A brief monograph of the City of Arad

The city of Arad is located in the plain, near the banks of the river Mures, at about 100 km east of the Tisa River. The relatively mild weather, the rich fauna and flora constitute an optimal environment for human inhabitancy.

Historical Evolution until the XIth Century

The first traces left by human presence are about 40000 years old. A hunting expedition of a group of Homo sapiens, coming from the Zarand Mountains, may be credited for them. Only the end of the Vth millennium BC founded the first stable settlement. The villagers that occupied the northern bank of the river were farmers. During the IVth millennium BC the settlement expanded to the southern bank. These communities were part of the pre-indo-European civilisation.

During the second half of the IIIrd millennium BC both riverbanks as well as the islands were occupied by prosperous villages. These belonged to the Indo-European civilisation of the Bronze Age, which reached its evolution peak around the year 1000 BC. Violent events, certified by archaeological discoveries made in the very heart of the modern city,(burned dwellings, the bronze deposit from "Astoria"), have set an end to these settlements.

Dacian settlements took shape on both riverbanks during the first half of the Ist millennium BC. In the Vth century a group of Scythians quartered nearby but was subsequently assimilated. The Mures valley was one the major gateways for che Celtic invasion towards Transylvania. On the verge of the IVth and IlIrd century BC Celts stroke root on both sides of the river, nearby the Dacian settlements. Their coexistence, not peacefull at all times, lasted for almost two centuries. In the end,the Dacian majority assimilated the Celts.

Dacian ceramicsThe Dacian settlement located it the southern limit of Micalaca was shattered by the Roman troops in 101-102. During the second Dacian War (105 - 106) Traian conquered the territory north of the Mures (including Crisana) making it part of the province Dacia.Within the limits of Aradul Nou the Roman army built a fort that hosted a vexilatio of the legio IIII Flavia Felix.Hadrian (117-138) withdrew the border of Dacia to the East and left the lower course of the Mures to the Sarmatians and the free Dacians. Roman troops though continued guarding the military and commercial road along the Mures, a road that linked the provinces Dacia and Pannonia.

Through the IInd to the IVth century some Dacian and Sarmatian settlements were located on the territory of today's Arad. These had intense trade relations with the Roman world. During the major crises that struck the Empire by the mid IIIrd century inhabitants of the province emigrated into the barbarian world where they grounded senttlements such as the one discovered at Ceala, Horia or Vladimirescu-"Padurea vrabiilor" which were housed by potters. After the Romans withdrew from Dacia the communities living in the area of Arad maintained their relations to the Roman provinces situated to the right of the Danube despite of all the Goths, Huns, Gepidae and Avars that passed through these places briefly dominating them. The earliest remains of the Slav presence along the lower Mures are dated to the late VIth century. The assimilation of the Slav element by che Romanic population (proto-Romanians) is considered to be the final stage in the moulding of the Romanian people.

Ancient coinsThe settlements dated to the second half of the Ist millennium were concentrated on the northern bank of the Mures. Among these the one from Vladimirescu - "Schanzen", dated to the VIIIth - IXth century, has been archaeological examined.

During the Xth century the Hungarians started their expansion towards Transylvania one of their major penetration ways being the Mures valley. This historical moment is confirmed archaeological by the grave of a Hungarian warrior unearthed at Ceala. Confronted with the Hungarian peril, Romanians, subordinated to the principality of Glad, built an earthfort at Vladimirescu -"Schanzen".The Hungarian warriors devastated this at the middle of the Xth century. Rebuilt under the authority of the voivode Ahtum, the fortress has been completely destroyed in 1028 by another Hungarian military expedition.

The Medieval Arad

The archaeological finds certify the existence of several villages in the area of the actual town and its vicinities starting with the XIth century. Since the same period respectively the years 1080 - 1090, dates the first written mention of the toponym Orod. All that remained from the old ecclesiastic and county residence are the ruins of the cathedral in Vladimirescu, indicating the position of veterum Orod(old Arad). Starting with the XVth century documents mention Arad as civitas or oppidum. Historians disagree upon the possible relation between the old Orod, situated in Vladimirescu, and the later mentioned Arad, located in the strict area of the modern city. Some believe they are completely different settlements whilst others presume that in the XIVth the old Orod was displaced to the actual location of the city, more exactly to the area of today's Dragasani district. Further research is expected to solve the dilemma.

In 1514 the inhabitants of Arad, mainly serfs, joined the rebel army of Gh. Doja. The nobility repressed the uprising and the peasants became subject to a cruel revenge. A new rebellion broke out in 1526 followed by another bloodshed.

