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Timisoara is the regional capital of the Banat province, the abundant agricultural heartland of Romania, as reflected in the city’s many restaurants. It is Romania’s most cosmopolitan city, owing to its liberal history and the diverse ethnicities that make up its population. Timisoara has a large Hungarian population, as well as Serbs, Germans and Roma. It has been dubbed ‘the city of flowers’ in honour of the many parks which circle the city, but is most recently (and affectionately) known to its inhabitants as ‘Primul Oraş Liber’ – the first free town – in reference to its part in the revolution of 1989. It was here that a Hungarian priest first spoke out against the dictator Ceauşescu, resulting in one of the most passionate revolutions in recent European history. The city has an easy-going Latin feel to it, with large squares lined by coffee shops and cafés and some fine architecture revealing the city’s Hapsburg past. It was the first city in Europe to introduce horse-drawn trams in 1869, and they are still here now – minus the horses! Today, people are quickly adjusting to the new democracy, with a thriving city centre and new ventures opening all the time.
Timisoara offers many historical sites, cathedrals, churches and museums, as well as a vibrant nightlife and some amazing nature, being known as "the city of flowers". The city is best explored by foot in order to enjoy as much as possible the great architecture which can be found at every corner.
Traditional Romanian cuisine is big and hearty and it is characterised by the use of genuine, local ingredients to produce dishes of a distinctly central European flavour, with Turkish influences. The most popular ingredients you will find here are the various types of pork, cabbage, potatoes and mamaliga – a cornmeal similar to Italian polenta. Over the last decade or so, international food has become popular and you will find Mediterranean eateries all over the city.
Have a delicious coffee in one of the lovely cafés that Timisoara has to offer, such as those in Piata Unirii where you can also enjoy the beautiful view.
Timisoara is regarded as having the most cosmopolitan and varied nightlife in Romania. In fact, the Old Town is lined with late night cafés and bars where a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere can be enjoyed. With its eye firmly set on Western Europe and its sophisticated atmosphere, it is no surprise that Timisoara offers a wide range of clubs – from blues and jazz joints to Euro pop dance venues as well as its famous Opera House.
Romanians are immensely proud of their cultural traditions and it is in this western part of the country where so many nationalities intermingle that cultural history is even more varied. There are abundant markets that showcase the traditional folk art, crafts and costumes of the region. On top of that, shopping centres and boutiques offer all the comforts of modern living.
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