Once part of the Kingdom of Hungary, this bustling city offers an intriguing mix of Romanian and Hungarian culture.
Târgu Mures is nicknamed the “city of roses” because of its many flower-filled gardens. Given its population by nearly as many Hungarians as Romanians, you’re likely to hear both languages spoken on the streets. Find most of the city’s attractions around its central square, Piaţa Trandafirilor. Dine at charming street-side cafés, wander along paths lined with colorful art nouveau buildings and discover a rich history stretching back to the Neolithic Age.
Don’t miss the splendid Cultural Palace, with its striking architectural blend of Viennese Secessionism and local folk art. Venture inside to the city’s Art Museum, which features Hungarian Revival works from the late 1800s and 1900s. The neighboring Prefecture Building features a 192-foot (58-meter) spire that once served as a watchtower over the town.
Head a few blocks northeast of the Cultural Palace to see the Ethnographic Museum, housed inside the lovely Baroque Toldalagi Palace, which dates back to 1762. Inside are displays of traditional costumes, crafts and everyday items, many of which are labeled with informative English-language descriptions.
The neo-Byzantine Orthodox Cathedral reflects some of the tensions that have existed between the city’s Romanian and Hungarian populations over the years. Step inside and look for a controversial mural depicting Jesus as a Romanian peasant being whipped by nobles dressed in traditional Hungarian clothing.
Stop at the Teleki Library, which was founded in the late 18th century by the chancellor of Transylvania, Count Samuel Teleki. The library has more than 250,000 rare books, including a number of first editions and important manuscripts documenting Transylvanian history and science. Highlights include first translations of the Bible into both Romanian and Hungarian, as well as several works by French enlightenment philosophers.
Târgu Mures Airport is 9 miles (14 kilometers) southwest of the city center, with a shuttle bus running regularly into town. The city is also well connected to Braşov, Sighişoara and Bucharest by bus. Enjoy this lively town’s cultural attractions and its interesting combination of cultures.