For Romanians, Timișoara is the place where the 1989 revolution started. That is when they freed themselves from the communist dictatorship and began experiencing democracy. In Timișoara there were the first martyrs, generally youngsters who hadn’t even reached their 20’s. This why the city will always be the symbol for the Romanian people’s will for freedom, which reached its peak at the 1989 Revolution. It was the first city to be declared communism free.

Some of the city’s most interesting sites are its elegant baroque buildings, spread around town and particularly along the main square.

Novelties on Timișoara

Timișoara was the first European city with electric streetlights and the second one, after New York, in the world.

It is one of the cities in Romania that had suffered the most, throughout the history, as a result of foreign invasions and occupations. Thus, Timișoara was inhabited even from Antiquity, before the Dacians. Then, after the Roman occupation, vestiges have been unearthed that indicated it had passed under their rule. Between 600 A.D. and 1018 A.D. the settlement has been under many rules – Ostrogoths, Huns, Gepids, Pannonian Avars, and Bulgars – before it was subdued by the Turkish rule, from 1552 until 1716. The 1718 treaty places Timișoara again under Austrian-Hungarian dominance. The city rejoined Romania only in 1920 according to the Trianon Treaty.

Timișoara is dubbed “Little Vienna” due to its rich cultural life, the historical vestiges, and the 18th century buildings. The Hunyadi Castle in Timișoara is even older, it was built in 1443-1447 by Ioan of Hunedoara. It hosts a history museum.

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Timișoara was built in 1936-1946 and it is the tallest church in Romania.

About Timișoara

Timișoara is the capital of Timiș County and lies in the west of the country, where Timiș and Bega rivers change courses.

The name Timișoara comes from the Magyar name of the settlement – Temesvár, meaning the Citadel of Timiș.

It became known as powerful economical center in the 18th century, at the same time the Habsburg administration took power. The Swabian colonization, the ethnical and religious diversity, as well as the law system favoring private property led to the formation of a strong layer of craftsmen and traders.

Timișoara is a multicultural city, influenced by the diverse ethnical communities, especially the Germans, Magyars and Serbians, but also Bulgarians, Italians and Greeks. The cultural heritage and the cultural diversity are the fortes of the city.

The Timișoara theatre society has a great tradition and uses its three state theatres (a premiere in Europe) – The National Theatre, The German Theatre and The Magyar Theatre – to put on shows in Romanian, German and Hungarian. The three institutions have their residences in the same icon-building as the Romanian Opera.

The Banat Philharmonic completes the high quality cultural agenda, thus carrying on the tradition of a city which had on its stages performers like Franz Liszt, Strauss the son, Brahms, Enescu or the premiere of Verdi’s Traviata on February, 9th 1855.

The first record of the city of Timișoara, built on the site of an ancient Roman fortress called Castrum Regium Themes, dates back to 1212.


The Metropolitan Cathedral in Timișoara, belonging to the Orthodox rite, is the largest religious edifice in the city and it was built between 1936 and 1940, 7 years before the Metropolis of Banat was created. The church bells and crosses were blessed in 1938, but the finishing, the interior and exterior paintings were finished only in 1956 because of the war. The inauguration took place in 1946, in the presence of King Michael.

The Opera (The Theatre) the execution started in 1871, using the plans of Vienna based architects Helmer and Fellner (constructors of many theatre halls in Europe – Budapest, Vienna, Odessa) and it was finished in 1875. Initially, the building had a Renaissance exterior. But two big fires ravaged the building in 1880 and 1920. After the second fire, which left intact only the wings, reconstruction was executed by the plans of architect Duiliu Marcu, keeping the original style only on the sideways. The main front and the show hall was rebuilt in a neo-byzantine style. A unique situation in the world – the Romania Opera building, constructed in 1872, also shelters the Mihai Eminescu National Theatre, The Csiky Gergely Magyar State Theatre and the German State Theatre.

The She wolf with cubs. In the green area in the center of the square there is the She wolf with cubs standing on a 5 meter tall Roman column. The statue is a replica of the Capitoline Wolf and it was gifted to the city of Timișoara in 1926 by the municipality of the city of Rome as a praise to the common roots of the Romanian and Italian peoples. Other two similar replicas were given to the cities of Cluj and Bucharest.

Union Square, made in a baroque style, it is the oldest square in TImișoara. Initially it was called Losonczy Square, after the Hungarian deputy county head Stefan Losonczy, murdered in 1552, when the citadel was conquered by Turks. The current name was given in 1919, when, on August, 3rd, Romanian troops entered Timișoara and stopped here. By the way, this square has the biggest density of public spaces in the city. The square is home to the Roman-Catholic Dome, The Baroque Palace, The Serbian Orthodox Episcopal Cathedral, The Monument of the Holy Trinity, The mineral water fountain.

Thanks to its mild climate, Timișoara has lots of public squares and lush green retreats.