After the disaster from Mohacs (1526), Ioan Zapolya, the elected King of Hungary, established his reign over Arad too.

While the Turks created the pashalik of Buda (1541), Transylvania became an autonomous principality that included the Arad region too.

In 1552 the Otoman troops conquered the town producing great damage. The territory of the former county has been divided into three units (sanjaks), the one relative to Arad including the town and 113 villages. Between 1553 and 1555 the Turks built a square brick fort, on the right side of the Mures, close to the actual Traian Bridge. The censii from 1567 and 1579, ordered by the Sultan, register for Arad and the neighbouring localities a number of 297 families, mainly farmers.

Transylvanian troops liberated the inferior valley of the Murey in 1595 reintegrating Arad into the Transylvanian Principality. After the victory from Selimbar (1599) the territory of Arad got under the authority of Michael the Brave. Subsequent to his death Gabriel Bethlen gave the fortresses on the Mures (including Arad) back to the Turks keeping Ineu instead.

The Town of the Modern Age

After the failure of the Ottoman siege on Vienna (1683), the Imperial troops started a huge offensive towards East, reaching and conquering Arad in 1687. Two years later Eugene of Savoy had already drawn the plans to rebuild the old Turkish fortress. Georg Haruckern was appointed to direct the works. Following the Austrian army, the first German craftsmen and merchants arrived in Arad. The Karlowitz Peace (1699) set the border between the Austrian and the Ottoman Empire on the Mures. Arad became the centre of the Austrian frontier guard zone. Therefore in august 1699 the first frontier guard troops, recruited mainly among Serbs, where quartered in the town.

Tho Old SquareIn 1702 Arad has been promoted to the rank of a chamber town, a status that conferred some economic facilities. The attack of the Kurutzy (anti-Habsburg rebels), in the summer of 1707, left deep traces in the town life, many buildings being destroyed.

Following the victories of Eugene of Savoy the Habsburg domination was instated in the Banat also, a situation confirmed by the Passarowitz Peace (1718). As a part of the economic development plan for the new conquered regions the Imperial authorities settled German colonists, among these some dozens of families from Franconia were brought to Aradul Nou (1724). Romanians and Serbs inhabited the other surrounding villages. The town population clustered around the fortress consisted of frontier guards and civilians (peasants, craftsmen and merchants), Romanians, Serbs, Germans and Hungarians. The number of inhabitants registered in the town and its vicinities reached 441 families in 1720.

From the administrative point of view, Arad and its subordinate area had an intricate evolution. The Habsburg rulers first included Arad and Zarand counties in Hungary. In 1732 almost the whole county of Arad has been to duke Rinaldo di Modena who eight years later lost both, the Impetial favour and the domain. Arad County became state property (Aerarial domain) and the town gained new economic facilities. The frontier guard has been dismissed in 1746 and most of the Serbs, former guardians, left for Russia. In the same year Arad was assigned the centre of the new organised Nobility County.

During the reign of Maria Theresa (1740 - 1780) the town developed in almost all aspects. The population grew to 1321 families in 1752. The weight of handicraft increased in economy. The number of craftsmen grew from 90, in 1746, to 299, in 1774. They gathered in guilds and acquired privileges from the authorities. The first officially registered guild was the one of the German furriers (1702). Until 1845, only in the town, 44 guilds including 65 different trades have registered. The workshops processed mainly raw materials provided by the "agricultural sector" of the town, still dominant in the XVIIIth century.

The Fortress of AradThe construction of the new fortress, located on the south bank of the Mures, marked the history of the town deeply. A team of military engineers directed by Ferdinand Philipp Harsch has designed the Vauban-Tenaille style fortress. The works lasted over 20 years (1763 - 1783) and were carried out by thousands of serfs.

The fortress has a history of its own. The permanent garrison consisted of the Infantry Regiment 33, participant at all major military actions of the Empire. In the centre of the Fortress there is a Catholic Church and in buildings around it Franciscan monks were hosted. Until 1918, the fort also was one of the largest military prisons of the Empire.

During the revolution in 1848/49 the fortress played a crucial role. Under siege of the Hungarian republican army, the garrison bombed the town every day for nine months. In the summer of 1849 the Hungarian revolutionary army succeeded to occupy the fortress for 46 days, before it was encircled by the Russian and Austrian armies and forced to surrender. The Habsburg troops used it once more as a prison and incarcerated 500 officers of the revolutionary army, the majority of them sentenced to death. Among the executed were the 13 generals of the revolutionary army who were hanged respectively shot on October 6th 1849 in the outer pill boxes. In 1752 the emperor Franz Joseph I visited the fortress himself and lessened the sentences of the imprisoned officers.

