If you’ve been enchanted by the beauty of colorful, ornate buildings in the likes of Prague and Budapest, you will love this art deco oasis hidden in Targu Mures, a city in central Transylvania in Romania. The Palatul Culturii, or Palace of Culture, has been a gem of Transylvania for over a hundred years, and today awes and inspires visitors from around the word.
Found in the center of the city
The Palace of Culture is located in the center of Targu Mures, a short walk from the Orthodox cathedral and facing a small park. The outside of the palace delights visitors with its tile roofing and detailed stone displays. It emanates a Hungarian style - it almost looks as though the building was plucked out of Budapest and dropped into the middle of Targu Mures. The palace is open Tuesday through Sunday, and tickets are sold in the office next to the entrance, right around the corner from the tourist office. Tickets are 10 / 4 RON for adult / student visitors (approximately 2.50 / 1 USD).
Over 100 years of culture and decadence
The Palace of Culture was originally built between 1911 and 1913 to be used as a multipurpose center for cultural activities. The mayor at the time, Bernady Gyorgy, wanted a cultural palace the city could boast of, so he hired two Hungarian architects to design and build a building unlike any other in the area. It subsequently became one of the best examples of Hungarian art nouveau architecture. The architects designed a secessionist-style masterpiece of three levels, complete with an orchestra hall, library, cinema and multipurpose rooms. Eventually the palace became home to the music, theater, and fine arts schools, all at one point of time or another. Now, the Palace of Culture is open for tourists to fully appreciate its splendor.
An entrance hall fit for a king
When you enter the building, you are greeted by beautiful ornate walls and chandeliers. A guard will check your ticket at the door, but after that feel free to snap as many photos as you’d like in the entryway. Two staircases will lead you to other parts of the building, but you may get so distracted by the stained glass and floral designs that it might take you a while to get upstairs!
Not to be missed: the Hall of Mirrors
Perhaps the most celebrated room of the palace is the Hall of Mirrors. The long hallway is covered on one side with colorful, detailed stained glass work depicting regional folklore and tales. When you enter the room, an attendant will play the audio narrative in English, explaining the meaning behind the stained glass works. The palace also houses an art museum featuring works from Romanian and Hungarian artists. The large concert hall is sometimes open to visitors, but it’s also possible to hear the orchestra rehearsing inside. The music wafting through the halls can be quite a sensory experience.
An art deco experience you won’t forget any time soon
When making your way through Romania, a visit to the Palace of Culture is not to be missed. Experience nothing like you’ve seen in Transylvania before, and be transported back to a time of decadence.
Get Trip101 in your inbox