The image is from Wikipedia Commons
|First official record||1212 (as castrum regium Themes)|
|• Mayor||Dominic Fritz (USR–PLUS)|
|• Deputy mayors||Ruben Lațcău (USR–PLUS)
Cosmin Tabără (PNL)
|• Municipality and county seat||129.27 km2 (49.91 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,635.47 km2 (1,017.56 sq mi)|
|Elevation||90 m (300 ft)|
(2011 census) 
|• Municipality and county seat||319,279|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||3rd (98th in EU)|
|• Density||2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||timișorean (masculine), timișoreancă (feminine)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Timișoara (UK: //, US: /-/, Romanian: [timiˈʃo̯ara] (listen); German: Temeswar, also Temeschwar or Temeschburg; Hungarian: Temesvár; Serbian: Темишвар, romanized: Temišvar; see other names) is the capital city of Timiș County and the main economic, social and cultural center in western Romania. Located on the Bega River, Timișoara is considered the informal capital city of the historical Banat. From 1848 to 1860 it was the capital of the Serbian Vojvodina and the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar.
With 319,279 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Timișoara was then the country's third most populous city, after Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. It is home to almost half a million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, while the Timișoara–Arad conurbation concentrates more than 70% of the population of Timiș and Arad counties. Timișoara is a multicultural city, being the home of 21 different ethnicities and 18 religions. Interculturality has long been a special characteristic for the western part of the country.
Conquered in 1716 by the Austrians from the Ottoman Turks, Timișoara developed in the following centuries behind the fortifications and in the urban nuclei located around them. During the second half of the 19th century, the fortress began to lose its usefulness, due to many developments in the military technology. Former bastions and military spaces were demolished and replaced with new boulevards and neighborhoods. Timișoara was the first city in the Habsburg Monarchy with street lighting (1760) and the first European city to be lit by electric street lamps in 1884. It opened the first public lending library in the Habsburg Monarchy and built a municipal hospital 24 years before Vienna. Also, it published the first German newspaper in Southeast Europe (Temeswarer Nachrichten). Timișoara was the starting point of the Romanian Revolution.
Timișoara is one of the most important educational centers in Romania, with about 40,000 students enrolled in the city's six universities. Like many other large cities in Romania, Timișoara is a medical tourism service provider, especially for dental care and cosmetic surgery. Timișoara has made several breakthroughs in Romanian medicine, including the first in vitro fertilization, the first laser heart surgery and the first stem cell transplant. As a technology hub, the city has one of the most powerful IT sectors in Romania alongside Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iași and Brașov. In 2013 Timișoara had the fastest internet download speed in the world.
Nicknamed the "Little Vienna" or the "City of Flowers", Timișoara is noted for its large number of historical monuments and its 36 parks and green spaces. Along with Oradea, Timișoara is part of the Art Nouveau European Route. It is also a member of Eurocities. Timișoara has a very active cultural scene thanks to the city's three state theaters, opera, philharmonic and many other cultural institutions. The city will be the next European Capital of Culture in 2023.
The Hungarian name of the city, Temesvár, was first recorded as Temeswar in 1315. It refers to a castle (vár) on the Timiș River (Temes). Timiș belongs to the family of hydronyms derived from the Indo-European radical thib "swamp". The Romanian and German oikonyms (Timișoara and Temeschburg, respectively) derived from the Hungarian form. The Habsburg/Austrian authorities also used Temeschwar or Temeswar, names that have become commonplace in current usage. The name of the city comes from the river which passes the city, Timișul Mic (Hungarian: Kistemes), hydronym which was in use until the 18th century when it was changed to Bega or Beghei.
The region bounded by the Mureș, the Tisza and the Danube was very fertile and offered favorable conditions for food and human livelihood yet in 4000 BC. Archeological remains attested the presence of a population of farmers, hunters and artisans, whose existence was favored by mild climate, fertile soil and abundant water and forests.
The first identifiable civilization in Banat were the Dacians who left traces of their past. Several Romanian historians have advanced the idea that the current location of Timișoara corresponds to the Dacian settlement of Zurobara. Although its location is unknown, the coordinates given by geographer Ptolemy in Geographike Hyphegesis place it in the northwest of Banat.
It is assumed that in the 9th century Knyaz Glad ruled over these lands. He accepted Hungarian sovereignty. However, so far no document dating back to that period has been discovered. Timișoara was first officially mentioned in 1212 as the Roman castrum Temesiensis or castrum regium Themes. However, this year is disputed by many historians who are of the opinion that the city's first documentary mention comes from 1266, when heir apparent Stephen V of Hungary donates part of the Tymes fortress, built by his father, Béla IV, to Count Parabuch. The city was destroyed by the Tatars in the 13th century, but the city was rebuilt and grew considerably during the reign of Charles I of Hungary, who, upon his visit there in 1307, ordered the strengthening of the fortress with stone walls and the building of a royal palace. The palace was built by Italian craftsmen and was organized around a rectangular court having a main body provided with a dungeon or a tower. He even moved the royal seat from Buda to Timișoara between 1316 and 1323. Timișoara's importance also grew due to its strategic location, which facilitated control over the Banat plain.
By the middle of the 14th century, Timișoara was at the forefront of Western Christendom's battle against the Muslim Ottoman Turks. In 1394, the Turks led by Bayezid I passed Nagybecskerek (present-day Zrenjanin) and Timișoara on their way to Wallachia where they were defeated by Voivode Mircea the Elder in the battle of Rovine. Timișoara once again served as a concentration point for the Christian armed forces, this time for the battle of Nicopolis. After the Christians' defeat, the Ottomans devastated Banat to Timișoara, from where they will be expelled by Count István Losonczy. Appointed Count of Timiș in 1440, John Hunyadi moved with his family to Timișoara, which he would turn into a permanent military camp. John Hunyadi will be known throughout the region for his victory in Belgrade over the Ottomans, being considered at that time a defender of Christianity. An important event in the city's history was the peasant uprising led by György Dózsa. On 10 August 1514 he tried to change the course of Bega River to be able to enter more easily into the city, but he was defeated by attacks from both inside and outside the city.
1552–1716: Ottoman occupation
The fall of Belgrade in 1521 and the defeat at Mohács in 1526 caused the division of the Hungarian Kingdom in three parts, and Banat became the object of contention between the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary and Ottomans. After a failed siege in 1551, the Turks regrouped and returned with a new strategy. On 22 April 1552, a 160,000-strong army led by Kara Ahmed Pasha conquered the city and transformed it into a capital city in the region (Eyalet of Temeşvar). The local military commander, István Losonczy, and other Christians were massacred on 27 July 1552 while escaping the city through the Azapilor Gate. After the death of John Zápolya, Habsburgs tried to obtain Transylvania and Banat, including Timișoara, with mixed results; Transylvania even entered into dual vassalage for a time.
Timișoara remained under the Ottoman rule for 164 years, controlled directly by the Sultan and enjoying a special status, similar to other cities in the region, such as Budapest and Belgrade. During this period, Timișoara was home to a large Islamic community and produced famous historical figures, such as Osman Ağa of Temeşvar.
Except for a period in the late 16th century, the city did not suffer sieges until the end of the 17th century. In 1594, Gregory Palotić, Ban of Lugos and Karánsebes, started an anti-Ottoman uprising in Banat, having its starting point in Nagybecskerek. Following a strong Transylvanian offensive led by György Borbély, the Christian army conquered several towns, but Timișoara remained untouched. Another attempt to retake the city took place in 1596, when an army of Sigismund Báthory began the siege of the city. After 40 days of futile efforts, the besiegers drew back.
1716–1860: Habsburg rule
After the victory at Petrovaradin on 5 August 1716, the Austrian army led by Prince Eugene of Savoy decided to conquer Timișoara. The Ottoman military, the kuruc and the Turkish civilian population were forced to leave the city after a 48-day siege marked by repeated bombings that destroyed much of the city's buildings. After the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), the Banat of Temeswar became the province of the Habsburg Monarchy and was proclaimed "possession of the Crown" with a military administration which ruled Timișoara until 1751 when it was replaced by a civil one.
