Timisoara citytrip destination

Last year Anneloes noticed an unknown city in the list of Ryanair destinations; Timisoara. We had never heard of this city before. After having spoken to a few people (some of them big fans of traveling to Romania) we decided to just take a chance and book a flight to Timisoara. The people who shared their travel experiences to Romania with us, told us very different stories. Some really like traveling to this country and recognize its charm. For others the poverty and the language are quite discouraging (even though Romanian is a Romance language, having it’s origins in Latin) and they would rather go on holiday somewhere else. Flights for only € 16  per person were too cheap to resist. 

Piata Unitii Timisoara

Piata Unatii

In the days before our trip we checked the weather forecast: wow, 37 degrees C was predicted. That’s really hot: the perfect weather for airy and comfortable clothes, a good sunscreen and our e-readers. Of course we checked online information about day trips from Timisoara: for example to Bigar waterfall, a thermal bath in Buzias, a trip to Arad or the Gau-convent. But due to the heat we were a bit lazy and decided to just take it slow and enjoy the city.

Crayon building (Bruck house), Cetate

 

Piata Libertatiei, Timisoara

Piata Liberteii

Cetate (center)
A taxi takes you to the city center in just 20 minutes and for 50 Lei (about € 11,-). Our apartment was situated just outside the center, near the big shopping center Iulius Mall (in Timisoara you go shopping in a mall, not in the historic center). On our first day we arrived in the late afternoon so we only had a few hours left to have a look around. Eventhough our 1st encounter with the city was short, we were quite impressed. Parcul Botanic (a nice park) was on our walk to the center. Piata Unirii is in the center and is the most beautiful square of the city: the pastel coloured buildings surrounding this piata were amazing. It’s traffic-free (as is most of the center), with seating areas to enjoy the views and people, a monument and a water tap with alcalic water. Around this square you’ll find the Serbian church, definately worth visiting for the rituals. You’ll also see a baroque palace (now an art museum) here, as well as Bruck house (the shape of a blue crayon) and the yellow Roman Catholic cathedral in baroque style. Besides all these beautiful buildings, the square is surrounded by lots of cafes with outside terraces: the perfect spots to relax and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. What we did several times of course! We just couldn’t resist the delicious homemade lemonades, smoothies, iced coffees and frappes.
During our walk back to our apartment, on our first evening in Timisoara, we agreed: Timisoara is an interesting citytrip destination and we could not wait to see more of this beautuful city in the next few days.

 

The whole city center is great for strolling and wandering around. It has a few beautiful squares across the center. Piata Libertatii (Liberty Square) is the middle of the center and the only spot where the tram crosses the city center. From Piata Victoriei you have a great view of the Cathedral Metropolitana (the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral in Byzantine and Neo-Moldavian style: a highlight amongst the churches here. Piata Victoriei is also the square where the protest started in 1989, which lead to the fall of communism in Romania. If you are interested in history, the end of dictator Ceaucescus influence and the big part Timisoara played in this revolution, do visit the Museum of the Revolution (Asociatia Memorialul Revolutiei 16-22 Decembrie 1989). Tip: take the time to watch the movie in the museum, it takes about half an hour but is definately worth watching (English subtitles).

Behind the cathedral Parcul Catedralei is located: one of the many parks next to the river Bega. You’ll find more parks next to the river, but they are not all that attractive. Other nice ones to visit are Parcul Rozelor (rose park) and Copiilor.

Cetate, Timisoara

We would also suggest visiting the Museum of Banat (Banat is the name of the region Timisoara is the capital of) – unfortunately it was closed for renovation during our visit – and the bastion. There are lots more museums to visit and the city even has a zoo. We prefered just walking around, looking at the architecture, the facades, the colours, the doors, discovering street art, talking to locals, drink amazing drinks and people watching from a terrace. Timisoara is perfect for this! The relative quietness of the center really appeals to us. It does not feel like a hectic citytrip at all but kind of like a quiet day out in the village. It is so relaxed here. And the people we met are so nice and polite. The Dutch could learn from them!

Revolution museum

Fabric (this used to be the industrial neighbourhood)
Built from the 1720’s, when the industrial revolution started in Romania, in this neighbourhood you can find some amazing historic architecture. It’s easiest to walk here (or take a tram) from Piata Revolutiei in the center. Take the Bulevardul Revolutiei and you’ll cross a handsome bridge (Podul Decebal) and pass by a nice park (Parcul Poporului) with a tiny man built waterfall. In the first side street on the right (right next to the park) you’ll see a beautiful synagogue (the Fabric synagogue). Go down the bulevard until you reach Piata Traian, Fabrics main square (see picture below). There’s a big map of all the beautiful architecture on the right side of the road just before the square. Take a photograph and look up all these buildings, it’s fun and some are gorgeous. If you take a right before you enter the square, you’ll see the old beer factory from afar. Take this road on the left and you’ll see a former battery factory and even further along this road the faculty of Chemistry, Biology and Geography which is also beautiful. Between the battery factory and the faculty we had lovely iced coffees for half the price of the ones in the city center (check our article about veggie and vegan food in Timisoara if you’re interested in more of this kind of information – blogpost will be online soon).

Fabric main square

Fabric architecture

Other
If you’ve read our blog posts before, you might have noticed we have a love for old cemetaries. We were very curious how an old cemetary (or even a cemetary in general) would look in Romania. We were lucky because there was a huge cemetary just between our apartment and the mall so we had a look at Cimitirul Eroilor. In the heat of the sun, and Janet covered in a huge scarf, the locals thought we were quite a view there. This cemetary was literally packed with gravestones and there were not many paved roads between them. There was just one way from the one end to the other and we have no idea how people can possibly reach some of the graves from their loved ones. We mainly came to see some of the statues of angels but they did not have any here. We still had an interesting experience though.

Alkalic water on Piata Unirii

We also had a look around Iulius Mall, even though we knew we would not find concious fashion there. If you have a love for fast food the foodcourt is a good place to have dinner. Afterwards you can go to a movie and they are all subtitled in English. The shops are pretty much the same as in any western European country: from Zara to Starbucks. In this mall you would not think most Romanians are actually quite poor. Average wage is around 300 euros per month, prices in the mall are pretty much the same as in The Netherlands were minimum wage is three times as much.

View of the catedral from Piata Libertatei


Are you a fast tourist? Then 1,5-2 days is probbably enough to get a good impression of Timisoara. If it’s really hot or you feel like taking it slow and enjoy a terrace and a drink regularly, you’ll easily enjoy a few days in this amazing city. We definately hope to pay another visit when we are in the neighbourhood! 

 

 

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