One day in the county of Arad
The “gateway to Western Europe”, as Romanians call the city of Arad, is almost a stone’s throw away from Tmisoara. The elegant city is situated next to a rich wine-making region on the banks of the river Mures and surprises its visitors with beautiful eclectic and secession styled palaces that remind us of the glorious days of Habsburg times.
We will depart from Timisoara and after about an hour’s drive we will reach the Orthodox Monastery of Hodos-Bodrog, one of the oldest monastic settlements in Romania, dating back to the XI-th century. This very important spiritual centre is home to 25 monks that pray day and night and serve the large number of locals always attending services. Foreigners are always welcome here either to pray or listen to the legends connected to this place.
From here, we will drive to Arad, the “little Vienna” as they also call it, and once we cross the river Mures, we will leave the Banat region behind. In Arad we will walk along the famous main boulevard and we’ll visit the Roman Catholic Church, the Town Hall, the Cultural palace, we’ll walk through one of the two big farmers markets in the center (Arad is famous for having the best markets in Romania with delicious local products) and we’ll reach the Reconciliation square, where we’ll learn about the Romanian and Hungarian history and relationaship and we’ll learn why 13 Hungarian Generals were executed here in 1849, turning the city into a pilgrimage place for Hungarians.
After learning some stories and legends about the city, we will continue our trip towards the East, following the tracks of the first Electrified tram in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1907). This old tram was used to connect the famous Arad wine region and the city center, ensuring quick and safe transport of fine wines to the restaurants of the city and on, to the rest of the Empire. Emperor Franz Josef and his wife Sissi’s favourite wine came from right here.
After passing by the vineyards, we will reach our last destination, the Maria Radna Monastery. Guarding the gate of Transylvania, by the river Mures stands one of the biggest Roman Catholic pilgrimage places of the country. It is a beautiful baroque basilica, filled with history and legends that brings people together, no matter what language they speak. On feast days they celebrate mass in 7 languages, having people from neighbouring countries coming as well.
We’ll end the evening with a delicious local meal and of course, try the wine that delighted the Imperial Court of Vienna.