Location: Western Romania (County: Timis)
Size: 52 sq. miles (130.5 sq. kilometers)
Elevation: 310 ft. (90 meters)
Inhabited since: 200 BC
First documented: 1212 AD
The first record of the city of Timisoara, built on the site of an ancient Roman fortress called Castrum Regium Themes, dates back to 1212.
Over the years, Timisoara, the largest city in western Romania, has been influenced by many cultures. The Romans used it as an important crossroads fortress until the Tatars destroyed it in the 13th century. Conquered by Turkish armies in 1552, Timisoara remained under their protection until 1718 when the region of Banat came under Austrian rule for two centuries. Timisoara later became a vital commercial and manufacturing town. Turks, Austrians, Germans and Serbs all left their mark and their influence can be seen in neighborhoods throughout the city even today.
The charm of this city, settled on the northern bank of the Bega River, lies in its distinct architectural character and vibrant cultural life. Frequently referred to as "Little Vienna," Timisoara is home to year-round musical and theatrical performances, art galleries, museums and a buzzing nightlife. A progressive, cosmopolitan place, Timisoara was the first city in Europe and second in the world after New York, to use electricity to illuminate its public streets.
Timisoara was the first European city to introduce horse-drawn trams (in 1869) and electrical street lighting (in 1889);
Timisoara was built on a swamp; the Metropolitan Cathedral has 5000 oaks supports underneath it;
Johnny Weissmuller, Hollywood's original Tarzan, was born here.
Thanks to its mild climate, Timisoara has lots of public squares and lush green retreats. The city is easy to explore on foot. If you get tired, a tram will be along in a moment; the system is fast, frequent and efficient.
Timisoara abounds with churches of several denominations, a Jewish quarter, an elegant baroque square and a pedestrian-only downtown area. Some of the monuments in the heart of the city afford panoramic views, while the many parks in this "city of flowers" provide an idyllic spot to take a break from sightseeing.
In many respects, it is the abundance of Secessionist architecture that has provided Timisoara with its rather appropriate moniker, "Little Vienna." Secessionism developed in two distinct architectural phases here. Sinuous lines and floral decorations characterized the first phase which lasted until 1908. The second phase, which continued until the First World War, saw simpler, larger buildings with geometrical designs. Secessionism in Romania was an important link between the Byzantine style and later modernist architecture.
Some of the city's most interesting sites are its elegant baroque buildings, spread around town and particularly along the main square, Piata Victoriei, which stretches from Opera Square (Piata Operei) to Loga Boulevard.
The focal point is the towering Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxa Mitropolitana) at the south side of the square. Built between 1936 and 1946, its green and red roof tiles are arranged in a mosaic design. In front of the Cathedral is a memorial to those who lost their lives during the 1989 Revolution which overthrew Communist rule. The Memorial Museum of the 1989 Revolution (Muzeul Revolutiei) offers a full insight into the revolution in Timisoara (see museum details).
Across the town centre is the picturesque Habsburg-era Piata Unirii, so-named for the imposing sight of the Romano-Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Cathedrals facing each other. Historic pastel-hued buildings line the square. During the 18th century, this was the city's commercial centre and the venue for numerous military processions and religious ceremonies.
Located on the north side of the square, was built in 1761 and was home to the earliest theatre in Timisoara.
The baroque Serbian Orthodox Cathedral (Biserica Orthodoxa Sarba), built in 1745-48, and the mint green and white Serbian Bishop's Residence (Vicariatul Ortodox Sarb) with its extravagant decorations are located on the west side of the square. The Cathedral can be visited daily between 7am and 6pm.
On the east side of the square was built between 1736 and 1754 to the design of Fisher von Erlach and represents a fine example of Viennese baroque style. The main altar painting was completed by Michael Angelo Unterberger, director of the Fine Arts Academy in Vienna.
The impressive 18th century Baroque Palace (Palatul Vechii Prefecturi) dominates the square's south side. Formerly the governor's residence, it now houses the Museum of Fine Arts with works by German, Flemish and Italian artists. See museum details below.
At the northwest corner of Piata Unirii stands the spectacular Scont Bank (Banca de Scont). This typical Hungarian-style art nouveau structure, built in the early 20th century, features an organic shape comprising curved walls studded with turquoise tiles forming patterns drawn from folklore, and extravagant iron gutters and window grills.
From Piata Unirii, walk east along Str. Palanca to the oldest building in Timisoara, now housing the Banat Etnographic Museum (see museum details) within the city's remaining 18th century bastion.
