Union Square (Piata Unirii)
Across the town centre is the picturesque Habsburg-era Piata Unirii, so-named for the imposing sight of the Romano-Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Cathedrals facing each other. Historic pastel-hued buildings line the square. During the 18th century, this was the city's commercial centre and the venue for numerous military processions and religious ceremonies.
Nicolas Lenau College (Liceul Nicolas Lenau), located on the north side of the square, was built in 1761 and was home to the earliest theatre in Timisoara.
The baroque Serbian Orthodox Cathedral (Biserica Orthodoxa Sarba), built in 1745-48,
and the mint green and white Serbian Bishop's Residence (Vicariatul Ortodox Sarb) with its extravagant decorations are located on the west side of the square.
The Cathedral can be visited daily between 7am and 6pm.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral
(Catedrala Episcopala Romano-Catolica)
on the east side of the square was built between 1736 and 1754 to the design of Fisher von Erlach and represents a fine example of Viennese baroque style. The main altar painting was completed by Michael Angelo Unterberger, director of the Fine Arts Academy in Vienna.
The impressive 18th century Baroque Palace (Palatul Vechii Prefecturi) dominates the square's south side. Formerly the governor's residence, it now houses the Museum of Fine Arts with works by German, Flemish and Italian artists. See museum details below.
At the northwest corner of Piata Unirii stands the spectacular Scont Bank (Banca de Scont). This typical Hungarian-style art nouveau structure, built in the early 20th century, features an organic shape comprising curved walls studded with turquoise tiles forming patterns drawn from folklore, and extravagant iron gutters and window grills.
From Piata Unirii, walk east along Str. Palanca to the oldest building in Timisoara, now housing the Banat Etnographic Museum within the city's remaining 18th century bastion.
Freedom Square (Piata Libertatii) to Victory Square (Piata Victoriei)
Another remarkable open space in the city is Piata Libertatii which offers a great display of Secessionist architecture. The Banat region was under Turkish rule from 1552 until 1716 when the Austrian-Habsburg Prince Eugene de Savoy took over Timisoara. At this time, a seven-star- shaped bastion and gate-towers were constructed and the marshes surrounding the town were drained by the new Habsburg governor, General Mercy.
Continue along Str. Lucian Blaga to the 14th century Huniade Castle (Castelul Huniade). Built during the rule of Carol Robert, Prince de Anjou, it was completed by Iancu of Hundeoara and redesigned by the Habsburgs in the 18th century.