August 24, 2016

About Arad

Our city will be in the year 2028 one thousand years old, meaning we will take our place within the millennial cities. Up until the 16th century, nothing worth noting occurs in this area, or at least nothing interesting is kept within the archives. In the middle of the 16th century, after a period of Hungarian administration, Arad is occupied by the Turks, who also built a citadel in the city which was ultimately torn apart by the Habsburgs upon the reconquest of the territory in 1687. Even if the Habsburgs destroyed it, the city still has a citadel. Unfortunately, it’s not yet open to visitors because it’s being used as a military garrison. The one currently standing was built by the Habsburgs under the initiative of the empress Maria Tereza, at the end of the 18th century. Maria Theresa also managed to colonize these territories with a German population, the Swabians. By mentioning the German population, it is worth noting the fact that the city’s first school, established at the end of the 18th century was one with a German curriculum.

The trades have also an old history in Arad, with their first guild, the skinner’s guild being founded in the second year of the 18th century. Later, more guilds started to emerge. They operated from the House with a Padlock, an old two century building and some of their insignias are still being kept inside the Serbian Church. By reminding this church, I have just told you which one is the oldest standing building in Arad.

Insofar as old is also…the Old Theater. If it wasn’t old, we wouldn’t have named it so. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century, by a Jewish merchant and it was the first stone theater from the current Romanian territory. Some say that the Oraviţa theater is older but we know that it was Hirschl who erected the country’s first theater! We were also the first at many others: the first teacher training college in Transylvania established in 1812, the first canoeing club from Transylvania established in the final decade of the 19th century, the first official football match from Romania, which took place in the final year of the same century.

We also had the first car factory from Romania that subsequently became the first plane factory, the first and only puppet factory from Romania – Arădeanca as well as the country’s first watch factory. Let’s not forget that also had the first Romanian music school, which was also the 6th in Europe and this made us notice the cultural importance that the city had on the continent’s map.

The inhabitants of Timişoara said that they hosted the country’s first ever football match, and this statement might be one of the reasons explaining why the two cities are rivals. Maybe there is something wrong with Arad, given the fact that he is also a rival of Oraviţa – due to its first theatre, with Timisoara, because of the first football match and the teams UTA-POLI and with Alba Iulia – which is considered the capital of the Great Union, although this was conceived in Arad.

Truly, not many are aware, but the greatest rulers of the union between Transylvania and Romania were by origin from Arad, either by “adoption” – Vasile Goldiş and Ştefan Cicio Pop, for instance. It was here where they planned the Union, made negotiations with the Hungarian government, it was announced by Iuliu Maniu and finally, it was here where the HQ of the Romanian National Council was. In the end, they travelled to Alba Iulia…The story tells us that they went there because in Arad there wasn’t sufficient space for such a grand event, which gathered well over one thousand people. Two reasons emerge as more official in understanding why the citadel of Alba-Iulia was chosen – the fact that in 1784, Horia, Cloşca and Crişan were placed on the rack on the spot of the event and in the final year of the 16th century, Michael the Brave entered Alba-Iulia and kept it as a capital for a short period.

Finally, even though we are “rivals” with so many cities, for different reasons, we guarantee that we are a bunch of cool and hospitable people. Testimonials to that are the words written by the tourists together with whom we organized guided tours through Arad. If you need convincing, let us know through the Booking page!



Arad Free Tours wants to promote the town of Arad, along with its history and cultural heritage, wanting to offer the tourists a varied number of free, quality tours. We want to encourage local tourism and to become an innovative reference on the local non- profit service market. We would like to unite with all those who are interested in local tourism, at a public or private level, and to contribute to the relaunching of quality tourism in Romania.

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