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13 / 11 / 2016



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Timisoara "Little Vienna" & the Banat
This proudly independent, guardian of the Revolution, has always faced West.
Timisoara is a cosmopolitan, university city and a cultural and architectural gem.






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Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, Timisoara




TIMISOARA & THE BANAT


Highlights


Piata Unirii
Serbian Metroplitanate
Catholic Cathedral
Baroque Palace
Dicasterial Palace
Piata Libertatii
Piata Victoriei
Orthodox Cathedral
Tökes Reformed Church
1989 Revolution Museum
Banat Museum
Village Museum
Piata Plevnei
Fabric District
Secessionist Architecture
Tramway Museum



Surroundings


Recas Wine Cellars
Buzias Spa
Arad
Zarand Hills & Vineyards
(Paulis, Minis, Ghioroc)
Ghioroc Tramway
Maria Radna Monastery
Soimos Fortress
Mures Wetlands Reserve
Oradea


Travel


FLY DIRECT
LUTON-TIMISOARA
FLIGHTS with WIZZ AIR
From only £ 100.00 return
including booking fees

Scheduled services with Malev
from Heathrow and Stansted, with
Tarom, Austrian, Lufthansa or Alitalia
from Heathrow, Connections from
Manchester and Birmingham with
Alitalia and Lufthansa.

Low-cost flights to Budapest by Easyjet
from London or Newcastle, or Jet2
from Manchester ( 5 hour connections
by minibus direct from the airport)
Regular domestic flights from
Bucharest Otopeni with Tarom. or

Sibiu, Cluj, Oradea, Bacau and Iasi
with
Carpatair; Interregional flights
with Carpatair to Düsseldorf,
Munich,Stuttgart, Bergamo, Turin,
Verona, Ancona, Florence, Rome
Treviso and Chisinau

International rail services from
Budapest and Belgrade, and
connections via Arad to Vienna
& Prague. There are several
daily 'intercity' or 'Rapid' services
to Bucharest and Craiova
including an overnight service,
and very convenient 'Blue Arrow'
(Sageata Albastra) intercity services
to Cluj, Arad, Oradea, Deva and Sibiu.
Local express services also connect
Arad, Oradea, Cluj, Suceava, Iasi,
Sibiu, Brasov, Resita and Satu Mare.

Transfers, city tours, rail tickets
and even short breaks can
be reserved in advance.


Timisoara

STOP PRESS
TIMISOARA TO BE EUROPEAN CITY OF CULTURE 2021

The direct WIZZ flights from Luton have brought Timisoara even closer, and together with quality hotels such as the Art Deco Savoy or the Art Nouveau Victoria it is an ideal city break destination.

Timisoara ('Temesvar') has always been a progressive, cosmopolitan city,facing West rather than East, so it was no surprise that the spark of the1989 Revolution was ignited here. Other claims include the first city with trams, the first in continental Europe with electric street lighting and the oldest hydro-electric station in Europe. It is also a very beautiful city with open squares, parks and gardens, elegant boutiques,cafes and and restaurants, and a wide variety of architecture, principally baroque, neo-classical and art nouveau, making it ideal for a short break or as a base for a longer holiday in western Romania. The focal point is the tall orthodox cathedral (1936-46 combining neo-byzantine and Moldavian elements) standing at the end of the main square, Piata Victoriei, overlooking the Bega Canal. The square is lined with impressive late secessionist apartment 'palaces'(see separate section - link below).

Across the town centre is the colourful, historic, Habsburg-era square, Piata Unirii, lined with pavement cafes, and colourful buildings which include the newly renovated, and very fine, newly-restored baroque Catholic Cathedral (Fischer von Erlach, 1774), and Baroque Palace (1754) which houses the city's art museum, together with a Trinity (Plague) Column (1740), the baroque Serbian Orthodox Cathedral (1745-48), the mint green Serbian Metropolitanate (redesigned by Lazslo Szekely), and the extravagant art nouveau Banca de Scont. Many of the buildings around this delightful square are either being restored or are scheduled for restoration in the near future.

Other attractions in the city centre include the Mediaeval 'Maria Teresa' Bastion (1730-33, part of Timisoara's formerly extensive defences), the massive Dicasterial Palace (1860), the Deschan Palace, and the Sezessionist National Bank (undergoing renovation in 2005) and Post Office buildings, and the Banat Museum which is housed in the 14th century Hunyadi Castle, heavily rebuilt over the following centuries and most recently in neo-gothic style in 1856.



