Have you ever felt a desire to move and live in a city, right after visiting it? That is what most people feel after visiting Oradea even just for a couple of days. Some are captivated by the 900 years old history; others are attracted to the warm weather or feel charmed by the harmony among the many ethnicities here, or by the inhabitants’ cheerfulness. Some delight in the dynamism of the city, its liveliness, and its potential. Those of us who already live here are proud of the Art Nouveau architecture, which made Oradea famous, but especially of the energy, joy and harmony in diversity that contributes, day by day, to the beautiful feeling of #LifeNouveau. Here are 10 places that you should not miss when you #VisitOradea. We handpicked them for you to give you a head start. But the wonderful thing is, this is only a snapshot of the many places and interesting things that you will discover in Oradea!
The place you would have visited without us telling you to stop by. Not only because it is a “must see”, but because whoever you asked, local or tourist, would have directed you here. And they wouldn’…
The Palace and the City Hall Tower dominate the city centre, so you certainly can’t miss them. Our favourite place to admire the ensemble is from St. Ladislaus Bridge, but there are many other spots i…
The city is a mosaic of culture and one stunning example is the Sion Neolog Synagogue. This iconic building offers a show of stained glass, colour and light, at every visit. It is the third largest n…
Give yourself time for an escape from the city centre into one of the largest Baroque-style complexes in Southeast Europe, and the largest architectural complex of this kind in Romania. Highly appreci…
The most beautiful cities in the world are built on the banks of a river. That is why the banks of Crisul Repede river has become a symbolic destination, both for the people of Oradea and for tourists…
Come to the biggest #Aquapark in Western Romania! Regardless the season, Nymphaea complex is the place where you can pamper yourself with a relaxing massage, beauty treatments and enjoy fun activities…
The place you would have visited without us telling you to stop by. Not only because it is a “must see”, but because whoever you asked, local or tourist, would have directed you here. And they wouldn’t be wrong – look at the pictures and you’ll understand why!
The first thing you will notice once you arrive here is the #slowliving vibe of the city and the joy of people coming together. This dazzling urban spectacle is placed against a décor of seven architectural styles, one more seductive than the other – Baroque, Classicist, Eclectic, Historian, Secessionist, Romantic and Neo-Romanian. You will definitely want to linger here for a few hours, enjoying a coffee while you admire the architectural jewels around: Oradea City Hall (1901 – 1903), the recently restored Palace of the Greek-Catholic Bishopric (1903 – 1905), The city’s trademark “Black Eagle” Palace (1907 – 1908) or “Moskovits Adolf and Sons” Palace (1904 – 1905).
Union Square, also known as the Small Square, started taking shape around the 18th century when it was the centre of the neighbourhood “Orașul Nou”, or “The New Town”. The first building built here was the Serföyö House, in 1714, on the current site of the “Black Eagle” Palace. With only a few rooms to lend at first, it later became the well-known “Eagle” Inn. Starting with 1753, the square saw a series of transformations: impressive buildings in different architectural styles, street lighting and the first trams connecting the centre with the North Station and the Western part of the city.
Come and feel Oradea!
The most important changes in the way Oradea Union Square looks today took place at the turn of the XIX century, during a time of economic growth. The western front is represented by two main buildings of the same architect, Kálmán Rimanóczy Jr.: The City Hall Palace and The Palace of the Greek-Catholic Bishopric.
Over time, the area hosted a variety of activities and its name has changed many times – Small Square, Ferdinand Square, Saint Ladislaus Square, Malinovsky Square, Victoria Square, and currently – Union Square. Today, it is the cultural and historical cradle of the city, a place where one goes to be seen and a tourist attraction you must not miss!
One of the most unique buildings in Oradea – the “Moon Church”, is a true combination of perfect craftsmanship and mechanics, beautifully combined inside the clock mechanism. It’s like a time travel!
The unique mechanism that makes a complete rotation around its axis in 28 days is bound to impress you, whether you are passionate about clocks or not. It is designed to make a complete rotation around its axis in 28 days, thus indicating the Moon phases, depending on the daily cycle marked by the clock’s mechanism. On the centre wheel of the clock you can still read today, in German, details about its designer: “Georg Rueppert in Grosswardein, 1793” (Georg Rueppert in Oradea Mare, 1793). Kids just love it so we encourage you to visit the church with them – who knows how the story will inspire them?
Mechanical craftsmanship from 1793
The foundation stone of the church was placed in 1784 by Petru Petrovici, the bishop of Arad city, and the construction was finalized in 1790. Spared by the big fire in 1836, the church is found today in its original shape. After the Orthodox Bishopric of Oradea was found in 1920, the Moon Church was declared a cathedral.
Listen to the hustle and bustle, observe the movement and life of the city, while admiring stunning Secession, Baroque, Classicist or Eclectic buildings. Live the #Oradea experience!
