Ciprian Glăvan

Defortificarea cetatii Timisoara / The Demolition of the Fortress Timisoara

1 Ianuarie 2013

Cuvinte cheie:
dezvoltare urbană



Shortly after the conquest of Timişoara by the Habsburg armies in October 1716, the building of a new bastioned fortification to replace the existing Turkish fortifications was considered necessary. e construction work started in 1732 and ended in 1765. When it was completed, the circuit of fortifications had an average width of 585 m and consisted of nine bastions and three access gates. Beyond the external line of fortifications lay the esplanade, a 949-m-wide plain subject to a construction ban. e fortress, built at high costs and with incredible efforts in order to stave off the raids of the Turks, was never attacked by them again, but in 1849 successfully withstood a siege by the Hungarian revolutionary army that lasted over 100 days. From that moment on, due to progress made in the military field, the fortress started losing its utility. It is in this context that the local authorities took steps to revoke the city’s official status of fortress and, implicitly, to tear down the fortifications, deemed to be a major hindrance to urban development because of the thick walls and narrow access gates and, in particular, the presence of the esplanade. eir first success came with the order of His Majesty, Emperor Franz Joseph, issued on November 10, 1868, to reduce the area under construction ban from 949 m to 569 m. Four years later, through a decision of His Majesty’s, the Timişoara magistrate’s request was approved and the demolition of the fortress walls could begin. e military commandment of the city and the civil authorities were to agree on the means of demolition and all the other aspects of the matter. e three gates, which were locked at night, slowed down the traffic between the city and its suburbs. e decision to remove them was carried through in a short period of time, so that they had already been pulled down by September 1891, when the emperor visited Timişoara on the occasion of a regional exhibition in Southern Hungary. Such measures, taken by mayor Telbisz and the city administration, resulted in His Majesty’s decision of April 23, 1892, which officially cancelled the fortress status of Timişoara. Given the complexity of the matter and the stakes involved in the defortification of the city and its subsequent development, the decision to cancel its fortress status was followed by lengthy negotiations, which were finally brought to an end by an agreement between the civil and the military authorities of the city, signed in 1905. According to the terms of the agreement, a surface of 138.460 m2 was allocated to the city, in exchange for five replacement buildings for the army, 1.930.000 kronen worth, to be erected over an interval of five years. In urban development terms, the main priority was the connection of the city centre with the suburbs. For this purpose, the plots situated along the arterial roads, which would link the suburbs to the centre, were among the first to be sold and the following construction plan was proposed: ground floor and three stories, attached building system and monumental character. In economic terms, the city authorities aimed to capitalise as much as possible on the plots that had become available, which led to a total of 1.906.512 kronen being made from the sales in the first years after the demolition. Alongside defortification, the three regularisation plans drafted before World War I, as well as other urban works that contributed to the development of the city and the fluidity of traffic – for example the regularisation of the Bega Canal or the moving of the railways to Orşova (1902) and Baziaş (1933) – have left an indelible mark on the modern development of the city.