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Victoriei Square

Victoriei Square, Opera Squarepiata victoriei small

Current name

Victoriei Square

Address

Timişoara, Cetate - City Center

Historical names

Franz Josef St. (Ferenc József út), Regele Ferdinand St., 30 Decembrie Bd., Victoriei Square.

piata victoriei-iarna smallDating and spatial evolution

Between 1744 and 1745, by the Petrovaradin Gate Barracks building an “alarm little square” began to shape among the barracks and the square. The remainder of nowadays square area was occupied by the said gate, an element of the 1st fortification ring, the ditches and fortification works forming the 2nd and 3rd ring of fortifications, fully completed by 1761.

In 1870, hoping to get the decision for the city’s “defortification” (to cancel the military fortress nature), a small circular square was projected approximately where today’s square stands.

Only after defortification decision in 1892, architect Ludwig von Ybl made a “General Development Plan for the City” 1893 - 1895, which set up a broad boulevard, with approximately the same size of the current square.

Subsequent projects did not crucially modify the square’s dimensions, but only the details. At times, an alveolus in the eastern part of the square was envisaged.

In 1899, the fortifications’ demolishing began.

On August 29, 1910 the first building permit was issued for the first building flanking the present day square, Lloyd Palace. Rapidly, until 1913, other buildings were built on the west front of the square. Before the First World War, on the east side only the magnificent Löffler palace was built.

Then followed the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (architect László Székely), connected to the water network on March 13, 1925 and to the sewage network on November 17, 1925.

The building of the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral between 1936 and 1946 closed the area to the south.

In 1963 the “modern” blocks of flats were built, which close the square’s southeast front.

Only then was this front of the square completely built and Victoriei Square became a closed urban area.

Architectural style

Eclectic historicist (the theatre’s side façade), 1900s style – szeceszió movement, eclectic interwar style (Chamber of Commerce and Industry), neo-Romanian - Moldavian style (the Cathedral), modern style – fascist movement (the Opera), the 1960s modern style.

Spatially, the square now extends from the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral to the Opera house.

Although made around the same period, between the two dominants of the ensemble, belonging to diametrically opposed plastic formulations, there is a felicitous aesthetic tension. The virile verticality of the religious building is opposed by the wavy, feminine form of the great triumphal arch.

In contrast to the massive, mineral stability of the area around the Opera, the space around the cathedral’s vertical silhouette is open to the southwest, to the vegetal area of parks along the Bega canal.

Uniqueness aspects

Victoria Square, the newest of the Cetate district squares, is where on December 20, 1989, Timişoara was proclaimed the first free city in Romania, marking the beginning of victory in the revolution against the communist dictatorship.

The rapidity with which this area became the principal, polarizing land mark of the city center is surprising. It is a product of the economic, but also cultural boom made by the bourgeoisie in Timişoara in the years preceding the First World War.

Surprisingly, this development was quickly surpassed in importance by Unirii Square. And this while the square’s central element was not a church (the Orthodox cathedral had not yet appeared in the landscape) but a cultural institution – the theater. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century besides the unprecedented urban development of the city, there was also the demilitarization, alongside the liberal bourgeoisie emancipation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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