Another remarkable open space in the city is Piata Libertatii which offers a great display of Secessionist architecture. The Banat region was under Turkish rule from 1552 until 1716 when the Austrian-Habsburg Prince Eugene de Savoy took over Timisoara. At this time, a seven-star- shaped bastion and gate-towers were constructed and the marshes surrounding the town were drained by the new Habsburg governor, General Mercy.
Continue along Str. Lucian Blaga to the 14th century Huniade Castle (Castelul Huniade). Built during the rule of Carol Robert, Prince de Anjou, it was completed by Iancu of Hundeoara and redesigned by the Habsburgs in the 18th century.
South and east of the Bega Canal are the Josefin, Elisabetin and Fabric residential districts, true gems of Jugendstil, or art nouveau, architecture, built mainly in the late 19th century. The small residential square of Piata Plevnei, south of the Bega Canal, is bordered by excellent examples of the first phase of Secessionist architecture, such as Gemeinhardt's Peacock House (Casa cu Pauni) built in 1905. Facades are covered with an abundance of typical motifs: peacocks, swans, owls and squirrels together with sinuous vines and foliage. The theme continues on the buildings lining Splaiul Tudor Vladimirescu, following the south bank of the Bega, and to a lesser extent, around nearby Piata Maria and Bulevardul 16 Decembrie 1989.
Secessionist, or Art Nouveau architecture also can be found in the cities of Arad (especially on Strada Closca and Piata Avram Iancu), Oradea (Vulturul Negru and Astoria hotels), Cluj (Odon Lechner National Theatre), Satu Mare and Targu Mures (Palace of Culture).
Even though Jewish presence in the Banat region dates back to the 2nd century AD, the first written mention of the Jewish community in Timisoara occurred in 1716, when the Turkish army commander surrendered the town to the Austrian Prince Eugeniu of Savoia.
In the old Sephardic cemetery, graves dating to the Turkish occupation may be seen, the oldest belonging to Azriel Assael, a Rabbi and surgeon who died in 1636. A century latter, Rabbi Meir Amigo and four followers from Istanbul were allowed to settle in the city. Following the implementation of citizen rights acts in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Timisoara's Jewish community flourished, reaching a population of almost 7,000. Six synagogues were built in the city after 1867, the year of the Austro-Hungarian reconciliation. Today, three remain with one still active.
Address: Str. Splaiul Coloniei 2
One of the most beautiful buildings in Timisoara, the synagogue in the Fabric district was built in 1899 by Hungarian architect Lipot Baumhorn in a traditional Moorish style. It is currently closed for structural repairs.
Address: Str: Resita 55
This Neolog-rite synagogue, built in Oriental style in 1865, resembles the great synagogue in Oran, Algeria. One of the largest synagogues in Europe, it is currently closed for structural repairs.
Address: Iosefin district
Built between 1906 and 1910, this Orthodox Synagogue is the only one in service at this moment.
Address: Piata Huniade 1
Tel: 0256 491.339
Open: Tue. - Sun. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; Closed Mon.
Occupying a 14th century castle, this museum boasts sizeable historical and natural history sections.
Address: Str. Popa Sapca 4
Tel: 0256 491.339
Open: Tue. - Sun. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; Closed Mon.
Exhibits of textiles, folk costumes, and glass-painted icons are on display.
Address: Str. Emanuil Ungureanu 8 (behind Piata Unirii)
Tel: 0256 294.936
Open: Mon. - Sun. 9:00am - 5:00pm
The Memorial Museum exhibits uniforms of Romanian militia and military, written testimonies of witnesses and participants in the Revolution, official and personal documents, an audio-visual archive, a library and a collection of newspapers. A video charting the rise and fall of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu may be shown on request.
Address: Str. Mercy 2
Tel: 0256 491.339
Open: Tue. - Sun. 10:00am - 6:00pm; Closed Mon.
The collection includes works of 15th - 17th century Italian masters and prints by important European artists.
Address: Aleea CFR 1
Tel: 0256 225.588
Open: Tue. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Sun. 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Closed Mon.
This open-air museum, located three miles from the city centre, exhibits more than 30 traditional peasant houses dating from the 19th century. Wood, stone and clay homes were taken piece by piece and set up in the beautiful surroundings of Padurea Verde (Green Forest). Craftsmen's fairs and folk shows are held here periodically.
Address: Piata Unirii 4
Tel: 0256 430.426
Open: Mon. - Sun. 7:30am - 3:30pm
The collection includes portraits and outstanding 18th century icons.
Where: 12 miles east of Timisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Taste white, red and rosé wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Burgund Mare, Merlot, Cadarca, Feteasca Regala or Creata at Recas Wine Cellars (Cramele Recas). A visit at the cellars will give you the opportunity to attend a presentation of the wine making process in the Barrique Hall, and the conservation of bottled wines in the Recas vinoteque - featuring stocks of exceptional vintages.