The Monument of The 13 GeneralsIn the next decades the Arad fortress was a prison for many war prisoners. Between 1914 and 1918 a camp has been improved in the outer pillboxes hosting civilian and military prisoners from Bosnia- Herzegovina.

In November 1918 the fortress has been occupied by French-Serb troops and in July 1919 the Romanian army took it over.

The inhabitants of Arad tried since the XVIIIth century to obtain the status of a free royal town, but only in 1826 succeeded to ransom its privileges. In 1834 the emperor Francis I handed over to the local authorities the diploma certifying this title.

The new condition created an optimal environment for further economic development. First, the number of merchants increased up to 686 in 1870. The industrial activity remained relatively modest in the first half of the XIXth century. In 1825 a machine-tools factory functioned and in 1836 Anton Dangl started a factory producing organs, the only one in the eastern part of Europe. Most of the products were still manufactured in workshops.

Only in the second half of the XIXth century the wind of change was to be felt. The first step towards great industry was the opening of the alcohol and yeast factory by the Neumann brothers, 1851. The official statistics recorded for the years 1869 - 1870 a number of 5074 entrepreneurs, 6839 clerks and 11913 workers. Meantime, 2645 city inhabitants were farmers.

At the end of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth the industrial output got more diversified. In 1872 the machine factory "Hendl" was set up, a cement and a brickyard followed. The Lengyel brothers founded a furniture factory in 1891 and next year the wagon Factory of Johann Weitzer started production that at the beginning of the next century was enlarged including cars, utility vans and planes. In 1909 the local industry enriched with a textile plant, property of the Neumann family.

By the beginning of the XXth century Arad was a major industrial metropolis with 25 factories and 7 banks.

The industrial growth stimulated the expansion of the city to the North and West detrimental to agricultural districts. The rapid pace of urban life requested a public transport system, so in 1878 the first horse-trams were put in use, linking the railway station to the main points of public interest in the city. At the beginning of the XXth century the first urban bus lines got into operation. In the last decade of the XIXth century the water supply and sewage utilities were completed. Public lighting based on oil lamps has been introduced in 1828, gas lamps in 1860 and electricity in 1895.

Until 1747 the administration of Arad was divided between two mayoralties - the Serb and the German. Afterward the mayor was assigned, depending on the political juncture, among the Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Romanians. In 1871 Arad became municipality so justice and administration separated. After the dual Austro-Hungarian regime settled (1867) the local authorities were dominated by Hungarians and Jews.

Demographically the evolution during the XIXth century was spectacular. In l804 Arad had 8476 inhabitants, in 1850 there were 22398 and in 1900 the number rose to 56260.

The main political trends, conservative and liberal, appeared in Arad in the first half of the XIXth century, represented by discussion clubs. Concomitantly the national emancipation movement of the Romanians took shape, mainly in the position of clergy.

The 48 revolution gave an impulse to the political association, materialised in the political parties founded in the last quarter of the XIXth century.

The Hungarian parties were the conservative (governmental) and the "independence party". The conservatives kept power accepting several compromises, not the universal and secret vote though.

The Romanian emancipation movement evolved into Romanian National Party, founded in 1881.

The socialist views had numerous followers, consequently, in 1894, the founding congress of the Social-Democratic Labour Party (Marxist) was held in Arad.

Due to the Hungarian parties' reluctance to democratic changes in society, the national and the socialist movements approached. Arad was a multiethnic city, with a great number of labourers and a solid tradition in the non-Hungarian nationalities struggle for emancipation so the Nationalities Club of Deputies from the Budapest Parliament and the Romanian section of the Social-Democratic Party from Hungary established here.

Vasile GoldisIoan SuciuStefan Cicio PopWorld War I exposed both social and national strains in the Empire. The Romanian National Party and the Romanian section of the Social-Democratic Party from Hungary lead the Romanians' movement for rights. On 30 October 1918, the Romanian National Council was constituted and moved on 8 November from Budapest to Arad. The leaders of this organisation were politicians from Arad: Stefan Cicio Pop, Vasile Goldis, Ioan Suciu and Ioan Flueras. A Hungarian delegation, lead by Oszkar Jaszi, came to Arad to negotiate with the representatives of the Romanians. After three days of discussions, 13th - 15th November, marked by the opening to concessions of the Hungarian part, the decision of the Romanians stayed firm: separation from Hungary and union with Romania. The Central Romanian National Council from Arad prepared the plebiscitary assembly from Alba Iulia, which proclaimed, on 1 December 1918 the union of Transylvania with Romania.

