Targu mure

Targu Mure? is a city with something up its sleeve. It's not much to look at, save for some splendid buildings in the centre, as ugly concrete structures scattered everywhere mar its appeal, and constant traffic gives it an unpleasant edge. However, scratch the surface and you'll find a particularly vibrant city with many funky places to hang out in for a day or two while you learn a few words of Hungarian.

Traditionally a Hungarian stronghold, Targu Mure? (Marosvasarhely in Hungarian, Neumarkt in German) was first documented as 'Novum Forum Sicolorum' in 1322. It developed as a leading garrison town and later as an important cultural and academic centre. In 1658 it was attacked by

WfKELY NATIONAL ANTHEM

Wliu knows where destiny leads to I nil this rough road and dark night li'nil your people once again to victory,

' I tuba, Prince Royal, on a heavenly path I Him ancestors crumble to dust through I these wars of nations, as cliffs on rough I inns tin' flood is upon us, oh, overwhelming us I i hundred fold

I ord, don't let us lose Transylvania!

V As long as we live, Peoples of Hungary, our I .plrlt shall not be broken: I Wherever we are born, whatever corner I nl the earth, whether our fate be good, I or cruel

I lie ravages of Tatars and Turks and the I Austrian yoke

I I »t us inherit our nation, the land of I the Szekely, in a free fatherland, to live in I happiness.

l urks who captured 3000 inhabitants and llunsported them back to Istanbul as slave liibour.

During the Ceau?escu regime, Targu Mure? was a 'closed city', with all ethnic «roups other than Romanians forbidden In settle here. Large numbers of ethnic Romanians from other parts of Romania were moved into Targu Mure? to further dilute lilt Hungarian community.

In 1990 Targu Mure? was the scene of bloody clashes between Hungarian students, demonstrating for a Hungarian language faculty in their university, and Romanians who raided the local Hungarian political party offices. The Romanian mob attempted to gouge out the eyes of playwright Andras Suto, who remains lillnd in one eye. The violence was apparently stirred up by the nationalist political Hioup Vatra, which paid Romanian peasants from outlying villages to travel to Titrgu Mure?, and armed them with pitch-lorks and axes. Officials later scapegoated local Roma in their investigation of the conflict.

Today Hungarian seems to be undergoing a renaissance in Targu Mure? with many local songs being in Hungarian only or in both languages. Oddly, Italian seems to be the favoured foreign language here, perhaps due to several major Italian investments in local businesses.

Carnival comes on the last weekend in June, when the city hosts its Targu Mure? Days.

Orientation

To make the 15-minute walk into town from the train station, exit the station and head straight to Str Gheorghe Doja, turn left and walk straight up to Piatas Vic-toriei, Unirii and Trandafirilor, the main thoroughfare where most hotels and travel agencies are. The citadel is just northeast of Piata Trandafirilor.

From the bus station, turn right along Str Gheorghe Doja and follow the street north to Piata Victoriei and Piata Unirii.

MAPS

There are few good maps of the city, though Grai's Judetul Mure$ 4 in 1 (€1.50) has a usable city map and a good county map, plus so-so maps of Sighi?oara and Reghin.

Information

For maps and books of local interest, try Librarie Luceafarul (© 250 581; Piata Trandafirilor 43; ® 8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm Sat). You can access the Internet at Electro Orizont (© 219 718; Piata Teatrului 12; per hr €1.60; ® 9am-11pm). ATMs are easy to find in the centre, but the IDM Exchange (crn Piata Trandafirilor & Str Horea; ® 8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm Sat) also gives cash advances on credit cards. The main post office ((©213 386; Str Revolutei 1; ® 7am-8pm Mon-Fri, 8am-1 pm Sat) and telephone centre (crn Piata Victoriei & B-dul 1 Decembrie 1918; ®7am-9pm) are at opposite ends of the centre.

Though there's no official tourist office here, Corbet Transair (© 268 463; www.corbet-trans air.ro; Piata Trandafirilor 43; ® 9am-6pm Mon-Fri) more than compensates. The dynamic young team comprise one of the most efficient agencies in Romania and they are recommended even if you are not planning to be in Targu Mure?; they arrange accommodation and organise a wealth of adventure tours (horseback riding through the Gulgiu mountains, cycling tours, tours to Roma villages) throughout Transylvania. They can also arrange car rental and rural tourism excursions.

