The heart of east Romania - Timişoara
Monday, October 24, 2016
The heart of east Romania
Timişoara is the third most populous city in Romania and lies in the middle east of the country. Considering historical regions, the city is informal capital of Banat – the region covering Timiş County, Caraş-Severin and part of Serbia. This region is well-known for its beautiful nature, but also for its multicultural and multinational composition. By this, I mean for example town Nădlac with Slovak community, the Czech village Eibenthal, or many Hungarian and Serbian towns and villages near the borders.
So, let’s go back to Timişoara, the pride of east Romania. I spent there only one day, but it was very intensive sightseeing, and I think I saw there the most interesting places. How would I describe this city in one sentence, or what was the main characteristic? In my opinion, this city is gallery of churches and cathedrals of various religions and various architectural styles. You will find there synagogue, mosque (as in many Romanian cities due to their history connected with Ottoman Empire) and of course number of Christian churches and their various religious versions. In two words: admirable and beautiful.
Timişoara offers you both: green and stone. By green I mean natural objects like Begej river and a lot of parks along this river, or botanical garden (but don’t lose time there and definitely go to parks!). Meaning of stone is in this case various architecture and various types of churches already mentioned above.
In Timişoara and generally in the vast majority of Romania you can notice the impact of orthodox church and remains of communism. It’s been twenty seven years from their revolution, and Romania woke up only few years ago, but the country is rapidly changing and experiences high raise in tourism. Orthodox influence in Timişoara is visible but not as much as in other cities. That’s why I was impressed so much by its manifoldness.
What is the city exactly like?
Fancy Victoriei Square
If you will follow boulevard from train station to city center, you will get to Romanian National Opera House. Don’t look at the building it’s not worth it, just turn back to it and then you will see the pride of the city. Long square lined with the bushes, with fountain and wolf Rea and her sons Romulus and Remus in the middle, and colorful flowers everywhere, ending with orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. Cathedral looking like castle of princess. If you want to come in, you should not wear shorts and tank top, but I was lucky and nobody spotted me. I think I came in the middle of church mass, because it was full of people standing in front of altar. Please do not treat me like disrespectful person, I didn’t know that time I cannot wear shorts, so it wasn’t on purpose. In my country it is acceptable. If you are fan of coffee, or you just like sitting on the summer terraces, this Victoriei square is perfect for you.
Cozy Unirii Square
If you are generally fan of squares definitely go to Unirii square, really giant square rounded by churches and palaces. When I was in Timişoara the whole square was under reconstruction and I was a bit disappointed, but I did very nice picture, and it looks like the square is just going to be built. Now I know that reconstruction is finished and they did very good job, and the square now looks amazing. This is another kind of place, Victoriei square is more for tourists, more fancy, more crowded. Unirii square is in my opinion best place for residents. Just sit on the bench, enjoying the whispering of fountain, or laying on the lawn, relaxing and sun tanning or reading book. Sounds like a perfect plan.
Curiosities of the city
If you are interested in history and cultures, very close to this place is Museum of Banat, and right next to it is weird object in the center of roundabout. It is called Punctele Cardinale (meaning Cardinal points), and it should probably looks like compass, with the fountain on the top of it. They consider it as modern symbol of city and I think the idea accomplished the mission. That definitely attracts tourists, even me, because I’ve never seen object like this before.
On our way to river Begej, we went around hotel and it had really original decoration in front of the main entrance. Huge clock made of flowers. And it was even showing correct time. Very complicated but amazing. I am wondering how is it looking in the winter, if they think up new design for each season. Let me know when you’ll go there out of summertime.
Garden for Princess
And now let me tell you about most impressing and lovely place in Timişoara. I love parks and I’ve been in many, but here in Park Rozelor, I felt like I am in the movie from 30s. I would rather call it garden, because it was obvious that they maintain it on a daily basis. Everything there was clean, I could see hundreds of roses, symmetric paths, romantic arches covered with bougainvilleas. In the middle of area was stage, and I can imagine there traditional folk concert or dance show. If I should choose place for my wedding in this city, Rozelor park would have the honor for sure.
The part of river Begej in the city looks more or less like canal. The watercourse is modified by people, so it is not attractive for residents. In the time I was there was extremely hot, but I didn’t see a leg in the river. I am not aware of any restriction to swim there, but generally artificially created riverside is not what people are looking for. I can confidently say that this is big mistake from the municipality, because parks are beautiful alongside there, and they could more attract not even tourists, but also residents. I hope one day.
Details you’ll love!
Wandering through the streets I had opportunity to notice some details, which I think make the city nicer and more pleasant. At the playground I saw trashes, which looked like bears, very funny solution for hiding the trash. Or walls covered by paintings or graffiti. I really like this kind of art, and I am glad when I see that city does not have prejudices, and allows graffiti on the abandoned buildings, or on buildings in use, or not quite good-looking places.
This wonderful city has big potential, and as the European Capital of Culture in 2021, I am sure it will take the breath away of many visitors.