In late December French troops occupied the city. The Romanian Army entered Arad on 16 May 1919 and on 10 July, the same year, the entire administration was taken over by the Romanian State.

Arad inter-war

The major goals set by the authorities in Bucharest after the union were to protect the frontiers of the new state, to gain international recognition and to actually integrate the new provinces in Romania.

The endorsement of the new constitution, in 1925, provided the legislative environment required creating the unitary structure of the state. The law put up the new administrative system from 1925. Due to this the mayor became a representative of the government being assigned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He chaired the Communal Council and enacted its decisions. Under the new law of local public administration from 1929, all the county capitals, such as Arad, were pronounced municipalities.

The inclusion of the suburban villages and the spontaneous or organised immigracion determined a significant increase of che city population. Thereby, in 1937 Arad had 76.015 inhabitants of whom 72% were Romanians, 8% Hungarians, 4% Germans, 4% Jews and 12% others.

Indagrara - the alcohol factoryThe economic structure did not change much after the union. The heavy Industry continued to be represented by J. Weitzer's fabric (that fusioned, in 1920, with the automobile producer "Marta"), by the textile factory and the Mill of the Neumann brothers and by the furniture fabric "Lengyel". The famous liqueur plant "Zwack" also continued production.

New fabrics added to the industrial activity, such as the Sugar Plant (1926), "Polyrom" (varnishes and dyes, 1980), The Technical Factory Arad (electric bulbs, 1935), "IRON" (radios and electrotechnic appliances). Therefore, in 1937 existed 110 industrial units compared to 59 in 1919. The economic crisis from 1929 - 1933 caused bankruptcy of many small industries and concentrated the largest part of production in 22 major companies.

The commercial activity amplified, placing Arad with its 4001 trade companies on the fourth position in the country. Only a small percent of these firms employed Romanian capital (8,7% of the wholesale and 15 % of the retail companies).

The banking system actively supported the local economic development. Besides the local branch of the National Bank of Romania (opened in 1921), ten other banks were active in the city. Among these the "Victoria" Bank was representative for the Arad finance.

The quality of urban life is illustrated by the standard of the services. The water works were rebuilt between 1931 and 1934 so the quality of the drinking water improved and the distribution network expanded. The sewerage system also got modernised with the assistance of British experts. Arad was one of the first cities in Romania to be equipped with an automatic telephonic exchange (1937).Urban transport improved after introducing buses on 11 routes.

The political life was bound to the fluctuations of the Bucharest scene. Until the merging of the National Peasant Party from the Old Kingdom (1926), the National Romanian Party represented the interests of Transylvanians. After that the citizens of Arad voted for the new created party and for the Liberals. The Party of the Hungarians had a constant electorate. The social-democratic parties had, somehow paradoxically, a minor presence in Arad. At the elections from 1937, the last democratic ones of the inter-war period, the preferences of the inhabitants of Arad were oriented towards the extreme right party called "Totul pentru Tara" (Everything for the Country), followed by the Liberals and the Hungarian Party. The Royal dictatorship put an end to parliamentary life in 1958.

The international situation directly influenced the political evolution in Romania. Despite the alliance with Germany, the Romanian government wasn't able to prevent the loss of some provinces including a large part of Transylvania (30 August 1940). The protests of the Romanians, including those from Arad, weren't successful.

The war gave Arad a hard time too. On top of the repeated restrictions and requisitions added the Anglo-American bombings in July 1944, which wrecked military and civil buildings around rhe railway station.

After the policical coup in 23 August 1944, Arad got into the middle of the battles between Romanian and the German-Hungarian armies. On 22 September, the Hungarian troops withdrew from the city after bowing up the bridges over the Mures, the railway station and the telephonic exchange. In October and early November 1944, the Luftwaffe bombed the railway station causing important damage.

After the defeat of Hitler's Germany, Ist cavalry Division of the Romanian Army returned to base in Arad being triumphantly welcomed by the population (13 July 1945). Russian troops were quartered in the Fortress.

Post-War Arad

The presence of the soviet army made it easy for the communists to take over power in the city on 29 November 1944.

In order to win the general elections from 1946, the communists, supported by the soviet troops, used methods that defy democratic society. Massive fraud allowed them to "win" the elections in Arad and the entire country.

