What to see in Timisoara
"The Little Vienna", "the heart of the Banat", "the town of Bega", "the city of flowers" - are just some of the names that inhabitants and tourists alike are accustomed to greet Timisoara. And rightly so! Far from being the typical city, suffocated by construction without identity, Timisoara stubborns to offer everyone who walks through the streets their own corner of heaven, whether it's squares with a bohemian air, buildings and palaces rooted in history, romantic bridges sloping over the sunsets, parks covered with thousands of varieties of flowers and trees or clubs where music never sleeps.
Quoted as one of the cities with the richest architectural and cultural heritage in Romania, Timisoara is a tourist destination to be added to the list of visited places in Europe.
Timisoara city centre
The centre is the first place you want to discover as soon as you arrive. From the Palace of Culture to the Metropolitan Cathedral, the city centre of Timisoara, also known as “Victoria Square” or “Opera Square” gathers an impressive number of palaces and buildings that still retain the glory and spectacular architecture of the past.
A simple look up along the two central alleys reveals an amazing blend of historic and contemporary. The most prominent style is the Viennese Baroque style (here is why Timisoara is also called Little Vienna), but also the Neo-Byzantine and Art Nouveau styles that have made their mark on many buildings. The palaces you can admire in this part of the city are: The Lloyd Palace, The Neuhaus Palace, The Marbl Palace, The Palace of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The Dauerbach Palace, The Loffler Palace, The Hilt-Vogel Palace, The Szechenyi Palace or The Weiss Palace. Most of them host today restaurants with different culinary specialties, institutions or shops.
The Old Citadel or the Old Town
If you start your walk from the Opera up on the Mărăşeşti Street, you have the opportunity to check other important places to visit with a rich cultural heritage. One of them is the Synagogue from the fortress - an architectural monument of exceptional value. This Jewish worship place was built more than a century ago in Moorish style. Currently it’s used as an alternative location for various artistic programs and theatre performances.
Before you reach the Citadel, you can also make a short stop at the Statue of the Virgin Mary and St. John of Nepomuk, located in the centre of the Freedom Square (unofficially known as Red Square as a result of the red pavement used for its recent rehabilitation).
The Union Square
From the Liberty Square to the old centre (the official name is Unirii Square) it's just a stone's throw away. The baroque Union Square is the oldest market in Timisoara and is named in the honour of the Romanian troops that entered the citadel on 3rd of August 1919 when they established the Romanian administration, thus finalising the unification of Banat with Romania (this date became the official day of the city).
This historical part of the city focuses on important tourist attractions such as the Roman Catholic Dome, the Baroque Palace (The Art Museum), the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, the Holy Trinity Monument, the Brück House, the mineral water fountain and other architectural monuments just as impressive. The Union Square occupies a vast area (its dimensions are 150 x 110 meters), being quite spacious for the hundreds of people passing here at any hour of the day or night or spend their free time relaxing on the terraces.
The Theresia Bastion
Situated in the central area between the Continental Hotel and the Cardinal Point Fountain (on the Hector Street), the Theresia Bastion is a Baroque monument of great historical significance, being the largest piece of wall kept in the old city of Timisoara, named after Queen Maria Theresia. Other fragments of the former fortress can be seen in the Botanical Park or along the Al. Ioan Cuza Street. If the bastion's original purpose was to defend the fortress, it is now used as a passageway for both cars and pedestrians. The Bastion also hosts several shopping areas, restaurants, a library, the Ethnography Section of the Village Museum and two permanent exhibitions of the Museum of Banat: “The Violin - a Lifetime Passion" and the exhibition “The Technology of Information and Communication"
The “beer factory” is another objective that you can quickly get into the agenda.
Timisoara Beer Factory is one of the city's emblems and the first beer factory in Romania, founded in 1718 in the southern district of Fabric neighbourhood, on the Ştefan cel Mare Street no.28. The existence of this brewery is related 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.
The Millennium Roman Catholic Church
Located in the same neighbourhood as the Beer Factory, near Trajan's Market, reigns the largest Roman Catholic Church of Timisoara, Millennium. The church has impressive dimensions with a 45 meter dome and two 65 meters high towers. It is built in Neo-Romantic and Neo-Gothic style and the Millennium name is related to the commemoration of a millennium from the settlement of the Hungarian people on these lands.
The Roses Park
Located just a few steps from the Bega River, in the city centre, the Roses Park is another renowned attraction of Timisoara. In fact, it could be said that the name of “city of parks” or “city of roses” assigned to Timisoara is largely due to this park.
The banks of the Bega river
From this point of Timisoara it is very easy to continue walking along the river shore or to take a trip on a tourist boat. You can discover the parks and oases of vegetation or the famous bridges of Timisoara that stretch over Bega, offering you the chance to enjoy breathtaking views. The banks of the Bega river have been recently rebuilt and consolidated so you can enjoy a smooth road.
The Banat Village Museum
To reach the Village Museum in Timisoara, you have to leave the city behind. The museum is located in the northern part of the city and lays on over 17 hectares. The picturesque view of the museum, depicted by the secular trees of the park, the small island resting on the lake, the wooden gate carved in traditional style, and all the traditional elements that make up the village will convince you that it deserved the way up here.
Walking in the village museum, the authentic buildings representing the church, the school, the town hall, the barn, the alleys and the ancient houses will introduce you to the lifestyle of the past centuries of Banat. The explanatory panels will tell you more about the history and architecture of each element. You may also visit the interior of the houses where you can admire popular textiles, spinning wheels, looms, tools for traditional handcrafting, braid objects, pottery, and other specific furniture.
In the neighbourhood of the museum lays the Zoo and the Green Forest, an ideal place for picnics or walks in nature.
The city has inherited a vast heritage of historical monuments (over 14,000 buildings) that are spread over the six old neighbourhoods: Iosefin, Elisabetin, Fabric, Fratelia, Mehala and Freidorf. Timisoara is a city where you can't get lost, but you can always lose yourself through its streets, admiring the bohemian style and the charm of the area.
One of the most delightful cities in Romania and certainly one of the most culturally and economically active, Timisoara is an amazing mixture of history and
contemporary with a spectacular architecture, the ideal choice for a successful city break.