The Hunyadi Castle (The Museum of Banat Region) located close nearby Victory Square (Hunyad Square no. 1), The Hunyadi Castle is the oldest monument in Timișoara and it was built in 1443-1447 by Iancu of Hunedoara, one of the great leaders of the anti-ottoman resistance of the 15th century. It was built on the site of the former 14th century royal castle (built during the reign of King Carol Robert of Anjou) and underwent modifications in the 16th and 18th centuries and in 1856. The most important modification was the one in 1856 when the main front was remade in a romantic style. It served as a noble residence in the 15th and 16th centuries, residence of the pasha between 1552 and 1716, and then an artillery barracks. Presently it hosts the Museum of Banat Region).

Timișoreana Beer Factory is the first beer factory in Romania, established in 1718, and a part of the old factory is still present today. Here, in the garden of the factory, in November 1847, Austrian composer Johann Strauss, the son, with his orchestra, held a concert performing famous waltzes – Blue Danube, Artist’s life, Viennese blood or Wine, women and song. It was the first concert held by Johann Strauss, the son, outside Vienna.

Timișoara was the first European city with electric streetlights and the second one, after New York, in the world.

Millenium Church. This Roman-Catholic church, located in the Fabric district, close nearby Trajan Square, was built to honor the anniversary of a millennium since the Magyar people have settled tine Pannonia Plain. It was built in a neo-roman style, by the project of architect Lajos Ybl. On October 13th 1901, five years after the foundation stone had been laid, it was blessed by bishop Sandor Dessewffy. Approximately 4 million bricks were used to construct it. The two towers are 65.7 meters high, and the central dome is 45 meters high. It has a capacity of no more than 3,000 persons. The great bell weighs 2,420 kg. The church has an organ made by chief craftsman Leopold Wegenstein and it was donated by bishop Sandor Dessewffy. Recently the organ has been restored.

The Synagogue in Fabric, Located nearby The People’s Park and not far from Trajan Square, it is also known as the New Synagogue or the Maura Synagogue because of its Moorish style with Arabian-Hispanic elements, a style which reminds of the old community of Spanish Jews settled in Timișoara.

Many parks in this “city of flowers” provide an idyllic spot to take a break from sightseeing.

History, culture and architecture

Architectonically wise, the city inherited a large heritage of historical monuments (around 14,500), the largest in the country. In fact, the whole ensemble of buildings in the center and the ones in the Iosefin and Fabric districts are considered historical monuments. This is the result of a long tradition of modern urban planning, which was started even from the 18th century, once the Austrians had arrived. The Viennese baroque style was predominant, and it gave Timișoara the nickname “Little Vienna”.

Timișoara is also known as the city of flowers, often being praised for its green spaces and parks. The variety of parks of different sizes as well as the zoo are destinations in Timișoara known for their recreational open air activities.

One of the best known parks in Timișoara is the Central Park, with a rich history, and it is considered a city attractions, hosting a Monument of Heroes.
Also close to the city center you can find The Roses Park, which at the beginning of the 20th century made Timișoara famous as the city of roses. The floral arrangements and the pergolas on the park alleys sum up to 1,200 species of roses. Here also is the summer theatre stage where lots of festivals and shows are held.

In the Botanical Park, a dendrology park of large dimensions, you can admire collector’s species grouped in 11 sectors, according to the region the plant originated from. Also, on the list of parks in the city of TImișoara you can find the People’s Park, the oldest in the city, dating back to 1852.
Timișoara has the largest ensemble of historical buildings in Romania and it comprises the urban complexes of Cetate, Iosefin and Fabric districts. The varied architecture, the influences of the Viennese baroque and the multitude of parks got Timișoara, as we said before, the name of “Little Vienna” and “The City of Parks”.

The Hunyade Castle is a historical monument, which was considered the oldest building in TImișoara until the archaeological diggings started in 2013 and conducted in the city center. It was built in 1443-1447 by Ioan of Hunedoara on the ruins of a former 14th century castle (built during the reign of King Carol Robert of Anjou). It currently hosts the Museum of Banat Region.

The Dicastery Palace (built in 1855-1860) is the building that currently hosts the Timișoara Court, the Timiș County Court of Justice and the Timișoara Court of Appeal. The monumental construction, erected on an area that spreads along three blocks, was for a long period of time the biggest construction in Timișoara. The palace, built on three levels, initially had 273 offices, 34 chambers for servants, 34 kitchens, 65 cellars and 27 storages, grouped in three interior courts. It was built in the Italian Renaissance style, copying the Medici Palace in Florence.

The Palace of the Old Prefecture, also named “The Baroque Palace”, is one of the most valuable historical monuments in Timișoara. The features of the construction have favored its use as an art museum, as the spaces of the building can adapt with minimum changes to the needs of contemporary items exhibitions. Thus, on one hand the placement in a central and vast area of the city historical nucleus favors the polarizing of the visitors’ interest, and on the other hand, the architectural characteristics enables the functional diversity enforced by the museum program and the emphasis of the harmony between the construction and its new destination.