Târgu Mureș

Romania

Târgu Mureș is the seat of Mureș County in the historical region of Transylvania, Romania. It is the 16th largest Romanian city, with 134,290 inhabitants as of the 2011 census. It lies on the Mureș River, the second longest river in Romania (after the Danube).

Main sights

Places of worship

The Fortress Church is the oldest church in the townThe Grey Friars’ church was demolished by the communist regime in 1971, with only the tower remaining (pictured)

The Reformed Fortress Church is the oldest church in the town. According to historical evidence, less than a century had passed after the first appearance of the Franciscan order in TransylvaniaHungarian Kingdom, that the Franciscan friars arrived at Vásárhely. The building of the church took an entire century, from the middle of the 14th century until the middle of the 15th and it consisted of a monastery building, an older chapel, the church and the steeple. The church was finalized between 1400 and 1450. The church may have been originally decorated with frescos, as traces of mural paintings were found inside. The almost complete disappearance of these paintings is due to the fact that the church became the property of Protestant believers in 1557. The religious reform required for churches to have no paintings, statues or religious frescos.

The existence of the Franciscan order in Vásárhely was directly affected by the religious reform which was largely spread in Transylvania during the 16th century. In 1557, the influence of the Reformed Church over the Hungarians in the town was so strong that it eventually led to the confiscation of the properties of Catholic monastic orders. Franciscan friars, who until that time had been attending the church in the fortress, were forced to leave town. They returned after nearly two centuries when the political climate had become favorable to Catholicism due to the instauration of the Habsburgs in Transylvania. They bought the land in the center of the town where they built a new church and monastery by 1777. The tower, the only part that is still standing, was added to the church’s façade in 1802 by architect János Topler. In 1971 the municipality decided to demolish the monastery to create the necessary space for the construction of the National Theater and the square in front of it. A new church was built in 1972 for the Franciscans on Libertății street.

At the beginning of the 18th century, one of the most representative Baroque churches of Transylvania was built in the town. St John the Baptist Church was erected in the North-Eastern part of the city center and belongs to the Roman Catholic parish. The inside of the church is luxurious, with liturgical objects that are true works of art. The main altar, made in 1755 by Anton Schuchbauer and Johannes Nachtigal is of monumental dimensions and has a pseudo-architectural structure. The paintings of the altars in the lateral chapels: Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary, Saint Joseph, Saint John of Nepomuc, Holy Cross belong to the same Michael Angelo Unterberger. The stained glass windows made by the Türke Company of Grottau were installed in 1898.

The Great Synagogue (also known as the Big Synagogue) was built between 1899 and 1900 at the initiative of the Jewish community “Status Quo”. The design of the building was drawn up by Gartner Jacob from Vienna and the construction works were coordinated by the Hungarian Pál Soós. The entire edifice is dominated by the central cupola. Each side of the central spire is decorated with a floral rosette similar to the ones on the façade. This type of window is also used several times on the lateral façades. The vast interior is richly decorated, both with shapes and color. The synagogue has 314 seats on the ground floor and 238 on the top floor. The most recent large scale remodeling of the building took place in 2000 when the walls were reinforced and the interior decoration was re-done.

The existence of the Unitarian faith in the town is linked to the name of Ferenc Dávid, founder of Unitarianism and the first Unitarian bishop. The political circumstances in Transylvania became favourable for Ferenc Dávid’s activity as the Diet of Torda held between 1557 and 1568 granted freedom of faith to all religions in Transylvania. The Unitarianism became religio-recepta together with all the other Protestant faiths. The king of the state himself, John II Sigismund Zápolya became Unitarian. The Unitarian Church was built between 1929 and 1930 next to the old Unitarian prayer house dating from 1869.

Other sights

The first fortress in the town was erected in 1492 upon order of voivode Stephen Báthory, and was accomplished somewhere between 1602 and 1652 under judge Tamás Borsos. Having a pentagon plan, surrounded by a defense wall, the Citadel has seven forts, five of them bearing the names of the guild which – according to tradition – supported its maintenance: the leather dressers’, the tailors’, the butchers’, the ironmongers’, the coopers’. After the Citadel was taken over by the Austrian troops, it became the headquarters of the military garrison based in the town. In the meantime the Baroque style building was built (on the left hand side of the road in front of the entrance gate) and in the second half of the 18th century the construction works of the “barkey” were started, an addition finished in the 19th century. On the occasion of the Târgu Mureș days – which have as central point of performance the Citadel – a museum center was opened in the gate fort (erected in 1613) presenting the history of the town and of the Citadel.

The Teleki-Bolyai Library is a historic public library and current museum in the town. One of the richest Transylvanian collections of cultural artefacts, it was founded by the Hungarian Count Sámuel Teleki in 1802, at the time when Transylvania was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, and has been open to the reading public ever since. It was among the first institutions of its kind inside the Habsburg-ruled Kingdom of Hungary. It houses over 200,000 volumes, of which many are rarities, constituting a comprehensive scientific database. The book collection is divided into several smaller libraries, of which the two main donations are the original 40,000-volume Teleki Library and the 80,000-volume Bolyai Library; the rest, grouped as the Miscellaneous Collection, is made up of several private libraries, volumes previously held by religious schools and those of a Franciscan friary. Overall, the library constitutes a collection of most traditional types of Transylvanian book.

The old City Hall was built in 1906–1907 after the construction plans of Komor Marcell and Jakab Dezső. The entrance area, including the corridor and the staircase leading to the first floor, is the most representative in this regard. The ribbed stellar vaults that cover this area were inspired by Gothic architecture. The vaults are supported by columns with composite caps, and the keystone is a large floral shape which includes the lighting appliance. The vaults are painted with spiraling vegetal motifs. Elements of the front hall include the stone bench with its legs shaped as those of an animal and with wing-shaped handles. Its shell-shaped, golden back has a shield flanked by two volutes on its upper side. Features of the monumental staircase leading to the first floor include the upper side of the banister resembling a slithering animal or a wave. The exterior decoration is simpler and is based on HungarianSzékely folk motives made of polychromatic ceramics. The ground floor is marked by a solid, embossed pedestal. Windows with large openings tend to be predominant in the façade. The three semicircular windows in the middle area of the façade are those of the honor hall that has a double elevation with respect to the other rooms. The glass paintings which illustrated Gábor BethlenFrancis II RákócziLajos KossuthFerenc Deák and Franz Joseph I of Austria are missing from the halls.

The Palace of Culture is a remarkable construction in the city center. It was built upon initiative of the mayor of the town, György Bernády. Building works started in the spring of 1911. They contributed to the establishment of the distinctively flavored Hungarian Art Nouveau school in Transylvania by their works in Deva and Oradea. The plan is an irregular rectangle, with protuberances on the sides and at the extremities. The building has five floors: a tall ground floor, a mezanine and three floors differentiated by the use of various construction materials. The façades are characterized by bi-dimensionality and by a liniar-rectangular style, with only a few curvilinear elements: the six bow-windows covered by semi-caps above the main portal and the circular balconies on the edges. The main entrance is in the middle of the façade on Enescu street and is made up of four massive doors, protected by an architectural element made of glass and with an iron framing. This element, as well as the doors decorated with iron floral motifs are typical for the early 20th century style. The exterior is richly decorated, with colored mosaic panels, with relieved scenes and busts of Hungarians. The mosaic on the main façade is an allegorical scene inspired by the Hungarian folklore. The cardboards were made by Nagy Sándor, a Hungarian artist, who founded with Körösföy Kriesch Aladár the School of Gödöllő. The art is characterized by bi-dimensionality and vertical rhythmicalness. Most of the mosaics and stained glass windows were authored by Róth Miksa, particularly those on the side facing Square.

Contact

Târgu Mureș
email
primaria@tirgumures.ro
address
Victoriei Square no. 3, 540026, Târgu Mureș
phone
0040-265-268.330