Once the King abdicated the Romanian Popular Republic has been proclaimed (30 December 1947) and the communist regime got fully installed. Steps to enforce the soviet model followed: the nationalisation of the main means of production (11 June 1948), the reorganisation of the teaching system (3 August 1948) etc. These were accompanied by the elimination, even physical, of the political, economic and cultural elite.

In Arad, the opposition of the terrorised civil society was rather weak. One should, anyhow, mention the rebellion of the workers from the Textile Plant, who, on 25 April 1947, killed the secretary of their communist organisation. The brutal answer of the authorities baffled any further resistance.

After the soviet troops left, in 1958, a certain relaxation was noticeable, which climaxed with the release of all political prisoners. Taking over the power, in 1965, Ceausescu opened the way to national- communism. Even if liberal, in a limited degree, in the beginning, the regime ended with the Ceausescu clan dictatorship.

Since the entire public life was politicised, the decisions taken by the centre were strictly applied in the territory. When orders wherein obvious conflict with the interests of the local community, mainly in the seventies and eighties, local authorities assumed the risk of "softening" them. These were individual gestures.

The Chemical Fertiliser's PlantThe first post-war years aimed to recover from the damage caused by the war. In 1951 started the implementation of the five-year plans and, meanwhile, the industrialisation. The existing industrial units merged and were modernised. Afterwards new units were built: the lathe machines factory (1949), "Aradeanca" doll plant (1959), "Victoria" clock plant (1961), the Chemical Fertiliser's Plant (1971) etc. The largest investments in the fifties targeted the heavy industry, later they diversified, but the giant factories of machine constructing industry still swallowed the most important amounts of money. Despite the massive investments, productivity remained low and most of the products did not reach international standards.

Accelerated development of industry was followed by a significant growth of population. In the eighties Arad had over 150,000 inhabitants. This demographic growth was accomplished mainly by encouraging the village youth and inhabitants of the poor regions of the country to move to the city, but also by radical steps like prohibition for abortion and contraceptives, which increased the birth race.

In order to deal with the growing request of dwelling places, new districts consisting of blocks of flats were built. The commercial and service network was expanded. Remarkable was the development of the tram rails network. With its 96 km of railway, Arad reached the second place in the country, after Bucharest. The problems seemed to be solved, only the solutions were perfunctory, lacking quality.

The investments of the seventies were possible because of massive external credits. Ceausescu intended to pay the entire external debt in the eighties. This was eventually accomplished by sacrificing the needs of the population and forcing the existing equipment to the limit. The citizens of Arad were affected by the period of austerity, even if less than others.

The events of December 1989 had an immediate echo in Arad where a great number of people went out on the streets to express their solidarity with the demonstrants in Timisoara. On 21 December, Arad became the second city in the country, after Timisoara, where communist authorities were overthrown.

The Development of Town Planning from the Beginning of the XVIIth Century to the End of the XXth

The inscalling of the Habsburg rule (1687) marks the beginning of town planning in Arad. German colonists and the Serb frontier guard troops essentially contributed to this. The maps drawn by the middle of the XVIIIth century show four sectors of the town: the fortress, the withdrawal region (retirade), the "German town" and the "Serb town".

Evolution of town planning stopped in second half of the century. There are to major reasons to this: the Serb emigration to Russia and, more important, the orders coming from Vienna that interdicted any construction near the old fortress. After the new fortress got into construction, beside the old interdiction a new problem occurred: the Austrian authorities planned to move the whole town to the Zimand Puszta. Vienna gave up the plan in 1781.

In spite of this interdictions people continued to build houses assuming the risks. The city expanded to the north, occupying free land, as well as to the south were new construction space was created after the Austrian demolished the old fortress. As the future centre of the town the actual Avram Iancu Place took shape. Here stood the town hall, which has been repaired and enlarged in 1770. The census from 1783 registered 84 streets to which the one from 1797 added the Forum Venalicum Piscium. This Fish Market was an extension to the north of the old commercial street Tribunul Axente.

The Hirschl's House - the oldest building in AradAfter the new fortress got ready and occupied by the army, authorities set a 2 km security area around it in which no constructions could be build and the existing ones had to be demolished. But constructions continued to appear. Among those who assumed the risk was the rich merchant Jacob Hirschl, who, in 1817, built a theatre along with his own house (today on Gh. Lazar Str. 1 - 3). In 1818 the military authorities reduced the security area to 500 m, giving satisfaction to the demands of the city inhabitants. New perspectives were opened to town planning, which in 1828 centred the future evolution of the city on the Avram Iancu Place.