After the conquest of Banat, the imperial authorities in Vienna began an extensive process of colonization, using especially German Catholics (Swabians) from Württemberg, Swabia, Nassau, etc. In Timișoara, the Swabians settled mainly in Fabric, where they strongly developed craftsmanship. The main function of Timișoara during this period was that of a military fortress. The existing fortifications could not cope with the new military techniques, so the entire fortress was rebuilt in a late, flat and inconsistent adaptation of the Vauban style. It had an area 10 times larger than the medieval Turkish fortress. Between 1728 and 1732, Bega River was regulated, creating a navigable canal.
Under the political pressure of the Hungarian Diet, the Viennese Imperial Court accepted that the three counties of Banat to be reincorporated into the Hungarian Kingdom, in 1779. In 1781 Joseph II declared Timișoara free from the county authority and, to prevent the nobles from interfering with the administration of the city, he raised it to the rank of a "free royal city". This status would secure Timișoara's internal self-government, the right to have representatives in the Diet and that of disposing its own revenues. The city was under siege in 1848 for 107 days. The Hungarians unsuccessfully tried to capture the fortress in the battle of Temesvár. It was the last major battle in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. By the March Constitution, the region was incorporated to the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar, which became a crownland of the Austrian Empire. The new imperial province, the existence of which had also been consecrated by the imperial decree of 18 November 1849, was ruled both militarily and civilly, and the official languages were German and "Illyrian" (what would come to be known as Serbo-Croatian). Timișoara was designated as the residence of the governor, and the city maintained its privileges as a free royal city.
In 1860, the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar was abolished and most of its territory was incorporated into the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary, although direct Hungarian rule began only following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, after the establishment of the dual monarchy. As part of Austria-Hungary, the city experienced a fast economic and demographic growth. Credit institutions invested large sums in the development of local industry; at the turn of the 20th century there were many enterprises here: two alcohol factories, an iron foundry, a match factory, a brick factory, a gas factory, a chain factory, a hat factory, a chocolate factory, etc. In this period horse-drawn tram, telephone and street lighting were introduced and roads were paved.
In 1892, Emperor Franz Joseph I decided to abolish the fortress status of Timișoara. The demolition of the fortifications began in 1899. The main functions of the city thus became the economic ones, especially the commercial and banking ones.
After World War I
On 31 October 1918, local military and political elites established the Banat National Council, together with representatives of the region's main ethnic groups: Germans, Hungarians, Serbs and Romanians. On 1 November they proclaimed the short-lived Banat Republic. In the aftermath of World War I, the Banat region was divided between the Kingdom of Romania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and Timișoara came under Romanian administration after Serbian occupation between 1918 and 1919. The city was ceded from Hungary to Romania by the Treaty of Trianon on 4 June 1920. In 1920, King Ferdinand I awarded Timișoara the status of a University Centre, and the interwar years saw continuous economic and cultural development. A number of anti-fascist and anti-revisionist demonstrations also took place during this time.
During World War II, Timișoara suffered damage from both Allied and Axis bombing raids, especially during the second half of 1944. On 23 August 1944, Romania, which until then was a member of the Axis, declared war on Nazi Germany and joined the Allies. The German and Hungarian troops attempted to take the city by force throughout September, but without success.
After the war, the People's Republic of Romania was proclaimed, and Timișoara underwent Sovietization and, later, Systematization. The city's population tripled between 1948 and 1992. Timișoara became highly industrialized both through new investments and by increasing the capacities of the old enterprises in various industries: machine building, textile and footwear, electrical, food, plastics, optical, building materials, furniture, etc.
In December 1989, Timișoara witnessed a series of mass street protests in what was to become the Romanian Revolution. On 20 December, three days after bloodshed began there, Timișoara was declared the first city free of Communism in Romania.
Timișoara is located at the intersection of the 45th parallel north with the 21st meridian east, being, as a mathematical position, in the northern hemisphere, at almost equal distances from the north pole and the equator and in the eastern hemisphere, in the Central European time zone. The local time of the city (considered after the meridian) is 1 h 25' 8" ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time, but it is 34' 52" behind the official time of Romania (Eastern European Time).
Timișoara lies at an altitude of 90 metres on the southeast edge of the Banat Plain, part of the Pannonian Plain, near the divergence of the Timiș and Bega rivers. The waters of the two rivers form a swampy and frequently flooded land. Timișoara developed on one of few places where the swamps could be crossed. These constituted a natural protection around the fortress for a very long time, however, they also favored a wet and insalubrious climate, as well as the proliferation of the plague and cholera, which kept the number of inhabitants at a relatively low number and significantly prevented the development of the city. With time, however, the rivers of the area were drained, dammed and diverted. Due to the hydrographical projects undertaken in the 18th century, the city no longer lies on the Timiș River, but on the Bega Canal. This improvement of the land was made irreversible by building the Bega Canal (started in 1728) and by the complete draining of the surrounding marshes. However, the land across the city lies above a water table at a depth of only 0.5 to 5 metres, a factor which does not allow the construction of tall buildings. The rich black soil and relatively high water table make this a fertile agricultural region.
Taken as a whole, the relief of Timișoara appears as a relatively flat, monotonous surface, the smoothness of the surface being interrupted only by the Bega riverbed. Researched in detail, the relief of the city and its surroundings presents a series of local peculiarities, represented mainly by deserted meanders, micro-depressions and ridges (generally made of coarse materials). These are the result of the deposits in the area of the Timiș and Bega rivers, before their drainage, regularization and damming (concretized altimetrically by modest bumps, which do not exceed anywhere, the interval of 2–3 m).
Timișoara is a fairly active seismic center, but of the many earthquakes observed, few have exceeded magnitude 6 on the Richter scale. There are two active seismic faults that cross the western part of the city. The earthquakes recorded in the region are normal earthquakes, of crustal type, with depths of foci between 5 and 30 km (3.1 and 18.6 mi).
Flora and fauna
In the past, there were extensive oak forests between the Tisza and Timiș. Over time, they were cleared to obtain the wood needed to build the fortress and houses, as well as to gain arable land. Today, except for the areas forested with Turkey oak and Hungarian oak (Green Forest, Bistra Forest, Timișeni–Șag Forest), the territory falls within the anthropogenic forest steppe that characterizes the entire Pannonian Basin. The landscape is diversified by meadow vegetation, along the main rivers, in which softwood trees predominate: willows, poplars, alders. Within the city limits is the Green Forest (Romanian: Pădurea Verde), a forest massif with an area of about 724 ha (1,790 acres), systematically arranged in squares of 15 ha (37 acres). The forest is man-made; first organization plans were carried out in 1860 by the Hungarian Forest Service. About 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Timișoara is the Bazoș Dendrological Park, a forest reserve which since 1994 has the status of protected area. The first trees of the reserve were brought in 1909 from the Harvard University nursery. Today, the reserve includes 800 different species of trees and shrubs and is part of the International Association of Botanical Gardens.
The fauna of Timișoara includes few mammals, represented only by a few insectivores and rodents. The birds, on the other hand, are numerous, some of which are of hunting importance (the pheasant). The urban wildlife, although less varied than the forest wildlife, has a higher number of species of hunting interest (rabbit, deer, quail, partridge, pheasant, hedgehog, etc.) and reptiles. In the parks of Timișoara there are hedgehogs, moles, tree frogs and a lot of birds. Regarding the piscifauna, the dominant species is the carp, along with which live breams, bleaks, roaches, zieges, pikes, natural support for sport fishing. Timișoara has the only zoo in western Romania. The newest of Romania's zoos, Timișoara Zoological Garden is located in the northeastern part of the city, in the Green Forest, on an area of 6.34 ha. In 2007, the zoo was modernized, on this occasion being arranged 16 habitats that house 29 species and 144 animals, respectively.
The main watercourse is the Bega River, the southernmost tributary of the Tisza. Springing from the Poiana Ruscă Mountains, Bega is canalized, and from Timișoara to its outflow it was arranged for navigation (115 km [71 mi]). The Bega Canal was built between 1728 and 1760, but its final arrangement was made later. The Bega Canal was designed for the access of barges of 600–700 tons and an annual transport capacity of three million wagons.
From the multitude of arms that existed before the canalization of Bega, only Bega Moartă (Dead Bega; in the Fabric neighborhood) and Bega Veche (Old Bega; to the west, flowing through Săcălaz) are preserved inside the city.
