Timișoara is the most important urban centre in the western part of the country. It is located in a plain area crossed by Timiș River (that goes round the city on the south) and Bega River (which crosses the city centre). The city represents the crossing point of some important roads: European road E 70 (which continues southwards towards Moravita customs and the Serbian border and eastwards towards Lugoj, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Craiova, Bucharest), European road E 71 (towards Arad, Nadlac and Hungarian border), national roads DN6 (towards Cenad and Hungarian border) and DN59A (towards Jimbolia and Serbian border).
Timisoara is, also, an important railway junction. Trains passing through the railway stations from Timișoara covers the connection on railway with nearby cities and towns (Arad, Lugoj, Caransebeș, Reșița), but also with the most important cities from Transylvania (Oradea, Cluj Napoca, Deva, Târgu Mureș, Sibiu), Moldova (Suceava, Iași, Galați) or from south of Romania (Craiova, Bucharest, Constanța).
The first documented mention of the city is from the beginning of the XIIIth century, between 1307 and 1315, the King of Hungary Carol Robert de Anjou builds here a citadel and in 1316 he moves in Timișoara the Hungarian capital. In the first half of the XIVth period is the period of maximum development of the city in the Middle Ages. At the end of the same century, Turkish people started their military sieges in the area, and under these circumstances the city gains a special strategic position.
At the half of the XVth century, the citadel of Timișoara becomes Ioan Huniade’s residence who will fortify the city and will rebuild the old castle. The city will flourish in the second half of the XVth century when Matei Corvin from the Hunyadi family becomes King of Hungary.
Despite being repeatedly fortified, the city is conquered by Turks in 1552, having been freed by Austrian troops led by the Prince Eugeniu de Savoya in 1716. After 1718, the colonisation of German population from Banat starts, which will give a new boost to the economy.
The modern development of the city starts in the second half of the XVIIIth century. Many palaces are built, as well as the Catholic Cathedral from Unirii Square, schools, hospitals civilian and military administrative buildings around city centre. This area, called today Cetatea (between Libertății, Unirii, Sf. Gheorghe and Victoriei Squares) confers the architecture of the city on the Bega River a distinctive feature.
During the XIXth century, numerous technological inventions and innovations of the time will be put into practice. In 1855, telegraphy is introduced, in 1857 public lightning with gas lamps and the railway and starting from 1869 public transportation is assured by horse-drawn trams. In the period 1870-1880, many steel bridges are built which will replace the old wooden constructions. Starting with 1881, the phone network starts developing. On the 12th November 1884, Timișoara becomes the first city electrically illuminated from Europe and in 1899 the horse-drawn trams are replaced by electric ones.
At the beginning of the XXth century, the city suffers a new systematization process, being built the avenues that connect Cetate with the quarters widening outside the city walls. The buildings from the current Victoria Square are also being built, which will exceed Unirii Square in importance, becoming the new city centre. Among important accomplishments of the inter-war development of the city, we can enumerate the building of the Orthodox Cathedral in Victoria Square, one of the buildings with symbolic value for the city (consecrated in 1946), rebuilding of the former Palace of Culture, built in 1875 and destroyed in the fire in 1920, which accommodates today the National Theatre and Opera, but also the inauguration of the Polytechnic School.
After the Second World War, besides extending old neighbourhoods, building new ones and developing new industrial areas of the city, important higher education and cultural institutions will be established and developed. The International Airport from Timișoara functions from 1980.
In December 1989 the revolution starts at Timișoara which will lead to the end of the Communist regime.
Historical monuments and touristic attractions
Among Timișoara’s historical monuments, in the central area of the city one can visit the Huniade Castle (built by Iancu de Hunedoara between 1443 and 1447 on the ruins of the old castle of Carol Robert de Anjou and renovated in 1852, when features characteristic to the architecture of the time have been added), Dicasterial Palace (built between 1850-1854 in Italian Renaissance style), Lupa Capitolina (a copy of the statue from the Capitolium donated to Timișoara by Rome municipality), the Holy Trinity Monument, the Dome in Unirii Sqaure (built in Baroque style between 1737-1773), Metropolitan Cathedral in Victoria Square (built between 1936 and 1946 and combining Byzantine and Moldovenesc style), the monuments from Libertății Square or Piața Sf. Maria etc.
Holy Trinity Monument
The Dome from Unirii Square
Piata Sf. Maria
The most important museum of Timișoara is Banat Museum, which currently comprises 5 departments: History, Natural Sciences, Art, Ethnography and Banat Village Museum. The museum functions from 1872. The History and Natural Sciences departments are hosted inside the Huniade Castle in the city centre, while the Art department can be visited in Baroque Palace from Unirii Square (the museum owns a unique collection of works and personal belongings of the painter Corneliu Baba, collections of decorative and European contemporary art; in the museum’s patrimony there are collections of Romanian paintings from Banat and religious paintings. Unfortunately, these cannot be exhibited due to the lack of space) and Banat Village Museum in located on the outskirts of the city, in Pădurea Verde. Except the sections from Banat Museum, there is also the Orthodox Metropolitan Museum, Orthodox Cathedral Museum, the Roman Catholic Episcopacy Museum, the Serbian Orthodox Episcopacy Museum, whose collections consist of religious artefacts and ancient art, icons on wood and glass, iconostasis, sanctuaries, manuscripts, old books.
Banat Village Museum
Romanian Opera from Timișoara
In Timișoara, there is the Romanian Opera, but also other theatre institutions with representations in Romanian, German and Hungarian, Filarmonica Banatul, as well as, numerous art galleries where there are exhibitions of contemporary plastic artists both from Banat and from the country.
To spend your free time in the most pleasant way here, you can go to the clubs, casinos and, during summer, the outside swimming pools and sports centres. All the year round, the city hosts numerous festivals with different themes: from folk music to classical or electronic music, student festivals, Beer festival or Wine festival.