See elegant Viennese Secession, Baroque and art nouveau architecture in this understated city.
Oradea lies along both shores of the Crişul Repede River within Romania’s western limits. Influenced by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this wealthy city is filled with Secession-style buildings, characterized by ornate façades. Wander along the city’s main pedestrian road, admiring the buildings’ lavish designs. Find a spot on a café terrace overlooking the river.
Walk around the red-brick exterior of Oradea Citadel, which dates back to the 12th century. An important symbol of the city, the fortress has an unusual pentagonal design with corner bastions.
Head to Piaţa Unirii, one of Oradea’s main squares, to see the fascinating Moon Church. Designed in the 19th century, the church features a black-and-gold lunar mechanism that moves in accordance with the moon’s phases. Step inside to see numerous historic paintings by regional artists.
Also near Piaţa Unirii is the Black Eagle Palace, a striking 1907 art nouveau structure. Stroll through the shopping arcade that runs between the two main buildings of the palace and discover cafés, restaurants, bars and casinos under a shimmering stained-glass ceiling.
Don’t miss the Roman Catholic Basilica, Romania’s largest Baroque church. Watch one of the regular performances featuring the church’s gorgeous 18th-century organ. Just east of the cathedral are the many arches of the Baroque Corridor of Canons.
Walk down Strada Republicii, a pedestrianized shopping street lined with one of the city’s most remarkable collections of Secessionist buildings. Browse the goods for sale at interesting shops along the way or take a break and admire the views from the terrace of a charming café.
Attend a show at the city’s neoclassical State Theater, which features a variety of operas, dances, plays and puppet shows performed in Hungarian and Romanian. Built in 1900, the theater was designed by famed Austrian architects Fellner and Helmer.
Oradea International Airport, located 4 miles (6 kilometers) southwest of the city center, offers regular flights from Bucharest. Alternatively, take the fast train from Budapest or the overnight train from Braşov, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca or Bucharest. Plan a pleasant trip to this architecturally rich city.