In addition to permanent courses and those that dry out, often during the summer, on the territory of Timișoara there are a number of lakes: either natural, formed instead of the old meanders or subsidence areas, such as those near Kuncz, Giroc, Pădurea Verde, etc., or of anthropic origin, such as those from Fratelia, Freidorf, Ciarda Roșie, Ștrandul Tineretului, etc.
Like all of Romania, Timișoara exhibits a temperate continental climate, characteristic of the southeastern part of the Pannonian Basin, with some sub-Mediterranean influences. The Köppen climate classification subtype for this climate is Cfb (oceanic climate).
The dominant air masses, during spring and summer, are the temperate ones, of oceanic origin, which bring significant precipitations. Frequently, even in winter, humid air masses arrive from the Atlantic, bringing significant rains and snows, less often cold waves. From September to February there are frequent penetrations of continental polar air masses, coming from the east. However, in Banat the influence of cyclones and hot air masses from the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea is also strongly felt, which in winter generate complete thawing and in summer impose periods of stifling heat.
The average annual temperature is 12.4 °C (54.3 °F) (2007), constantly rising. The warmest month, on average, is July with an average temperature of 21.7 °C (71.1 °F). The coolest month on average is January, with an average temperature of −1.7 °C (28.9 °F). The lowest temperature recorded in Timișoara was −35.3 °C (−31.5 °F), on 24 January 1963, while the highest temperature was 42 °C (108 °F), recorded in August 2017. The average number of frost days (with minimum temperatures below 0 °C [32 °F]) is 91, and the average number of winter days (with maximum temperatures below 0 °C) is 22.4. The average number of tropical days (with maximum temperatures above 30 °C [86 °F]) is 40.
Being predominantly under the influence of the maritime air masses from the northwest, Timișoara receives a higher amount of precipitation than the cities in the Wallachian Plain. The average amount of precipitation for the year in Timișoara is 649.2 mm (25.56 in) (2007). The month with the most precipitation on average is June with 81.3 mm of precipitation. The month with the least precipitation on average is January with an average of 40.6 mm (1.60 in). In terms of liquid precipitation, there are an average of 69.1 days of rain, with the most rain occurring in June with 7.6 days of rain, and the least rain occurring in March with five days of rain.
|Source: Census data, Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition|
From a demographic point of view, Timișoara is defined, according to the Zipf's law, as a second-tier city, along with Iași, Constanța, Cluj-Napoca and Brașov, with extensive macro-territorial functions and having the second largest functional urban area, after Bucharest, of over 5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi). Bucharest and Timișoara are also the only metropolitan European growth areas (MEGAs) in Romania. Nationally, Timișoara has been recognized as the largest polarizing center in western Romania.
According to the 2011 census, the then population of Timișoara amounted to 319,279 inhabitants, a 0.5% increase compared to the previous census in 2002, when 317,660 inhabitants were registered. The population of the city represents 45.07% of the population of Timiș County, 16.07% of the population of the West development region and 1.44% of the total population of Romania. As defined by Eurostat, the Timișoara functional urban area has a population of 364,325 inhabitants (as of 2018).
According to a study conducted by the World Bank, Timișoara was between 2001 and 2011 the regional city in Romania that attracted the highest number of in-migrants. Timișoara manifests itself as an important polarizer of the labor force for other regions of the country, with a demographic surplus, especially for the counties in northern Moldavia, northwestern Transylvania and Oltenia. Timișoara manages to attract about 8,000 new inhabitants annually, most coming mainly from Timiș County, but also from smaller cities in neighboring counties – Caraș-Severin, Hunedoara and Arad. In fact, 46.2% of the current population of Timișoara is made up of people who have moved here from elsewhere. Former mayor Nicolae Robu declared in 2017 that in Timișoara live with over 100,000 people more than the data on the officially resident population indicate, because students, workers and other categories of floaters no longer obtain a residence visa, being unregistered in the statistical bulletins.
Timișoara has stood out since ancient times as an ethnically diverse city. In 1910, the largest community was represented by Germans, followed by Hungarians, Romanians, Jews, Serbs and many other smaller communities, such as Czechs, Slovaks, Croats, Romas, Bulgarians, Poles, etc. The figures and percentage ratios are much changed today, but the multiethnic aspect of the city persists. Nowadays, 85% of the inhabitants are Romanians, while the minorities are much more diverse due to the presence of Asians, Italians, Muslims, and less Germans and Hungarians. Yet, in Timișoara live most Germans in Romania as share in the population of a city. The decline of German and Hungarian communities is mainly due to assimilation (for instance, 64% of Hungarians in Timișoara live in mixed marriages), migration and low birth rates. Timișoara is also home to an important Serb community, which in 2011 numbered almost 5,000 people. Many of them, however, use Serbian as a second language, Romanian being preferred; its usage is much higher among Serbs educated in their native language and among older generation.
In 2018, according to official data, over 7,000 foreigners lived in Timișoara. However, the actual figures are most likely higher, given that many foreigners living in Timișoara do not apply for permanent residence, while spending most of their time in the city.
|Note: censuses in italics are based on mother tongue rather than ethnicity.|
Although much changed throughout its history, the religious composition of Timișoara is diverse. If in 1910 most of the inhabitants were Roman Catholics, in 2011 75% declared themselves Romanian Orthodox.
In Timișoara there are 80 churches, 12 of which were built after 1989; 41 belong to the Orthodox Church, eight to the Roman Catholic Church and three to the Greek Catholic Church. In addition, there are three synagogues in Cetate, Fabric and Iosefin neighborhoods, all three built before World War I, when Jews accounted for 10% of the city's population; at present, only the Orthodox synagogue in Iosefin holds religious services.
Politics and administration
The first free local elections in post-communist Timișoara took place in 1992. The winner was Viorel Oancea, of the Civic Alliance Party (PAC), which later merged with the National Liberal Party (PNL). He was the first officer who spoke to the crowd of revolutionaries gathered in Opera Square. The 1996 elections were won by Gheorghe Ciuhandu, of the Christian Democrats. He had four terms, also winning elections in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Meanwhile, Ciuhandu took over the Christian Democratic Party and ran for president of Romania in 2004. Nicolae Robu (PNL) was elected mayor in 2012 and again in 2016. In 2020, Dominic Fritz, a native of Germany, was elected mayor.
The Local Council and the city's mayor are elected every four years by the population. Decisions are discussed and approved by the Local Council (Romanian: Consiliu Local) made up of 27 elected councilors. After the 2020 local elections, the Local Council has the following composition by political parties:
Additionally, as Timișoara is the capital of Timiș County, the city hosts the Administrative Palace, the headquarters of the County Council (Romanian: Consiliu Județean) and the prefect, who is appointed by Romania's central government. The prefect is not allowed to be a member of a political party, and his role is to represent the national government at the local level, acting as a liaison and facilitating the implementation of national development plans and governing programs at the local level.
In 2003, neighborhood advisory councils were set up as a measure to improve local government consultation with citizens on local public policies. As of 2013, Timișoara had 20 neighborhood advisory councils.
Timișoara is the informal capital of the West development region, which is equivalent to NUTS-II regions in the European Union and is used by the European Union and the Romanian Government for statistical analysis and coordination of regional development projects. The West development region is not, however, an administrative entity. Timișoara is also the largest economic, social and commercial center of the DKMT Euroregion.
Traditionally, Timișoara was divided into ten constituencies (Romanian: circumscripții) that today have no administrative function:
- Listed alphabetically
- Aradului Est
- Aradului Vest
- Baba Dochia
- Badea Cârțan
- Braytim–Timișoara Sud
- Complexul Studențesc
- Ion Ionescu de la Brad
- Mircea cel Bătrân
- Prințul Turcesc–Lunei
- UMT–Pădurea Verde
The Timișoara metropolitan area was outlined in 2008 following the collaboration of the local authorities from Timișoara and 14 neighboring communes (Becicherecu Mic, Bucovăț, Dudeștii Noi, Dumbrăvița, Ghiroda, Giarmata, Giroc, Moșnița Nouă, Orțișoara, Pișchia, Remetea Mare, Săcălaz, Sânmihaiu Român and Șag). The Timișoara metropolitan area is part of the Federation of Metropolitan Areas and Urban Agglomerations in Romania (FZMAUR). As of 2016, the metropolitan area groups over 410,000 inhabitants on an area 18 times larger than the city proper.
