Timisoara (ti-mi-shwa-ra) stunned the world (and the Ceausescus) as the birthplace of the 1989 revolution. This is Romania’s fourth largest city geographically, but its spirit is unmatched.
Timisoara is proudly known by residents as ‘Primul Oras Liber’ (First Free Town). It was here that the residents’ rebellious spirit sparked the first (effective) anti-Ceausescu protests which prompted his fall from power. Other interesting factoids about the city include it was the first city in Europe to have electric street lamps (1884) and the second to introduce horse-drawn trams (1867).
Timisoara has regal Hapsburg buildings, a groovy city center, Paris-like cafes/clubs and a thriving cultural/sporting scene that arguably makes it Romanian’s top urban scene. Excellent museums abound and the Old City is one of Romania’s best for idle wandering. Furthermore, the restaurant scene is comparable to Bucharest and Constanta. The only downside is that accommodations are expensive and not particularly good.
Timisoara has been dubbed (by someone) the “city of flowers” after the ring of pretty parks that surrounds it. Moreover, it is one of the country’s most developed and multi-cultural cities, comprised of strong Hungarian, German and Serbian minorities with a dash of Italian, Bulgarian and Greek. In recent years, the city has been designated as being ‘Romania’s economic showcase’ and there’s talk about whether the ‘Timisoara Model’ can be applied to other cities.
Timisoara airport’s emergence as a Romania hub is due in large part to the launching of Carpatair, Romania’s domestic airline which flies to four Romanian cities and several international destinations. ‘Flashpackers’ and people with an aversion to spine-jangling overnight train trips on Romania’s less-than-fragrant trains will want to make Timisoara their base of operations.
I present my video retelling of the 1989 Romanian Revolution: