<td colspan="2" align="center" style="width:100%; font-size: 1.25em; white-space: nowrap;">Oradea
</tr> <tr class="mergedtoprow"> <td class="maptable" colspan="2" align="center" style="padding: 0.4em 0 0.4em 0;">
Flag of Oradea
Coat of arms of Oradea
Coat of arms

</td> </tr>

<tr class="mergedrow">

<td colspan="2" style="text-align: center;">Location of Oradea

</td> </tr>

<tr class="mergedbottomrow"> <th colspan="2" style="text-align: center; font-size: smaller; padding-bottom: 0.7em;">Coordinates: 47°04′20″N 21°55′16″E / 47.07222, 21.92111</th>


<tr class="mergedtoprow"> <th>Country

               <th class="adr">Flag of Romania Romania

</tr><tr class="mergedrow"> <th>County

               <th class="adr">Bihor County

</tr><tr class="mergedrow"> <th>Status <th>County capital </tr>

<tr class="mergedtoprow"> <td colspan="2">Government </td> </tr> <tr class="mergedrow"> <th> - Mayor <td>Mihai Groza (interim) (Democratic Party)</td> </tr> <tr class="mergedtoprow"> <td colspan="2">Area </td> </tr> <tr class="mergedrow"> <th>  - County capital </th> <td>111,2 km² (42,9 sq mi)</td> </tr></td> </tr>

<tr class="mergedtoprow"> <td colspan="2">Population (2002)[1]</td> </tr> <tr class="mergedrow"> <th> - County capital</th> <td>206.614</td> </tr><tr class="mergedrow"> <th> - Density</th> <td>1.858/km² (4.812,2/sq mi)</td> </tr><tr class="mergedrow"> <th> - Metro</th> <td>260.000</td> </tr><tr class="mergedrow"> <th> - July 1, 2004</th> <td>206.235</td> </tr> <tr class="mergedtoprow"> <th>Time zone</th> <td>EET (UTC+2) </tr> <tr class="mergedbottomrow"> <th style="white-space: nowrap;"> - Summer (DST)</th> <td>EEST (UTC+3)</td> </tr>


Oradea (pronunciation in Romanian: /o'ra.děa/, Hungarian: Nagyvárad, colloquially also Várad, German: Großwardein, former Turkish: Varat) is the capital city of Bihor County, in Crişana, Romania. The city proper has a population of 206,614 as of the 2002 census; this does not include areas from the metropolitan area, outside the municipality; they bring the total urban area population to approximately 240,000. Oradea is one of the most prosperous cities of Romania.

Geography Edit

The city lies at the meeting point of the Crişana plain and the Crişul Repede's basin. It is situated 126 meters above sea-level, surrounded on the north-eastern part by the hills of Oradea belonging to the Ses hills. The main part of the settlement is situated on the floodplain and on the terraces situated down the river Crişul Repede. Oradea is famous for its thermal springs. The river Crişul Repede crosses the city right in the centre, providing it with a picturesque beauty. Its output depends on the season; the water containers (the dyke near Tileagd) have partly controlled it ever since they were built in the early 1980s.

History Edit

Main article: History of Oradea
Fișier:Fn braun-varadinum.jpg

Oradea dates back to a small 10th century castle, while its bishopric was founded during the 11th century by King Ladislaus I of Hungary. The first documented mention of its name was in 1113 under the Latin name Varadinum. The city flourished during the 13th century. The Citadel of Oradea, the ruins of which remain today, was first mentioned in 1241 during the Mongol invasion. The 14th century one of the most prosperous period in the city's life. Statues of St. Stephen, Emeric and Ladislaus (before 1372) and the equestrian sculpture of St. Ladislaus (1390) erected in Oradea. St. Ladislaus' fabled statue was the first proto-renaissance public square equestrian in Europe. Bishop Andreas Báthori (1329-1345) rebuilt the cathedral in Gothic style. From that epoch dates also the Hermes, now preserved at Györ, which contains the skull of King Ladislaus, and which is a masterpiece of the Hungarian goldsmith's art.

Georg von Peuerbach worked at the Observatory of Varadinum (also called Großwardein/Oradea/Nagyvarad), using it as the reference or prime meridian of Earth in his Tabula Varadiensis, published posthumously in 1464.

In 1474 the city was devastated by the Turks. It was not until the 16th century that Oradea started growing as an urban area. In the 18th century, the Viennese engineer Franz Anton Hillebrandt planned the city in Baroque style and, starting from 1752, many landmarks were constructed such as the Roman Catholic Cathedral and the Bishop's Palace, presently the Muzeul Ţării Crişurilor ("The Museum of the Crişland").

After the Ottoman invasion of Hungary in the 16th century, the city was administered at various times by the Principality of Transylvania, the Ottoman Empire, and the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1598, the fortress was besiged and, on August 27, 1660, Oradea fell to the Turks and became an eyalet center as Varat. Varat Eyalet had Varat (Oradea), Salanta, Debreçin (formerly part of Budin and Eğri Eyalets), Halmaş, Sengevi and Yapışmaz sanjaks. The city was occupied by Austrians in September 1692.

In the second half of the 19th century literary nicknames for the town included "Hungarian Compostela", "Felix civitas", "Paris on the River Pece", "the City of Tomorrow", "Athens on the Körös", and "the City of Yesterday". These nicknames are not widely used today, although "Paris on the River Pece" is still utilised sometimes.

At the end of World War I, Oradea and Transylvania became part of the Kingdom of Romania. The Second Vienna Award in 1940 returned northern parts of Transylvania, including Oradea, to Hungary; this arrangement only lasted until the end of World War II when the lands were again returned to Romania.

In 1925 the status of municipality was given to Oradea dissolving its former civic autonomy. According to this ordinance it was also renamed from Oradea-Mare ("Greater" Oradea) to Oradea.

Ethnic tensions often ran high in the area. Romanian nationalists believe Oradea and the surrounding Bihor region have always been Romanian and were finally restored to rightful Romanian control at the end of World War I. Hungarian nationalists refer to the city's pre-war Magyar majority and previous inclusion in the Kingdom of Hungary. Nowadays, however, Oradea is an example of tolerance and multiculturalism, in an authentic European fashion. The different ethnic groups live in harmony, thriving on each other's contributions to modern culture. There are many mixed (Romanian-Hungarian) families in Oradea, with children assimilating into both of their parents' cultures and learning to speak both languages.

Jewish community Edit

This section incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.

The chevra kadisha was founded in 1735, the first synagogue in 1803, and the first communal school in 1839. Not until the beginning of the 19th century were Jews permitted to do business in any other part of the city, and even then they were required to withdraw at nightfall to their own quarter. In 1835 permission to live at will in any part of the city was granted them.

The Jewish community of Oradea became divided into Orthodox and Reform congregations. While the members of the Reform congregation still retained their membership in the chevra kadisha, they started to use a cemetery of their own in 1899. In the early 20th century, the Jews of Oradea had won prominence in the public life of the city; there were Jewish manufacturers, merchants, lawyers, physicians, and farmers; the chief of police (1902) was a Jew; and in the municipal council, the Jewish element was proportionately represented. The community possessed, in addition to the hospital and chevra kadisha already mentioned, a Jewish women's association, a grammar school, an industrial school for boys and girls, a yeshiva, a soup kitchen, etc.

According to the Center for Jewish Art:

The Oradea Jewish community was once the most active both comercially and culturally in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1944, twenty-five thousand Oradean Jews were deported to concentration camps, thus decimating this vital community. Three hundred Jews reside in Oradea today. In the center of the city, towering over other buildings in the area, is the large Neolog Temple Synagogue built in 1878. The unusual cube-shaped synagogue with its large cupola is one of the largest in Romania. Inside there is a large organ and stucco decorations. In 1891, the Orthodox community also built a complex of buildings including two synagogues and a community center.[2]

In 1944, the Jews of Oradea were deported to extermination camps by the Nazis, where the vast majority of them were murdered. Today the community is very small, numbering no more than a couple of hundred.

Kings buriedEdit


The Oradea Municipal Council, elected in the 2004 local government elections, is made up of 27 councilors, with the following party composition:

Party Seats Current Council
Democratic Party 10
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania 7
National Liberal Party 4
Social Democratic Party 4
Greater Romania Party 2

Ethnicity Edit

Historical Edit

1538 20,000 (est.)n.a.n.a.
1720 216 (Turks, Greeks, Serbs)n.a.n.a.
1870 28,698 n.a.n.a.
1880 34,231 6.1%85.5%
1890 42,042 6.07%85.5%
1900 54,109 6.4%89.5%
1910 64,169 5.6%91.1%
1919 73,025 11.8%62.1%
1930 82,687 25%67%
1966 122,634 46%52%
1977 170,531 53%45%
1992 222,741 64%34%
2002 206,614 70%28%

Contemporary population Edit

Fișier:Teatru de Stat.jpg

Ethnic breakdown from the 2002 census:

The municipality of Oradea is officially bilingual, with the Romanian and Hungarian languages being recognised officially, and being used in the public administration, public signage, education and the justice system.

Quarters Edit

Before 1848, Oradea was made up of 4 separate towns: Várad-Újváros (Villa Nova, former Vicus Zombathely), Várad-Olaszi (Villa Latinorum Varadiensium), Várad-Velence (Vicus Venetia), Várad-Váralja (Civitas Waradiensis). The names Vicus Venetia, Villa Latinorum, Vicus Bolognia, Vicus Padua and others refer to the French, Walloon, and Italian inhabitants who settled in the 13th century.