Several localities neighboring Timișoara have experienced a significant development in recent years. Ghiroda, Giroc, Dumbrăvița, Chișoda, Moșnița Nouă and Utvin became suburbs of Timișoara due to the development of facilities, utilities and infrastructure, territorially joining the city. In the last 20 years, Timișoara has expanded its borders by about 8%, which means about 1,000 hectares, due to the construction of new neighborhoods or residential complexes. The city limits were moved outwards in 2006 by almost 5 km (3.1 mi). The largest expansion took place towards Șag.
In August 2016, mayors Nicolae Robu and Gheorghe Falcă signed the deed of establishment of the Timișoara–Arad metropolis, the first of its kind in Romania, part of the integrated development strategy Timișoara Vision 2030, carried out with the support of the World Bank, ADR Vest and FZMAUR. The project has been under discussion since 2006 and involved the unification of the metropolitan areas of Timișoara and Arad. In 2018, the population of the metropolis was 805,000 and is expected to exceed one million by 2030.
Timișoara is one of the most dynamic economic centers in Romania. Based on its proximity to the western border, Timișoara has managed to attract many foreign investments in recent years, forming, together with Arad, the second largest area in Romania in terms of economic mass. By the mid-2000s, the foreign investments in Timișoara amounted to €753 per capita, compared to €450 per capita at county level. Most of these investments come from the EU countries, especially from Italy, Germany and France. Similar to other growth poles in Romania, the services sector has developed significantly in recent years, accounting for half of the revenues.
After the fall of communism and the transition to a market economy, the private sector grew steadily. In the first decade of the 21st century, Timișoara has experienced an economic boom as the amount of foreign investment, especially in high-tech sectors, has risen. In an article in late 2005, French magazine L'Expansion called Timișoara Romania's economic showcase, and referred to the increased number of foreign investments as a "second revolution". In 2016, Timișoara was awarded by Forbes as the most dynamic city and the best city for business in Romania. Between 2000 and 2013, Timișoara had the highest growth rate of GDP per capita, surpassing even Bucharest. The local economic development has been reflected accordingly in the unemployment figures. For instance, in December 2019, the unemployment rate in Timișoara was among the lowest in the country, with only 0.8%.
After 1989, major changes took place in the structure of industrial activities in Timișoara due to the restructuring and retrofitting processes, industrial production currently including both traditional sub-branches and new, modern and dynamic ones. The main industrial groups in the city can be structured in three types: urban industrial areas, with large area and complex profile (Calea Buziașului, Freidorf, pericentral area along the railway, Calea Șagului, etc.), industrial platforms with unitary profile (UMT and Solventul) and dispersed industrial units, respectively. In recent decades, industrial areas have developed along major road or rail arteries, with a tendency to group units by industrial profiles. The central industrial areas, which affected the cohesion of the urban structure, are currently being reconverted, with services, institutions and housing being developed here in particular.
Buziașului industrial area concentrates units for chemical industry and production of automotive and electronic components. The area has seen an important development in recent years, attracting major investments from Procter & Gamble, Continental, Dräxlmaier, Elbromplast, AEM, Saguaro, etc. In 2013 Optica Business Park was inaugurated here. Developed on the old buildings of the former lens factory, Optica Business Park offices have attracted tenants such as Microsoft, Linde or ZTE. Șagului industrial area includes warehouses of construction materials (Arabesque, Arthema, Lipoplast, Mobexpert, etc.), as well as a significant number of showrooms and car dealers (Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Citroën, Opel, etc.). An important role in the development and diversification of the profile of the area is played by the Incontro Industrial Park, where construction companies are mainly located. Calea Șagului has also become an important commercial area, with hypermarkets such as Brico Dépôt, Auchan, Jysk, Metro or Leroy Merlin. Stretched on a usable area of 63 ha, Freidorf Industrial Park is an important area for attracting foreign investment, encouraging business development and creating new jobs. The automotive components industry predominates in the area (Kromberg & Schubert, ContiTech, ELBA, etc.). In the UMT industrial area are located mainly chemical and automotive industry units (Continental, Linde, Hella, etc.), but also warehouses. Torontalului industrial area includes units for manufacturing industry (Flex, Coca-Cola, SCA, etc.). The Timișoara Technology and Industrial Park was arranged here, with the aim of supporting the development of SMEs in fields such as software, IT and communications or electronics and electrical engineering. Aradului industrial area is the newest industrial area, with various locations for storage and provision of services. Like Calea Șagului, the Aradului area has become an important commercial hub, retailers like Selgros, Hornbach, Altex or Auchan operating here.
The main industrial branches, which have experienced an important growth in Timișoara, are the automotive industry, the chemical and petrochemical industry, as well as the electronics industry. The automotive components industry has registered a strong development in recent years, as a consequence of the need for technological development within existing industrial units, in Timișoara concentrating renowned companies in this field (Dräxlmaier, Kromberg & Schubert, ContiTech, TRW Automotive, Mahle, Hella, Dura, Valeo, Autoliv, Honeywell, etc.). In 2016, a competence center for automotive engineering – CERC – was inaugurated in the Freidorf area. This economic branch has old traditions, in Timișoara being manufactured, between 1988 and 1991, the Romanian car model Dacia 500 Lăstun in the Tehnometal factories.
The electronics and electrical engineering industry is a successful branch of Timișoara's industry, especially due to the investments of large companies with activities in high tech production (Flex, Bosch, ABB, AEM, ELBA, Ericsson, etc.), which determined a development of local companies, suppliers or subcontractors.
Along with large investors from the top industries mentioned above, in Timișoara are concentrated a large number of companies, especially small and medium enterprises, in traditional fields such as textile and clothing industry, textile manufacturing and leather and footwear industry, foreign investors being interested in these sectors mainly due to low production costs.
The office sector has boomed in the last decade, the stock of class A offices available for rent reaching 290,000 m2 in 2020, almost 10% of Bucharest's stock. However, the return on investment in office buildings exceeds the level in Bucharest (7%), standing at around 8.25%. Also, Timișoara has the lowest vacancy rate of class A office spaces, 5% in 2014.
City Business Center is the main office park in Timișoara, located in the city center. Completed in 2015, the complex is fully leased, with tenants including international companies such as Accenture, SAP, Deloitte, Wipro, IBM, Visma, Hella, etc. Named the greenest office project in Romania by BREEAM, Vox Technology Park was completed in early 2018. Bega Business Park is located near the historic center. The first two buildings were completed in 2015 and early 2018, respectively, and are fully occupied by Nokia's campus. Under construction are ISHO Offices, part of a larger project, and United Business Center. The latter will include the tallest office building in Romania (155 m).
At national level, Timișoara is one of the poles of the most intense activities in the IT industry. Well-known companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Nvidia, Siemens, Nokia, Huawei, Atos, Accenture, Endava, Bitdefender or Visteon have offices in the city, supporting – through the hubs and the digital workshops created – start-ups and SMEs in the field. Before the rapid expansion of Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara concentrated the most IT professionals after Bucharest. In 2014, Timișoara had 7,000 employees in the field. In the same year, the Incuboxx cluster was inaugurated. Incuboxx is the largest IT&C business incubator in Romania, which includes 54 office spaces addressed to entrepreneurs and companies with local capital in the field.
Timișoara ranks 394th in the 2019 Innovation Cities Index, an annual list of the world's most innovation-friendly cities. Bucharest and Timișoara are the only Romanian cities on the list published by the World Economic Forum.
Real estate sector
The real estate market in Timișoara, supported by the upward economic trend, has been booming lately. In 2017, about 4,000 living spaces were delivered to the market, an increase of almost 60% compared to the previous year, most of the projects representing high-rise residential complexes, addressed to the mass and mid-market segments. In the first nine months of 2016, according to the National Agency for Cadastre and Real Estate Advertising, over 32,000 sale/purchase transactions were concluded, Timiș County being the largest real estate market in Romania after Bucharest–Ilfov. 87% of them took place in Timișoara and neighboring communes. Among the largest residential complexes in Timișoara are ISHO, Adora Forest, Vivalia Grand, XCity Towers, Vox Vertical Village, Ateneo and City of Mara.
