Just after entering the inside of the church, you'll quickly catch a glimpse of the many beautifully ornamented side altars that are filled with magnificent artwork. Several saints are portrayed in sculptures, such as Saint John and Mary Magdalene. Next to images of the crucification, you'll also find paintings of the Last Supper. Sequences of Mary's life are shown, retelling the story of Mary visiting Elisabeth or the encounter with Saint Sebastian. Walking through the church, you may see meticulously worked statues all over, portraying stories of the Holy Scripture.
Special musical features inside the church
In the beginning, the cathedral had no music instruments at all, although Timișoara church was actually used as venue for premieres of musical works. The church had not been equipped with an organ for a long time that could have perfectly done justice to the music live performances. It was only in 1767 that Viennese Paul Hanke built an organ that was entirely kept in baroque style. This impressive piece of a music instrument appealed very much to the taste of its audience in the church. It was then Carl Leopold Wegenstein who replaced the organ by a newer and more modern instrument. This organ has been in use ever since and is electrically operated by its 48 stops. Thanks to the new instrument and its maintenance, organ concerts have actually taken place at Timișoara. The acoustic conditions inside the church are just perfect for concerts.
Sights around Timișoara
Even the square in front of the church offers an array of sights, Timișoara being one of them. Just in front of the church you find the so-called Trinity column which was crafted in Vienna and then transported to the Banat region. In the city centre, all three “evils” that the city was once haunted by are depicted on the square: the plague, the many wars and the starvation that were prevalent in the region. At the same time, the statue functions as a memorial and reminds us, amidst other historical monuments, of the many catastrophes that Timișoara once had to endure.
The cathedral's first construction phase
The construction works for the Timișoara church were initiated in 1736 when the bishop of Falkenstein laid the foundation stone. The construction was initially carried out rapidly. It was Nikolaus Stanislavich who took the construction works to an entirely different level. The work was sped up to such an extent that the first Holy Mass was celebrated in the cathedral in September 1754. Even though the initial construction period went quickly, the the cathedral had still not been completed. The years between 1755 and 1774 saw the building being extended on behalf of the emperor himself and the interior was entirely redone. This is where the extravagant wooden ornamentation, fine moulding and other decorative elements inside the church came from. The construction of the Timișoara took 38 years in total.
Facing difficulties on the way
Apart from the extravagant and tedious construction period, Timișoara Cathedral played a significant role in the city's past. When it came to war against the Turkish between 1788 and 1790, the church was used as an arsenal - unstable times for the church just after having been completed. During the occupation in 1849 the church suffered a huge damage at that time. The church was used by the inhabitants of the city as a place of refuge and thus became an easy target. The roof was once almost entirely destroyed during a bomb attack. The inhabitants were trapped in the church and so they walked to the crypt where many died and later were buried there. In the early 1980s the church was painstakingly renovated under the supervision of Franz Braun. The ornamentations inside the church were restored by the brothers Milthalter from Arad.
Construction on historic ground
The cathedral is situated on the Piața Unirii, “the square of unification”. The term already denotes its special historical significance. In 1919 the Banat Swabians, who were concordantly in favour of merging the separated regions, assembled here. Nowadays, the square is the core of the city's centre and is the largest of its kind in Timișoara. Should you be looking for sights in close and walkable proximity to each other, then this is the perfect place for you. Next to the cathedral you find several other interesting buildings such as the Baroque Palace or the large Museum of Art.
How to get there
Coming from the direction of Arad
You leave the city centre via the Strada Condurasilor and change hereafter onto the A1. Follow the road for about 38 km (24 mi). You take the exit leading to Timișoara. In the roundabout you opt for the second exit taking you straight to the DJ691. Following the direction, you get to Timișoara's city centre via Dumbrăvița.
Coming from the direction of Caransebeș
Drive northwards out of town and then change to the DN68. You then stick to the left and get via the DN6 to the junction of the E70. This is where you take a right turn and carry on in the direction of Jupa. Keep driving on the DN6 and leave the following roundabout via the first exit to keep on track. Following the DN6 further, you'll eventually end up in Timișoara.
Coming from the direction of Denta
As soon as you get to the DN59 you follow the road until you get to Timișoara via Bulevardul 16 Decembrie 1989.
By public transport
Timișoara is comfortably reachable by train, even from relatively faraway places such as Budapest, Vienna or Munich.
In case you decide to travel here by plane, the next airport to fly to is Traian Vuia International. Once you've landed, you may easily get to the city centre by grabbing a bus. Lines 4 and 4B take you straight to the city centre.