A lovely walk! Maybe you find it hard to believe that you can still find surprising things in Oradea after seeing the Union Square with all its beauties. But, as soon as you take a walk across Saint Ladislaus bridge and look towards the State Theatre, you will be convinced that Oradea has many more aces up its sleeve. Calea Republicii – the longest pedestrian street in the city, starts right next to the beautiful Poynar House and has something for everyone.
600 meters of good cheer and fabulous buildings
Take a walk along Republicii Avenue and you’ll discover a true Secession architecture monument. The pedestrian street starts with Poynar House, built in Art Nouveau style, it continues with Rimanóczy Sr. Palace – a surprising piece of architecture with Venetian influence, after which your steps will bring you in front of some of the most representative palaces in Oradea: Moskovits Miksa Palace, Stern Palace and Apollo Palace. They are uniquely beautiful and you’ll have a hard time trying to choose one as a favorite.
And the experience is just starting: Republicii Avenue offers you dozens of options for relaxation, fun or shopping. From cafes and restaurants with live music, pastries, or ice cream parlours to shops with traditional Romanian products, antiques, decorative objects, souvenirs and internationally renowned brands – you’ll find all of these here, stylishly placed along the Avenue.
You will just feel “carried away” on Republicii Avenue and the experience will be a very natural one. The pedestrian-only street is animated until late in the evening by tourists and locals, both eager to taste local specialities and admire the architecture. You will surely feel great among them.
This is the most emblematical building of Oradea and the most representative Secession style monument in Transylvania!
Conceived as a striking symbol of Oradea’s sophisticated modern life, the palace once housed a hotel, two cinemas, ballrooms, a casino, cafes, shops and a bank. The Y-shaped passage has three entrances, and the interior, covered with glass, was inspired by the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery in Milan. The Gallery or The Passage, as it is known to the locals, brings together most bars, cafes and pubs, being the leisure centre of the city.
A real architectural gem
Be ready to take many photographs of shapes, colours and decorative elements of this the architectural complex. Let your eyes linger in awe on the reflection of light through the two large stained-glass windows above the entrance, that represent an eagle in flight.
The building was funded by two Jewish lawyers, Dr. Kurlander Ede and Dr. Adorjan Emil, who decided to build it for the city from their own savings. A public competition was called and won by the architects Komor Marcell and Jakab Dezső. Its construction started in 1907, under the supervision of construction engineer Sztarill Ferenc, and in December 1908, the building was completed. The restoration has returned it to its original glamour, so today you can admire it in all its splendour. Explore at your leisure and don’t forget to use #VulturulNegru and, of course, #VisitOradea for your photographs.
The Palace and the City Hall Tower dominate the city centre, so you certainly can’t miss them. Our favourite place to admire the ensemble is from St. Ladislaus Bridge, but there are many other spots in Union Square from where you can “catch” a photograph.
The city hall bears numerous proofs of the city’s history, the palace hosting it today being the result of an architecture competition (just like the case of Black Eagle Palace on the opposite side of the square) and the work of architect Rimanóczy Kálmán Jr, who won, in 1896, the competition for the new city hall offices. The construction of this monumental building begins with the demolition of the old episcopal residence, in 1901, and continues with the works on the foundation, in February 1902. In October 1903, the building became operational, and on January 10, 1904, the official inauguration festivities took place.
Since then, for more than one hundred years, this has been the spot where the most important decisions concerning the city were made, and the spot where many citizens have started their married life. Don’t be surprised if you see newlyweds on the steps of City Hall. Get closer with confidence – and why not, enjoy a moment with them!
Watching over the city for more than a century
From a height of almost 50m and four main levels, three of which are panoramic, the City Hall Tower offers a view of the entire architectural ensemble of the centre of Oradea. It’s a sight you will definitely not forget!
Inside the tower, you will also find the clock announcing the local time. The clock mechanism, called the “mother clock”, sings “Iancu’s March” every hour on the hour. It was built in the early twentieth century, in 1904, by a watchmaker named Mezey Dezső. The clock survived the two world wars, and the clock face still retains traces of bullets from the 1944 war. The roof and wall of the tower also withstood two fires, the first in 1917 and the second in 1944.
Climb all the way up for a special view of the city!
An interesting thing: the second level was also a watchtower for the city’s fire department. The fires were announced by tolling the bell in a way that would indicate the area where they broke out. During the day, a red flag would be hoisted in the direction of the fire, and at night an electric light would shine to indicate the direction.
Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00;
Adults: 10 lei/person;
Children, pupils, students, retirees, disabled persons, organized groups larger than 10 people: 5 lei/person;
Children under 7, disabled person, International Children’s Day, October 12 – Oradea City Anniversary, Night of Museums – free entrance;
The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the end of visiting hours.
