and is the work of Mihail Unterberger, a Viennese painter. As a sign of gratitude for the support, the two large statues on the main altar represent the patron saints Charles VI. And Maria Teresa. The first baroque organ in the church was built in 1767 by the Viennese Paul Hanke.
It is one of the symbols of the city and was built between 1936-1946. Its architectural style harmoniously combines elements of old Romanian-Moldovan architecture. The cathedral has 11 towers covered with colored glazed tiles and is 83 m high. It is one of the largest churches in Romania. In the basement of the cathedral you can visit a museum presenting a rich collection of religious art objects.
The baroque castle dates from the 18th century. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Timişoara and a valuable architectural heritage of the city. It was established as a residence for the civil governor of Banat. In 1846, Franz Liszt performed in the large Hall of Honour, the Baroque Hall. Since 1984 the castle has housed the Timişoara Art Museum.