Romania 2017: Art Nouveau in Oradea

By Ruben

ROMANIA – Coming from Cluj-Napoca, my next and final destination in Romania was Oradea (pop.: 196,367), the capital of Bihor county. Oradea is special for having more art-nouveau buildings in a small area than I have seen anywhere else.

1. Arriving at Oradea station after a 3 hour, 157 kilometer trip over the mountains from Cluj
2. The square in front of the station (which gave a more provincial and dusty first impression than the other Romanian cities I visited did).

I stayed in a hotel opposite the station (Pensunea Hubert) which is comfortable, cheap, and for some reason stuffed with Dutch football memorabilia. The staff, most of whom where from the town’s large Hungarian minority (Oradea is only 14 kilometers from the border), are friendly and communicative despite not being able to speak English. I also spoke to a priest from a visiting church congregation staying at the hotel, who had been in prison for four years for being a Jehova’s Witness during the communist period.

3. Strada Republicii
4. Strada Republicii
5. Strada Republicii
6. Strada Republicii
7. Houses in this style seem to be quite common in the region around the Romanian-Hungarian-Ukrainian border
8. Ugly buildings are rare in central Oradea, and even the few noticeable modernist ones – such as this one on the corner of Strada Republicii and Calea Republicii – are pretty original
9. One of Oradea’s many churches, on Calea Republicii, the town’s high street
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11. Some typical houses in a side street
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13. Some of the buildings on Calea Republicii are in bad shape
14. But most of them are being renovated, or, like this one, have already been renovated
15. Not only is Calea Republicci lined with buildings in art nouveau and other ornamental styles, but its side streets are as well
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18. There are terraces belonging to bars and restaurants down the middle of much of Calea Republicii. I ate or drank at some of them: the pizzeria at the far end of this row wasn’t very good or friendly, but the cafes and another restaurant where I ate were fine and the staff very friendly. I also sat here in the shade, drinking a granita bought from one of the many ice cream parlours during the hottest time of day, when it was over 35 degrees (which was when I made this picture)
19. An even more picturesque ensemble of buildings on Piața Regele Ferdinand
20. Piața Regele Ferdinand
21. Piața Regele Ferdinand

22. Looking back towards Piața Regele Ferdinand (see the last pictures in the last post) and the city hall

22. The Crișul Repede River and the town hall
23. Piața Unirii
24. Piața Unirii
25. The two previous pictures were taken on Sunday morning, which explains the lack of people. But Piața Unirii was much more more lively the preceding evening, when a few weddings were taking place there
26. One of the most impressive buildings in Oradea has to be the shopping arcade on the right
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29. Renovation of the interior seems to be almost complete
30. It includes a stained-glass window from 2007…
31. … based on a similar one from 1909
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34. The bridge from which I took pictures 22 and 23, seen from Piața Regele Ferdinand
35. Looking east from the bridge, the Synagogue is one of the most prominent buildings in Oradea. This is no surprise considering that approximately one third of Oradea’s inhabitants were Jewish before the war, part of the most active Jewish community in the Austro-Hungarian empire (according to Wikipedia). The architecture of this building combined with overall atmosphere and loud Romanian music being played at a wedding on Piața Unirii made standing on the bridge in the evening sun a very exotic experience!
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42. Sometimes I like to troll the viewer
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44. People enjoying the Saturday-evening sun on the northern bank (including someone who was singing ‘Country Roads’, which I found a bit surrealistic in this setting)
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Series Navigation<< Romania 2017: Cluj with KlausenburgRomania 2017: Oradea in the Hot Sun >>
This entry was posted in Bihor County, Oradea, Romania

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