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The Prefecture

prefectura smallCurrent name

The Prefecture Palace, the Administrative Palace

Address

17 Revoluţiei din 1989 Bd.

Dating and historical functions

1938 – 1943

Architect Victor Vlad and collaborators, builder Constantin Purcariu

During the “royal dictatorship”, Romania was divided into “lands”.

The building had to serve as the Banat-Crişana land headquarters.

Afterwards, it was the administrative headquarters of the Region of Timişoara, later called the Banat region.

After Ceauşescu dissolved the regions, because they seemed to him to be too “large”, and thus able to compete with the central power (i.e. finally, with his personal power), he reintroduced counties, considering that these being “small”, him and his family could control them more easily. Therefore the building housed the People’s Council of Timiş County.

Currently, the building houses the Prefecture of Timiş County and Timiş County Council, as well as the offices of some of the institutions and services in their subordination.

Architectural style

Modern with Classicist elements. The visual expression of the symmetrical façade is determined by the employed columns, belonging to the Corinthian “colossal” order (on three levels – on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors).

Because some compositional processes prevailing in Germany during the same period were used, some researchers place the building in the “fascist trend” of modern architecture.

The decorations are quite sober; on the front the most interesting are the capitals of columns. Only on the sides one can observe the repetitive panels with folksy inspired reliefs: a peasant and a peasant woman.

Other information

1. The construction was originally designed in 1933 for the “Sofia Imbroane School for Girls” – architect Mathias Hubert, collaborators Cornel Liuba, Edmond Stanzel – a project that was never completed.

2. Together with the great triumphal arch of the National Theater, the Prefecture Palace is the second building reflecting fascist movements in Timişoara’s modern architecture.

Both buildings are connected with the “Royal Dictatorship”, the first dictatorship in twentieth-century Romania.

This building’s visual expression was very positively assessed in the 1950s, during the Stalinist period of “socialist realism”. The “left” and “right” dictatorships appreciated the same architectural languages!

In both buildings, important events related to the collapse of communist dictatorship occurred, the last dictatorship in twentieth-century Romania!

Since during communism here were the People’s Council of Timiş County headquarters and the headquarters of the county organization of the Romanian Communist Party, the building was “sought” by the events of December 1989. In fact, on the adjacent Filipescu Street in November 1987 a large inscription appeared, very visible and saying “Down with Ceauşescu”.

The first demonstration attempts were held on December 16, 2009, and on December 17, 2009, access to this major interest institution were blocked both from the Decebal Park and from the Continental Hotel. After intense battles fought on both fronts, the protesters managed to enter the building, but only briefly – it was soon violently reoccupied by security forces. It is registered that, in fear, some of the protesters caught inside the building jumped out the windows of the 1st and even 2nd floor.

It appears that this building’s devastation made Ceauşescu understand the gravity of the situation, and determined him to order open fire in Timişoara, in the operative meeting of analysis of events in Timişoara, on December 17, 1989.

Access

The building is located centrally on one of the city’s main boulevards. In the area there are quite a few parking spaces (on the street or in the square in front of the University of Medicine). In front of the Prefecture there are the stops for the trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

The interior is quite interesting – typical for administrative buildings of the interwar period. Exhibits are often displayed here (mostly photos) on various topics, some very interesting, on the central hall of the 1st and 2nd floors. But since this building houses major official institutions, access is quite difficult.

 

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