Today the city is made up of the following districts called quarters (cartiere in Romanian):

The quarter named Vie is also known as Podgoria. "Vie" and "podgorie" mean the same thing in Romanian, i.e. wine-growing estate.

Districts of Oradea

Oradea | Vie | Nufărul | Rogerius | Velenţa | Cantemir | Ioşia

See also: Bihor | Romania

Economy Edit

Oradea has long been one of the more prosperous cities in Romania, due mainly to its location on the Hungarian border, making it a gateway towards Western Europe. The GDP per capita of Oradea is approximately 150% of the Romanian average.[3] After 1989, due to its important base of consumers, Oradea enjoyed an economic renewal, not so much in industry but rather in the services sector.

Despite this, a survey by Capital Magazine named Oradea as the least dynamic city in Romania with a population over 150,000, falling behind Cluj-Napoca, Arad and Timişoara. In particular, the city was criticised for high taxes, poor infrastructure and a lack of a clear development strategy.[4]

Oradea has an unemployment rate of 6.0%, slightly lower than the Romanian average but much higher than Bihor County's average of around 2%. Oradea currently produces around 63% of the industrial production of Bihor County while accounting for around 34.5% of the population of the county. Its main industries are furniture, textiles and clothing, footwear and food.

In September 2002, Metro opened the first "cash & carry" store in Oradea.

In 2003, the Lotus Market commercial centre opened in Oradea; it was the first large shopping centre to open in the city.

In the spring of 2005, Selgros opened another "cash & carry" store in Oradea.

In the summer of 2006, Real opened the third "cash and carry" store in Oradea.

Transport Edit

Main article: Transport in Oradea

The public transport network is run by OTL, a municipal agency. It is made up of three tram lines (1R, 1N, 2, 3R, 3N) and some bus lines. The city has four train stations: Central, West, East and Episcopia Bihor. The West Station is located in the quarter of Ioşia, the Central station (called simply Oradea) is located in the city centre, near the quarter of Vie, while the East station is located in Velenţa.

Oradea is served by Oradea International Airport, which has flights from major Romanian cities as well as some cities in northern Italy.

Education Edit

Oradea is one of the main education centres of Romania. The city is home to the University of Oradea, one of the largest and most modern universities in the country. There also exist several private universities, one being Agora University, a modern academic institution founded in 2000. Emanuel University, a Baptist school, also exists in the city since 2002.[5]. One of the oldest private universities in Romania is also situated in Oradea. The Sulyok István Reform College was founded in the spring of 1990 by the Királyhágómelléki Reform Church. In 1999 the school became entirely independent from the Protestant Theology College of Cluj-Napoca and changed its name to Partium Christian University. It presently operates with 12 faculties and a student body of 1400; the language of instruction is Hungarian.

Architecture Edit

Oradea's architecture is a mix between Communist-era buildings, mainly in the outer quarters, and beautiful historical buildings that are remnants of the era when the city was part of Austria-Hungary. In addition to many Baroque buildings, Oradea is remarkable for its particularly rich collection of Art Nouveau architecture.

During the Communist period and in the first years of Romania's post-Communist transition, many of the historical buildings became derelict or were deteriorating. After 2002, when Romania entered into an economic boom, many historical buildings in the city were restored to their previous state and currently the city gives off a very historic and well-maintained feel.

Attractions Edit

The beautiful city centre is worth visiting, as are the Băile Felix health spas, accessible by train or bus and located outside the city.

Other sites worth visiting are:

  • Baroque Palace of Oradea – today Muzeul Ṭarii Criṣurilor, a wonderful Baroque museum with 365 famous windows. It was the Roman Catholic bishop's palace until 1945, when the Communist regime took the building into public ownership. It was returned to the Roman Catholic church in 2003. Its collection includes many fossils of dinosaurs and birds from the bauxite mines at Cornet-Brusturi.
  • Catedrala barocă – the biggest Baroque cathedral in Romania,
  • Cetatea Oradea - Oradea's Fortress, with a pentagonal fort,
  • Biserica cu Lună – a church unique in Europe, with a type of astronomical clock depicting the phases of the moon,
  • Pasajul Vulturul Negru – the "Black Eagle" Passage,
  • "Ady Endre" Museum- a museum dedicated to one of the greatest Hungarian poets,
  • Teatrul de Stat – the State Theatre, plans for which were designed by two Austrian architects who had built around 100 theatres and opera houses in Europe by the end of the 19th century,
  • Str. Republicii – one of the most beautiful streets of Transylvania, displaying an incredible number of Sezession buildings (under restoration in 2006),
  • There are around 100 religious sites of different denominations in Oradea, including three synagogues (however, only one is said to be still in use) and the biggest Baptist church in Eastern Europe.

Metropolitan areaEdit

Gallery Edit

Famous people Edit

See alsoEdit

Sources and external linksEdit

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