The cathedral of Timisoara, the landmark building of the city

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

Questioned online by a popular newspaper, the dwellers of Timişoara chose this cathedral as the most representative place in their town. And this is not without a reason, as the cathedral took part in city’s history. Timişoara is the most western town of Romania, reason for some of its inhabitants to joke about them feeling closer to Vienna than to Bucharest, the capital. Indeed, this region of the country has been part of the Austro-Hungarian empire for centuries, being influenced by the civilization in Budapest and Vienna. It still is a melting pot, with vivid communities of Hungarians, Serbes, Gypsies and Germans who live together without conflicts. The Western position and the local language derived from Latin made it a preferred place to settle for Italian investors in the last years.
The Western mentality of its inhabitants made Timişoara the starting point of the anticommunist revolution of 1989. The price payed by the city was huge, with over a hundred shot, but Timişoara was the first to declare itself “a free city” even before the flee of dictator Nicoale Ceauşescu. The revolutionaries gathered during the nights on the steps of this cathedral and sang rock ballads together, defying the army and the communist secret police. Some were shot even on that holy ground.
The orthodox cathedral was built in the glorious monarchic period between the two world wars. The country was recently reunited and felt the need for monumental buildings to mark the historic event. It took some decades for the project to reach the end. So in a twist of history, it was opened by the last Romanian king, Michael, side by side with the first communist prime-minister, appointed by the Soviets, who occupied the country.
The dimensions are imposing: 83 m height and 32 m wide, with a capacity of 5.000 people. The style is unusual for a Romanian Orthodox cathedral, who regularly employ a Byzantine shape. The spire domes are influenced by the wooden churches in Transylvania and Moldavia, a Romanian Gothic. The ceramic decorations on the facade are also unusual for Romanian churches but are encountered in local houses. Inside, the painting is a classical Byzantine fresco. The architect is Ion Traienescu.
In the city there are other cathedrals for Protestant, Catholic confessions, and even a large beautiful synagogue.

Mai multe despre: Religious architecture, Romania
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