Recently rehabilitated, Oradea’s Fortress hosts one of the most important museum structures in the area: the Museum of Oradea City – Cultural Complex. The Museum reflects the history of both the Fortress and the city of Oradea.
The Princely Palace is our introduction to the history of Oradea through its 4 wings: A-B, C, D and E, part of them currently serving as the Museum of Oradea City – Cultural Complex.
Wing A is the oldest of the current architectonic ensemble, being built between 1620 and 1625 by Italian architect Giacomo Resti in the late Renaissance style. This wing served as a princely residence, the fortress having a role in the defense of the western frontier of the Principality of Transylvania.
The arch of the first hall is decorated with painted emblems featuring Latin inscriptions, segments of which have still been kept. In the second hall, there are mural paintings, featuring allegorical floral motifs, one of the most beautiful of the rooms being the Griffin Hall, which depicts eight mythical and real animals representing the princely virtues (valiance, strength, purity, tenacity, resilience, sharpness, swiftness).
A Lapidarium was installed in the basement, sheltering architectonic fragments of the Gothic cathedral, funerary items, etc.
Currently, the Museum of Oradea City – Cultural Complex is fully housed in Wings A and B, where a series of permanent exhibitions have been set up: Biserici în palat – cercetări arheologice în Palatul Princiar” (“Churches in the palace – archaeological research on the Princely Palace”); Expoziţia Episcopiei Greco-Catolice de Oradea – File de istorie (The Exhibition of the Greek-Catholic Bishopric of Oradea – Pages of History); Expoziţia Bisericii Reformate Oradea (The Exhibition of the Reformed Church of Oradea); Expoziţia Episcopiei Romano-Catolice de Oradea (The Exhibition of the Roman-Catholic Bishopric of Oradea), along with temporary exhibitions.
Wing C is home to the Art Gallery of the City, which is also integrated into the Museum.
One other permanent exhibition that is enjoying wide popularity is „Muzeul Pâinii” (“The Museum of Bread”), set up in Wing H, where a bakery operated for 300 years. It was built in 1692 at the order of General Corbeli. Three of the six furnaces have been put back on display for tourists, and can be admired along with other objects that have to do with “the history of bread.”
Also running within the Museum, in the basement of Wing K, is a unique area in Romania: The „Rezistență și Represiune în Bihor” (“Resistance and Repression in Bihor”) Memorial, as a memento of the fact that Oradea’s Fortress served, at the end of World War II, as Internment Camp no. 1, where ethnic Germans, USSR deportees and the first enemies of the people were incarcerated.
In December 2018, the museum opened a new section, Oradea’s Museum of Jewish History, located on Primăriei (City Hall) Street no. 25.
The museum was opened in the Aachvas Rein Orthodox Synagogue as a token of gratitude for the contributions of the Jewish community to the history of the city. Its ground floor is host to panels and objects related to the life of the Jewish community of the municipality from the past 400 years: history, Jewish palaces, the rabbis of the community, and the Sonnenfelds, one of the oldest Jewish families in Oradea. The upper floor houses a permanent exhibition in memory of the people of Oradea who lost their lives during the Holocaust.
For more details, please visit the website of the museum: www.muzeulmoo.ro
Presentation video: https://youtu.be/BmQ7ZQUuGDc