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Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds


Our personal recommendations for the best accommodation in Timisoara and the Banat
Luxury 5-star hotels to family run guesthouses


Hotel Victoria 3-star: simple art nouveau hotel in a superb location just off Piata Libertatee
Hotel Savoy 4-star: very nice art deco hotel across the bega Canal from the Cathedral and city centre
Apart Hotel Iosefin Residence 4-star: comfortable hotel with large apartments and suitessituated in the Iosefin district with in easy reach of the centre; ideal for business travellers

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Piata Libertatii, between the other main squares was once a Turkish bazaar. Unlike Transylvania, the Banat was under Turkish rule from 1552 until Prince Eugene de Savoy took Timisoara in 1716 for the Austrian Habsburgs. The Imperial power gained control, bringing in Swabian settlers to strengthen their hold. At this time the seven-star shaped bastion and gate-towers were constructed and the marshes surrounding the town were drained by the new Habsburg governor, General Mercy. Piata Libertatii became the adminsitrative centre for the Austrians, and the baroque, old town hall here has Arabic inscriptions showing that it was once the Turkish baths, the only remains from the period of Ottoman rule. Other baroque edifices on this square include the 1756 statue of St John Nepomuk, patron saint of the Banat, and the military barracks. Other interesting buildings on Str. Eminescu, east of the square, include the neo-classical Deschan Palace (1735) and Casa Mercy (18th C.). South of the Bega Canal you will find the Reformed Church of Lazslo Tökes on Piata Maria, where a plaque marks the beginning of the 1989 Revolution. There are many memorials to the 1989 Revolution around the town marking places such as the steps of the orthodox cathedral where innocent protestors died, in addition to evidence of the heavy fighting that took place including pock mocked buildings such as the end of the Loffler Palace above McDonalds or the apartments around Piata Sf. Gheorghe. For a full insight to the Revolution in Timisoara we highly recommend a visit to the exceptional Memorial Museum of the 1989 Revolution (Strada Ungureanu, behind Piata Unirii).

South and east of the canal are the districts of Josefin, Elisabetin and Fabric, constructed mainly in the late 19th century, and with some gems of 'Jugendstil' or
art nouveau architecture. Check out the peaceful Piata Plevnei for example, a quiet niche where couples stroll hand-in-hand in the shade of the lime trees, and time seems to stand still. The park has recently been relaid. Or take the tram into Fabric past the former Neptun baths and along a boulevard of facades reminiscent of Prague, with an abundance of sculpted stucco ornamentation - vegetal and floral motifs, owls, elegant figures and masks. Peep inside and you will find sinuous wrought iron and even stained glass. Most of all Timisoara is a city for strolling - everybody has their favourite corner, or time of year - there is no hurry. If you need to rest your feet, a tram will be along in a moment - the system is fast, frequent and efficient. We can even arrange a tour with a nostalgic tram from the museum. For details about the system including route map click: www.ratt.ro

SPECIAL: Click here to read about Timisoara & it's Secessionist / Art Nouveau architecture

SPECIAL: Click here for our photo galleries: TIMISOARA, ORADEA




Timisoara offers a wide selection of entertainment - restaurants (Romanian, Hungarian, Serbian, Italian, Chinese, etc) cafes, clubs, bars and of course, theatre, music concerts and opera. This is a very lively city with a substantial university campus. For an interesting comparison try reading 'Land of Green Plums', by Herta Müller, a book written about the hopelessness and horror of the Ceausescu era, and centred around the university campus. There is a wine festival and a beer festival, wine tasting in the cellars at nearby Recas, and a beer garden at the Timisoreana Brewery. Timisoara is also an excellent city for buying Italian fashions; indeed it is something of a shoppers' paradise. There are open-air bazaars, and vivid flower, fruit and vegetable markets - try those at Piata 700 in the centre, or at Piata Badea Cartan (formerly the haymarket) in Fabric. With regards to restaurants some of the best include the 'Mackintosh-style' Lloyd on the corner of Piata Victoriei, Maestro near Piata Libertatii, Mioriticfor excellent traditional cuisine (close to the student campus), Da Toni, the best Italian restaurant also serving freshly made pizza and calzone (Strada Daliei, student campus), and Casa cu Flori (local Banat cuisine - on the pedestrian way between Piata Victoriei and Piata Libertatii). For a quick and tasty takeaway including a local 'Serbian' Pleskavita try the Java Coffee House just south of Piata Unirii on Strada A. Pacha.



