Tag Archives: Unirii Square

Timisoara Top 10

22 Oct

I have to be honest, Romania was not on my original travel itinerary. Had it not been for a very special encounter earlier in Spain, it may have taken me several more years to plan a visit. However, I came, I saw and I am excited to explore more in Romania.

Timisoara was my first contact with Romanian soil. What I really like about this city is, despite being the second largest city in Romania, it has an easy-going vibe and many opportunities to discover new things. 2012 was the first time I ever heard about the city, in spite of it’s historical significance as a crossroads between civilizations. During almost two-months of my stay I have seen very few foreign travelers unlike many other European destinations.

Did you know that Timisoara is that it is the first town in Europe and 2nd in the world after New York City with streets illuminated by electric lights!

I can tell you several reasons why you should consider putting Timisoara on your travel list. Instead, I feel like sharing the things and activities I have enjoyed as a visitor here. There plenty more that can be added to this list and plenty more that I, and others, have yet to discover in Timisoara. For now, let’s explore the city through my top 10:

10. Visit an outdoor market

The stalls range from antiques to modern art, freshly made crepes to artisan honey. You can find a variety of merchandise at the outdoor markets organized in one of the historic squares in Timisoara. Recently, I specially attended one that was called the “Really, Really Free Market“. The market was organized by a collective of socially responsible individuals to promote kindness and the alternative gift economy. And yes, everything was really, really free and top quality. Plus I had a wonderful time making new friends and learning about the local culture.

09. Buy fresh produce

Personally my two favourite spots are Piata 700 and Badea Cartan. It’s wonderful to have easy access to locally produced fruit and vegetables grown by pheasants (term often used for farmers in Romania). I simply love it – you shop in fresh air, buy season produce, choose from one of many farms, and pay less than at the supermarket! Aside from the two markets I mention there are other markets all around the city, making them accessible to everyone.

Piata 700 market

Fresh produce at the Piata 700 market

08. Rediscover the joy of sipping tea and wine

If you’re a tea enthusiast then Carturesti is the place for you but if you’re a wine connoisseur visit Enoteca de Savoya. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to become a regular at both during your stay in Timisoara. At Carturesti you will find a wonderful selection of tea to keep you coming back for months. I usually go to the location near Unirii Square to write but you you can also pick up a book from the bookstore on the lower level as relax. Not far from Carturesti is Enoteca de Savoya. Here you can find a bottle wine from around the world. There’s some excellent wine that’s produced in the region, my favourite is the wine from a place called Recas, some 25 kilometer outside of Timisoara. Find a cozy spot in the cave at Enoteca de Savoya and take the time to experience local wines with a delicious platter of cheese and olives.

07. Lemonade in Unirii Sqare (Union Square)

Unirii Square is a beautiful baorque plaza surrounded by colourful and unique architecture that house a museum and many cool cafe’s and restaurants to hang out at. The square is filled with historical monuments and artifacts, some of which require a bit of searching, as well as cultural symbolism. For example, you see an orthodox church constructed right across from a beautiful catholic church. From I have been told, this symbolizes the open-mindedness of the people of Timisoara towards religion and respect for different faiths. Oh, and that lemonade – you can find it at almost any of the cafe’s here but be prepared to make decisions. Only in Romania you find several choices for lemonade flavours; my favourite is the lemonade with forest fruit.

Unirii Squarw

Life on Unirii Square

06. Visit the countryside

Timisoara is surrounded by some interesting countryside. A local friend once told me about the discoveries he’s made by cycling to several, inhabited and abandoned, villages nearby. A village I discovered and really like is called Stanciova, about 35 kilometers north-east of Timisoara. I found Stanciova through an organization called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (Wwoof) while I was looking for volunteering opportunities at nearby organic farms. I have met some incredible people in Stanciova dedicated to building a strong community based on fairness, care and respect for people and planet. I feel truly privileged to have had the opportunity to experience inspiring discussions on community development with the people here. It’s amazing what you find when you choose to go off the beaten path.

Stanciova Horse Carriage

Horse carriage in Stanciova

05. People watching in Victory Square

Whenever I am looking for creative inspiration or just clear my head I visit Victory Square. With beautiful flower beds and sculptures tastefully sandwiched between the Opera and the magnificent Orthodox Cathedral, it’s the ideal promenade for people to socialize. The view of the cathedral from the opera is my favourite in Timisoara and one of the most cherished in all the world. Victory Square is one of the best spots to witness life as-it-happens. I have seen people from all generations come here to meet, celebrate, share, teach, create, and even cry. The plaza always seems to be the scene of formal or spontaneous activities. Strolling around here can also works up an appetite for ice cream or sweet and savoury pasteries. I also discovered the best shawarma’s outside the Arabian peninsula here aswell!

