The geographical location of the Timiș County is a privileged one, being the westernmost county of Romania. It borders the Csongrad county – Hungary on the west and the Voievodina province – Serbia on the southwest, the connection between the two counties being ensured by the Cenad, Stamora Moravița and Jimbolia customs. The Romanian counties that neighbour the Timiș county are Arad to the north, Hunedoara to the east and Caraș-Severin to the south-east. Timiş, the largest county of the country (8697 sq. km), has very varied relief: plain in the west and central area, hilly area continued with mountain relief in the eastern part. The territory of the county is crossed by the Timiş and Bega rivers, and the climate is pleasant, temperate-continental with Mediterranean influences.
The county seat, the Timișoara municipality, also called “the city of roses”, is also the most important city of the Western Region of Romania. It is situated on the river Bega and is a cosmopolitan city inhabited by over 350,000 Romanians, Hungarians, Serbs, Slovaks, Bulgarians and other ethnicities. A symbol of democracy, solidarity, tolerance and spirit of initiative, Timișoara is a western city not only through its location but also through the western vocation mentality of its inhabitants, who pride themselves on cultural tradition and economic performance.
Lugoj, the second municipality of the county, is situated on the river Timiş, at the intersection of two major commercial roads, being the second urban centre (about 50,000 inhabitants) and a place of economic importance for the Timiş county. The cultural values and renowned choral music concerts, seconded by tourist attractions, have made it known in the past as the “capital of the culture of Banat”.
Other eight smaller towns, Sânnicolau Mare and Jimbolia in the west of the county, the Buziaș tourist resort town located only 30 km from Timișoara, Deta, Gătaia and Ciacova in the south, Recaș, famous for its wine cellars, and Făget in the east, complete the urban structure of the county in a balanced manner. Along with these, the difference of up to approximately 700,000 inhabitants of the county live in the rural environment in the 85 communes and 230 villages that complete its territorial administrative structure.
The population of the county is 687,377 inhabitants, Timiş being rightfully considered to be a multi-ethnic county, in which Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Serbs and other minorities coexist in harmony. The population distribution within the rural and urban environments is as follows: there are about 400,000 inhabitants in urban areas, the remaining 300,000 being located in the rural areas.
Historically, the continuity of life on these lands has been attested since ancient times, the Timiș county belonging to the Dacian state (2nd century BC) and later to the Roman Empire (2nd – 3rd century AD).
The Banat historical region, including the Timiș county, experienced an early feudalisation phenomenon, in the 11th century, having a Romanian voivodeship led by Glad, with its capital being Morisena (the current Cenad locality). Two centuries later, the existence of the “Castrum Timissiensis” fortress – Timișoara was recorded. In 1552, Banat was conquered by the Ottoman armies led by Suleiman Pasha and remained under the Turkish rule for 164 years, respectively until 1716, when Timișoara was freed by the Austrian Imperial Army.
After the conquest of Timișoara by the Austrian troops, Banat became the domain of the Habsburg crown, with a massive colonization with population of German origin, which changed the ethnic profile of the region and led to a new dynamic of economic development. The 18th century was the period of great transformations, materialized in vast construction works, making the Timiș County integrate in the civilization zone of Central Europe.
After the First World War and the unification with the Kingdom of Romania (1918), there was a prosperous period in which the first higher education institutions were established and the number of cultural institutions increased. However, this positive evolution was brutally interrupted by the Second World War.
The Timiş county was re-established in 1968, with its current territory and structure. Contemporary history was signed by Timișoara in December 1989 when the people, no longer being able to stand the oppression and privations of the communist regime, lit the spark of the revolution in Romania. Timișoara thus became a symbol of courage and human sacrifice, receiving the title of martyr city of Romania.