Targu-Mures is one of the largest cities in Romania and one of the prettiest to visit, with many baroque, neoclassicist and secessionist buildings, like the Saint John the Baptist Church, the Franciscan Tower, the Palace of Culture, and the Administrative Palace, all of which remind the visitor of the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s rule in Transylvania.
In this post, I’ll take you on a walk through the city and show you five beautiful gems.
1. The Roses Square
First stop – the Roses Square. This is the main artery that stretches along the city center with the Small Cathedral at one end and the Ascension of the Lord Orthodox Cathedral at the other end. On both sides of the street, you can admire beautifully decorated facades, sculptures and ornaments.
You’d be amazed how much beauty you will find on the street if you look closely at the doors, windows and the decorations on the walls. There are benches throughout the square so you can sit and enjoy the beauty. Or maybe sip a cup of coffee at one of the street terraces, such as Zanza, a small, intimate place, just great for a coffee break and people watching.
2. The Palace of Culture
Probably the main tourist attraction in the city, the Palace of Culture is a great piece of architecture located in the Roses Square. A fine example of the Belle Epoque style, the palace was built between 1911-1913 by Hungarian architects.
The palace is home to two valuable museums: the History and Art Museums. You can enjoy some impressive Romanian and Hungarian art works and historic pieces going from the ancient to modern days.
The Art Museum exhibits over a hundred paintings created between 1850-1955 by renowned Romanian artists, including Nicolae Grigorescu, Stefan Luchian, Theodor Pallady and Nicolae Tonitza, and also an extensive collection of Hungarian art works.
At the History Museum, you can enjoy some impressive collections from Transylvania, including pottery, glass art, costumes, old postcards and photographs, wood furniture pieces, medals, historic documents and more.
A ticket costs 12 RON / 2.7 EUR / 3 USD to visit the entire Palace of Culture. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday 9 am to 6 pm.
Inside the Palace, you can also admire the impressive stained glass, frescoes, the Venetian mirrors and marble decorations.
3. The Small Orthodox Cathedral
Built as a smaller replica of the Saint Peter Basilica in Vatican City, the Small Orthodox Cathedral has some very beautiful stained glass. The inside columns are covered in green Guatemalan marble and the interior decorations reflect a sense of purity and elegance. Stepping inside for a few minutes will recharge your energy and reveal a glimpse of local life in Romania.
Visiting the churches is free and it’s usually open throughout the day from 8 am to 7 pm.
4. The Medieval Citadel
The medieval citadel in Targu-Mures was built during the 17th century and was recently reopened after years of intricate restorations. Inside the walls, you’ll find the 7 bastions and the Fortress Church, the oldest church in Targu-Mures, which was built in the 14th century. The citadel is also home to a branch of the Archaeology Museum, located in one of the sections of the citadel.
5. Cuza Voda Street
Cuza Voda is a secondary street (easily accessible from the city center) packed with wonderful architectural gems, and old houses with lovely decorations. Some of the older structures are not in such good shape, in spite of their beauty and intrinsic value. But if you shift your focus from degraded to beautiful decay, then you might be able to enjoy these breadcrumbs from a glorious and abundant past.
There are no major institutions on this street, just beautifully decorated houses like the one in the image above. This was an old neighborhood and the houses escaped demolition or irresponsible “modernization”.
You can grab a quick sandwich on this street from the La Casa bakery on 48 Cuza Voda street or enjoy a fancier meal at the Curtea Bavareza pension on 68-72 Cuza Voda street.
Explore a city of two cultures
The city is home to the largest Hungarian community in Romania and the influences are evident everywhere, from the architecture, the folk festivals dedicated to both nationalities, to museums and restaurants.
One of the upcoming events is the Maris Fest (17-19 June 2016) a rock festival with rock bands from Romania and Moldova. The entry is free and the event will take place at the “Weekend” entertainment complex, on the banks of the Mures River.
So if you’re planning to visit Romania, then I encourage you to make time and explore Targu-Mures, as well.
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