National Theatre Teatrul National Timisoara

The National Theatre and Opera at the top of Piata Victoriei, is an excellent, inexpensive venue for
a night out. The ticket office is located at the side of the building opposite Hotel Timisoara.
Forthcoming events are normally advertised on posters at the front of the the theatre.
The quality of performances is excellent and the actual theatre richly decorated and very beautiful.
The current theatre with its simple, but imposing white facade featuring a neo-byzantine arch
over a balcony, was desined by Duliu Marcu in 1920 to replace Fellmer & Hellmer's original building
which was destroyed by fire. Recent performances have included La Traviata and a Strauss concert
by the Timisoara Orchestra of Strauss. There is also a music festival during October
with performances on most evenings. To the east side are the entrances to the separate
German and Hungarian language theatres.
For Information including forthcoming programmes
at the theatre, Opera and Philharmobic please see
the Useful Links section below







Info Central Turistic Timisoara, Strada Alba Iulia; Tel. 0256 437973; email: infocentru@ccmtm.ro





The Banat

The old cities of Timisoara, Arad and Oradea, formerly part of the 'Banat of Temesvár' are natural gateways to Transylvania, which may be approached either via the Iron Gate of Transylvania, the Crisul Repede Valley or the Mures Valley.




Arad

Arad, the first city reached by one of the principal land corridors into Romania, stands beside the Mures river, and faces a huge 18th century Austrian Vauban-style bastion, 'Cetatea Aradului' (1762-83), built in the shape of a six-pointed star and still serving as a military base. It is a city of impressive buildings and architecture, with many of the main sights located along the principal thoroughfare, the broad Bulevard Revolutiei with trams running along it through the strip of park down the centre. These include the impressive, brilliant white City Hall "Palatul Administrativ' (Derenc Pekár, 1876 - after Ödön Lechner), the Palace of Culture (Szantay, 1913) behind it in Piata Enescu, the Red Church (Szántay 1906 - neo-Ggothic and secessionist), the large, domed Roman Catholic Church (1902-4) and the neo-classicalState Theatre (1874). There are also some delightful examples of art nouveau, as with Oradea, in particular along Strada Closca and around Piata Avram Iancu, e.g. Palatul Bohus (Szantay). There is also an extensive open air market in the older part of the town, west of Piata Avram Iancu, overshadowed by the tall towers of the baroque Orthodox Cathedral (1865) and nearby the old water tower (1896) whih is being restored as a museum. At the corner with Strada Mihai Eminescu you will find the Secessionist Farmacia Grozavescu (Emil Tabakovits, formerly Földes Pharmacy) which still functions with its original interior. East of Piata Avram Iancu stands the Old Theatre (Jacob Hirschl, 1817) where Mihai Eminescu once worked. It bcame the Urania Cinema in 19o3 but is now being restored with a view to reopening as a theatre. Further south near Piatra Veche, location of teh former fish markets, lies the old Jewish quarter and a couple of synagogues. Beyond is the Serbian quarter and the attractive Serbian church of St. Petru & Pavel (1692-1702) which was rebuilt in a baroque style in 1790. Like the rest of the Banat, Arad was ruled for many years by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and during this time saw several uprisings. It still has a German-speaking minority but unlike the Saxons of Transylvania these settlers were Swabians arriving in Habsburg times. Like Timisoara, Arad is presently undergoing considerable restoration.

Arad may be visited as a day trip from Timisoara (50 minutes by train) or we can book you into a hotel such as the rather atmospheric Ardealul or the international Parc. Arad is also a good starting point for a tour, one of our 'Patrick Leigh Fermor' Trails for example, or not so far, to explore the string of wine villages extending along the foot of the Zarand Hills north from the Mures: Minis, Ghioroc, Pâncota and Ineu. Ghioroc may be reached at a relaxing snail's pace by tram, or we could even organise a tour by vintage tram. In Minis we can offer you a lovely old home and restaurant belonging to a former aristocrat. Nearby is the old abbey of Maria Radna with its baroque twin-towered pilgrimage church (1756) immortalisd by Patrick Leigh Fermor and his game of skittles with a Franciscan Monk. Trains from Timisoara or Arad to Radna. To the east the ruins of Soimos fortress mark the beginning of the Mures defile.

