Timișoara – the first European city to use electric street lighting
The oldest official document mentioning this city dates back to 1212 and is positioned in the northern bank of the Bega River. Timișoara was built on the site of the ancient Roman citadel Castrum Regium Themes. Considered the largest city in the West of Romania, Timișoara was influenced by many other cultures, as it was at the crossroad of important commercial routes. Used initially by Romans as citadel, then destroyed by Tartars in 13th century, it was later overcome in 1552 by Turkish armies and remained under its protection till 1718. Visiting this city one can see the influences of Turks, Austrians, Germans and Serbs.
Timișoara is also called Little Vienna due to its active cultural life with events taking place along the entire year. The historic records mentions Timișoara as the first European city to use electric street lighting (1889) and trams drawn by horses (1869).
The architecture of the town embodies churches of different cults, a Baroque style square, a Jewish quarter, a pedestrian limited area and several monuments with panoramic views.
The previously mentioned Baroque style square is the Victory Square with its buildings built in this style. In the south of the square there is the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral with its green exterior and red roof tiles, built between 1936 and 1946. In the park in front of the cathedral, there is a monument in memorial of those who lost their lives during the 1989 Revolution.
Here one can see the Roman-Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Cathedrals on the opposite sides of the square, encircled by building with their differently colored facades. This was an important commercial point during the 18th century, and also in that period military processions and religious rituals were held here.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral
Placed on the east side of the Union Square, the cathedral was erected between 1736 and 1754 following the plans of Fisher von Erlach and the Viennese Baroque style. The paintings on the main altar were finished by director of the Fine Arts Academy from Vienna, by Michael Angelo Unterberger.
In this square, visitors can see examples of Secessionist architecture. On one plate of the pavement it can be seen the plan of the medieval city, with its seven star shape fortification surrounding the citadel and marshes drained by the then new governor, the Austrian-Habsburg Prince Eugene de Savoy who conquered in 1716 from the Turkish rule.
Near this square there is another important historic monument, the 14th Huniade Castle built under the rule of Carol Robert de Anjou and completed by Iancu of Hunedoara. It was later redesigned in the 18th century.