Timisoara was the first European city to introduce horse-drawn trams (in 1869) and electrical street lighting (in 1889).
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 olden households and popular technique installations tries to objectively present the reasons for such assessments.
The Banat Museum occupies the entire space offered by Huniade Castle – the oldest documented building in Timişoara. It was built by King Charles Robert of Anjou between 1307 and 1315 as a royal residence, also having military functions. It was later expanded under Iancu de Hunedoara, but was also damaged during the many sieges (1552, 1716, 1849). It acquired its contemporary appearance after the 1856 reconstruction, and since 1948 the castle houses the Banat Museum collections. Following the archaeological research conducted in 2009, in the courtyard there were discovered the foundations of the first donjon tower of the medieval castle, together with a still functional well. It was also established that this tower was built on the foundation of an even older building. The courtyard also preserves a lapidarium collection, with ancient and medieval works.
The museum has three departments:
- the Department of Archeology
- the Department of History
- the Department of Mineralogy and Natural Sciences
The history of the art collection is directly intertwined with the beginnings of the Banat Museum, founded in 1872. The heritage was established in the second half of the nineteenth century, when Ormós Zsigmond, a collector and art historian, donated his entire collection to the community. Supplemented by acquisitions and donations, nowadays the heritage comprises more than 8,000 objects: painting, sculpture, decorative art and graphics.
In this space, the “December 16-22, 1989 Revolution Memorial” Association collects written, audio and video information on the bloody events, some of the material being exposed for visiting. The exhibitions cover life under the communist dictator Ceauşescu, but also course of the revolution in Timişoara, which ultimately led to the regime’s overthrowing. You can watch movies that present the drama of those days.
Over the years, Timisoara, the largest city in western Romania, has been influenced by many cultures. The Romans used it as an important crossroads fortress until the Tatars destroyed it in the 13th century. Conquered by Turkish armies in 1552, Timisoara remained under their protection until 1718 when the region of Banat came under Austrian rule for two centuries. Timisoara later became a vital commercial and manufacturing town. Turks, Austrians, Germans and Serbs all left their mark and their influence can be seen in neighborhoods throughout the city even today.
Timisoara was built on a swamp; the Metropolitan Cathedral has 5000 oaks supports underneath it;
Johnny Weissmuller, Hollywood’s original Tarzan, was born here.
Timisoara abounds with churches of several denominations, a Jewish quarter, an elegant baroque square and a pedestrian-only downtown area. Some of the monuments in the heart of the city afford panoramic views, while the many parks in this “city of flowers” provide an idyllic spot to take a break from sightseeing.