Where: 30 miles north of Timisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Where: 37 - 100 miles east of Timisoara
Visit the old town centre in Lugoj with its 18th century Orthodox Church of the Assumption, one of the most representative baroque buildings in Banat.
Next, cross the Carpathians into Transylvania and stop by at Densus, where you can find one of the oldest Romanian churches. The strange looking stone monument was built in the 13th century, and some historians assume it is a re-shaped Roman mausoleum. Build from river rocks, bricks with Roman inscriptions and funerary stones, the Saint Nicholas Church at Densus church makes for an interesting visit.
Couple of miles east, climb up to the ruins of the Colti fortress* in Suseni. The Castle was first mentioned in the 14th century as belonging to the Cindea family. From up here enjoy a spectacular view over the rugged peaks and ridges of the nearby Retezat Mountains.
Where: 105 miles east of Timisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Drive over picturesque hills with secluded villages to Hunedoara. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Hunedoara was one of the main iron extraction and processing centres in Transylvania. The swords and spears manufactured here during this period were renowned across Europe. The town is home to the mighty 15th century Corvinilor Castle (Castelul Corvinilor), one of the most important examples of gothic architecture in Central and Eastern Europe.
For more information about Corvinilor Castle please visit:
The region around Hunedoara was one of the earliest settled parts of Romania. Deep in the mountains above Orastie you will find Neolithic remains and vestiges of the Dacian citadels, including Sarmizegetusa Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site), seat of kings Burebista and Decebal. The former Dacian capital was conquered by the Romans in 106 AD. Today you can still admire remnants of the forum and the stone amphitheatre, where gladiator shows were held.
Near Hunedoara, you can take in the scenery of Woodlanders' Country (Tara Padurenilor), a region where people have maintained their traditional dress and folklore.
Where: 130 miles east of Timisoara
Set amid one of Romania's most beautiful mountain ranges, Retezat National Park claims some of the highest rocky peaks (such as Retezatu and Peleagu, both more than 8,202 ft. in height) reflected in a string of over 80 clear glacial lakes. A hiker's paradise, Retezat became Romanian's first national park in 1935 and later, a biosphere reserve.
Where: 100 miles southeast of Timisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Visit one of oldest thermal spas in the world. Legend says that Hercules cured the wounds inflicted by the Hydra by bathing in the mineral springs of this area. Take time to relax in the hot spring near the well-preserved 19th century town.
Romanian Opera House (Opera Nationala Romana Timisoara)
Address: Str. Marasesti 2
Tel: 0256 201.286
The construction of the Romanian Opera House, began in 1871 and ended four years later, in 1875. The design was that of Viennese architects, Helmer and Fellner, the authors of numerous concert halls in Budapest , Vienna and Odessa . The murals in the concert hall are inspired by history and popular Romanian fairytales. Opera in Timisoara was appreciated as far back as the end of the 18th century. Joseph Strauss started out as Musical Director at Timisoara , where he composed and presented the world premiere of Faust's Life and Deeds. Franz Liszt also performed in Timisoara in 1846.
National Theatre (Teatrul National)
Address: Str. Marasesti
Tel: 0256 201.288
German State Theatre(Teatrul German de Stat)
Address: Str. Marasesti 2
Tel: 0256 201.291
Hungarian State Theatre (Teatrul Maghiar de Stat Csiky Gergely)
Address: Str. Alba Iulia 2
Tel: 0256 134.814
Puppet Theatre (Teatrul pentru copii si tineret Merlin)
Address: Blvd. Tineretii 3
Tel: 0256 193.049
Address: Str. Aeroport 2
Tel: 0256 493.639
The airport is located six miles from the city centre. Taxis are readily available outside the arrivals area. Bus #26 offers service to the city centre, with stops at Piata Badea Cartan and Hotel Continental.
Airlines with service to Timisoara:
Austrian Airlines– www.aua.com
Direct flights from/to: Vienna
Lufthansa – www.lufthansa.com
Direct flights from/to: Munich
Tarom – www.tarom.ro
Direct flights from/to: Bucharest
WizzAir - www.wizzair.com
Direct flights from/to: France (Paris); Germany (Dortmund); Italy (Bologna, Milan, Rome, Venice);
Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia); UK (London/Luton)
Timisoara North - main train station Gara Timisoara Nord)
Address: Str. Garii 2 (one mile from downtown)
Tel: 0256 491.696
There are daily trains from/to Budapest (approximate journey time - 5 hours), and Vienna (approximate journey time - 8 ½ hours). Trains to other western European cities run via Budapest.