After 1989 the rural areas within the city became "hot spots" for housing investors, and the emergence of the middle class after 2000 changed both the landscape and the prices of houses and land. In 2020, for example, the price of an apartment reached 1,300 euros/m2, the third-highest among Romanian big cities, after Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest. On the other hand, the phenomenon of gentrification renewed a part of the underused housing stock.
Bega Shopping Center is the only shopping center in the center of Timișoara and the first in the city. Bega Shopping Center is structured on six levels and has a leasable area of 7,500 m2, of which 1,300 are allocated to a Carrefour supermarket. Bega Grup, the holding company that owns Bega Shopping Center, has opened two more neighborhood malls in Circumvalațiunii and Buziașului.
Iulius Mall was inaugurated in October 2005. Following an investment by Iulius Group and Atterbury Europe, Iulius Mall has been integrated into a large urban regeneration project – Iulius Town, complementing it with retail, office and entertainment functions. Iulius Town has the largest shopping area in Romania (120,000 m2), a space that brings together over 450 stores. The estimated annual traffic for Iulius Town is over 20 million visitors.
The second mall, Shopping City, opened in March 2016. The shopping center has a leasable area of 70,000 m2, covering almost 20 ha and comprising 110 stores on two levels. Within Shopping City, the largest Cinema City multiplex outside Bucharest was opened in April 2016, with 13 3D rooms, an IMAX room and a 4DX room. In the first year since its opening, Shopping City had a traffic of over nine million visitors.
Along with the existing stores in the central area, new supermarkets have been opened by national and international concerns such as Selgros, Metro, Auchan, Kaufland, Carrefour, Lidl, Penny, Mega Image or Profi. On the bricolage and DIY market are present the stores of Dedeman, Hornbach, Brico Dépôt, Arabesque, Leroy Merlin, Mobexpert, Mömax, Jumbo and Decathlon, among others, part of local and international chains.
Timișoara is the central point of tourism in the region, attracting 80% of its tourists. In the first half of 2017, Timișoara and its surroundings attracted just over 50,000 foreign tourists, being the third most visited region in Romania, after Bucharest–Ilfov and Brașov.
Preschool education takes place in 70 kindergartens; the primary education in 47 schools; the secondary education in 36 high schools; the post-secondary education in 11 post-secondary schools; and the master workman education in six foreman schools. The school network also includes two special high schools for students with disabilities, three schools of inclusive education, five seminaries, a special school for students with amblyopia, two educational assistance centers and a Waldorf high school. The private education system includes an international school and high school with teaching according to the British curriculum, an English-language kindergarten and primary school, as well as a nursery and kindergarten with teaching according to the Finnish curriculum.
The specificity of pre-university education in Timișoara is the diversity of teaching languages. The city's rich multiethnic tradition has been maintained by the schools with teaching in Hungarian (Béla Bartók Theoretical High School), German (Nikolaus Lenau Theoretical High School), English (William Shakespeare Theoretical High School), French (Jean-Louis Calderon Theoretical High School) and Serbian (Dositej Obradović Theoretical High School).
According to a ranking made by the AdmitereLiceu.ro portal in 2020, five high schools in Timișoara are among the top 100 high schools in Romania: Grigore Moisil Theoretical High School, Constantin Diaconovici Loga National College, National College of Banat, Carmen Sylva National Pedagogical College and Nikolaus Lenau Theoretical High School.
Higher education has a tradition of over 100 years, with the establishment of the Polytechnic University in 1920. From then until today, Timișoara has became the most important university and academic center in western Romania, with about 40,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate study programs in four public and two private universities. There are branches of the National Alliance of Student Organizations and AIESEC. Student organizations are very active, being known both in the country and abroad for the events held, such as StudentFest, the largest international student art and culture festival in Southeast Europe or the ten-day International Student Week.
The Polytechnic University is one of the largest and most famous technical universities in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2011 it was classified by the Ministry of Education in the category of universities of advanced research and education, the highest position that a university in Romania can reach. In the 2018 SCImago Institutions Rankings, the Polytechnic University is on the third place among the Romanian universities with research activity. Established by royal decree in 1944, the West University is the largest university in the city in terms of student numbers. The West University is one of the five members of the Universitaria Consortium, the group of elite Romanian universities. In 2018, the West University was present in 19 international rankings of universities, being among the top-ranked universities in Romania. One of the six medical universities in Romania is located in Timișoara – the Victor Babeș University of Medicine and Pharmacy. The fourth public university in Timișoara, specialized in life sciences and veterinary medicine, is the Banat University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.
The student campuses are located in Complexul Studențesc–Medicinei (25 dormitories), Lipovei–Tipografilor (six dormitories) and Blașcovici (two dormitories), offering a total of about 13,000 accommodation places. Complexul Studențesc in particular is known for its nightlife, with several pubs, bistros, nightclubs and themed bars concentrated here.
There are several public libraries, municipal or university, the most important being:
- Library of the Victor Babeș University of Medicine and Pharmacy, founded in 1946;
- Central Library of the Polytechnic University, hosted between 1947 and 2014 in the ensemble of Piarist Gymnasium;
- Eugen Todoran Central University Library, with a book fund of over one million volumes;
- Sorin Titel County Library, founded in 1904.
Several institutes operate within the Timișoara branch of the Romanian Academy: the National R&D Institute for Electrochemistry and Condensed Matter, the National R&D Institute for Welding and Materials Testing, the Titu Maiorescu Institute of Banat Studies, the Coriolan Drăgulescu Institute of Chemistry and the Astronomical Observatory.
In the patrimony of the West University there are several research centers, such as: the Institute of Advanced Environmental Research, the Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen Interdisciplinary Training and Research Platform, the Creation Center of Contemporary Visual Arts, the Research Laboratory in Structural and Computational Chemistry–Physics for Nanosciences and QSAR, the Research Center in Criminal Sciences, the East European Center for Research in Economics and Business, the Center for Romance Studies, the Research Center in Computer Sciences, the Center for Social Research and Development, the Institute of Socio-Political Research, etc. Also in Timișoara there are branches of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Academy of Technical Sciences, respectively.
The first computer built in Romania (1961) was put into operation within the Polytechnic Institute of Timișoara, nowadays the Polytechnic University. It was called MECIPT, an acronym for "Electronic Computing Machine of the Polytechnic Institute of Timișoara" (Romanian: Mașina Electronică de Calcul a Institutului Politehnic din Timișoara). Its design was started in 1956 by a team led by mathematician Iosif Kaufmann, electronic engineer Wilhelm Löwenfeld and student Vasile Baltac.
Out of the 1,700 members of the Romanian Academy, from 1866 until 2016, 102 members come or have worked in Banat and the surrounding areas. Among them are Traian Vuia, the inventor of the first tractor monoplane, Traian Lalescu, one of the fathers of integral equations, Dumitru Prunariu, the first Romanian to fly in space and Stefan Hell, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In the second half of May, biannually, the Timișoara branch of the Romanian Academy organizes, collaborating and involving the local academic, cultural and scientific community, the Timișoara Academic Days.
Due to the specialized university programs, Timișoara is a research center in the fields of medicine and public health; there are branches of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Student Society of Surgery, the headquarters of the Romanian Hemophilia Association, the Romanian Society of Medical Informatics and the Romanian Society of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, as well as the regional training center in emergency medicine, operated by SMURD.
- Pius Brînzeu County Emergency Clinical Hospital (included by the Ministry of Health in the first class of competence);
- Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (first class);
- Municipal Emergency Clinical Hospital;
- Louis Țurcanu Emergency Clinical Hospital for Children;
- Victor Babeș Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases and Pneumophtisiology;
- Victor Popescu Military Emergency Clinical Hospital;
- CF Clinical Hospital;
- Première Hospital (the largest private hospital in western Romania, owned by Regina Maria health network).
There are also: six integrated specialized outpatient clinics (four public and two private); three ambulance services (one public and two private); 494 dental offices; 229 family medicine offices; 138 specialized offices; seven medical expertise offices and 24 work capacity recovery offices; 39 school dispensaries; 11 student dispensaries; a sports dispensary; 63 pharmacies and 32 pharmaceutical warehouses.
