The Municipality of Baia Mare
Baia Mare, Romania
Hearing the heart’s call, Baia Mare we shall explore
We must admit that rural Maramureș is the favorite of tourists, but any route you would follow through our beautiful county must have as a starting point the urban center of Baia Mare, a city with a rich past and a promising future. It is no coincidence that we mentioned the rich past of the city, documented since 1329, which developed as a gold center during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Two fragments of the defense wall of the Baia Mare fortress can still be seen today in the city. One of them is in the immediate vicinity of the Maramureș County Museum of History and Archeology, while another fragment is visible on Podul Viilor Street, near the Săsar River. The fortification system was built in the time of Matthias Corvinus (Matei Corvin) and included four gates and seven towers, of which only the Butchers' Bastion survived until today. The latter's name comes from the butchers' guild, to which the bastion was entrusted, but it is also known as the Ammunition Bastion, as it served as a place to store ammunition to protect the fortress. The death of Pintea the Brave (Pintea Viteazu) is connected to this Bastion: he was shot near the South Gate of the city during the anti-Habsburg uprising. The Bastion currently hosts ethnographic and folklore exhibitions and fairs.
The former Central Square of the city, known today as the Historic Center, also tells us about the past. Those who fall prey to the medieval air of the area, surrounded by centuries-old buildings, with the status of a historical monument, feel like in a time machine. The Iancu de Hunedoara House is such a building, that has carried the story of its erection across the centuries. It is joined by other architectural gems such as the Degenfeld House, the beautiful building of the former King Stephen's Hotel, the Agricultural House, the Harácsek House, the Lendvay House, the Husovski-Petrescu House or the Black Eagle Inn.
No matter how beautiful all these buildings are, the star of the city remains Stephen’s Tower (Turnul Ștefan), located in the Citadel Square. Dating back to the 14th century, the Tower is a symbol of the city of Baia Mare, and has served as a bell tower for the former "Saint King Stephen" church. The construction of the massive stone tower with a height of 50 meters was ordered by John Hunyadi (Ioan de Hunedoara) to celebrate a victory. The moon clock, installed in 1928, completes the medieval characteristics of the monument. The bell, about five centuries old, found its place in the tower only in 1925. A total of 165 narrow stairs give access to the turret at the top, which reveals an unparalleled view over the city. On the southern side of the Citadel Square we also find the "Holy Trinity" Roman Catholic Church of the former Jesuit monastery, which was built in Baroque style between 1717-1720 and belonged to the Jesuits until 1773. On its facade are two side niches, with the statues of the Jesuit saints Ignatius of Loyola and Alois Gonzaga, but also a central one, where you can see the statue of St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus in his arms. The murals on the vault, made in the early twentieth century, are attributed to the painter Károly Kiss, while the painting of the main altar, made in 1823, is the work of the painter László Kármán. Not far from this place we find another historical monument of Baia Mare. It is the "Saint Antony of Padua" church (Sfântul Anton de Padova) in Liberty Square, which was erected in 1402 by the Order of Minorities, underwent extensive rehabilitation works in the 19th century. The small place of worship is surprising due to its simplicity, having a modestly decorated interior. The altar painting is the work of the painter Megyeri Mayer, from Budapest. Another emblem of the city is the Reformed Church on Podul Viilor Street. It was built between 1792 and 1809, in Neoclassical style, its church tower, with a height of 50 meters, being erected in 1836. The place of worship with the red dome tower became, along with Stephen Tower, a symbol of Baia Mare. The interior of the church houses a beautiful priestly tribune built in 1786, an altar table completed in 1873, but also an organ made in 1828 and refurbished in 1891. Keeping the spiritual register, we turn our attention to the Evangelical Church. Although the conversion of the entire city of Baia Mare to the Reformed religion was recorded in 1547, the current Evangelical Church was built only in 1912, after the first church, built in 1693, was demolished and the second, built in 1805, was replaced. The current church was built in the Art Nouveau style and still houses the pews, organ and altar of the old church. The painting of the altar bears the signature of the painter Iványi Grünwald Béla, completed in 1903. Among the holy places are the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Adormirea Maicii Domnului) and the imposing Orthodox Episcopal Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, which today is 85 meters long, 50 meters wide and 85 meters high.
The city of Baia Mare also boasts a generous cultural offer. The Maramureș County Museum of Ethnography and Folk Art, “Victor Gorduza” County Museum of Mineralogy from Baia Mare, the Baia Mare Museum of Astronomical Sciences, the Maramureș County Museum of History and Archeology and the Maramureș County Museum of Art - Baia Mare Artistic Center - are some of the cultural institutions that greet their visitors with a unique museum background. Another representative place for the cultural life of Baia Mare is the Painters’ Colony (Colonia Pictorilor). For over a century, it has been the meeting point for artists from the country and abroad, who have defined and refined their style at the Baia Mare School of Painting. The Painters’ Colony ensemble was included on the List of Historical Monuments in 2010, being subjected to a rehabilitation project that was completed in 2017. The exhibition complex reveals the identity of the Baia Mare artistic guild, in a space that combines the past with the present, being an expression of its continuity. Art lovers can also admire three statuary complexes in the city, namely the Monument dedicated to the Romanian Soldier (Monumentul Ostașului Român), the Council of the Elders (Sfatul Bătrânilor) and the Miner’s Statue (Statuia Minerului). Theater enthusiasts will not be bored in Baia Mare either, as they can opt for the performances of the two artistic institutions in the city, namely the Municipal Theater or the Puppet Theater.
And when you thought we had finished the journey through the tourist heritage of Baia Mare, we have kept some recommendations for those who want to enjoy nature. On the administrative territory of the city you will find the "Sweet Chestnut Tree Baia Mare" Natural Reserve, the Columns of Limpedea Reserve and the Firiza Dam, three attractions for those who prefer to spend time outdoors. If we were sober to the end, you would say that we are not true "moroșeni"- Maramureș dwellers, so we promise you that in our city you will find as much fun as possible, the nightlife being just as effervescent in the city at the foot of the Gutâi Mountains.
We finished talking / Now you are free to visit!