What are you interested in when visiting a new city? Is it the food, the people, the nightlife, the architecture or the culture? Do you like to immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting museums? If that is the case, then read on. This article is dedicated to the history buffs and the artistic souls that enjoy spending their time visiting museums.
Unfortunately, Timisoara does not host many museums when compared to other big European cities. However, those it does host are cozy and affordable and each tells a different story about the city. From the more popular museums to the “quirky” ones here are the museums that are worth your visit:
1. The Timisoara Art Museum
Yes, Timisoara has its very own art museum. And in addition to this, the building hosting the museum is a work of art itself! The building, located in Unirii Square, is a historical building that dates back to the 18th century. It was initially designed as an administrative building back when Unirii Square represented the city centre. It started hosting the Art Museum in 2006.
Beautiful building aside, do visit the museum if you are interested in seeing local art, especially contemporary art. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum also hosts various exhibitions and events – which are usually advertised at the entrance.
The museum’s permanent collections include:
- contemporary art – mostly the works of local artists
- decorative art – a collection of about 1500 decorative works (mainly ceramics and glass)
- a collection of European drawings and engravings dating from the 15th to the 19th century
- European art – the private collection of European art gathered by Ormós Zsigmond (1813-1894); it includes works of art by Italian, Dutch, Hungarian and French artists.
- A Corneliu Baba collection.
- several art collections of old works from the region of Banat.
Where: Baroque Palace, 1 Unirii Square
Entrance fee: 10 RON
Visiting hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10-18
2. The National Museum of Banat
The National Museum of Banat hosts various collections that are representative of the Banat region. It can normally be found in the Huniade Castle, an impressive building located in the centre of Timisoara, that also happens to be the oldest building in the city. The museum has several departments:
- natural sciences
- the Traian Vuia museum
At the time of the writing of this article, the building is under renovation and cannot be visited; it is expected to be open to the public again in 2021. Until then, visitors can view the exhibitions that are organised in the old city citadel.
Where: Huniade Castle (if you want to see the building) – Baroque Palace, 1 Huniade Square
Exhibitions – Bastionul Maria Theresia, 4 Martin Luther Street
3. The Village Museum in Timisoara
The Timisoara Village Museum has initially been part of the National Museum of Banat but has started functioning as an individual entity in 2000. The museum is located on the outskirts of Timisoara, in a very green area, near a forest (Padurea Verde) and is therefore rich in vegetation. It has been designed to reflect a real village: it has several kinds of buildings, including a church and a mill. The buildings in the museum reflect traditional houses from different times and different regions in Banat.
Even for those not interested in the history of Banat, the Village Museum is a very enjoyable place. You can even visit it if you just want to enjoy an afternoon in nature, thanks to its green surroundings. It is also quite close to the local zoo, which can be an interesting destination too, especially if you are travelling with kids. The zoo itself is not very big, but it is in good shape and the animals get a lot of space and attention.
However, the buildings are in good shape and some of them can even be visited. If you are curious to find to find out more about the history and the traditions of the people in this area, do book a guided tour. It is very affordable and the guides are very open to sharing their stories.
Where: 31 Avram Imbroane St. (you can get there by public transport using the no. 46 bus from near the Timisoara citadel)
Entrance fee: 5 RON for adults (no guide), free for children and seniors; 12 RON for a guided tour
Summer: Tuesday-Saturday, 10-18; Sunday: 12-20
Winter: Tuesday-Friday, 9-16; Saturday-Sunday, 10-17
* Tickets can be bought as late as 45 minutes before closing hours
4. The Museum of the Communist Consumer
Now, this is not exactly a traditional museum, but we have included it here as we believe it is representative of Timisoara. This quirky “museum” was created to reflect the world of the “golden era”, as the communist times are called here ironically.
The museum can be found in the basement of the bar Scart. (the name is difficult to translate, but funny in Romanian, believe us!) This is a very cozy bar/cafe located in an old house with a big garden (do visit it if you’re in town during the warm season). The cafe also has a room dedicated to hosting the theatre shows of the theatre group Aualeu (some of the group members have actually created Scart). It is a very friendly and quirky place, decorated with a bunch of “stuff” you don’t really find in a bar. Let’s just say it’s bohemian, in lack of a better term to describe it. The Museum of the Communist Consumer was basically an addition to an already creative place.
The museum was created by means of donations made by friends, family, and visitors. The owners just asked for people to donate their items that reminded them of (and dated from) the “golden era”. And they received a lot of donations. Since resources ware scarce during communist times, most families owned very similar items, all produced by the Romanian industry. And one more thing: The museum is designed to reflect a typical Romanian apartment during communist times, so it will feel like walking into somebody’s living room.
Where: Scart, 1 Arh. Szekely Laszlo St.
Entrance fee: free
Visiting hours: per request (normally, you can visit during the bar’s opening hours)
5. The Revolution Memorial
Romania has been a communist country up until 1989. The communist regime had fallen after a great revolution, that started in Timisoara. That moment has of course been a remarkable one in the history of the city.
Timisoara does not have a museum dedicated to the revolution yet, but there are plans for a museum to be open in the following years. Until then, those interested in the Romanian revolution can visit the Revolution memorial. Be warned, the place is not in great shape, as this location is supposed to be temporary until a museum will be created.
Though not as impressive as a regular museum, the memorial highlights the events that marked the revolution, as well as the impact it has had on the people living in the city. It also hosts works of art dedicated to the revolution and a very interesting documentary of the revolution. Bonus tip: you can find a piece of the Berlin wall just outside of the memorial – this was brought in to mark the tumultuous year that 1989 has been.
This may not be the most impressive place, but a visit is worth your time if you are interested in getting a better understanding of the revolution – those were dramatic times and we are all better off learning from the recent past.
Where: Asociatia Memorialul Revolutiei, 3-4 Popa Șapcă Street
Entrance fee: 10 RON
Visiting hours: Monday-Friday, 8-16; Saturday, 9-14