Book a city break in Arad and feel the spirit of „Little Vienna”
Located at the western gate of Romania, Arad is one of the most important counties in the country. Named by Nicolae Iorga "Little Vienna" and by the Romanian historians "Third Rome" (the political capital of the Transylvanian Romanians) and by the Hungarian historians " Hungarian Golgotha ", the city of Arad displays spectacular large parks and monumental buildings , along the Mures river. The picturesque Traian Bridge in the heart of the city was once the border between the provinces, states and empires, the place where the Ottoman Empire joined the Habsburg Empire, the Principality of Transylvania with Hungary and Banat.
In 1131, one kilometer away from today’s Arad, one of the bloodiest episodes in Hungary's history takes place: 68 of the most prominent aristocrats are slaughtered by Empress Ilona, because they have plotted to the blindness of King Bela II. The ruins where the proof of the bloody revenge that took place are still visible today in the locality Vladimirescu.Arad develops a lot during the Ottoman occupation (1551-1687), becoming an important strategic and a renowned trade centre, especially for salt transactions, the salt fair lasted ten days and ten nights.
The Karlowitz Peace (1699) established the border between the Austrian and Ottoman empires, on the Mures River and Arad became border guard regional centre. The Habsburg rulers first included Arad and Zarand to Hungary. In 1732, almost the entire county of Arad belonged to the Duke Rinaldo of Modena
During Maria Theresa Empress’ reign (1740 - 1780), Arad becomes the wine supplier of the Imperial House. The queen comes three times in Arad and the city is included in the regular visits route of the imperial family. Building the Arad Fortress profoundly marked the history of the city. A team of military engineers led by Ferdinand Philipp Harsch has designed the Vauban- Tenaille style fortress. The works lasted for 20 years (1763-1783) and were carried out by thousands of serfs. The legend says that the bricks used to build the Fortress were given from hand to hand!!
Arad Fortress became known as the Prison of Nations. 1,200 French soldiers of Napoleon Bonaparte (1794) were imprisoned here, Turkish soldiers taken prisoner in Bosnia in 1881. Most of them were exterminated. There are no European people who have not been represented in the prison of the Arad Fortress!
The Fortress played a crucial role in the Revolution of 1848-1849, being besieged for nine months, from October 1848 to June 1849. Having the headquarters in the Fortress, the Austrian army bombed the city for eight months with over 40 000 artillery shells. On October 6, 1849 in the suburbs of the city 13 generals of the Hungarian army were executed by the Austrian authorities and the leader of the Hungarian revolutionaries calls Arad "the Hungarian Golgotha". The Statue of Liberty, from the Arad Reconciliation Park, one of the most beautiful monumental ensembles in the country, was made to evoke this martyrdom.
During the Revolution, the Hungarian Royal Crown was kept here for a few months and the Revolutionary Government had headquarters here, as other governments of Hungary chose Arad as provisional headquarters in the coming decades.
The urban legend says that the most famous prisoner of the Arad Fortress was Gavrilo Princip, who on July 28, 1914 murdered in Sarajevo, the Heir Prince to the throne of Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand. This murder was the start signal of the First World War. After the assassination, 4.317 Bosnian and Serb prisoners were exterminated in the Arad Fortress.
At the end of the XIXth century, Arad becomes the centre of the political, cultural and historical movement for the unity of all Romanian Provinces. In Arad is negotiated the total rupture of Transylvania from Hungary and the union with Romania.
The Hungarian Admiral, Miklos Horthy, acquitted by the International Criminal Court in Nuremberg, who judged the Nazi atrocities, got married in Arad. His wife was the daughter of the owner of the Sofronea Castle (where today a chic spa operates, one of the most beautiful in Western Romania). The admiral’s father in law had founded in Arad the Red Church. After WWII, the Communists locked him in the basement of the church and left him there to die of hunger and thirst.
In 1913, the Arad Cultural Palace, unique building in this part of Europe that combines several architectural styles and has the best acoustics concert hall in Romania, has been inaugurated. On the entrance ceiling, one can see the representation of Haley Comet, the one which terrorized the public opinion with the perspective of a fatal collision with Earth and the disappearance of civilization.
The Arad Administrative Palace was conducted by the same architect who designed the City Hall in Novi Sad, although the building from Arad is double-sized and it shelters an eye-catching hall, a major attraction point for tourists.
Part of the industrial heritage of Arad has an European impact and we are talking about the famous "black cab", the London taxi, made in Arad at the beginning of the XXth century. And it’s here, at the Lengyel workshops where most of the furniture decorating the Kensington Palace, London, and the Hofburg Palace in Vienna was made. Moreover, at the Mátyás Cathedral and the Academy of Music in Budapest, the pipe organ of the Arad citizens Dangl Antal and János delights the audience.
Arad is the city that has the largest number of Secession style buildings in Romania. A city tour gives the tourist a splendid image of its history and of the diligence of the Arad citizens! The oldest theatre built in Romania, placed in the centre of Arad, and here is also the Inn "Crucea Albă" where Casals, Liszt, Strauss, Enescu claimed extraordinary concerts and where personalities like Emperor Franz Josef, revolutionary Lajos Kossuth, Prime Minister István Tisza, writer I.L.Caragiale, Prime Minister Nicolae Iorga, Ilarie Chendi, Ioan Slavici, the poets George Cosbuc, Cincinat Pavelescu checked in.
During the XIXth century Arad is almost exclusively owned by Prince Ercole Rinaldo III of Este, Duke of Modena and Reggio, nephew of Philippe of Orleans, regent of France. His daughter was Maria Beatrice Ricciardi of Este, wife of Archduke Ferdinand (son of Maria Theresa and Francis I, founder of Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty) on whose wedding, the Opera Ascanio in Alba, composed by Mozart, was interpreted for the first time, at the request of Maria Therese.
Arad is also the home town of important personalities. Here, you can walk on the streets trodden by the grandparents of the famous artists Frida Kahlo, actor in Hollywood Jávor Pál, painter Munkácsy, Nobel laureate Stefan Hell, the Governor of Banat, Sever Bocu, the unionists Vasile Goldis and Stefan Cicio Po, the composer Sabin Dragoi, the founder of the New York Marathon, Ephraim Fischel Lebowitz (Fred Lebow) and others.
At his turn, the Arad County, displays impressive treasures.
The Arad Vineyard was awarded the Gold Medal in the 1982 World Contest in London for its Red wine of Minis. Minis Cadarca and Mustoasa de Măderat are today among the area's famous wines, known and appreciated throughout Europe.
The „Lunca Mureşului”Natural Park, a wild place for hiking, cycling, canoe tours on the river, shelter to more than 2,000 species of birds!
The oldest Orthodox monastery in Romania (1177), Hodos Bodrog, and one of the most beautiful basilicas in the country, Maria Radna Basilica (1327), are also located in the county.
Arad is known as the county with the highest number of fortresses, mansions and castles in Western Romania! Among them, Castle in Săvârşin, today’s residence of King Michael I.
Moneasa resort, where you can enjoy the richest ozone air in Eastern Europe, located at only 100 kilometres from Arad!
These are only a few of the arguments in favour of spending a memorable city break. We are waiting for you in Arad, the county of the natural experiences, at the Western gate of Romania.