The ticket is valid for an entire day.
The city is a mosaic of culture and one stunning example is the Sion Neolog Synagogue. This iconic building offers a show of stained glass, colour and light, at every visit. It is the third largest neolog synagogue in Europe, a simplified, modern replica of the Nuremberg Synagogue, and it is worth visiting it.
Discover the history of the Jewish community in Oradea!
The city is a centre of mosaic culture, which you should notice when you walk down its streets. Synagogues, memorial houses, or memorial plaques are here to remind visitors of the community’s tumultuous past. At every visit, the Sion Neolog Synagogue offers a beautiful spectacle of stained-glass, light and colours.
The interesting combination of stylistic and decorative elements will charm you. The exterior is decorated in an eclectic style, with a Victorian touch specific to the end of the 19th century, reminders of the fact that the synagogue was built in 1878, in the centre of the New Town, as a modern replica of the Nuremberg Synagogue. With an architecture inspired by the Moorish style, it became known to the people of Oradea as the Temple of Zion, associated with the famous Chief Rabbi Doctor Lipot Kecskemeti.
The synagogue is a modern replica of the Nuremberg Synagogue
Built after the separation from the Jewish community in Oradea of a group of Reformed, or Neolog Jews, the synagogue becomes part of the architectural landscape of Oradea in 1878. The imposing eclectic building is based on plans made by Busch David and Rimanóczy Kálmán Senior. Compared to the Orthodox Synagogue, the Neolog Synagogue impresses by its volume, its grandeur and, last but not least, the extremely convenient location.
You can certainly not miss the most spectacular element on the southern façade – the five ample windows that align semi-circularly to suggest the idea of a triumphal arch. Look carefully for some further details: the windows are topped with a beautiful wooden lacework of wooden rosettes with oriental motifs and an octagonal trajectory. The cast-iron details complete the decorative ensemble of the Synagogue, the railings of the interior stairs and of the pulpit area displaying a series of floral motifs typical for the Art Nouveau architecture.
Have an authentic medieval experience in one of the most significant medieval monuments in #Transylvania! For a full experience, visit the fortress during the Medieval Festival!
The fortresses usually impress with their imposing architecture and the veil of mystery you can feel inside their dark corridors. Oradea Fortress is no exception! If you want to travel back to medieval times, when the city already hosted to different cultures and religions, Oradea Fortress is “a must-see”. Defined by most visitors as the # 1 attraction in the city, the newly renovated fortress welcomes its guests throughout the year.
Every step or corner of the monument has a story to accompany you on this journey back in time. The Christian legends are woven around King Ladislaus the Saint, its origin and fame as a place of eternal rest of some important historical figures, have attracted over time numerous visitors from all over Europe.
The centre of Oradea’s cultural life
Extremely important and influential landmark during the Renaissance from a religious, cultural, scientific, and military point of view, the fortress was protected by a moat over five meters deep, filled with thermal water that would never freeze. Due to this clever technique, no one was able to conquer the fortress until a solution was found to dry the moat.
Oradea Fortress has recently been fully restored to its former shape using the plans drawn up by historians and architects. In the autumn of 2015, it re-opened its doors for visitors, after a long period of reconstruction works. The symbol of the city has thus been reborn and can now enchant all those who cross its threshold with its new appearance and old stories. The fortress stands as a witness to the passing of time while keeping its eternal charm.
Give yourself time for an escape from the city centre into one of the largest Baroque-style complexes in Southeast Europe, and the largest architectural complex of this kind in Romania. Highly appreciated and financed by Maria Theresa of Austria, the Baroque Complex stuns visitors with its grandeur.
When you reach the end of Republicii Avenue (Calea Republicii), it is worth taking a 10-minute walk to the Roman-Catholic Diocese of Oradea. Here you can visit the Roman-Catholic Cathedral – one of the most beautiful and imposing baroque buildings in the city. If walking is not your cup of tea, you can reach it in 5-7 minutes by tram or taxi. Book a morning or an afternoon to visit this place, you have a lot to see – www.varad.org/ro/.
The building of the complex begins and ends with the Row of Canons, between 1750-1875. The Baroque Palace was the first to be completed in 1777, and in 1779 the Roman-Catholic Cathedral was finished, to be then consecrated in 1780.
A baroque palace with 365 windows
The palace, work of the Viennese architect Franz Anton Hillebrandt, was built in the late Austrian Baroque style and was intended to be a smaller copy of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. In 1773, the Palace was affected by a fire, but it is soon rebuilt according to initial plans, being completed in 1777.