Victory Square, Timisoara

People watching in Victory Square

04. Discover the parks of Timisoara

Timisoareans will tell you that there’s not enough green space in Timisoara. I don’t really agree with that, though I also don’t argue that there could be more. I love the parks scattered all around the city. Sometimes you just have to get off the main road or walk through a, not-so-obvious, gate to find one of the very well maintained public green spaces. There’s 4 interconnected parks, Parcul Andrei Mocioni, Parcul Copiilor, Parcul Rozilor, Parcul Central right along the Bega Canal that I run across at least once a week. The Botanical Garden and the Regina Maria Park that are also worth a special mention and a definite visit. There are several more parks in various neighbourhoods all across the city with interesting art and monuments around them. It’s always wonderful to see children and people young and old being outdoors and taking advantage of these beautiful spaces.

Regina Maria Park

Regina Maria Park, Timisoara

03. Opera in the Park

I was lucky to have arrived during the Festival of Opera and Operetta towards the end of this past summer. The magnificent sets and stage were setup outdoors in the Rose Park (Parcul Rozilor) with large and comfortable outdoor seating for the audience. I happen to catch Georges Bizet’s “Carmen“. Beautiful costumes, superb lighting and sound quality, an excellent performance, all made it the perfect night out in the city with a wonderful companion. Aside from the Festival of Opera, there always seems to be an art project or initiative in the city – everything from the classical to the contemporary, literary to performing arts.

02. Mass at the Orthodox Cathedral

I am not religious, yet whenever I needed spiritual guidance my feet guided me to the Orthodox Cathedral on the far end of the Victory Square in Timisoara. When I saw the cathedral for the first time I imagined it to be a fairy tale castle with it’s colourful spires in conical and pyramidal shapes. The cathedral is the tallest church in Romania and the 8th tallest Orthodox Cathedral in the world[1]. It’s interior is just as magnificient as it’s external architecture – high ceiling with walls adorned with traditional orthodox art and a grandiose gold altar. There’s a warm, spiritual essence that can felt inside the cathedral. The scent of incense and candles along with soft sounds of prayer carry you in to a deep meditative state where you can find the serenity and peace, however clamorous your day may be.

Orthodox Cathedral by night

Orthodox Cathedral by night, Timisoara

01. Run, walk or kayak along the Bega Canal

As an active person I like environments that connect me to nature and people while engaging in sporting activities. Back in Ottawa, I have the trails of Gatineau Park and the Rideau Canal. In Timisoara there’s the Bega Canal that runs through the entire, east-west, length of the city cutting through the center and connecting 4 parks. My favourite activity is to run through 3 of the parks all along the Bega, while watching/experiencing local life. Walking, specially during the fall season can be inspiring, invigorating and a romantic experience. There’s also the option of renting a bicycle or get right on to the water with a kayak, a paddle boat, or go fishing. If you really don’t feel active you can find a quite bench to sit and read or visit one of the bar and cafe’s on either side of the canal. Bega has a lot to offer and that’s why it’s number one on my list.

Bega Canal

Early morning on the Bega Canal, Timisoara

——

Urooj Qureshi, living-being.comUrooj Qureshi is an Adventurer & Social Entrepreneur. Born in Pakistan, Urooj has lived most of his life in Ottawa, Canada, a place he calls home. He has travelled to over 35 countries across 4 continents and the list continues to grow rapidly as he is now traveling to meet the people of the world, discover new places, and lend a hand wherever it’s needed.

Follow Urooj’s journey on
www.living-being.com.

Unirii Square – trip

6 Sep

In this part of the architectural tour we will visit around the Unirii Square.
Dome Square was a real vision of Viennese court.


The Serbian Cathedral build between 1744 and 1748. The exterior bears the imprint of the Baroque and Neoclassicism. The main façade is predominantly Classicist with some Baroque elements. Typical of this style is the façade rhythm done with Doric pilasters on the ground floor, Ionic on the first floor and Corinthian on the second floor.




The Serbian Vicariate, with highly elaborated ornaments, made in the Art Nouveau style, but interpreted in a special manner. Currently, it is renewed. It has a rich collection of bibliophily and art (18th to 19th century Orthodox religious art collection).

The Former Discount Bank has ceramic ornaments made of colored glazed that indicate the Hungarian Secession – Szeceszio. This “Timişoara’s jewel of elegance” reminiscent little of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s style.


The Holy Trinity monument is related to grim plauge, that haunted Timisoara during 1738 to 1739.

House with lions


“Little” Lenau High School – In 1995 and 1996, the today façades are made in a simplified historicist style by architect Lucia Pfaff. Nikolaus Lenau was a great German poet born in Ciatad, today Lenauheim village, in Banat.


