Timişoara oder: “Wiens kleine Schwester”

Es tut sich mehr als je zuvor im westrumänischen Timişoara, „Wiens kleiner Schwester“ – Impressionen aus einer Europäischen Kulturhauptstadt 2023.

Dominic Fritz sitzt im Rathaus Timişoaras. Der smarte 40-jährige Süddeutsche hat nicht etwa seinen Pass verloren oder sucht sonst wie bei den Behörden nach Hilfe, vielmehr ist er der Bürgermeister; bei Lokal- und Europawahlen dürfen EU-Bürger mit offiziellem Wohnsitz nicht nur wählen, sondern auch selbst kandidieren. Auf die Frage nach den Gründen für seine Kandidatur (2020) lächelt er: „Ich war der Überzeugung, dass der Amtsinhaber das Amt schlecht ausfüllt, ich dachte, das kann ich besser. Die Ressourcen zusammenzubringen – zu einer durchlässigen, offenen, transparenten Verwaltung.“

Erstmals kam Fritz im Rahmen seines Freiwilligen Sozialen Jahres in ein Kinderheim (2003) und war fasziniert von der reizvoll-morbiden Stadt. Während des Studiums kehrte der Cello- und Klavierspieler regelmäßig für Musikprojekte zurück, politische Erfahrung sammelte er für die Grünen im Frankfurter Raum und als Büroleiter des Altpräsidenten Köhler in Berlin. „2017 beteiligte ich mich an den Timişoarer Antikorruptionsprotesten“, erzählt er. Und heute steht der Mann mit einer der interessantesten politischen Karrieren des modernen Europas jener westrumänischen Großstadt (320.000 Einwohner) vor, die 1884 als zweite der Welt nach New York elektrische…


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The 13 best places to visit in Europe in 2023

This western Romanian city is often referred to as Little Vienna, with its grand Habsburg Secessionist buildings and circular city centre. In truth, it’s not as glossily refined as the Austrian capital, but really that’s the point. Even in its grand centre, the first place in Europe to have electric street lights, Timișoara doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. And, like other Romanian cities, including Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu, there’s a palpable sense of youthful optimism in this student town. Many of the city’s establishments have the feel of someone’s living room – such as Scârț Loc Lejer, a bric-a-brac bar owned by an artist’s collective, with an overgrown garden, an adjoining theatre and a museum of Communist consumerism in the basement. Elsewhere, there are jumping club nights at underground Database and jam sessions at the graffiti’d Aethernativ Café, with faint echoes of early Noughties Berlin.

There are festivals in Timișoara for everything from world music to film, Romany art and jazz, the latter of which has always been big here, even when Ceaușescu pushed it underground. The National Opera House has opera and ballet classics, with tickets for the price of an IPA in London, and the art ranges from a street-art gallery in a road tunnel to the Muzeul de Arta’s collection of wry portraits by Corneliu Baba.

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A year-long celebration of culture

Romania’s fourth largest city and capital of the Banat historical province is shining its light in 2023—quite literally—as it picks up the baton as European Capital of Culture. The first city on mainland Europe to introduce electric street lighting in 1884 is celebrating with a wealth of concerts, exhibits, and festivals under the slogan “Light up your city!” A vertical, illuminated garden by Barcelona-based MAIO Architects will grace Victory Square, where, in 1989, the sparks of the Revolution ignited against Ceausescu’s regime.


The fifth edition of the Art Encounters Biennial from May to July will feature two artistic greats at the Timisoara National Art Museum. The largest Constantin Brancusi exhibition in 50 years will showcase emblematic works of the legendary Romanian sculptor from museums around the world, while the Victor Brauner retrospective will hail the Romanian-born surrealist painter, including artwork from the Centre Pompidou. Performing-arts prowess dazzles at Timisoara 2023. A mix of jazz, multiarts festivals, literature gatherings with Nobel laureates, and eco-friendly fetes with tree-planting sessions are just some of the highlights. New media art events around historic sites like 18th century Maria Theresia Bastion or 15th century Huniade Castle add to the appeal.


Dotted with ornate Secessionist and Viennese-style architecture, in renewed splendor after sweeping restorations, Timisoara has a multiethnic fabric that is also reflected in its cuisine. The growing Italian community revels at top favorite Le Monelline, whose authentic Emilia-Romagna homemade pastas honor owner Mauro Monelli’s childhood and his nonna’s recipes. Walkable and navigable yet again following the overhaul of Bega Canal, Timisoara is committed to sustainability, introducing new electrical buses, extra charging stations, and setting up the largest forest park in the country.

Read the full article on Time.com