Timișoara is an important regional road and railway hub, connecting the city to Bucharest and other major cities, as well as Romania to Hungary and Serbia, and further to Western Europe. It is located along the Pan-European Corridor IV linking Germany to Turkey and has access, thanks to the Bega Canal, to the Pan-European Corridor VII. Furthermore, Timișoara is crossed by two TEN-T core network corridors: Orient/East–Med and Rhine–Danube (waterway focus).
The street plot of Timișoara is composed of 1,278 streets totaling almost 750 km (470 mi). The street network is based on a radial model, consolidated by a series of five concentric rings, none of them completely built. Unlike other cities of similar size, there is no predominant corridor in terms of loading, with traffic volumes being distributed fairly evenly across a series of radial and circular arteries. The shape of the road network outside the city is mesh-like, all the main roads in the county converging towards the capital city.
In the northern part of the city there is a bypass; its southern extension is currently under construction. The city is crossed in the northeast by the A1 motorway, a segment that continues with the M43 motorway in Hungary. The A1 is connected near Lugoj to the A6 motorway, which is under construction.
- European route E70 – to the border with Serbia through the Moravița customs;
- European route E671 Timișoara–Satu Mare;
- national road 6 – to the border with Hungary through Cenad customs;
- national road 59 – with branch DN59A, to the border with Serbia through Jimbolia customs;
- national road 69 Timișoara–Arad.
Locally, car transport experienced an explosion after 1990, so that in 2017 the degree of motorization in Timișoara was among the highest in Romania, with one car for every 2.66 inhabitants. Timișoara has one of the most extensive infrastructures for charging electric cars and plug-in hybrids in Romania, with 16 stations located throughout the city and a hub in 700 Square.
Timișoara's public transport network consists of nine tram lines, eight trolleybus lines and 31 bus lines and is operated by STPT (Societatea de Transport Public Timișoara). The network covers all the important areas of the city and it also connects Timișoara with some of the communes of the metropolitan area. 45% of urban public transport is served by trams, 22% by trolleybuses, 18% by buses and the remaining 15% by water buses and alternative means of transport. In 2019, Timișoara became the second city in Romania to introduce public school transport, after Cluj-Napoca; as of 2020, it is served by 14 lines.
Timișoara has a well-developed market for taxi services. There are also several car rental companies. Alternatively, short- and long-distance carpooling platforms operate in Timișoara, such as Uber, Bolt or BlaBlaCar.
For internal coach transport there are several coach stations, most located around the Timișoara North railway station and on Stan Vidrighin Way. There are also daily coach trips to destinations in Europe, served by private passenger transport companies, such as Atlassib, Eurolines or Flixbus.
Timișoara has the oldest and the densest railway network in Romania, with over 91.9 km (57.1 mi) of lines for 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi) of territory, although some of the components are no longer operational due to low demand and lack of maintenance. Therefore, Timișoara is the most important rail hub in Timiș County and in western Romania. Most of the railway lines that intersect in Timișoara are secondary lines; the most important are line 900 from Bucharest, with international connections to Serbia and the main line Timișoara–Arad–Oradea, which ensures the connection with line 200 (Brașov–Sibiu–Arad–Curtici) and, implicitly, with Hungary.
The city has five stations (Timișoara North, Timișoara West, Timișoara South, Timișoara East and Timișoara CET) and a triage station (Ronaț Triaj). The main passenger station is Timișoara North, built in 1897 and undergoing extensive rehabilitation since 2021. The old station building, built in neoclassical style, was badly damaged by the Allied bombing of 1944, so it was rebuilt in socialist classical style. Timișoara North is one of the busiest stations in Romania, with an average of 174 passenger trains/day and a flow of 5,530 passengers/day.
Although the nature of freight traffic has changed, decreasing the requirement for maneuvering and recomposing trains, Timișoara is an important center for rail freight transport; there are several large industrial concerns that receive and ship goods by train.
Located 12 km (7.5 mi) from Timișoara, in the northeastern part of the city, Traian Vuia International Airport is the third busiest Romanian airport in terms of passenger numbers (1.6 million in 2017) and the most important air hub in the DKMT Euroregion. Traian Vuia International Airport attracts 15.1% of the total number of passengers embarked at Romanian airports, 32.8% of the total tons of goods loaded and 13.2% of the total number of flights. The only airport in Romania certified by EASA, Traian Vuia International Airport serves as an operational base for Ryanair and Wizz Air. As of 2021, the airport is undergoing expansion works, by adding two terminals – internal arrivals and external departures – and creating an intermodal center for freight transport.
The city's first airport, the Cioca Aerodrome, had remained in use for recreational and utility aviation.
The Bega Canal is the first navigable canal built in Romania, connecting Timișoara with the Serbian town of Titel. Its total navigable length was 114 km (71 mi), of which 33 km (21 mi) on the Romanian territory. It is not currently navigable. In 2018, repair works were started on the navigation infrastructure of the Bega Canal, which would allow the resumption of naval traffic between Timișoara and Serbia, halted in 1967.
Timișoara has the most developed integrated cycling system in Romania. Cyclists have access to more than 100 km (62 mi) of bike lanes, including 37 km (23 mi) outside the city via the Bega Canal cycle path, which connects Romania with Serbia, providing a direct connection to the European network of cycling routes – EuroVelo. Timișoara is the first city in Romania with a public bike-sharing system, VeloTM being inaugurated in 2015. The system has 440 bicycles in the 25 stations in the city and, depending on the season, is accessed by 1,000–1,500 people daily.
Timișoara has the largest architectural ensemble of historic buildings in Romania (around 14,500), consisting of the urban patrimony of the neighborhoods of Cetate, Fabric, Iosefin and Elisabetin. Most of these buildings are part of the imperial heritage, a period of economic prosperity that left its mark on the city. The architectural diversity, represented by baroque, historicism, neoclassicism, Art Nouveau and Wiener Secession, earned Timișoara the nickname "Little Vienna". The oldest building in Timișoara is Huniade Castle, which today houses the Museum of Banat. Destroyed during the siege of 1849, the castle was later rebuilt, but still retains elements of the former castle built by John Hunyadi between 1443 and 1447, but also elements from the period of Charles I of Hungary.
Timișoara is a city with a polynuclear urban structure. The current urban structure, the result of historical evolution, is relatively clear: in the middle of the urban agglomeration is the historic center (Cetate neighborhood) around which the other neighborhoods revolve. Due to their independent development, they have distinct features both functionally and architecturally. The center of today's Timișoara is the "successor" of the Austrian military fortress built mostly between 1732 and 1761. Today, only a few parts of the old city wall remain standing, namely the Theresia Bastion in the east and a few others which are located on the western limit of the old city wall. These were later listed as part of the architectural heritage of Timișoara.
The Cetate neighborhood, the political, administrative and cultural center of Timișoara, is divided into two distinct urban areas. The first area is the "inner city" of the 18th and 19th centuries. The whole area has the status of heritage site. The area houses the oldest buildings of the city, dating from the 18th century. The second area was established after 1900 on the lands liberated by the demolition of the fortifications. Construction in this area followed the trend at the time, the fin de siècle style. The Secessionist school of Banat was influenced by both Austrian and Hungarian styles, resulting from the direct participation of some architects from Budapest on various representative buildings. This style underwent two different stages: the first occurred approximately between 1900 and 1908 and was similar to Art Nouveau, with floral and curvilinear decorations, while the second, which continued until World War I, saw simpler, larger buildings with geometrical designs, similar to Viennese architecture at the time. Due to the fact that secessionism existed in Timișoara only between 1900 and 1914, its influence on more modest buildings was not as strong as that of eclecticism. If eclecticism became a true art of the masses, being used in all buildings, secessionism remained a style of the elites, which penetrated Banat through cult architecture.
The historic center of Timișoara has a system consisting of three urban squares, unique in Romania, each square presenting different sizes, plastic solutions and architectural styles. Union Square (Romanian: Piața Unirii), built in baroque style, is the oldest square in Timișoara. It is also called Dome Square (Romanian: Piața Domului), because it houses the Roman Catholic Dome, built in 1774. The middle of the square is dominated by the Plague Column. On the southern side of the square is the Baroque Palace, designed after the Palais Kinsky in Vienna, which today houses the Art Museum. On the western side are the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral and the Serbian Orthodox Episcopal Palace, representative of the neo-Serbian style.
