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Timisoara - Rob goes to Church

by - August 1 2010

Timisoara is a small city in Transylvania, near to the border with Serbia. It is a university town and it famous for being the place where the 1989 revolution started. I visited it primarily because it is a good place to stop on the way to Sibiu, but I'm pleased I did as it is more than worth a visit.

The architecture is overwhelmingly beautiful, although some buildings are in a poor state of repair. The city is also filled with beautiful squares, parks, pedestrianised areas, and outdoor cafes. I hadn't really been prepared for quite how beautiful, or indeed generally pleasant, the city would be.

Since it was a Sunday, I decided to attend mass at the cathedral and find out what an Eastern Orthodox service is like. Since I don't speak Romanian, I wasn't able to follow much if what was going on, but it was still very interesting. The congregation stand up throughout the service, everything (except the sermon) is sung, there is no order of service, people kneel down whenever they feel like it and are free to wander around throughout the service (including turning up late), and a lot of time is spend paying respect to various religious objects.

The inside of the cathedral itself is visually dramatic, with lots of icon paintings and gold. One big difference between Romania and Bosnia/Serbia is that communication is much easier. Romanian is a romance language, like French and Italian, so I can usually understand roughly what people are saying or what signs mean. Similarly, most people seem to speak at least some English and often very good English.

In the late afternoon I boarded a train to Sibiu. I'm writing this message from the train and will write more after I arrive.