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The Turkish House

Since in the Old Maier (Elisabetin district) there were the first three plots to have been occupied with buildings in 1750 (the Rosalia Chapel, built between 1739 and 1740, the house of master engineer Dissel (Distel) and the Cambiatura, a place for exchanging post-horses), there are numerous stories which go about this neighborhood.

Situated at 2, E. Celebi Street, Dissel’s house is the only one of those three buildings to have been preserved until today and is being named and mentioned on the list of historical documents as the “Turkish House”.
Most legends revolve around this house.

It is said that a pasha had his harem here. A tunnel would lead from this house to the Cetate district and another to the Danube bank opposite to Belgrade. It is said that during the communist dictatorship many desperate people searched for the tunnel leading to Belgrade, in order to go over the “Iron Curtain” and escape from the “Socialist Camp”. Sure enough, when the building was restored, there was no tunnel discovered.

It was found that the bricks of which the house was built are undoubtedly Austrian, corresponding perfectly to Austrian construction rules of the 18th century.

Engineer Dissel, whom the house belonged to, was appointed captain in 1733 and became mayor in 1747. As an engineer officer, Dissel took part in building the fortifications of Timişoara, but also in the construction of the Misericordia Church and the cathedral in present-day Unirii (Union) Square between 1736 and 1750. Some sources name him the “author” of the Unirii Square cathedral.


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