Oradea

The town is crossed by the main road linking the Hungarian border with Cluj Napoca and Deva. On opposite sides of the Crisu Repede River are the Union Square (Piata Unirii) and King Fedinand Square (Piata Regele Ferdinand), off which runs strada Republicii, a central pedestrian-only shopping street in Oradea, displaying an incredible number of Secession buildings. In the summertime, the café terraces lining the banks of the Crisu Repede afford some great views of the town's lavish landmarks.

The Bishop's Palace (Palatul Episcopal), one of Oradea's most splendid edifices, was modeled on drawings by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Ricca and completed in 1770 by Austrian architect Franz Anton Hillerbrandt. Today the three-story, U-shaped mansion featuring 100 fresco-adorned rooms, 365 windows, and a facade punctuated with iconic capitals is home to the Museum of the Crisana Region (Muzeul Tarii Crisurilor).

The Roman Catholic Cathedral (Catedrala Romano-Catolica) in Oradea, built between 1752 and 1780, is Romania's largest Baroque religious edifice. Drawing on plans for the Church of the Gesu in Roma, the cathedral forms part of the architectural ensemble that Hillerbrandt designed, which includes the Bishop's Palace.

The Black Eagle Palace (Palatul Vulturul Negru), located in Piata Unirii, was built between 1907 and 1909 by Hungarian architects Marcell Komor and Dezso Jakab. A glass-roofed art nouveau shopping arcade (Pasajul Vulturul Negru) runs through the two main buildings of the palace. Inside you will find shops, a four-star hotel, cafes and a cinema.

The late Baroque Church of the Moon (Biserica cu Luna), was completed in 1790. The clock mechanism, installed in 1793, features a half-gold, half-black sphere, maintained in perpetual motion, reproducing the phases of the moon and lending the church its name.

The City Library, located opposite the Church of the Moon, was designed by the local architect Kalman Rimanoczy Jr for the Greek Catholic Bishop. During the Communist era, a library replaced the episcopacy.

The robust asymmetrical 1903 Town Hall building (Primaria), located on the right of the city library, was designed by local architect Kalman Rimanoczy Jr as well. The building features a 160 feet-tall clock tower.

The neoclassical State Theater (Teatrul de Stat), located across the bridge from Union Square (Piata Unirii) and dominating the King Ferdinanrd Square (Piata Regele Fedinand) was designed in 1900 by Austrian architects Fellner and Hellmer, who also designed the Vienna Opera House.

Along one side of the King Ferdinand Square you can admire the undulating festoons and floral decorations of the Adorjan row of houses (Casele Adorjan), built between 1907 and 1908 by Jakab and Komor, architects of the Black Eagle Palace.

Another exuberant art nouveau structure is the Moskovits building (Cladirea Moskovits), located at the corner of Independentei street and Vasile Alecsandri street. Designed by Kalman Rimanoczy Jr, the architect of the City Library and the Town Hall, it was completed in 1905.

Oradea's most imposing sight is the spectacular Oradea Fortress (Cetatea Oradea).The present shape of the five-point-star fortress was given in 1569, when Italian military architect Domenico da Bologna was commissioned with rebuilding it after repeated invader attacks. One of its interesting elements is a network of underground channels that were supplied by ducts of warm water during the winter. Throughout the year the citadel is host to several art exhibitions and craft fairs.