Culture

Temesvár reformed center to be completed this year

3 weeks ago

Twenty years in the making, the “New Millennium” reformed center of Temesvár/Timișoara will be completed in time for the 30th anniversary of the Romanian revolution that began in this city, Nyugati Jelen reports.

The idea of the center was the brainchild of reformed Bishop László Tőkés – whose house arrest in 1989 by dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dreaded secret service, the Securitate sparked the revolution. He came up with the idea in 1990 and in that very year famous Hungarian architect Imre Makovecz already made the first sketches of the complex.

What was then just a pipe dream, became a more realistic project in 1996, when city mayor Gheorghe Ciuhandru offered a building site to the community. While on paper this was a project of the small local reformed diocese of only 400 souls, it quickly became a symbol of the entire Hungarian community’s vitality. With a total area of 5,000 square meters, a church with two 39-meter spires and a host of community functions, it was also meant as a replacement for the “Hungarian House” built by the city’s minority from donations in 1930.

Except for a short period during WWII when it was used by the Soviet troops as a military hospital, that house functioned as a community center until 1953 when the Romanian People’s Party took it away. It was never returned to the Hungarian community, despite many protests and legal efforts.

Construction of the “New Millennium” center began in 1999 and was slow to begin and the original cost estimate of $1.2 million – due to some additions and many changed building regulations – was exceeded several times over and the final cost will be around $8 million.

(Title image: József Makkay)