I spent 2 weeks in Timisoara, Romania in December, following Clément on a business trip.
I spent my days walking around the city center, taking pictures, drawing and drinking tea in Libraria Carturesti – strada Mercy.
The buildings in ‘Timi’ are fascinating by their colours and the fact the you can observe the time passing on them. During the weekends we went to Băile Herculane, Arad and Hunedoara.
The spa town of Băile Herculane has a long history of human habitation, inhabited since the Paleolithic era. Legend has it that the weary Hercules stopped in the valley to bathe and rest. Unearthed stone carvings show that visiting Roman aristocrats turned the town into a Roman leisure center. In modern times, the spa town has been visited for its supposedly natural healing properties: hot springs with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals, as well as negatively ionized air. Before World War II, when the first modern hotel was built (i.e. H Cerna, 1930) it remained a popular destination with Western Europeans. During the Communist rule, mass tourism facilities were built, such as the 8- to 12-storied concrete hotels. Nowadays, the old spa buildings are abandoned, almost demolished ; the Austrian Imperial Baths building is ruined as well as the bridges over the Cerna river. Almost everything is in bad shape. It has the feel of a ‘ghost resort’. We managed to go inside the ‘Spa’ and it was both heartbreaking and fascinating. It must have been a very beautiful and relaxing place in the past. It made us realised how fast buildings and places can loose their hour of glory: even after being at the top for centuries it took only a decade to crumbled. At the same time it is very beautiful and a paradise for photographer: we spent at least two hours taking pictures and imagining how it was just few years back. You can read a good testimony in Vice about how the town is ‘Crumbling’ illustrated by beautiful pictures HERE.
The following week end we went to Hunedoara to see the Gothic-Renaissance Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a list of the seven wonders of Romania.
The legend said that it was the place where Vlad III of Wallachia (commonly known as Vlad the Impaler) was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary’s military leader and regent during the King’s minority, for 7 years after Vlad was deposed in 1462. Later, Vlad III entered a political alliance with John Hunyadi, although the latter was responsible for the execution of his father, Vlad II Dracul. Because of these links, the Hunedora Castle is sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Castle Dracula (from Wikipedia).
Another interesting discovery were the ‘Gypsies houses’ outside the city center of Timi. They are empty and barricaded castle like house, built by families of Gypsies, where they will use when they have families meetings such as weddings. They were for me really fascinating by their size, the mystery around them and the stories they could tell about their owners. Some beautiful shot of the interior of Houses (probably not the ones I photographed) HERE.