The construction rhythm fastened up after Arad became a Free Royal Town. New street fronts were opened (see Metianu Str.) and the old ones were refreshed with new buildings, such as the hotel "White Cross" (1841).

The flood from 1844 and the bombings during the '48 revolution caused important damage. In the spaces created by demolishing, new and representative buildings were risen.

Arad at the begining of the XXth centuryThe railway station, opened in 1858, set the northern point to the central axis of the town. During the last decades of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth, along this central axis the most representative constructions of the city were built: the theatre (1874), the town hall (1876), the Finance Palace (1885), the Cenad Palace (1887), the Neumann Palace (1902), the building of the National Bank (1912), the Cultural Palace (1913) etc. The new buildings and the renovations realised around the year 1900 are strongly marked by the Secession style.

During the inter-war period residential districts have been built, in concordance with the new conception of the garden towns. On the central axis the residence of the Social Assurance House was built.

During the communist regime the huge block districts like Micalaca, Aurel Vlaicu and Alfa were built. They are the same in all cities of the country. In the central area some huge buildings have been inserted: the hotel "Astoria", the block with the "Dacia" cinema, the "Ziridava" shopping centre.

The Spiritual Life

The religious life is tightly bound to history of Arad, right from its beginning.

The Othodox CathedralThe Orthodox Church on the territory has its roots in the XVth century, according to tradition. In the first half of the XVIIIth century two orthodox communities - Romanian and Serb - grouped by the two churches "St. Apostles Peter and Paul", in the "Serb Town", and "St. John the Baptist", on the place of today's "Moise Nicoara" high school. The number of faithful grew up to 5595, in 1770, so a larger church was needed. In 1791 Bishop Pavel Avacumovici ordered the building of a new house of worship on the place of the old "St. John the Baptist" church. Heavy bombings during the '48 revolution did important damage to the new church so the Imperial authorities ordered it to be demolished. A new cathedral was built between 1861 and 1870 on the eastern side of the Big Market. The cathedral gathered a pleiad of Romanian intellectuals actively involved in the Romanian emancipation movement.

The Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of Transylvania was reactivated in 1865. The Bishopric of Arad was annexed to it and liberated thus from under the authority of the Serb Church. Orthodox Churches were built in the districts and the suburbs of Arad depending on the number of parishioners and their economic power: Micalaca (church in the XVIIIth century; a new one in 1845), Vladimirescu (1930), Sega (1933), Gradiste (1940), Micalaca Noua (1944), Bujac (1976), Gai (1936), Aradul Nou (church in the XVIIth century; a new one in 1937), Sanicolau Mic (church at the beginning of the XVIIIth century; a new one in 1804).

Since 1934 the community considered building a cathedral on the main axis of the city but various reasons delayed this project until 1994.

The Orthodox Church had an important contribution in maintaining the Romanian national identity and was very active in preparing the Union. In the years of the communist regime, its position was delicate, therefore unfortunate compromises and brave actions joined in its attitude.

The Catholic CathedralThe Catholic Church started its activity in Arad by the end of the XVIIth century, when Franciscan (Minorit) priests arrived in Arad together with the Austrian army. They served both in the fortress and in the civil settlement where they contributed to the construction of the first Catholic Church by the beginning of the XVIIIth century. This was replaced with a larger one in 1758. Between 1902 and 1904 a commanding cathedral was built on the place of the old church. Catholic parishes exist in the discricts Gradiste, Sega, Aradul Nou and Gai.

The Greek-Catholic Church settled in Arad around 1770 and from 1776 on had its first house of worship. A new church was built between 1912 and 1915 and another construction started in the inter-war period in Sega.

In 1948, the communist regime abolished the Greek-Catholic Church and the ownership of the churches passed to the Orthodox cult. In 1991 the Greek-Catholic parish was restored.

The Reformed Church is first attested in Arad in the XVIth century but don't know anything about their houses of worship until the XIXth century when the still standing church was built (1852). Reformed parishes exist in Gai and Gradiste.

The Evangelic-Lutheran Church exists in Arad since the first half of the XIXth century. The growth of the community and their financial potential required the building of an adequate church so in 1906 they had the new "Red Church".

The Neo-Protestant Church found adherents in Arad at the end of the XIXth century. The first was the Baptist community that its own house of worship in Micalaca in 1897 (today there are 17 Baptist churches in Arad). At the beginning of the XXth century, the Adventist and the Pentecostal communities stepped into life.

