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[Enjoy Transylvania!] Arad, the city of Vienna style palaces

In 1906, the great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga visited Arad, admired it and nicknamed it “Little Vienna”. Over a century later, during the Romanian Tourism Fair in 2018, Mayor Gheorghe Falcă initiated the programme called “Arad, the city of palaces”.

The concept is based on the large number of imposing historical buildings in the city centre and give it a Western feel.

Architects consider Arad to be “the largest open air urban museum” in Romania, with a display of architectural styles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The City Hall has consistently invested to restore historical buildings to their initial glory. Starting with January 2019, the local administration offers fiscal incentives to those who renovate heritage sites, whereas owners who do not invest in the aspect of their buildings risk paying penalties as big as 5 times the value of the property tax. There are 206 palaces and mansions built in Secession, Baroque, Eclectic and neo-Gothic styles, all in the centre of Arad.

Mayor Gheorghe Falcă decided that the local administration must set an example when it comes to being responsible for the building heritage of the city. Following an intensive renovation programme of the old city, financed by EU funds, the Administrative Palace (built in 1876 and considered among the most beautiful edifices in the country), the Culture Palace (restored to the initial look of its inaugural, 1913), the “Moise Nicoară” National College (founded in 1876) and the “Ion Slavici” Theatre (1874) were all restored. In 2019 the City Hall began the renovation of another 11 historical buildings. Pacing down the central boulevard of Arad is the perfect occasion to enjoy the sight of these impressive monuments and tourist attractions. The “Sfânta Treime” (Holy Trinity) Orthodox Cathedral majestically closes the main axis of the avenue, and together with the Roman Catholic Church Saint Antony of Padua and the Lutheran Church (also known as the Red Church) tells the story of a city with long-lasting spirituality. Due to this central architectural ensemble the informal city brand among the local community is “Arad, city of character”.

THE CULTURE PALACE
Renovation ended in 2018. Project was financed with 4 million euros, EU funding.

THE ”MOISE NICOARĂ” NATIONAL COLLEGE
Renovation ended in 2013. Project was financed with 8 million euros, EU funding – the largest such enterprise for an education institution in Romania.

THE “IOAN SLAVICI” THEATRE
The EU investment was of 3 million euros. The palace is an attraction during the night as well due to the architectural lighting.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE PALACE
Renovated in 2012, this is a building of astonishing beauty, with stained glass windows created by one of the most famous artists in Romania, Sever Frențiu.

(From the special edition of TB 86 – „ENJOY TRANSYLVANIA!” – May/June 2019)

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