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Top 10 Things to do in Timisoara

After we went to Brasov in Transylvania, which is rich in history from the Middle Ages and vampire stories, landing in Timisoara in the western part of Romania was somewhat a more down-to-earth experience. I didn’t know much about the city neither did I know people who had visited it. Yet, when planning our Interrail trip through Eastern Europe Timisoara was an obvious choice when we had to make a stop between Brasov situated in the middle of Romania and Zagreb in Croatia. As a city so close to the border Timisoara acted as a base for Romans, Turks, Austro-Hungarians and of course Romanians which makes this city remaining its multicultural character until today. For all the girls out there – this is where you will find the country’s largest shopping mall; actually it’s called a town, in which alone you can already spend an entire day. And for all the boys, they have some great shooting ranges in and around the city, so there’s definitely something for everyone. Have a look at the top 10 things to do in Timisoara.

The Orthodox Cathedral is a must-see in Timisoara

1. Orthodox Cathedral

Somehow churches and cathedrals always land the highest position on my priority list of attractions. The Orthodox Cathedral in Timisoara was very much worth it to be honest and had absolutely earned its right as the first place on my list. At first glance one might beguiled into thinking that this church is in fact older than it really is. It was actually only completed in the midth 20th century between 1936-1941 in a Neo-Moldavian style, though also blending in elements from the late Renaissance, Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. Besides marking the central point of the town this magnificent piece of architecture which can be seen by far distance from many districts in the city and is truly a mignificent sight from the outside and even more from the inside.

Victory Square is the main square in Timisoara

2. Victory Square

Flanked by the imposing Orthodox Church in the South and the Opera House to the North lies the elongated pedestrian square named ‘Victory Square’ which was established in 1906 and functions as the main square in the city of Timisoara. There is in deed a reason for why this square is called Victory Square - on the 20th December in 1989 this square was the place where the city proclaimed its independency and hence has become the symbol of the Romanian Revolution. The square is beautifully decorated with different monuments, a central garden and a fountain all aligned by imposing buildings to each side filled with numerous restaurants and cafés. We really enjoyed walking around in this area and relaxed together with the birds and the locals.

An enjoyable walk through the Roses Park

3. Roses Park

It was in the summertime when we strolled through the city of Timisoara and the weather was accordingly sunny and warm. We enjoyed walking around, especially in the most beautiful park of them all, the Roses Park, which is, well, richly decorated with roses but also many other beautiful flowers. The park was built in 1891 with ten wooden pavilions on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition for Industry and Agriculture presenting more than 300 rose species at that time. Unfortunately the park became one of the many victims of cultural heritage which was destroyed during WW II, so it was restored during 1953-1965 with new and more rose species now containing more than 1200 species. The park makes as a great place for a break from the sightseeing.

Union Square is a much older square in Timisoara

4. Union Square

Although Timisoara has the one big main square called Victory Square, there is in fact another much older square, the Union Square. Actually, is this the oldest square in Timisoara, and probably also the most beautiful, which clearly can be seen by the dominating architecture surrounding the square which is differentiating itself from the much younger style of the Victory Square. The Union Square is flanked by picturesque 18th and 19th century buildings and two churches, the Romano-Catholic and the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral which are facing each other in peace and thereby giving the square its symbolic name – Union Square. This is the perfect place for you to have your lunch break or dinner to view the old and beautiful buildings. We took a break here from the hot sun and enjoyed a lovely meal all while admiring the wonderful architecture. During day time you might have the square more to yourself while it gets a little bit busier when locals and tourists alike gather here.

This mall is as huge as a town itself

5. Iulius Town

I rarely count a mall into an attraction when I go somewhere new, but this mall definitely deserves a post for itself and is worth mentioning in terms of sightseeing in Timisoara. It is not a mall really; it is more a whole town of boutiques and restaurants hence also called Iulius Town. It is huge and you might want to wear your comfy shoes and bring a whole lot of time when you visit this mall. With a size of 120.000 m2 the mall consists of a total of 450 stores, a food court with 40 eating places and plenty of other entertainment possibilities. Being the size it has it is declared the largest shopping center in the country of Romania.

Strolling along the river in Timisoara

6. Bega River

Strolling through Timisoara and wandering from sight to sight our route took us at some point along the Bega River which turned out to be quite nice. Alongside the river are enjoyable parks and nature and from time to time activities like canoeing, fishing and other summer activities. Walking along the river is a good way to avoid the heavy traffic when you commute by bike or feet through the city. The riverside path is wide and makes enough space for both cyclists and pedestrians who are equally paying mutual respect to each other. This is a great all-year-round activity, though I could imagine it being very pretty during springtime when you can enjoy the lovely magnolia trees and of course in the summertime to make a stop for cold refreshments.

An unusual museum in Timisoara

7. Museum of the Communist Consumer

There is a museum in Timisoara which is rather unusual and I wouldn’t quite call it a museum either but rather a collection of artifacts from the communist era manufactured in Romania, this is the Museum of the Communist Consumer. It might be hard to find and don’t be perceived when you enter the artsy-hippie bar on the ground floor because underneath the café in the basement is a whole collection of old items dating back from before the Romanian Revolution started in 1989. This private owned ‘museum’ consists of three rooms and a hallway very much overflowing. It’s like entering an apartment back in time, it’s interesting and unique. The museum is located south of the city center and going there only for the museum is not recommendable but if you need a break and a place to have a drink you should definitely visit this very special place.

The Opera House caught my attention

8. Opera House

This is a building that definitely caught my attention from the minute I first saw it, this is the Opera House of Timisoara. The construction of the Opera House began in 1871 and was inaugurated in 1875. Due to two fires the Opera was completely devastated only five years later in 1880 and another fire in 1920 where only the lateral wings remained intact and hence this structure underwent many changes over time. The Opera House was an important scene during the Romanian Revolution when a crowd of 40.000 people gathered in the space in front of it and some managed to storm the building delivering speeches from the balcony.

The building housing the museum is known as the “Baroque Palace”

9. Art Museum

Timisoara has a rather small selection of museums compared to other European cities but it has at least its very own art museum. The building housing the museum is known as the “Baroque Palace” and used to be the place where emperors of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were housed. The building is one of the prettiest ones surrounding the Union Square, a work of art itself one might say, and one of the key buildings in Timisoara. The Baroque Palace was obviously built in a Baroque style in the second half of the 18th century. As this building went through an important restoration process it was restored and opened to the public in 2006 with the establishment of the Art Museum. Inside the museum you will find many exhibitions both permanent and temporary with objects like paintings, sculptures, decorative art and graphics.

What else to do in Tiisoara other than standing on a shooting range

10. Shooting Range

So, we went to Timisoara in Romania and had a little time to kill. So what are you going to do if you have some time left and you’re in Romania? You got to a shooting range of course! Isn’t this an obvious one? It was at least for my boyfriend who came up with this unique idea. The shooting range Mag Tehnica was lying somewhat outside of the center of Timisoara so we had to grab a taxi to drive there which wasn’t a problem at all. I’d definitely say that this was a very special experience and absolutely nothing you would do normally when traveling as a tourist I guess. The staff was super friendly, talkative and helpful with everything. They know how to handle newbies and were patient with us all along and always keeping up our enthusiasm. At the end we got to keep our shooting target as a great souvenir and memory for this experience


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