“Vienna of the East”, “The heart of Banat”, “The town of Bega”, “The city of flowers” are just a few of the names that inhabitants and tourists used to describe Timisoara, a beautiful city loved by all the visitors.
It is an atypical city for Romania, but in a nice way, not being littered with many buildings. Also, those who visit Timisoara even once, will never forget this city.
It is like being in a little corner of heaven. Everyone who walks through its streets will enjoy this feeling, whether it is a market square with a bohemian air, buildings and palaces rooted in history, bridges that bend romantically over the sunsets, green parks with thousands of flowers and trees or night clubs where music is not stopping.
A plus that all tourists should consider is that Timisoara was designated to be one of the European Capital of Culture in 2021.
1.The city center
The city center is the first place you will want to visit as soon as you arrive. An impressive number of palaces and buildings, from the Palace of Culture to the Metropolitan Cathedral, that still preserve the glory and spectacular architecture of the old days can be found in the center of the city known as Victoriei Square or Opera Square.
The constructions you can admire in this part of the city are: Lloyd Palace, Neuhausz Palace, Marbl Palace, Palace of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dauerbach Palace, Loffler Palace, Hilt-Vogel Palace, Szechenyi Palace and Weiss Palace. Today most of these impressive buildings host restaurants with different culinary specialties, institutions or shops.
To the right side, as you are heading to the Opera and the streets are leading you to the Liberty Square, the Hunyadi Castle tells an old history of the place. It is the oldest building in the former fortress of Timisoara. The thick brick walls and surveillance towers still seem to watch the city center. It is an edifice built by Robert Carol of Anjou at the beginning of the 1300s and then rebuilt by John of Hunedoara (perhaps the confusion between the castles of Timisoara and Hunedoara).
One of the most impressive constructions that you will see in the center of Timisoara is the Metropolitan Cathedral. Located in the south of the market, the Metropolitan Cathedral in Timisoara marks the other main entrance in the city center. The cathedral is undoubtedly one of the buildings that will catch your attention no matter where you are located. It is the largest religious building in the city.
A less known thing is that this place of worship has an extremely interesting history. During the Second World War, October 30-31, 1944, the German aviation attacked Timisoara. Six bombs were dropped to destroy the Metropolitan Cathedral. Out of the six bombs that have fallen near the cathedral, only one exploded, causing minor damage (some broken windows). The fact that the structure of the cathedral was not affected was considered a miracle.
2. The Beer Factory
The Timisoara Beer Factory is one of the city’s emblems and the first beer factory in Romania, founded in 1718 in the south of the Fabric neighborhood, on Stefan cel Mare Street no. 28.
The existence of the factory is linked to the name of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who came up with the initiative to build the factory, for two reasons – to supply the Austrian army with beer and to supplement the drinking water in the city.
There is also a museum with generous exhibition spaces where equipment, advertising materials, photos and even a projection room (where the history of the factory is displayed) can be found.
The Austrian composer Johann Strauss, accompanied by his orchestra, performed in the garden of the factory in November 1847. It was the first concert by Johann Strauss, son, outside Vienna.
3. The Roses Park
Initially, the park was built in 1891, but it was destroyed during the two world wars. The landscaping of the park started in 1928, the plans being drawn up by Arpad Mühle, the son of Wilhelm Mühle.
In the interwar period, the park was known as Rosarium and since it stretched over 25,000 square meters it was the largest of its kind in Southeastern Europe. There were over 1,200 types of roses, many of them rare or new in the world.
After the park was destroyed during the Second World War, the lost roses were replaced with varieties from local production or imported. In 1965, new roses were planted in the park and all species were indexed in a catalog.
Starting 2019 Timisoara celebrates “The Rose Day” on every last Thursday of May.
4. The Banat Village Museum
The Banat Village Museum is located in the Green Forest of Timisoara, close to the Zoo.
The Banat Village Museum is quite new, dating back to 1967 and opened to the public in August 20, 1971. Between the four years that have passed since the laying of the foundation stone and until the inauguration, a collection of authentic peasant farms, a town hall, a bar and a series of old technical installations (such as mills) were brought here, all of them being part of the cultural and ethnographic heritage of Banat’s s history.
Since then, the collection of Timisoara Museum has been constantly enriched with new households, a school and a church rebuilt here in the 1990s. The exhibits of the Banat Village Museum will walk you through the whole area of Banat for a few hours. You will visit the houses and admire the beautiful gardens and courtyards. If you are lucky, you will be able to caress the gentle horses inside the museum.
5. Maria Theresia Bastion
We cannot mention Timisoara without thinking about Maria Theresia Bastion, a Baroque monument with a remarkable historical significance, named after Maria Theresa, crowned Queen of Hungary in 1741. She was considered the most beautiful woman of the eighteenth century, just like her daughter, Maria Antoaneta.
The bastion is the largest preserved piece of defensive wall of the old city. Other pieces can be found in the Botanical Park and on Alexandru Ioan Cuza Alley. It was built to protect the city against the Ottoman invasion, but they never attacked. It is currently used as a passageway for people and for cars.