TARGU MURES

Hotel Continental 19 I

Hotel Transilvania 20 B2

Pensuine Ana Maria &

restaurant 21 D1

EATING QD (p136)

Emma Vendégco 22 A2

Euromarketim 23 B1

Kebab 24 B2

Leo 25 B2

©5 To Club Jo (2km); . Sigbi$oara (52km); <**-</<,, Bra^ov (173km)

g To-Train Station (1km); !js< Bus Station & i - Voiajor (1,5km); / Cluf-Naj>oca (108km); f Alba lulia (l2Qkm)

©5 To Club Jo (2km); . Sigbi$oara (52km); <**-</<,, Bra^ov (173km)

g To-Train Station (1km); !js< Bus Station & i - Voiajor (1,5km); / Cluf-Naj>oca (108km); f Alba lulia (l2Qkm)

INFORMATION

Corbet Transair

1 B2

Electro Orizont

2 B1

IDM Exchange

3 B2

Librärie Luceafärul

(see 1)

Post Office

4 C1

Telephone Office

5 B3

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES (pp134-5)

Bolyai-Teleki Library 6 C2

Citadel Church & Fortress 7 C1

Citadel Museum (see 7)

Culture Palace 8 A2

Ethnographic Museum 9 B1

Foto Club (see 7)

Greco-Catholic Cathedral 10 A2

Memorial to Victims of 1989

Revolution 11 A3

Orthodox Cathedral 12 C1

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES (pp134-5)

Bolyai-Teleki Library 6 C2

Citadel Church & Fortress 7 C1

Citadel Museum (see 7)

Culture Palace 8 A2

Ethnographic Museum 9 B1

Foto Club (see 7)

Greco-Catholic Cathedral 10 A2

Memorial to Victims of 1989

Revolution 11 A3

Orthodox Cathedral 12 C1

Hotel Continental 19 I

Hotel Transilvania 20 B2

Pensuine Ana Maria &

restaurant 21 D1

EATING QD (p136)

Emma Vendégco 22 A2

Euromarketim 23 B1

Kebab 24 B2

Leo 25 B2

ENTERTAINMENT @ (p136)

Agende de Bilete (see 8

Ariel Theatre (see 17)

National Opera & Theatre 26 B1

TRANSPORT (pp137-8)

Agenjie de Voiaj CFR 27 B1

Sights

PIATA TRANDAFIRILOR

Targu Mure§' main sights are focused here. At the northern end of the square cross Piata Petofi and head east onto Plata Bernady Gyorgy. Towering above the tiny Piata Bernady Gyorgy is the humble Citadel Church & Fortress with its small museum (adult/child €0.40/0.20; S 10am-6pm Tue-Sun). It was founded on the site of the city's original stronghold during the 13th and 14th centuries. The Hungarian Reformed church (1316) it shelters was built by the Dominicans on the site of a former Franciscan monastery. The fortress, comprising six towers, was built around the church between the 15th and 17th centuries. Today the grounds double as a park; it's a quiet respite from the city centre more than an exciting citadel, though the kids might enjoy running along the old wall. A small Foto Club (admission free; ® 11am-7pm) on its east side has photo exhibits.

Nestled beneath the citadel walls on Piata Bernady Gyorgy is the yellow-painted, baroque Teleki House (built 1797-1803). Joseph

Teleki served as governor of Transylvania between 1842 and 1848. It now houses the 6Fix café and Ariel Theatre (pl36).

Walk back to Piata Trandafirilor, the northern end of which is dominated by the magnificent Orthodox Cathedral. The cath edral's interior is one of the most breath taking of Romania's modern churches. Built between 1933 and 1938, the cathedral partially replaced the tiny wooden church that had served the local Orthodox com munity since 1773 and is still used for services today.

On the eastern side of Piata Trandafirilor, completely overshadowed by the Orthodox Cathedral, is the baroque-style Roman Catholic church (Biserica Sfántul Joños) dating from 1728. In the baroque building (1762) on the western side of the plaza at No 11 is the Ethnographic Museum (faj 215 807; adult/child €0.80/0.40; ® 9am-4pm Tue-Sat, 9am-2pm Sun).

West of Piata Trandafirilor, at Str Aurel Filmon 21, is the ornate and well-preserved synagogue from 1900. Prior to WWII, some 5500 Jews lived in Tárgu Mure$, making up almost a third of the town's population.

^ mi tttoriul outside pays homage to the hiilin ,uisl victims.