Victory Square (Romanian: Piața Victoriei), also known as the Opera Square (Romanian: Piața Operei), is the central square of Timișoara. The entire square was designed by the then chief architect László Székely, educated in Budapest, but a great admirer of Austrian architecture. The square was completely pedestrianized in the late 1980s, with the removal of tram rails. Spatially, the square stretches between the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Palace of Culture which houses the National Theater and Opera. Although built around the same time, the two belong to diametrically opposed styles. The Opera building was built in Renaissance style. Today, only its sides retain this style, the facade being rebuilt after a fire in the neo-Byzantine style characteristic of Romanian interwar architecture. The Metropolitan Cathedral is the largest religious building in Timișoara and the second tallest church in Romania, after the People's Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest. It stands out for its massiveness, having no less than 11 bell towers and architectural style, unusual for a 20th-century building, being inspired by the architecture of Moldavian monasteries. The promenade side from the Opera to the cathedral is called Corso and houses several 1900s style palaces (Lloyd, Neuhaus, Merbl, Dauerbach, Hilt and Széchenyi); the opposite side, Surogat, houses two palaces (Löffler and Chamber of Commerce) and several modernist blocks of flats. In the middle of the square are the statue of the Capitoline Wolf and the fountain with fish.
To the north of Victory Square is Liberty Square (Romanian: Piața Libertății). Formerly called the Parade Square (Romanian: Piața de Paradă), the square houses several buildings with military functions: the Garrison Command, former Chancellery of War, the Military Casino, etc. The Military Casino is built in baroque style with some Rococo influences. The other buildings are in the classic style, in the 1900s style – szecesszió movement and in other styles. Liberty Square is the pedestrian link between Union Square and Victory Square. In the extension of the Liberty Square there is a smaller square, St. George Square (Romanian: Piața Sfântul Gheorghe), known in the past as Seminar Square (Romanian: Piața Seminarului). Its eastern side was formed by the Jesuit Church, transformed into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation and demolished during the modernization works provided in the urbanistic plan of 1911 (in its place was built the Szana Bank). The walls of the former church were brought to the surface in 2014. The square is dominated by the equestrian statue of Saint George fighting the dragon, built in 1996. It is one of several monuments erected in the 1990s in parts of the city where people were killed during the Romanian Revolution. In this square, the first horse-drawn tram was set in motion in July 1869.
The Fabric neighborhood has earned its name from the many manufactories, workshops and guilds established here. The neighborhood is bordered by the Neptune Baths, the Timișoara East railway station, the waterworks and the Timișoreana breweries. In the center of the neighborhood is Trajan Square (Romanian: Piața Traian). This is a smaller replica of the Union Square; both are rectangular and flanked on the eastern side by a religious building. The oldest building in Trajan Square is the Serbian Orthodox Church, built between 1745 and 1755 in the classicist style. Most of the buildings in the square were built at the end of the 19th century and belong to different movements of the Art Nouveau style. In Romans' Square (Romanian: Piața Romanilor) is the Millennium Church, a historicist building with neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque elements.
At the beginning, the Iosefin neighborhood had a rural character, with isolated houses, similar to the Swabian plain villages. The houses had only one level and, for the most part, had facades decorated with pediments. The rural character of the neighborhood is maintained until 1857, when Timișoara is connected to the railway system of Central Europe. Then, in the northern part of Iosefin, the first railway station of the city was built. Apart from the St. Mary Catholic Church, which was built between 1774 and 1775, all the buildings in Iosefin are built after 1868, most of which were built around 1900. Thus, in this area, there are numerous buildings in eclectic historicist style, specific to the second half of the 19th century, as well as several architectural ensembles in the 1900s style with its specific stylistic derivations – Art Nouveau, Jugendstil or Secession. Representative for this style are the historical monuments from urban ensembles IV and V: the Water Palace, the Délvidéki Casino, the former House of Savings, the Anchor Palace, the twin palaces of Nándor and Tamás Csermák, the Notre Dame Church, the Water Tower, etc.
16 December 1989 Boulevard forms the traditional historical border between the Iosefin and Elisabetin neighborhoods. Along it are a series of Art Nouveau palaces (Besch–Piffl, Kuncz, Menczer, etc.), as well as the 1900s-style Fire Station. The boulevard divides Alexandru Mocioni Square (Romanian: Piața Alexandru Mocioni) into two unequal parts, the triangular one (formerly called Küttl Square and Sinaia Square) belonging to Iosefin. The square is flanked by the Orthodox Church, built in neo-Byzantine style and inspired by Hagia Sophia, in contrast to the Art Nouveau architecture of the surrounding buildings.
Like the Iosefin neighborhood, Elisabetin had a rural appearance for a long time. Only after 1892, with the dismantling of the military fortress, Elisabetin experienced a strong development. Only two buildings have been preserved in Elisabetin since the 18th century: Dissel House and the Orthodox Church in the Church Square, the oldest Romanian church in Timișoara. Although it is a protected historical area, the urban ensemble I of Elisabetin is affected by the so-called urban sprawl. Many ground floor houses, typical of the historical urban morphology of the neighborhood, have been transformed into multi-storey buildings. The buildings in the urban ensemble VIII date from 1890 to 1900. Some belong to the classicist style, while others fall into the eclectic historicist style, especially the neo-baroque movement.
One of Elisabetin's squares of historical importance is Mary Square (Romanian: Piața Maria), dominated by the neo-Romanesque monument of St. Mary. According to tradition, György Dózsa, the leader of the peasant uprising of 1514, was martyred in this place. Other squares in Elisabetin are the Nicolae Bălcescu Square (Romanian: Piața Nicolae Bălcescu) with its 57-meter-high Catholic Church and the smaller Pleven Square (Romanian: Piața Plevnei), surrounded by an ensemble of Art Nouveau residential buildings (the House with Peacocks, the Szilárd House, the House with Beautiful Gate, etc.).
1919–1947: Neo-Romanian architecture
The neighborhoods of individual villas, the houses with several apartments and the religious and socio-cultural endowments dating from the first half of the 20th century, especially from the interwar period, predominate in the interstitial spaces between the historic neighborhoods, giving the respective areas the aspect of a garden city.
The architecture of the new buildings erected in the interwar period kept some decorative elements widespread at the beginning of the 20th century, but the neo-Romanian style, then the modernist and cubist ones, became more and more popular. More and more projects have been entrusted to Romanian architects, from Timișoara or Bucharest. Outside the former walls of the fortress and in Elisabetin, numerous villas were built in which the influence of the modern style, of the Brâncovenesc style as well as the French influences are predominant, but also public buildings, emblematic for the new architectural line. In the interwar years, important buildings of the city were built according to the plans of the Bucharest architect Duiliu Marcu: the new facade of the Theater, the main building, the student dormitory and the laboratories of the Polytechnic Institute, the Capitol cinema, etc.
The neo-Romanian style was consciously promoted by the state. Like secessionism, the neo-Romanian style remained a style of elites that did not influence in any way the architecture of the more modest buildings that were built in large numbers in the interwar period.
1947–1989: Socialist classicism
During the communist period, like other cities in Romania, Timișoara strictly followed the Soviet style. The architects did not have creative freedom, because the ministry imposed a firm control and an austerity regime, with small budgets. The evolution of the postwar architecture of the city was strongly influenced by the activity of the architect Hans Fackelmann, who designed, among others, the West University, one of the first modern constructions in Romania and the Ion Vidu National Art College.
Despite the central policy of urban systematization, which saw entire historic neighborhoods demolished, such as the Uranus neighborhood in Bucharest, the Timișoara authorities did not demolish old buildings, but only "filled in", where there were no buildings. Thus were built the two blocks that close the front of Victory Square, on its eastern side, towards the Metropolitan Cathedral. In the late 1960s, the Communist Party called for the construction of a number of commercial venues, hotels, houses of culture, stadiums and sports halls in major cities. It was the period when the Bega store, the Continental and Timișoara hotels, the Youth House, the Modex fashion house, the Olimpia hall and others were built in Timișoara.
