A walk of the sacred heritage must start at Piața Victoriei, the heart of Timisoara, with the iconic sight of the Metropolitan Cathedral. This Romanian Orthodox cathedral was built between 1937 and 1940 in a Neo-Moravian style, which makes it unique in the town. The interior and exterior paintings that infuse its personality were not finished until the 1950s, due to the Second World War and the difficult period that followed. The Cathedral houses important icons and documents written in Old Romanian.
Timisoara's beautiful synagogues and churches are the result of a melting pot of architectural styles from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Here is a list of six not-to-be-miss sacred buildings.
The 19th-century Cetate synagogue is one of three must-see synagogues in Timisoara. This red brick building combines an eclectic style with Neo-Moorish elements that resemble the famous Dohany Street synagogue of Budapest, which served as inspiration to architect Carl Schuman to conceive the present building. A large rose window with the Star of David stands out on its façade and like the Dohany Street Synagogue, it has two domed towers. The consecration of the synagogue took place in 1867 in the presence of Emperor Franz Josef.
Despite its progressive decay in the last decades, the Fabric synagogue demonstrates the importance placed by the Jewish community on creating beautiful structures for worship. This synagogue is a melting pot of the styles that flourished in Timisoara: it has neo-Moorish, neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance elements. The synagogue closed in 1985 and since then its condition has progressively deteriorated to the point that the World Monuments Fund included it in its biannual report of significant historic sites in need of attention.
Not far from the Fabric Synagogue is the late 19th-century Millennium Church. Its Neo-Romanesque features are easily identifiable: semi-circular arches and two sober towers flanking the entrance. Some Neo-Gothic elements are also present. Three life-size statues of Jesus Christ and the Apostles Peter and Paul decorate the portico. The Cathedral was built to commemorate the 1,000 years of the creation of the Hungarian State, hence the name Millennium.
The Roman Catholic Church of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus" was inaugurated in 1919, becoming an independent parish shortly after. The construction of this Neo-Gothic building had been interrupted by the First World War. With towers 57 metres high, it is sure to catch the attention of passersby and tram passengers.
Iosefin synagogue was built between 1906 and 1910. Like the Cetate and Fabric synagogues, Iosefin was built in an Eclectic style, with some Moorish and Neo-Gothic elements. This is the only historic synagogue still functioning as such.