I nil of ihe Piata, at Str Bolyai 17, is the Muni feleki Library (g)261 857; Str Bolyai 17; ad-

Hi»' library, built between 1799 and 1805 Hi ■*<> Imposing empire style, houses the HtlViiU- book collection of Samule Teleki, ftlili li lie donated to the city in 1802. The Mly In very proud of its collection that now flimprlses more than 120,000 rare and an-Hillie volumes.

I lie southern end of the square is dominated by Targu Mure?' most fantas-iii building, the Culture Palace (Palatul Culturli; iVi lll.nn 4pm Tue-Fri, 9am-1pm Sat-Sun), built in ifcrNNionist style between 1911 and 1913. 11» glittering steepled roofs, tiled in colour-lul geometric patterns, shelter a history mu-«iiiiii, an art museum and a stained-glass window museum, better known as the Mali of Mirrors (Sala Oglinzi). Scenes from u.nlllional Szekely fairy tales, ballads and Irgi lids are featured in the 12 stained-glass Windows which fill the entire length of one «villi of the long hall. The concert hall inside ll«« an organ with 4463 pipes. The ground llnor houses a contemporary Art Gallery fea-llirlng some unusual ceramics, paintings iiinl sculptures.

The Prefecture, with a tiled roof and bright Ifrrn spires, is next door to the Culture Pal-<u c, In front is a statue of Lupoaica Romei (the Wolf of Rome), a gift from Rome in 1924. i lose by on Piata Unirii is the turncoat (Irfco-Catholic Cathedral, a Romanian Orthodox church until its congregation opted to ICCept the authority of the Vatican.

Behind the church is a memorial to the Mi lims of the 1989 revolution.

UNIVERSITY & AROUND

llrgu Mure? enjoys a strong academic tradition and its medical and theatre schools are considered the most distinguished in the muntry. Eminent scholars include mathematicians Farkas Bolyai (1775-1856) and Ins son Janos Bolyai (1802-60) who revolutionised Euclidean geometry.

The university area lies northeast of the citadel. Immediately behind the citadel walls is the private Petru Maior University, with the Theatre School opposite. During tlie purges on all non-Romanians during <!eau?escu's regime, the school's flawless reputation suffered: Romanian students were given preferential treatment over Hungarian students. Today 40% of the school's population is Hungarian.

Continue northeast along Str Mihai Viteazul, then turn right onto Str Nicolae Grigorescu. Immediately after the students' Culture House (Casa de Cultura), turn left along Str Dr Gheorghe Marinescu. The Medical University (Universitatea de Medicina ?i Farmacie) is a magnificent 1950s building beyond the hospital. Directly opposite is the Romanian Heroes' Park (Parcul Eroilor Romani), dominated by a large memorial to those who died during WWII. Further north is a lovely, small, wooden Orthodox church.

Sleeping

BUDGET

Hotel Sport (@ 131 913; Str Grivita Ro§ie 33; s/d/tr €7/ 13/21) Nothing to write home about, but it's a simple, friendly place, five minutes' walk from the train station. Two rooms share one bathroom.

Hotel Transilvania (@265 616; www.unita-tur ism.ro in Romanian; Piata Trandafirilor 46; s/d without private toilet €10/15, with private toilet €14/17) The cheapest option in the centre, this has very pleasant rooms and clean bathrooms.

Complex Camping (¡ft) 214 080; Aleea Carpati 59; tent space/2-person hut €1.60/8) The same people who run the Hotel Transilvania also run one of the handful of truly excellent camping grounds in the country, located in the northwest end of town on the banks of the river Mure?. Facilities are clean and modern and there's a beach.

MID-RANGE

Pensiune Ana Maria ((B) 264 401; Str A L Papui Marian 17; s/d/ste €23/26/29) Forget the lodgings - this place is worthwhile for the breakfast (included) and food alone. Everywhere are jars of herbs and decanters of some of the best home-made tuica (blueberry and cherry are the best) you'll find anywhere. The owners run a second pensiune 3km out of the city (same prices), where they grow all the produce they use in their scrumptious meals. Rooms are simple and comfortable. Reserve and pay for their other pensiune here.

Voiajor (¡ft) 250 750; www.voiajor.ro in Romanian; Str Gheorghe Doja 143; s/d €30/35; (g) 0) This modern place adds a splash of colour to the

SZEKELY LAND •• Odorheiu Secuiesc 137

city's hotel scene with its brightly painted exterior, cheerful rooms and multilingual, friendly service - this despite the fact that it's connected to the bus station! It even has room service.

