2023 ROMANIA – Timisoara, the European Capital of Culture

2023 ROMANIA – Timisoara, the European Capital of Culture

Piata Victoriei with Metropolitan Cathedral. © Daniel ENGELVIN

Opening ceremonies took place February 17-19, 2023- concerts, exhibits, and plays created a wonderful atmosphere for its 300,000 citizens and many guests from across Europe, taking part in the many activities and programs across the city. Timisoara, alongside with Elefsina in Greece and Veszprem in Hungary, share the European Capitals of Culture for 2023. (a brief delay of 2 years due to Covid-19)

“The fact that Timisoara was chosen means we show that it’s a city and a region where for centuries we have lived European values, diversity, respect, innovation and that’s a chance, a strategic opportunity. I would say, for Romania to put ourselves back on the map and to radically change the narrative about Romania abroad” says Mayor Fritz.

Timisoara, is the second Romanian city to be honored with this title following Sibiu in 2006.

Roman Catholic Dome in Timisoara (St George Catholic Cathedral). © Gratian Matache

Timisoara, was under a few empires and rulers starting with the Ottoman Empire, Austro – Hungarian Empire and the city where the 1989 Revolution began. These past eras have left their marks via architecture, religion, language, food, and the city landscapes.

Timisoara is a city in western Romania, known for Secessionist architecture. The central square, Piața Victoriei, is surrounded by baroque buildings and the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral, with its mosaic-patterned roof tiles and icon gallery. Nearby is the Habsburg-era square Piața Unirii and the Memorial Museum of the 1989 Revolution. The museum houses uniforms, documents, and a film on the Ceausescu dictatorship (1965-1989).

For art lovers, some of the major exhibition include Adina Pintilie, who won the Golden Bear in Berlin and had the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In September the highlight of the arts will be the largest collection of Brancusi exhibition, first time in Romania in the past 50 years aside from Paris, Brussels, and London.  Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century and a pioneer of modernism, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture. 

Cetate Synagogue. © Mister No

There are many religious sites for each faith, beautiful designed churches as the Reformed church, the Rock Baptist church, Roman Catholic Church just to name a few. The major synagogue in the city is the almost complete the Cetate Synagogue located in the city center and the Fabric synagogue built between 1897 and 1899 in an eclectic style, with neo-Moorish, Gothic and Italian neo-Renaissance elements. Timisoara’s Fabric Synagogue (designed by Lipot Baumhorn) is on the 2022 World Monuments Fund Watch list of world heritage at risk.

One of the most important mosques of Timisoara was the Grand Mosque of Timisoara, built during the Ottoman Empire ruling throughout the years 1611-1682 and mentioned by famous Ottoman travel writer Evliya Celebi. Today the headquarters and a small appropriate mosque is the Timisoara Central Mosque.

Timisoara is a pleasant city to wonder and get lost, lots of great cafes, restaurants, and bars- you just about feel like you are in Paris or London, it’s a cosmopolitan city. 

The list of upcoming programs especially during the vacation months is enormous, more than 2500 artists will perform, an average of 30 events per week, 12 music concerts (from Baroque to rock), more than 15 themed festivals, theatre and circus performances, schools and their students will take an active part in various activities across the city, and so on. 

Make Timisoara your 2023 vacation destination – Enjoy!

  • General Information: www.timisoara2023.eu
  • Accommodation, many 3-5 stars hotels including international chains( try to stay in the center- easy walking around)
  • Transportation: car, train, buses, and Timisoara International airport just 2 km. from the city center.

By Peninah Zilberman, Founder & CEO Tarbut Sighet Foundation (www.ftsighet.com )

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