The communist era also meant the growth of the population of Timișoara, by moving the workers brought from all over the country. Thus arose the need for new neighborhoods. Between 1974 and 1988, huge bedroom neighborhoods were built, consisting of blocks of flats with four, eight or ten floors, made of large prefabricated panels. At the end of the 1980s, over two thirds of the population of Timișoara lived in such suburbs: Circumvalațiunii, Șagului, Lipovei, etc. The blocks had the technical-municipal installations necessary for housing, but they were poorly executed in the conditions of a pronounced economic decline.
1990–present: Contemporary architecture
The reconnection, after 1989, of the Romanian architecture to the European architectural culture proved to be very difficult. Most of the projects and constructions did not yet have enough substance or inertially continued the decorativism of the previous period. Re-established in 1990 as a department within the Faculty of Constructions, the Timișoara school of architecture brought together architects from the late 1980s who, embracing the theoretical discourse of postmodernism, perpetuated the arts and crafts philosophy of the previous generation, either by a subtle return to historical tradition (Șerban Sturdza, Mihai Botescu or Radu Radoslav), or through a critical regional approach (Vlad Gaivoronschi, Ioan Andreescu or Florin Ionașiu). Constructions such as Austria House (Mihai Botescu), BRD Tower (Radu Radoslav), City Business Center (Vlad Gaivoronschi) or Reghina Blue Hotel (Ioan Andreescu) are linked to their names.
The 2008–2009 real estate crisis led to a change in the economic behavior of both investors and home buyers. Post-crisis, a number of peripheral real estate projects have been abandoned, and investors and home buyers have shifted their interest to the available plots within the city. As a result of the economic restructuring process during the 2000s, many industrial areas or isolated factories were demolished and their place was taken by residential complexes and shopping malls.
In Timișoara there are eight contemporary art galleries, five of which are publicly-funded: the Pygmalion Gallery (House of Arts), the geamMAT Gallery of the Art Museum, the Helios Gallery (Fine Artists' Union), the Mansarda Gallery (Faculty of Arts and Design) and the City Hall Gallery.
Timișoara is the only city in Europe that has three state theaters in three different languages – the Mihai Eminescu National Theater, the German State Theater and the Gergely Csiky Hungarian State Theater. The three theaters and the National Opera are housed in the Palace of Culture, built between 1871 and 1875 according to the plans of the Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, who designed, among others, the Stadttheater in Vienna, the Népszínház in Budapest and the Opera Theater in Odessa. In 2012, the National Theater built and put into operation the Set Factory, the first professional production line of stage props and theater equipment in Romania. Since 2019, the Serbian language theater has been operating within the Merlin Puppet and Youth Theater.
Literary life has been revitalized in Timișoara over the last decade: open, public readings of prose and poetry have turned into social-literary experiments and two new literary festivals have been launched – LitVest and Timișoara International Literature Festival.
The literary society Aktionsgruppe Banat, founded by German-speaking authors of the Banat Swabian minority, was active in Timișoara between 1972 and 1975. Many of its members also activated in the Adam Müller-Guttenbrunn circle, which included, among others, Herta Müller, Horst Samson and Werner Söllner. A recognized literary figure of the underground in Timișoara in the 1980s, Herta Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009.
Before having a proper musical society, in Timișoara there was the choral association Temeswarer Männergesangverein, founded in 1845. The repertoire of this choir included works of great popularity, belonging mainly to German romantic music. The Philharmonic Society was founded later, in 1871, as a men's choral society. The inaugural concert took place on 8 December and included the ballads Die Frithjof-Saga by Max Bruch and Der Taucher by Heinrich Weidt. Over the years, guest musicians of the Philharmonic Society were invited to perform in Timișoara, among them Franz Liszt, Johann Strauss II, Joseph Haydn, Pablo de Sarasate, Henryk Wieniawski, Johannes Brahms and Béla Bartók. The current Banatul Philharmonic was founded in 1947 by royal decree. The Philharmonic has been organizing the Timișoara Muzicală International Festival since 1968, the longest-running cultural festival in Timișoara.
The Art Museum is housed in the Baroque Palace, a Late Baroque building in the Union Square. The exhibition space includes collections of contemporary, decorative and European art. Founded in 1877 and housed in the Huniade Castle, the National Museum of Banat has as fields of activity history and archeology. On the ground floor of the museum there is a reconstruction of the Parța Neolithic Sanctuary dating from the 6th millennium BC. The Banat Village Museum is conceived as a traditional village from Banat, a living museum, being an open-air folk architecture reserve located in the Green Forest; it includes rustic households belonging to various ethnic groups in Banat, buildings with social function of the traditional village (town hall, school and church), technical installations and workshops. The Corneliu Miklosi Public Transport Museum is subordinated to the local public transport company. Various types of trams are on display, including the first horse-drawn tram and the first electric tram in the city, as well as buses, trolleybuses and vehicle maintenance equipment. There are plans to integrate the museum into a center for art, technology and experiment – MultipleXity. Founded in 1964, the Military Museum operates in the Military Casino in Liberty Square. The museum's patrimony consists of over 2,000 exhibits: maps, documents, models of historical monuments, photographs, weapons and military uniforms. In the museum collections owned by the Metropolis of Banat, the Serbian Orthodox Episcopate and the Roman Catholic Diocese there are objects of worship, icons on wood and glass from the 16th–19th centuries, books, manuscripts and old church objects. A future museum dedicated to the Romanian Revolution will be arranged in the building of the former Military Garrison. At present, there is a Memorial of the Revolution, in the collection of which there is written, audio and video information about the events of 1989.
In addition, there are several independent museums in Timișoara, including the Museum of the Communist Consumer, arranged as a typical house of the Golden Age, the museum dedicated to the Romanian cartoonist Popa's and the Kindlein Museum, a reenactment of Peter Kindlein's jewelry and clock shop and workshop.
In 2013, around 400 cultural manifestations and events (shows, concerts, exhibitions, art and literature salons, festivals, etc.) were organized in Timișoara.
Parks and green spaces
Timișoara is known as the "city of parks", being noted for its parks and green spaces. These are mainly located around the old town, forming a green belt along the Bega Canal. At the end of 2009, the area of the city parks was 117.57 ha. However, in 2015, Timișoara had only 16 m2 of green spaces per capita, under the EU recommendation of 26 m2.
One of the most famous parks in Timișoara is the Anton Scudier Central Park, founded in 1850. Since 2009, the park has an Alley of Personalities with 24 bronze statues of local personalities. In 2019 the park was redesigned in the style of the Schönbrunn Gardens in Vienna. Also close to the city center is the Rose Park, which at the beginning of the 20th century earned Timișoara the nickname "city of roses". The park was inaugurated in 1891 on the occasion of an agro-industrial exhibition, and all the arrangements were made by landscape architect Wilhelm Mühle. The English- and French-style garden stretched over 9 ha and was visited by Emperor Franz Joseph I on 16 September 1891. The current park was arranged between 1928 and 1934, being at that time the largest rosary in Southeast Europe, with 1,200 species and varieties of roses. In the park there is also the stage of the summer theater where several festivals, concerts and shows take place. Opposite the Rose Park is the Ion Creangă Children's Park. It was inaugurated in the same year as the Rose Park. The delimitation of the two parks was made later, when the area was crossed by the current Michelangelo Street. In 2012 it was redesigned as the largest children's playground in the city.
Queen Marie Park, formerly known as the People's Park, is the oldest park in Timișoara, being established at the initiative of the governor of the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar, Count Johann von Coronini-Cronberg, in 1852. The Botanical Park, improperly called by the locals the Botanical Garden, is thought of as a dendrological park and was inaugurated in 1986, after a project by the architect Silvia Grumeza. The park contains collection species grouped in eight sectors, depending on the region of origin of the plant. One of the newest parks, the Civic Park was arranged over the former military barracks, demolished between 1956 and 1959. The main attraction of the park is the floral clock, built in 1971.
The amateur and performance sports activity has an old tradition in Timișoara, this being achieved through sports associations and clubs. The first football game in Timișoara took place on 25 June 1899. Three years later, CA Timișoara – the first f