Hotel Continental (§ 250 416; www.continental hotels.ro; Piata Teatrului 6; s/d €48/61; Ig) ^) Though it's considered the top hotel in town, the drab rooms don't justify the price. This is pseudoluxury, with an impersonal feel to it. It's wheelchair accessible.

Hotel Tineretului (fig 217 441; Str Nicolae Grigor-escu 17-19; s/d €25/34) Right inside the university students' Culture House, this is overpriced for the dreary shack it is. Check out the Dr Who-like switchboard at the reception. Rooms with black-and-white only TV are €7 cheaper!

Eating

Euromarketim (Str Cälära?llor 4; ® 24hr) Get your late-night necessities in this well-stocked convenience store.

6Fix (fig 220 428; Str Pojtei 2; ® 8.30am-11pm) Located inside the Ariel Theatre is a cool, cosy hang-out that serves an array of coffees, teas and light snacks via a hip, insouciant staff to the beat of alternative music.

Kebab (fig 268 510; Str Bolyai 10; mains €1-3; ® 6.30am-10pm Mon-Sat) Despite its bland name, this a gourmet penny-pincher's delight: on one side you have carnivorous treats such as kebabs, on the other a cafeteria-style salad bar and a wide array of excellent hot dishes you can point to. There are also freshly squeezed juices.

Leo (§ 214 999; Piata Trandafirilor 36-38; mains €1-3; ® 10am-midnight) This is a popular, lively place that serves food a step above the usual fast food. Romanian dishes, soups and pizzas, ready-made and waiting to be pointed at, are dished out in this two-floor food emporium done up in a pseudocountry theme.

Emma Vendegco (fig 263 021; Str Horea 6; mains €1-3; ®11am-11pm) This unassuming little restaurant off the main square serves great, mainly Hungarian food. The creative dishes include African soup and fruit soup with wine, though the lamb cutlets and goulash are among the stars of the fail-proof menu.

Pensiune Ana Maria (see Sleeping; mains €2-4) Shame about the amusingly gawdy dining room decor, but the meals here are scrumptuous.

Entertainment

The National Opera & Theatre (§ 264 848; I'Mtf ] Teatrului 1) hosts a colourful array of plays .mil I operettas in Romanian. The lovely Culluit Palace (fig 267 629; crn Piata Trandafirilor & Str Enwfl pi 35) houses a children's library (® 9am tyim) I whose fanciful decorations and display! would be of interest to kids of all language^ I Here too is the Agentie de Bilete (§212 SII ®10am-1pm & 5-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-1pm Sat SiiiiI, I which sells tickets for a wide variety nfl theatrical and musical performances, in I eluding for the National Opera & ThealiP For alternative theatre pieces (mainly in Hungarian), check out the Ariel Theatr» (§ 220 428; Str Po§tei 2), where performance« geared towards youth are staged between September and May.

Inside the university's Culture House Cuba Libre Music Pub (§ 216 066; Str Nicolae Grigor escu 17-19; ® 10pm-4am Thu-Sat) attracts a vibranl young crowd. Otherwise, for a few drink« head to Club Jo (§ 257 720; Str Livezeni 2; ® 10am midnight Sun-Thu, 10am-4am Fri-Sat), which is packol weekends, quiet other days. It's a huge spai r with billiards, couches, a terrace, modern art on the walls and a long drink and food menu. It's in the southeastern section of the city, a €2 taxi ride from the centre.

Getting There & Away

The Agentie de Voiaj CFR (§ 266 203; Piata Teatru lui 1; ® 7.30am-7.30pm Mon-Fri) sells advanu tickets. From Targu Mure? there are two daily trains to Sibiu (5Vi hours), and one each to Bucharest (overnight, nine hours), Timi?oara (seven hours) and Budapesl (eight hours). To get to Cluj-Napoca, you must change at Razboieni.

The bus station (§ 221 458) is a five-minute walk south of the train station along Str Gheorghe Doja. Daily bus and maxitaxl services include eight to Sighi?oara, seven to Bucharest via Bra?ov, five to Odorheiu Secuiesc, four to Cluj-Napoca, three to Bistrita, two to Sibiu, and one to Timi?oara, anil Ia?i. There are also three daily buses to Budapest (€14). Tickets for buses to other European destinations can be purchased through Corbet Transair (p351).

Getting Around

Targu Mure? is small enough to cover by foot. Bus Nos 2, 16 and 17 go to the train and bus stations.

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