Geographical situation - Bihor County is one of the main entrance gates of our country. It occupies the sixth place in terms of size and lies in the North-West part of Romania between the parallels of 46° 23' and 47°35' Northern latitude and 21° 26' and 22°48'.
Neighborhood: Satu Mare County (to the North), Salaj, Cluj and Alba Counties (to the East), Arad County (to the South) and the Hungarian border to the West. The frontier line stretches on a length of 150 km on which the following customs points are situated: Valea lui Mihai, Bors (the main entrance gate for those coming from Western Europe), Episcopia Bihor and Salonta.
Communication and transport ways:
Flora and Fauna
Etnography and Folklore
Oradea is situated in the North West of Romania and stretches on the both banks of the Crisul Repede river. This geographical position stimulated the evolution of the town because along the valley of the Crisul Repede River a link between Western and South Eastern Europe developed, even towards the Near East, Oradea having become an important commercial town. By its position within our country, being situated at 12 km from the west border, Oradea is the main gate at the western frontier of Romania.
The systematical archaeological research developed in the town area pointed out the existence of some settlements belonging to the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. The rich archaeological discoveries enrich today the collections of several prestigious museums from our country or abroad. Those who lived here were the “Free Dacians” and the Roman withdrawal did not disturb the life of the Dacian communities in the area of Oradea. According to the archaeological evidence, the Dacian population remained stable in the old places, having more or less intense connections with the migratory population, which successively passed from the Asian continent towards central parts of Europe. Toponymically certified since 1113 (Varadinum), in documents, Oradea was recorded as town (civitas Varadiensis) in 1374 .The Tartar invasion in 1241, described by Rogerius monk who witnessed the events, devastated the region, being thus the moment of a new beginning. Being an important junction of commercial roads, the town was protected by a circular stone fortress (at the end of the XVII century), and later, by a bulwark building in Italian style (XIV-XVII centuries), which was built by the contribution of Transylvanian craftsmen and funds. The cultural dimension of the burg is reflected especially by the influence of the Italian humanism, “the golden age” of the XIV-XVth centuries being dominated by the late gothic and Renascence, which are present especially in the architecture of the old cathedral and of the bishopric palace inside the fortress. The fortress was rebuilt beginning with 1567, becoming a reference military mark for the region.
Between 1660-1692 Oradea was a Turkish pashalic, but the Ottoman occupation is short termed because in June 1692, the Austrian army entered the biggest town in the region. New historical views were opening then. There appeared guilds for several trades, public and private libraries, printing houses; churches, cathedrals, seigniorial palaces and cultural settlements were being built. We mention some of them: Sf. Ladislau Roman Catholic Church, (1723-1742); ”Adormirea Maicii Domnului” Orthodox Cathedral, named the Moon Church (1784. In the church tower we find an original spherical mechanism indicating the Moon phases in its rotation, manufactured by the watchmaker Georg Rueppe in 1793.), The Roman-Catholic Bishopric Palace (1762-1777), The Roman-Catholic Cathedral (built between 1752-1780 in Baroque style.It is the largest church in this style in Romania. Pope John Paul the Second turned it into basilica in 1991.), The Baroque Palace (built following the plans of the Viennesse architect Franz Anton Hillebrandt in Late Baroque style. It is a copy of the Belvedere Palace of Vienna, a building with 120 rooms and 365 windows.) where nowadays the “Tarii Crisurilor Museum is functioning having 4 sections: History, Etnography, Natural sciences and Art, the ”Sf. Nicolae” Greek- Catholic Cathedral (1806), the Orthodox Synagogue, the Chamber of Commerce Palace (1893-1894), Law Court Palace (1898) and the State Theatre (1899-1900). The cultural character of the town was completed with the existence, since 1780, of a Law Academy which is the basis of the nowadays Oradea university center. The XIXth century also indicates the beginning of modernity by the conceiving of the first systematization and administrative union plans of different districts of the town. Towards the end of the century, alongside with an important industrial development, some of the great cultural institutions of the country, such as the museum, the theatre, the libraries, the lecture societies etc, were founded and they were developed during inter-war period. Also, during that period the center of the town was rebuilt, reflecting the Secession style prevailing in Europe.