Downstream from Arad, near to Cenad, you will find the excellent Mures Wetlands Nature Reserve
(Parcul Natural Lunca Muresului) - a fascinating region of water meadows created by the annual flooding of the Mures, with associated marshes, oxbow lakes and characteristic woodland such as the Cenad Forest. Guided tours can be organised to this wildlife paradise which is home to a wide diversity of species ranging from great cretsed newts, fire-bellied toads, otters, wild cats, wild boar and red deer to birds such as lesser-spotted eagles, osprey, marsh harriers, storks, spoonbills, glossy ibis, night herons, little bitterns and bee-eaters.




Oradea (Nagyvárad)

This attractive city is located on the Crisul Repede river and offers an alternative gateway to the Apuseni and the Maramures. It is a cultural city with broad squares and some very impressive architecture - the late baroque Moon church (Eder Jakab, 1784-90) which shows the phase of the moon, the elegant baroque catholic cathedral (1752-80) and immense Bishops Palace (1762-76), both designed by Hildebrandt, and the stunning art nouveau Vulturul Negru "Black Eagle" shopping, hotel and cinema complex (Jakab Dezsö & Komor Marcel, 1907-9) which has delightful stained glass and a glass-canopied arcade, and has been fully renovated over the last couple of years are a few examples. The pedestrianised Strada Republicii is lined with extravagant secessionist apartments richly ornamented with stucco ceramics and painted in a delightful mixture of sugar-candy colours - turquoise, lemon yellow, rose pink, mint green, peach and powder blue! These include the eclectic Bazaar (1900), and the art nouveau/ secession Palatul Moskovits (1905) with a very attractive cormer balcony, Palatul Rimanóczy (1906), and the Palatul Apollo (1913), all designed by Rimanóczy Kalman Jr., the Palatul Stern (Jakab Dezsö & Komor Marcel, 1909 - Hungarian-style art noveau like Vulturaul Negru), and the Casa Poinar (Sztarill Ferenc, 1911), now the Mihai Eminescu bookshop. It is a wonderful city for wandering and offers, attractive open squares on either side of the river. The Piata Ferdinand on the northern bank is dominated by the State Theatre with a sumptuous interior (Fellner & Helmer, 1899), the art nouveau Astoria Hotel (formerly Emke Palace, 1902-6). The much larger Piata Unirii (formerly the 'small market') on the south bank includes the Vulturul Negru, the Moon Church, Greco-catholic Episcopal Palace (Rimanóczy Kalman Jr., 1903-4), City Hall (Rimanóczy Kalman Jr., 1902-3), and the baroque St. Ladislau catholic church (1723-42). Other attractions include numerous churches, the Orthodox (Bach Nandor, 1890) and Neologue (Busch David & Rimanóczy Kalman Sr., 1878), the Ady Endre Memorial Museum and the former fortress with its bastions (1569-1618). Oradea has a good selectio of quality hotels including a few atmospheric art nouveau examples (including Vulturul Negru 4* - open May 2005, Astoria 2*, and Parc 1*) and several decent restaurants, including the excellent Unicum Hungarian Restaurant, beside the Mihai Eminescu bookshop. Oradea is situated at the northern end of the Banat, a region usually referred to as "Crisana" and noted for its thermal spas such as Baile Felix, which has comprehensive facilities, which have recently been refurbished, and a selection of resort hotels. This spa is also known for its unique water-lilies.

