Piata Unirii

Piata Unirii
Timisoara, Romania

Submitted by: Bernard Teeuwen

A very elegant public square.

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Why It Works

This square, approximately 80 x 100 meters in size, features:

  • A roman catholic cathedral where religious services are held and classical music concerts are given (never heard Bach so beautiful!)
  • late 19th century, baroque buildings of impressing beauty, very colorful
  • Restaurants and bars with terraces
  • a fountain that is said to give sacred water with healing capabilities. People fill jerrycans with water or dip their hands in the fountain and make a cross.
  • A century old (German) school building, still in use
  • Streetlighting
  • Benches

What Makes Piata Unirii a Great Place?

Timisoara is not a very big city and this square is part of the old centre of it. Easily accessible by foot or car and public transport. No heavy traffic. Side walks and square are covered with cobblestones. Shops, offices, restaurants and other activities are in the streets leading to the square.

It needs restoration, but once that is finished the old "grandeur", some of which is still visible, will return. There is plenty of room for walking and sitting. People sit on benches, terraces, or on the corners of the grass or fountain. Lots of people, old and young, men and women stay on the square for a while or are just passing it in their way through the city. Many local students. Some tourists.

Mothers bring their children to the school, people visit the church: it is a really living part of the city

People are calm, not rushing. I can't remember seeing a police man, but I wonder whether they need one there! It is lively but calm. Local people are proud of their city and especially this square with its fountain.

History & Background

Timisoara is a very elegant city in the western part of Romania. I visited it twice. It is nicknamed "Little Vienna" because of its architectural beauty. Under the communist regime the city suffered for decades by lack of maintenance. Luckily the city was not destroyed by the regime like the Romanian capital Boekarest, but the negligence is still clearly visible 15 years after the revolution. Money is pouring in rapidly and major restoration projects take place all over the city. The proud and kind people are willing to tell you about their city and to show it to you.

There is still a lot of work to do. If this square is not chosen as the best square, then the city of Timisoara and its inhabitants certainly deserve to be chosen as the no 1 runner up!

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