“Look around and love this city because it fully deserves to be loved” – Else von Schuster Often, when we speak about Timisoara, we refer to it as the Little Vienna, a city of flowers, parks, an economic model or the place where various cultures and traditions merge. Timisoara has a privileged location in Central and Eastern Europe, being situated at an average distance of about 550 km from Bucharest, the capital of Romania, about 170 km from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and Montenegro, and about 300 km from Budapest, the capital of Hungary.
Timisoara is situated in a plain region, crossed by two rivers the Timis and the Bega.
Its geographic location made Timisoara an important strategic location at the beginning of the 18th century, mainly due to the expansion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1716, after the siege of the city by Eugen of Savoy, the city fell under Austro-Hungarian domination. The Citadel, which was once part of the stronghold of the City of timisoara, currently hosts the public library, art galleries, shopping centres and the collection of folk art of the Museum of the Banat.
Between 1871 – 1897 the railways network extended all over the region, joining the city with Arad, Caransebes, Orsova, Sinnicolau Mare, buzias, Radna and Modos. The Eastern Railways Station, in the Fabric district, was built in 1876. The first telegraph office opened on 24 April 1854; the first phone line was inaugurated in 1879, with an initial number of 52 subscribers. Public gas lighting was introduced in 1760, and in 1770 there were 100 such gas lamps burning in the city. This makes Timisoara the first city in Romania with public gas lighting, and the first city in Continental Europe to introduce public electrical lighting since 1884.
The buildings surrounding the Victory Square are bordered, on the south, by the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral and on the north by the National theatre. In the middle of these monumental buildings lie two of Timisoara’s landmarks, the so-called Fountain with Fish and the statue of the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus, a replica of the famous “Lupa Capitolina” in Rome.
The “Capitol” Cinema, situated next to the Cathedral, was built by the contractors J. Steiner between 1929 – 1930, and besides being a cinema hall the building also houses the “Banatul” Philharmonic. Opposite the cinema lies the imposing building of the City Hall, which previously housed the School for Higher Commercial Education.
At the end of the Victory Boulevard opens another boulevard, which in December 1989 witnessed part of the events of the time and consequently bears the generic name of Boulevard of the Revolution of Timisoara. The current buildings of the “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, the former building of the Roman-Catholic Seminar and the Prefect’s Office of the Timis County which was initially meant to house the “Sofia Imbroane” Girls School. The building in which the “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy is currently located represented, before 1945, one of the most important cultural centres of the “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, the German School “Banatia”.
There is an unusually great number of parks in Timisoara: the Central Park, the Prak of the Roses, the Park of Justice, the Botanical Park, the Children’s Park, the Queen Mary Park. Timisoara also offers a wide variety of places for people to spend their spare time, providing for both spiritual and physical needs. The Opera Square, the Union Square and the Liberty Square are only a few of the beautiful and picturesque places that make the delight of any visitor.
The passage of time and the pulse of modern everyday life have left their marks on Little Vienna.