Oradea Sights and Landmarks Guide, Romania
Oradea Sights – City Outline
Oradea, in the North-Western part of the country, very close to the Hungarian borderline, is one of the most significant Romanian cities, and is definitely among the most visited ones. Its location, its hilly surroundings and the nearby spa resorts, and of course the city’s rich architectural classics transmitting a taste of the atmosphere of past times, make Oradea an extremely popular destination for tourists.
Oradea Sights – A Memorable Sightseeing Tour
You can start your sightseeing tour at the very symbol of the city: Oradea’s Fortress. The beginnings of the pentagonal Fortress date back to the 11th century, when it was erected, initially to defend a Virgin Saint Mary monastery. Later, the Fortress gave home to the Roman-Catholic Bishopric of Oradea, and became the religious, political, military and administrative centre of the town, being renown and frequently visited by kings and other important personalities from the middle-European history, serving even as burial place for many of these honorary persons. Though the Fortress of Oradea had been seriously affected by numerous historical events from the past of Hungary, not to speak of its deterioration by the Turks in 1241, it has survived the passing of time, now being a symbol of the city.
Continuing your sightseeing tour towards the city centre, a must-stop is welcoming you: the Black Eagle Complex, a real rarity in its greatness and uniqueness. The complex built in Secession style in 1908 is deservedly considered one of the most monumental architectural achievements in Transylvania. The palace originally gave place to a theatre, casino, ballrooms, offices, and it has preserved its combined aspect of culture and entertainment even in our days.
Another rarity will wait you next to the Black Eagle Palace: The Moon Church, a late Baroque styled Orthodox Church, famous for its mechanism that was designed to follow and show the phases of the moon. Today, the globe painted half black - half yellow, situated in the tower, is said to be working manually, however, its fame still attracts the curious visitors.
You have only to cross the street and you can visit another church: the Greek-Catholic Cathedral, built in Classic Baroque style. The building of the cathedral meets the Eclectic-styled Palace of the Greek-Catholic Bishopric. Continuing your way across the Main Square, you must visit St. Ladislaus Church. This simple and clear-out Baroque styled Roman-Catholic church was once the cathedral of Oradea, from 1733, the year of its finalization, to 1780, when the Basilica was built and took over this function.
The City Hall, a monumental building from the beginning of the 20th century, designed by Oradea’s then chief architect Kálmán Rimánóczy Jr., stands as a vigilant near the banks of the river Crişul Repede. Crossing the bridge over the river, you can see the State Theatre, which was inaugurated in 1900, and now it gives home to both the Romanian and Hungarian theatre companies. The building – a combination of Baroque and Eclectic styles – is another splendor of the city.
The Main Street boasts with architectural classics, mostly of Eclectic style, many of which are the works of the above mentioned architect Rimánoczy. The Apollo Palace, the Moskovits Palace and others stand proudly in line to be admired. At the end of the Main Street, you will find the „Descent of the Holy Spirit” Roman-Catholic church, another fine piece of Baroque architecture.
An Oradea Sights-tour cannot be complete without visiting the famous Baroque Complex: the Basilica, the Baroque Palace and the Row of the Canons, which are, again, city-trademarks. The Basilica, built in 1780 by leading Viennese and Italian architects of the time, is one of the biggest Baroque churches in Romania, and probably one of the most beautiful ones.
The Row of the Canons, when looked at from an end to the other, gives the impression of an endless row, is another curiosity of the city. The Baroque Palace, once in the propriety of the Roman-Catholic Bishopric, then functioning as a Museum, is again the Bishopric’s propriety. A real masterpiece, renowned for its 365 windows, the Baroque Palace is considered one of the most important baroque complexes in the country.
The once „Paris on the River Pece” has still much to offer. Oradea of today is again, a prosperous city, a city where the visitor can have a really wonderful experience.
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