The SynagogueThe Mosaic cult became an important component of the religious life of the town during the first half of the XVIIIth century. The Jews settled in the eastern part of the "Serb Town" after the frontier guardians left. An expression of the wealth of the community is the complex of buildings with the synagogue in its centre, finished in 1834. On spiritual level, the community is renowned first through the outstanding activity of the Rabbi Chorin Aaron reformers of the Mosaic cult.

Education began within the church. The Minorit monks founded the first school in 1715. The teaching language was German. During the following five years another three schools were created: two orthodox and a catholic one with teaching in Hungarian. Education was supported by the church through the religious communities and by the Town Council. The first secondary school was organised in 1753 by nuns from Notre Dame. A Latin school functioned since 1745. The education system got a new organisation through the laws from 1774.

The Foundation of the "Preparandia", in 1812, was of major importance for the cultural and political emancipation of the Romanians. The school prepared Romanian teachers.

The Pedagogic High SchoolThe new Law of Education From 1868 permitted religious communities, public associations and the state to ground schools. Arad had four Romanian schools (in 1873), besides the "Preparandia" (Arad - city, in Micalaca, Parneava, Sega), 11 Hungarian (in the years 1884/1885), one Serb (from 1792 on) and one Jewish (from 1832 on). The Budapest government introduced Hungarian as an obligatory class in all schools (1883), and later gave it a privileged status (1907).

Between the world wars the educational system was exclusive state matter. The first Romanian high schools of the town, "Moise Nicoara" and "Elena Ghiba Birta" were grounded in 1919.

After World War II the communist rule organised the educational system after the soviet model. The only college was the one for veterinarians, founded in 1948 and moved to Timisoara in 1956. Only since 1990 Arad has its own universities: "Aurel Vlaicu" (state) and "Vasile Goldis" (private).

In the years of the communist regime, Arad had 33 primary and secondary, 22 high schools, l3 technical schools and 6 post high school institutions. Though the teaching process was strongly dominated by politics, the schools from Arad gained recognition for the serious training of their pupil.

Theatre representations started in 1787, according to written evidence. At that time the German ensemble lead by Philip Berndt opened its season at Arad. But this couldn't have been the first representation. According to a street register from 1783 there existed a "Theatergasse" (Theatre Street) leading to the "Arena" of Sava Thokoly.

The effective theatre movement began in the autumn of 1817 as the theatre build by Jacob Hirschl opened its doors. On this scene numerous German, Hungarian and Romanian ensembles played along the years.

The State TheatreThe new theatre building has been opened in 1874 but it had to be almost totally rebuilt after the great fire of 1883. Until 1945 its repertoire consisted just of Hungarian spoken plays. In the year 1948 the still existing State Theatre was founded.

The musical life of the city was marked for over a century by the Conservatorium. As it was founded, in 1833, it was the sixth institution of this kind in Europe. Until 1948, as its activity was stopped, the Conservatorium trained numerous fine instrumentalists and formed the musical taste of the city inhabitants. The quality of both, the orchestra and the public, determined various important artists and composers to play in Arad: Franz Liszt (1846), Johann Strauss Jr. (1847), Pablo Sarasate (1877), Henryk Wienawski (1877), George Enescu (1922 and in the following years) and Bela Bartok (1924).

The State PhilarmonyThe still existing State Philarmony Arad was founded in 1948.

Literature has been written in Romanian only after the founding of the "Preparandia". In 1857 the first reader's union of the pupil started its activity and two years later succeeded in issuing the Almanac "Muguri"under the redaction of M. V. Stanescu.

The "National Association from Arad for the Culture and Conversation of the Romanian People", created in 1862, organised various conferences on literary themes.

In the period 1871 - 1918 a large number of reviews with literary content were issued in Arad: "Gura Satului "(first issue l871), "Lumina"(1871), "Biserica si Scoala"(1877), "Tribuna Poporului" (1896), "Tribuna"(1904), "Romanul"(1911). These published Romanian writers from Arad, such as I. Slavici, A. Cotrus, M. Nicoara, Al. Gavra, M. V. Stanescu, A. M. Marienescu, N. Oncu, I. Grozescu, R. Ciorogariu, as well as major authors of Romanian literature: V. Alecsandri, Al. Macedonski, Gr. Alexandrescu, G. Cosbuc, I.L. Caragiale, M. Sadoveanu, L. Blaga and others.

Among the authors who wrote in other languages than Romanian one should cite the Hungarian playwright Csiky Gergely and the German writer Adam Miiller Guttenbrunn.