For the list of international trains with service to/from Romania please visit:
There are daily trains to/from Bucharest, Arad, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Oradea, Satu Mare, Sibiu, Sighetu Marmatiei, Suceava and several other Romanian cities.
There are daily INTERCITY (Express) trains connecting Timisoara with:
Bucharest (approximate journey time: 7 ½ hours);
Arad (approximate journey time: 45 minutes);
Cluj (approximate journey time: 5 hours);
Oradea (approximate journey time: 2 ½ hours).
To check the latest train schedules for domestic routes please visit the website of the Romanian Railways:
The site has complete information about domestic train schedules and fares.
Note: For departures from/to Timisoara please select Timisoara Nord.
For departures from/to Bucharest please select Bucuresti Nord.
SNCFR's advance booking office (Agentia de Voiaj SNCFR Timisoara)
Address: Piata Victoria 2
Tel: 0256 491.889
Open: Mon. - Fri. 8:00am - 9:00am; Closed Sat. & Sun.
You can get train schedule information and make reservations up to 24 hours in advance. Tickets for same-day travel can only be purchased at the station.
Timisoara Bus Station # 1 (Autogara Autotim)
Address: Str. Iuliu Maniu 54
Tel: 0256 493.471
Daily domestic bus service from/to: Arad, Baile Herculane, Brasov, Bucuresti, Deva, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Fagaras, Hunedoara, Orastie, Sebes, Sibiu, Suceva, Targu Jiu
The recommended route from Bucharest to Timisoara is:
Bucharest - Pitesti - Ramnicu Valcea - Sibiu - Deva - Lugoj - Timisoara
(A1/E81 - E673 - E70)
The recommended route from Budapest to Timisoara is:
Budapest - Szeged- Nadlac - Arad - Timisoara
(E75 - E68 - E671)
The recommended route from Vienna to Timisoara is:
Vienna - Gyor - Budapest - Szeged- Nadlac - Arad - Timisoara
(A4/E60 - E75 - E68 - E671)
Several bus (autobuz), tram (tramvai) and trolleybus (troilebuz) routes connect Timisoara's main areas and tourist attractions.
The public transportation system runs between 4:45am and 11:15pm.
Tickets must be purchased beforehand and validated in the ticket-stamping machine upon boarding.
Tickets are interchangeable for all three forms of transport with the exception of express buses.
City Taxi - 949
Dacia Taxi - 944
Eco Taxi - 0256 120.120
Getax - 962 or 0256 134.470
Grup Taxi - 946
Radio Taxi - 940
Regal Taxi - 943
Tudo Taxi - 945
Vest Taxi - 953
Address: Timisoara International Airport
Tel: 0256 220.552
Address: Strada Garii nr 2, Timisoara
Tel: 0734 403.403
Address: Piata Unirii 2
Tel: 0256 131.746
Address: Str. Miron Costin 4
Address: Str. Vasile Alecsandri 10
Tel: 0256 136.003
Address: Str. Stefan cel Mare 28
Tel: 0256 224.462
Address: Str. Gheorghe Lazar 3
Tel: 0256 133.103
Address: Str. Eugeniu de Savoia 24
Tel: 0256 202.262
Folk crafts, such as embroidered clothing and linen, painted or beaded eggs, carpets, pottery, woodcarvings and icons, make interesting gifts and souvenirs. Romanian peasants do magnificent embroidery on cotton, wool and leather. Look for blouses, skirts, exotic coats, rugs, tablecloths and lacework. Icons, new and old, painted on glass or wood are outstanding.
Address: Piata Victoriei 4
Galeriile de Arta Populara
Address: Piata Victoriei
Address: Piata Iancu de Hunedoara 3
Address: Str.Vasile Alecsandri 2A (Piata Libertatii)
Tel: 0256 432.353
Address: Str. Alba Iulia nr. 2
Phone: (+4) 0256 437.973
(May - September) - Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Closed Sun.
(October - April) - Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.; Closed Sun.
Timisoara Weather Forecast
Post offices display a postal horn symbol and the word Posta.
Address: Blvd. Revolutiei 2
Tel: 0256 492.871
Telephoning Timisoara from Abroad
International Access Code +40 (country code) + 256 or 356 (area code) + telephone number (six digit number)
There are several pharmacies (farmacie) open 24 hours a day in the city.
Emergency Clinic Hospital
(Spitalul Clinic Judetean de Urgenta Timisoara)
Address: Blvd. Iosif Bulbuca 10
Tel: 0356 433.111
Timisoara / Timis County Archives
(Directia Judeteana Timis a Arhivelor Nationale)
Address: Str. Andrei Mocioni 8, cod postal 400084, Timisoara
Telephone: 0256 402.370
Fax: 0256 402.371