Timișoara (in Latin: Timisvaraia, in Hungarian: Temesvár, in German: Temeschwar, alternatively Temeschburg or Temeswar, in Serbian: Темишвар, with the Latin alphabet: Temišvar) is the seat municipality of the Timiş county and the Banat region, Romania. In 2011 it had 319,279 inhabitants and was the third city in Romania in terms of population. The name of the locality comes from the river Timiş, combined with the Hungarian noun vár, “fortress “, meaning the Fortress of Timiş. In September 2016, Timișoara was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2021.
The Timișoara municipality, documentarily certified for over 730 years, the current seat of the Timiş county, is situated in the Timiș plain, a plain crossed by the Bega and Timiş rivers.
The geographical position gives the city specific elements of natural and anthropic potential, emphasizing its personality, and influences its relations with other Romanian cities and with the main urban poles of the European continent. Thus, the municipality of Timișoara is located less than 700 km away from 15 European capitals, through the interaction with which its social and economic development can be stimulated. Located in the south-eastern part of the Pannonia Basin, in a position of great convergence and European access, the municipality of Timișoara is mainly served by two roads of European importance, E 70 (DN 6 and DN 59) that cross ten countries (from Spain to Georgia, entering the country from Serbia and constituting a connection with the south of the country and the capital Bucharest) and E 671 (DN 69), which crosses the west of the country, from north to south, passing through Timișoara and ensuring the link with Hungary and Central Europe respectively. The Timișoara growth pole also has an international airport, the third in terms of national importance. It provides transport for people and goods, with regular connections to Bucharest, Munich, London, Treviso/ Venice, Rome, Paris-Beauvais, Dortmund, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bologna, Stuttgart, Verona as well as charter, holiday destinations (Zakynthos, Skiathos, Heraklion, Antalya, etc.). The city is also an important railway junction, at the convergence of 12 main and large railway lines, among which the ones with the heaviest traffic go towards Bucharest, Arad – Budapest and Belgrade. The Timișoara municipality, with its 4 railway stations Timișoara Nord, Timișoara Est, Timișoara Sud and Timișoara Vest (north, east, south and west) is the most important railway junction in the western part of the country.
Thanks to its favourable position, with multiple possibilities of interconnection through terrestrial, aerial and naval communications, along with the placement of one of the most important European optical fibre telecommunication lines, Timișoara is now the main entrance gate in Romania, from Central and Western Europe. At the national level, located at a distance of 571 km from the capital city of Bucharest, the Timişoara municipality, seat of the Timiş county, is the largest city in the western part of Romania, with a stable population of 333,650 inhabitants on 01.01.2014 (insse.ro, 2015), representing 45.06% of the Timiş county population, 18.43% of the West Region population and 1.68% of the total population of the country.
Through its open character, through the cultural and civilization values developed throughout history, the city of Timișoara has manifested itself as one of the most efficient integrative systems in Romania, generating social-political balance, economic and spiritual dynamism, with an exemplary character. These features are also illustrated by the traditional ethnic and confessional plurality of the Timișoara population. According to the 2002 census, the city’s inhabitants were grouped into 17 ethnicities and 16 religions, reflecting two major features of the population, namely inter-culturalism and high tolerance. Ethnic and cultural diversity continued in the next decade, with the 2011 census data revealing the presence of 21 ethnicities and 18 nominated religions in the Timișoara municipality, with 81.36% of the total population being of Romanian ethnicity and 9.66% of other ethnicities (Hungarians, Serbs, Germans, Roma, etc.), while 8.98% of the city’s residents chose not to declare their ethnicity. Parallel to the reduction in the share of some of the traditional ethnic minorities, the number of representatives of “exotic” ethnicities (Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Arabs, etc.) has grown. These people have moved here in recent years, through immigration, due to the attraction of the dynamic economy of Timișoara on the business environment and the labour force.
Throughout its entire history, the geographic position has influenced the social-economic and territorial-urban development of Timișoara.