The Canons’ Houses – that Is the series of four classicist houses.


The Dome (the Episcopate Roman Cathedral of Banat Diocese). Work began under Carol VI in 1736, ending in 1774. It is construction involved famous architects from Vienna, like Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach. The main altar’s painting, signed by Michael Angelo Unterberger.


The Baroque Palace built in 1752.It was the most luxurious building in the city. Austrian Baroque, with some Rococo details.
Today it houses Art Museum, its worth to visiting also to see well restored interiors with stylish stairs.

Dicasterial Palace was made in the style of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. People from Timişoara used to say about this building that it “has one window for each day of the year”. In reality, the Dicasterial Palace has over 400 windows.


The Evangelical or Lutheran Church built between 1837 adn 1839. The Lutheran community is made of Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks and Romanians, and the religious service is held in all these language.


Theresia Bastion is one of the nine bastions of the city. Then in contemporary interior of bastion is gallery and restaurant.


See you on the next architecture trip!

By Anna Śmierzchalska

Culture of Taste: Indian Evening

16 Aug

Yesterday, the 15th August, we had a pleasure to participate in the event “Culture of Taste: Indian Evening” (“Cultură de Gust – seara indiană la Cărtureşti”), which was organized by the FoodCrew Team with the support of the Cărtureşti Bookstore.

The magic atmosphere of the place was already noticeable at the entrance of the Cărtureşti Bookstore thanks to the oriental incenses wafted in the air. For us it was a good chance to try the specifics of the Indian food: samosa, pledge halwa and spicy oriental tea with milk and honey. Additionally, everyone of us had an opportunity to smell and find out a little bit more about specific Indian spices which are very important in the national cuisine of the country. The scent of the spices in combination with the colorful decorations and the exotic music gave us such a feeling if we had a small piece of India in our souls.

As a part of the programme a 2007 Indian film directed by Feroz Abbas Khan “Gandhi, My Father” was shown. The film explores the troubled relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his son Harilal Gandhi. This is the story of a man who lived in the enormous shadow of his father, striving to discover his identity.

As one of the main organizers Iuliana Nalatan puts in: “Though the project “Culture of Taste” was started only two weeks ago with the organization of the Spanish evening, it has already gained its popularity. We are really happy that a lot of people are interested in what we do. We are planning to organize Italian, Chinese and Japanese evenings as well in the nearest future. Our main goal is to provide people with experience and knowledge about other cultures, their traditions and history”.

We were very glad to participate in the Indian Evening and to discover and feel this fascinating culture. We are looking forward to the next event organized by the FoodCrew Team. Don’t miss it! See you soon at Cărtureşti Bookstore!

For more information you can visit the official webpage of the FoodCrew Team
http://foodcrew.ro/ as well as their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FoodCrew.

By Anna Grzesica, Oleksandra Karavan and Klaudia Skibińska

Blues Pentru Timisoara Festival

14 Aug

Last weekend, the 11th and 12th of August, the fifth annual international blues festival “Blues pentru Timisoara” took place at Union Square. For two evenings the city of Timisoara turned to a small European capital of blues hosting some of the most popular bands from Romania, Hungary and Serbia.

Spectators of different ages, professions and nationalities gathered at the Square to enjoy the blues music played by Bega Blues Band, Texas Flood, Vali “SirBlues” Racila, Mircea Bunea Trio, Foxy Lady Trio & Alex Man and the Wildflowers Band. The blues music festival provided us with not only great music but also a change of atmosphere. The whole square was influenced by the jazzy tunes coming from the grand stage. It gave us a chance to experience a different Union Square than we had before.

As Dona, a dental student in Timisoara puts it: “I am attending this festival for the first time. I just wanted to listen to a good music and discover a new music style. Next year I will attend this event for sure because it is worth it!”.

“I came to Timisoara as a tourist and was pleased to find out that such an event takes place during my stay here. I enjoy both the music and the general atmosphere of the festival”, – Jeff, an investment banking specialist from Taiwan, shares his impressions, and we couldn’t have agreed more.

“As blues is my favorite music style I try to attend this festival every year.  It is nice to enjoy a good music, especially if it is played by such blues music stars as Vali “SirBlues” Racila”, – Doru, a telecommunications specialist from Timisoara, puts in as a true blues music fan.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a blues fan or not, you will love “Blues pentru Timisoara” for sure! All you should do is just to wait till the next summer and experience this pleasant atmosphere either for the first time or once again! See you all next year at Union Square!

If you can’t wait that long to get a feel of the atmosphere, then check out our tumblr account: www.timisoara2021.tumblr.com for more pictures!

By Oleksandra Karavan and Leon Kuipers

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