A remarkable editorial activity was done by the "Biblioteca Semanatorul", which published 1984 volumes of Romanian literature in the period 1926 - 1927.

In-between the two world wars about 70 cultural associations were registered in Arad. The most important among these were: "The National Association ...", which in 1924 united with the ASTRA, "Concordia"(founded in 1910) and "Ateneul Popular"(1931). The literary reviews were represented by "Solidaritatea"(first issue 1922), "Tribuna Aradului"(1925), "Vointa Poporului"(1923), "Tribuna Noua"(1924), "Salonul Literar"(1925), "Hotarul"(1933), "Bravo!"and "Innoirea"(1937).The most important authors of the local literary scene were Al. T. Stamatiad, F. Munteanu, M. Micu, Gh. Achitei, D. Rachici, D. Ureche and R. Muresanu.

After 1947 the communist regime tried, and partially succeeded, to subordinate literature also. The Arad branch of the Romanian Writers' Association was created in 1948. The two journals issued in Arad during the communist regime, "Flacara Rosie"and "Voros Lobogo", published in their literary supplements authentic literature too. Between 1968 and 1989 several collective literary volumes were issued. Most of the important authors from Arad can be found in the pages of these.

Among the most important writers of the period one should cite, from Arad: St. Augustin Doinas, Gh. Schwartz, Fl. Banescu, R. Bucur, V. Gheorghita, V. Dan, D. Sibii and H. Ungureanu.

The statue of Saint NepomukFine arts developed in Arad only after the installation of the habsburgic regime. The monument we know of is the statue of Saint Nepomuk (1729).

In the second half of the XVlllth century the town had its own artistic life illustrated by the painter family Osztermayer and by Stefan Tenetchi who painted most of the important Orthodox Cathedrals from the Banat, including the ones from Arad.

During the XIXth century several Austrian and Hungarian painters settled in Arad. They were exponents of the academism such as J. Geltz, D. Jagermann, Emeric and Adalbert Vizkeleti, E. Szamossy and P. Bohm. Major Hungarian painters started their career in Arad - M. Munkacsy and L. Paal.

1n the period between the two world wars C. Wolf, I. Stern, C. Kiss, and F. Balla continued to paint in the old academic style. I. Toader, C. Minisan, Al. Pataki and V. Anyos succeeded to get beyond the barriers. A new spirit was brought to Arad by the sculptors R. Ladea, Gh. Groza and M. Olinescu, who founded the "Pro Arte"group in 1936.

Under the communist regime artists were put in front of the dilemma weather to obey the official line of the "socialist realism"and get the recognition of the Party, or to follow their own way risking difficult situations. Most artists assumed the second option. The major artists of Arad during this period were N. Chirilovici, S. Frentiu, F. Baranyai, E. Vitroel, Lia and Ioan Cott, I. Tolan, Sc. Gules, E.S. Muntean, N. Bicfalvi, P. Alaszu, L. Babocsik, O. Colta, L. Josan Kocsis, I. Kett Groza, A. Strasnei Popa, Z. Eisele Sucs, M. Tamas, D. Serban, I. Stroia, L. Cociuba and M. Pacurar.

The press appeared in Arad at the beginning of the XIXth century. The "Arader Kundschaftsblatt", first issued in 1837, represents the start. In 1840 its Hungarian alternative followed - "Aradi Hirdeto".

The oldest daily newspaper is the "Alfold", first issued in 1861, followed by "Aradi Kozlony" (1885 - 1940).

The Romanian press got started in the clerical milieu. The first review was "Speranta", issued between 1869 - 1872. The most appreciated and long lasting Romanian review was the one called "Biserica si Scoala" edited between 1877 and 1948. Resuming, one can find out that until 1918 in Arad 28 papers were issued, a number that increased to 108 in the interbelic period.

Under the communist regime two daily papers were issued in the town - "Flacara Rosie" and "Voros Lobogo".

Sports and Places of Leisure

Arad is the cradle of Romanian football. The first official game took place in 1899. Afterwards numerous sport clubs organised football sections. The most famous is UTA, which since 1946 has its own stadium financed by F. Neumann, the same who sponsored the football team.

The sporting clubs from Arad obtained remarkable results in table tennis, basket, boating, target shooting and gymnastics.

The most important place of leisure is the "Neptun" area, which includes several swimming pools, bars, restaurants, discos, open air scenes and so forth, all located on the left bank of the Mures, close to the fortress. The whole area was arranged in 1970 and is constantly updated.


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