Founded in the middle of a swamp, at an uncertain point of encounter between the Timiş and Bega rivers, the town of Timișoara grew, was fortified and became the oriental “capital” of a piece of the Ottoman Empire, was demolished, then rebuilt, only to be prepared 300 years later to become a capital once again, this time the cultural capital of the West. Between the two stages, the medieval town was adapted to the Ottoman urban customs, while in the Habsburg town all previous traces were deleted, being built ex nihilo through a brutal transformation of the landscape. Three centuries later from this founding gesture, the squares drawn up by the urban planners of the old empire are rehabilitated, a process through which the Ottoman past begins to reveal itself, lets itself be guessed under the thick layers of the Habsburg, Austro-Hungarian, and Romanian heritage. This is all happening at a turning point for Europe, which seems to be defined by its cities as poles for regional development rather than by the old borders drawn by the wars between the empires. This article gives a brief summary of the multi-layered historical evolution of the town and at the same time its prospects for contemporary development.
Keywords: Ottoman town, cultural capital, urban development