On October 12, 1918, the leaders of the Romanians form Transylvania adopted the Autodetermination Declaration from Oradea, which became the main document read with the occasion of the first of December 1918, when the nowadays Romania National State was created. After the Romanian administration was introduced at December 25-1925, Oradea was pronounced Town. The town, inhabited by a majority of Romanian population, became one of most prosperous towns from economical and cultural point of view. There were developed industrial branches, Romanian banks and important cultural societies. At present, the town has more than 220.000 inhabitants, which places it among the biggest towns in the country having a diversified industry in fields such as electricity, chemical industry, aluminum industry mechanics, processing industry, food industry, tourism etc. Oradea is also a commercial and cultural center with a great potentiality. Oradea, the biggest town of Bihor county is remarked due to the Secession architectonic style and due to its cultural settlements (the Public Theatre having Romanian and Hungarian sections, the Puppet-theatre, local radio and TV stations, show halls and sport grounds, swimming pools with geothermal water etc.). The free practice of religious belief is reflected in the existence of different churches belonging to the following cults: Orthodox, Greek-Catholic, Catholic, Pentecostal etc.
After December 1989, Oradea aims to prosperity and wealth specific to towns with European tradition. Both culturally and economically, the perspectives of Oradea are inevitably related to the general aspiration of the Romanian society to freedom, democracy and free market economy with varied initiatives in all fields of activity. Due to its specific character, Oradea is one of the most important economic and cultural centers of Western Romania and of the country in general, and one of the great academic centers with a special development dynamics.
Bãile Felix and Bãile 1 Mai Spas
The spas are situated nearby (only 8 km from Oradea), at the meeting point between the plain and the last hills decreasing westwards from the Pãdurea Craiului Mountains. The mild continental climate makes them permanent spas. The flora and fauna reflect the climate and relief conditions offering various and even rare species, for example, the thermal lotus which was declared monument of nature. The Peta lake and River belonging to this region are scientifical preserved.
The researchers affirm that the thermal waters from Bãile 1 Mai were known and used since Roman times. A document from 1221 attests the existence of thermal waters in this region. They are mentioned by the poet Ianus Ponnonius (1465), humanist N. Olahus (1493-1568), Conrad Iacob Hiltebrandt. Between 1711-1721 the spas were managed by Felix Hilcher who contributed to its development (he discovered and used the Felix spring, name taken by the entire spa). Documents from 1731-1777 offer a large range of information regarding the two spas. Between 1887-1914 new hotels with modern facilities have been built The tourists could spend their time at fanfare concerts, parties, swimming and tennis contests etc. Transitory and leisure tourism developed together with the watering treatment.
Famous bathing spa, Bãile Felix Spa offers excellent accommodation conditions and treatment with geothermal water with temperatures between 45-112 C degrees. Baile Felix Spa has 20 hotels, 6 modern treatment bases linked directly to hotels by covered and heated passages, allowing the balneary treatment to be done at best condition even in the cold season. Therapeutical indications: rheumatic conditions, post-traumatic disorders, central and peripherical neurological problems, the rehabilitation of the chronic evolutionary polyarthritis in its inactive stage, the treatment of the post-traumatic conditions of the skeleton muscles articulations, gynaecological disease and other associated ones (endocrine, of nutrition and metabolism) and occupational disease. For spare time activities, the spa has covered and uncovered pools, rooms for electronic games, sport grounds, cinema, discotheque.
Stâna de Vale (mountain resort)
Stâna de Vale (situated at 1102 m. altitude) is one of the most pleasant resorts in the country and at the same time an important tourism center, a departure point for the roads that lead to the heart of the Apuseni Mountains. Access Ways: DN76 Oradea - Beius - Stâna de Vale (86 km); by train to Beius and from here by bus (24 km). The Stâna de Vale resort is situated in a depression surrounded by spruce fir and beech forests. It has a mountain climate with chilly summers and very cold winters. The depressional aspect of the resort is a condition for the accumulation of an important amount of snow during winter. The snow layer, being sometimes higher than 2 m, lasts until late spring and changes the resort into a favorable place for practicing ski. Ski tracks: the main track “The Donkey” (baby ski lift) and the secondary ones without ski lift: Nina, Mariana, Mosului. At present, the tourists can find accommodation at “Iadolina“ hotel (104 places in rooms of 2 or 4 beds, restaurant, a day bar) or at Romsilva, Gaudeamus, Sinteza Meteo, Militara, Roods or IREC chalets, belonging to various firms or commercial companies. During summer time (from June to September), a 69 places camping is open (22 little houses each of them having 2 to 4 places, electric light, sanitation, places for food preparation and spaces for trailers and tents). The resort has an important natural therapeutic factor, the air is clean, deprived of allergens, rich in ultraviolet rays and with ions. It is recommended for treatments regarding the astenic neurosis, endocrine and respiratory diseases.
Pestera Ursilor - Chiscău (Bears Cave - Chiscău)
The Bears’ Cave was discovered in 1975 in a marble quarry.
Access ways: railway - Beius or Sudrigiu railway station and from here by bus; DN 76 Oradea - Sudrigiu village (86 km) + DJ 763 Chiscău village 14 km, asphalt road.