History of Timisoara
Timisoara (Timișoara) has been inhabited since ancient times, by Dacians and later the Romans, who named it Castrum Temesiense. First mentioned in 1212 as a citadel, by the 14th century it became an important outpost in the fight between Christendom and the Muslim Ottoman Turks. It was here that Hungarian and French crusaders gathered before the Battle of Nicopolis (1396), one of the last large-scale crusades.
From the 18th century, it developed around the fortified nucleus and later transitioned towards becoming an important economic and industrial center. The city flourished between the interwar period and the Communist period, when its population tripled.
On 22 December 1989, following a popular uprising, Timisoara became the first Romanian city free of communism, starting the Romanian Revolution which toppled Ceaușescu’s regime.
Huniade Castle Timisuara
Iancu de Hunedoara built the first castle of the Huniaz in 1443-1447, on the ruins of an old castle belonging to the 14th century, built by Carol Robert de Anjou. After a visit in 1307 he decided to build a residence in Timisoara. The construction was probably finished in 1315, because in 1316 the king was already established in his new castle where he lived 8 years.
The edifice developed around a quadrilateral yard with corner towers. Iancu de Hunedoara was the leader of the comitat in Timisoara between 1441 and 1456.
He ordered the set-up of a new castle on the ruins of the old royal castle, gravely damages by an earthquake. The new castle served as residence for all the kings who until 1552 made a halt in Timisoara. In the period of the Ottoman occupation (1552-1716) it was the residence of the military commanders of Pașalâcul de Timisoara. During the re-conquest of Banat by the imperial army, the castle was deteriorated.
After renovation its became an artillery barrack and a military depot. In 1849 the Hungarian revolutionaries, while besieging Timisoara, destroyed the castle. Reconstruction work and the renovation ended in 1856. The upper part of the facade is scalloped, what makes it look like a fortress.
The tower of the castle has a rectangular shape, with scallops. Two massive pilasters that have in the upper part a collection of guns flank the primal entrance, specific to the Middle Age. Since 1947, the castle houses the Museum of Banat. In front of the castle there are two lanterns, at the light of which it can be read that Timisoara was the first town in Europe which in 1884 introduced public electric lighting.
Roman Catholic Cathedral Timisoara
The St. George's Cathedral, or The Dome in Timisoara is at the Piata Unirii, in the center of town. The cathedral's foundation stone was put on 6th of August, 1736. Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach from Vienna designed it, and then Hans Lechner continued working on the building as of 1750. Two architects from Timisoara, Johann Theodor Kostka and Carl Alexander Steinlein, finished it in 1774.
The Dome has an Austrian Baroque style and it was dedicated to Saint George, the diocese's patron saint. The picture at the high altar was painted by Michel Angelo Unterberger, director of the fine arts academy of Vienna, illustrating the patron saint. The side altars were painted by Johann Nepomuk Schöpf in 1772. The precious oil-lamps were made by Josef Moser. The organ was made by Leopold Wegenstein, and it provides an impressive experience for the ears. The cathedral's bells were renewed in Germany in 1998.
Banat Village Open Air Museum
On the outskirts of the forest, on a 17 hectares area, lies the Banat Village Museum. Its foundation is due to persistence of Ioachim Miloia, an important cultural personality of the interwar Banat. The Transylvanian poet Lucian Blaga noted admiringly that “Banat is the Romanian ethnography Baroque”. The richness and diversity of rural civilization in the region had been noted ever since the eighteenth century by Western travelers. The collection of old households and popular technique installations tries to objectively present the reasons for such assessments.
The museum’s “core” is occupied by an interesting reconstruction of a village civic center, with a town hall,a school, a “National House” and, of course, a pub. The central piece is the wooden church.
Like all museum exhibits, it too was once a “live” object: a true parochial church, with an interesting history. Built in 1746 in Remetea Luncă, by 1807 it was already moved to the neighboring village of Topla, and from there it was brought to the museum in 1987. Practically, it's now the oldest church in Timisoara.
Other wooden churches of Banat can be seen in about 20 villages of Banat, mostly in the Făget and Lugoj regions.
Multiculturalism is one of the major features of the Banat. The museum hosts typical houses of Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks and Ukrainians from the Banat, and in preparation there are a Serbian house and Roma house.