A multitude of cultural events is organized inside the Cathedral, ranging from exhibitions to classical music concerts. There are great chances, therefore, to step straight into one of them, regardless of the period when you visit Oradea. Therefore, before arriving here, we recommend you to consult the website of the Religious Tourism Office of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oradea, for updated information on the possibility of visiting the Baroque Complex
English-style landscaped garden
The garden of the Baroque Palace was founded at the initiative of Bishop Pál Forgách (1747–1757), who started the construction works of the most imposing Baroque cathedral in the Carpathian Basin. To this cathedral was added the monumental episcopal residence erected under the care of Bishop Adam Patachich (1759–1776).
Following the recent renovation of the garden, the almost initial configuration of the land was restored, rejuvenating the landscape atmosphere of the early twentieth century.
An English-style landscaped garden has been set up in front of the palace and cathedral. Here are two works of art of great value: the bronze statue of Bishop Szaniszló Ferenc (1850–1868) executed at the request of Bishop Schlauch Lőrinc and placed at the northern edge of the plot, and the monumental statue of St. Ladislaus originally erected in 1892 in the center of the city and placed later, after the First World War, in the center of the processional space, being until today one of the main tourist attractions of the place.
Behind the western facade of the palace there is a baroque style garden, arranged setting terraces on a hillside. The three wings of the palace, arranged in the shape of the letter U delimit an inner courtyard known as the cour d’honneur, connected to the lower terraces by a series of steps.
In front of the south wing of the palace there is a geometric composition of shrubs, this time in the shape of a lyre, reminiscent of the glory days of Oradea classical music, when the cathedral orchestra, founded by Bishop Adam Patachich, was led by personalities such as Johann Michael Haydn or Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf.
Address: Str. Șirul Canonicilor nr. 13
Tel: +40 359 433 401
The most beautiful cities in the world are built on the banks of a river. That is why the banks of Crisul Repede river has become a symbolic destination, both for the people of Oradea and for tourists who visit the city. Charged with a bohemian vibe and accompanied by the soothing whisper of the river, the restaurants on the #Riverside are in the top of everyone’s preferences. Choose any of the locations for a special gastronomic experience, while enjoying a view in constant motion!
On the course of Crișul Repede river, elegantly situated on the banks of the river, among the trees, you will find wonderful Mediterranean, international, traditional, or Italian restaurants. We know how important the culinary aspect is during a trip. To make it easier for you to decide, we gathered as recommendations some places along the riverside that are popular among both locals and tourists.
Laurus Mediterranean Restaurant, located within DoubleTree by Hilton Oradea Hotel, offers gourmet Mediterranean flavours and a wonderful view of Crisul Repede river. Following the watercourse, we discover RIVO Restaurant, with a warm atmosphere and green areas for relaxation. During summer, the restaurant garden is a true oasis of tranquillity with a scent of lavender to keep you enthralled for hours!
Gastronomy and Lifestyle
Located in the heart of the city, SPOON Bar & Grill is one of the newest restaurant projects on the banks of Crisul Repede river. The chefs have designed an appetizing and diverse menu for memorable dining experiences in a state-of-the-art setting.
On the opposite bank of the river, Crinul Alb Restaurant welcomes its guests around the clock. With a traditional Italian specific, whether it’s pasta, pizza or seafood, eating at Crinul Alb Restaurant is always a joyful experience. A stone’s throw from Crinul Alb, right next to The Bridge of Intellectuals, you will find The Bridge – Restaurant & Pizza, a recently renovated location with a generous terrace that perfectly fits into the Art Nouveau atmosphere of the city.
Dock Bistro & Bar – the newest project on the riverside, is a place you’ll definitely notice. Stylishly located near St Ladislaus Bridge, the restaurant offers besides Mediterranean dishes and tasty cocktails, a superb view over the City Hall Palace and the new pedestrian cliff arranged along the watercourse.
Come to the biggest #Aquapark in Western Romania! Regardless the season, Nymphaea complex is the place where you can pamper yourself with a relaxing massage, beauty treatments and enjoy fun activities for young and old. Relax in the sauna or in the pool and try the multifunctional sports fields.
Equipped with outdoor pools, ideal for cooling off during summer, but also indoor pools, perfect for the cold season, Nymphaea is the perfect combination between fun and relaxation. While wave-pools and slides will delight the little ones, spa services will make the grown-ups relax in the saunas, Turkish baths with geothermal pools, steam cabins, Jacuzzis, aqua treatments, and massage rooms. Take advantage of the relaxation and wellness areas, equipped with bar and restaurant, and indulge in natural and beauty treatments!
Wellness&Fun at Aquapark Nymphaea
Oradea is a destination well known for geothermal and therapeutical tourism. Aquapark Nymphaea only comes to confirm its reputation. Six buildings, seven outdoor pools and sports and leisure facilities are here to welcome a guest who expects both relaxation and entertainment. The Aquapark also has two special pools, one for swimming and one for diving, both dedicated to water sports enthusiasts.
Original article from www.visitoradea.com