ORADEA PHOTO GALLERY





Useful Links: website resources and the Romanian Revolution on YouTube

Click on the following links for useful website links for visiting Timisoara, and to view footage on YouTube from and about the Romanian Revolution.
Note that some are in Romanian, some are amateur footage of events as they actually unfolded.
These are genuine footage of actual event so you may find some scenes disturbing:

Timisoara - General tourist information site
Timisoara Map - Large scale city map of Timisoara
Old Timisoara - Galleries of photographs of old Timisoara
RATT - Transport in Timisoara: trams, buses, route maps etc
National Theatre Timisoara - Programmes and information for the National Theatre
Timisoara Opera
- Programmes and information for the Timisoara Opera (in English)
Banat Philharmonic
- Programmes and information for the Banat Philharmonic, Timisoara
Revolution in Timisoara
- Footage from the beginning of the Revolution - Tiimisoara cathedral, 16.12.1989
Radio Free Europe - Early footage of the Revoluion in Timisoara with Radio Free Europe report
Revolution in Timisoara - Footage of events unfolding in Timisoara on 20.12.1989
Operei Square Timisoara - crowds and torn tricolours on Piata Operei - 22.12.1989
Tribute to the Romanian Revolution - summarty of the Revolution; nice aeriel views of Timisoara
Ceausescu.org - useful background to the 1989 Revolution
Hans Oerlemans - gallery of atmospheric tramway photographs taken inTimisoara in 1967, 1973 & 1980 by Hans Oerlemans:




Trams and Tramways - see our special interest page for further information about the Trams and Tramways of Timisoara and the Banat




Further Reading

Rough Guide Romania
Blue Guide Romania - for more detailed cultural information
"Timisoara - the History of a European City" Iliesu (Fundatia Timisoara '89) - very nice history of the city now available in English
"Székely László" - biography of the architect Székely László with details of his buildings in Timisoara; available from Romanian bookshops
"Timisoara Timis Ghid" - comprehensive, annual booklet (and detailed atreet map) covering all sights, attractions and listings; available at Mihai Eminescu bookshop
"I Love Timisoara" Dinu Barbu, published by Editura Almanahul Banatului - pocket guide to Timisoara
"Oradea" Muzeului Tarii Crisurilor 2002 - colour album of all Oradea's sights, English text
"In Another Europe" Georgina Harding - very nice descriptions of pre-1989 Oradea

You will also find other city guides in local bookstores including an Arad Album and an historic Timisoara Monograph. "What, Where, When ... Timisoara" is a free publication often left in hotel foyers or rooms which lists services, entertainment, restaurants and events. mainly aimed at business travellers but very useful, especially for the city map. The Central Turistic Timisoara provide a wide range range of useful information and leaflets covering the Banat region.




Romanian Revolution 1989

In the city of Timisoara, on 17 November 1989, a small group of faithful followers forms outside the home of the popular Reformist pastor Laszlo Tökes. He has long been a thorn in the side of the Securitate for his criticism of the Ceausescu regime and finally the police have been called in to evict him. This intervention provokes the initial demonstration and some reports suggest that a picket continues through the following weeks.



"

Here began the Revolution
which ended the Dictatorship
15.12.1989"



On 15 December 1989 the deadline arrives for Tökes to be evicted. The crowd swells to several hundred people including women and children. The mayor arrives and asks them to disperse but they refuse to move and are still there the following morning. The protest continues and the crowd continues to grow, the original core of Hungarian-speaking Calvinists now far outnumbered by ordinary, ethnic Romanians. In the evening an even bigger crowd marches into town shouting anti-communist and anti-Ceausescu slogans for the first time and demanding democracy. Another group marches on the town hall and the Communist Party HQ, destroying files and throwing portraits of Ceausescu and Communist literature onto a bonfire they have made in the street. A shout goes up when a flag appears with a hole in the centre where the communist logo has been torn out - the Revolution has a symbol. Over the following days 97 people died and 210 were injured in fighting between the people of the Timisoara, the Military, Police and Securitate.

Click here for the full story of Ceausescu & the Revolution

Click here for information about the Memorial Museum of the Romanian Revolution
See Useful Links or the above pages for a selecton of original footage from the Revolution




Serbian Metropolitanate, Timisoara / Moise Nicoara College, Arad / Art Nouveau architecture on Strada Closca, Arad;

Serbian Metropolitanate and Cathedral with the Plague Column, Piata Unirii / Stucco in Piata Maria / Catholic Cathedral - all Timisoara;

Tram with Szekely's Piarist Church / Piata Victoriei and orthodox cathedral at night / Leafy niche in Piata Plevnei - all Timisoara;

Vulturul Negru complex / Art Nouveau corner balcony at Palatul Moskovits / Hildebrandt's baroque Episcopal Palace - all in Oradea;









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