The Lunca Muresului Natural Park, located on the inferior course of Mures River, between the dams built on each side of the river and its high terraces, is a biodiversity paradise in a relatively confined area. The massive number of protected species of plants, as well as the over 200 bird species nesting in the park give a plus scientific value to the area, currently protected through a great number of domestic and international treaties.
Photo credit: (c) Ioan WEISL / AGERPRES ARCHIVE
Inside the Lunca Muresului Natural Park, which has a 17,455.2 ha area and is spread on the territories of Arad and Timis Counties, its eastern border being only 4 km away from the centre of the Municipality of Arad, the river covers an 88 km distance, with a 120 metre average width, the last portion, from Nadlac to Cenad, representing the border between Romania and Hungary.
The floodplain of the inferior course of Mures River is a typical wetland ecosystem, with running waters, lakes, swamp forests, willow and poplar galleries, as well as riverside coppices and floodplains, unique in Romania for its natural beauty, an important nesting and passage place for a number of over 200 bird species, many of them under a strict international protection regime.
Photo credit: (c) Dorina BUZILA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE
According to Paul Hac, the Park Administration Director, the natural reserve area of Lunca Muresului initially covered less than 100 hectares and was located in the Prundul Mare zone, which was declared protected area in 1970, when, following some studies carried out by a group of experts, it was decided that the grey heron population needed to be protected. In 1988, the reserve area was extended to 12,000 hectares and, due to the diversity of the bird species and the international relevance of some of them, Bird Life International designated it Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.
The Lunca Muresului National Park (PNLM) has kept the present-day shape since 2005, when the authorities declared it protected area in its entirety of almost 17,500 hectares, being one of the four areas of Romania included on the RAMSAR List of Wetlands of International Importance, currently drawing tourists from all over the continent.
According to Paul Hac, the PNLM administration is more focused on conservation and protection rather than on development, taking into account that the confined area of the park itself is partly responsible for the biodiversity here.
The flora of the reserve is very diverse, with over 1,000 species and subspecies of woody and weedy plants, out of which a great number of plants are on the Red List of Threatened and Rare Species of Romania.
Photo credit: (c) Dorina MATIS / AGERPRES STREAM
The fauna of the protected area is rich and diverse, as consequence of the variety of the aquatic and land ecosystems, which ensure proper living conditions to many animal species, relevant in terms of hunting and science. It counts over ten thousand species, vertebrate and non-vertebrate, out of which a few thousands are part of the second category. Within the vertebrate category, birds are represented with over 200 species, fish, with 50, mammals, with 40, and amphibians, with 8-10 species.
The bird population of the park numbers a multitude of species. Some of the common species encountered here are: the great cormorant, the night heron, the little egret, the grey heron, the mallard, the black-headed gull, the coot, the plover and the bee-eater. But there are also bird species more rarely seen here, some only during the passage, such as: the white-tailed eagle, the common shelduck, the little grebe, the water rail, the purple heron, the great snipe, the common sandpiper, the lesser spotted eagle, the saker falcon and the black stork.
Photo credit: (c) Ioan WEISL / AGERPRES STREAM
Among the various mammal species living in the park, it is worth mentioning the stag, the wild boar, the otter, the fox, the coypu, the European pond turtle, the crested newt and the ground squirrel.
Tourists can admire both the mammals and the birds from especially built places.
At the same time, in the running and still waters of the reserve, there are over 50 fish species, making it one of the richest areas on a river segment in Romania.
‘For the tourists wanting to spend a holiday surrounded by tranquillity, in a place where nature rules, the Lunca Muresului National Park provides 40 accommodation places in the Ceala Visiting Cenre, the Pecica Information Point and the Cenad Information Point, Timis County, and those who cannot give up comfort can find accommodation in one of the hotels of Arad Municipality,’ Paul Hac pointed out.
According to him, most tourists, who want to admire the special beauty of nature, take walks through the protected area, with their cameras hanging around their necks. Another option for those who want to stay on land is taking a bicycle ride, the cycling lovers being able to enjoy a 12.7 kilometre itinerary following the Mures River course, a marked route, with information panels on the tourist landmarks in the area along the way.
However, the ideal way of spending time in the reserve is going by boat on the river, the Park administration providing various types of boats for rent, from canoes or kayaks, to motor boats, at different prices, depending on the tourist package of choice.
It is worth mentioning that the Lunca Muresului Natural Park includes a wild area, called Balta Bezedin (Bezedin Marshland), where from May through September white water lilies cover the water surface.
Last but not least, the existence of two very old monasteries inside the Lunca Muresului Natural Park must be brought to mind. The first in terms of age, which was first mentioned in an official document in 1177 is Hodos — Bodorog Monastery, belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church, the oldest monastic place on Romania’s territory, at about 10 kilometres away from Arad Municipality. The second, located at approximately 20 kilometres from the County Residence Municipality, is Bezdin Monastery, one of the few Serbian Orthodox monasteries of Romania, first mentioned in an official document in 1539. AGERPRES
Palatul Cultural, centru de greutate al culturii arădene, este unul din edificiile cele mai reprezentative pentru municipiul Arad.
Foto: (c) Paul BUCIUTA / AGERPRES ARHIVĂ
După cum afirmă Bujor Buda, membru al Asociației Pro Urme din Arad, clădirea a fost ridicată între anii 1911-1913, iar vizitatorii străini sau autohtoni rămân impresionați atunci când se opresc în fața impozantului monument arhitectonic.
Clădirea etalează o diversitate de stiluri. Fațada realizată în stil neoclasic este ornamentată cu un fronton sprijinit de masive coloane în stil corintic, deasupra căruia străjuiește un turn masiv. Aripile laterale sunt dominate de elemente ale stilului Renașterii italiene, iar în partea dinspre parc arhitectul s-a inspirat din elementele castelului de la Hunedoara, clădire de inspirație gotică.
Urcând scările monumentale ale edificiului, vizitatorul intră într-un frumos hol lucrat în marmură de Moneasa, de unde are acces în magnifica sală de concerte. În părțile laterale ale holului, se află două scări așezate simetric, pe care se poate ajunge la cele trei balcoane ale sălii de concerte, câte unul pe părțile laterale, cel de al treilea fiind amplasat pe latura mai mică a sălii, în partea opusă a scenei.
Potrivit lui Bujor Buda, făcând o incursiune în istoricul Palatului Cultural, pot fi aminti câteva date interesante, începând cu construirea edificiului, care a fost inițiată încă din anul 1901 de către Societatea Culturală ‘Kolcsey’ din Arad pentru a avea o clădire care să adăpostească muzeul local, biblioteca orașului și o sală de concerte, tot atunci preconizându-se și înființarea unei galerii de artă. Pentru realizarea clădirii s-a organizat un concurs ce a stârnit un interes foarte mare, dovadă că între participanți s-au numărat arhitecți din Paris, Berlin și Budapesta.
‘La secretariatul concursului au fost depuse 27 de proiecte, însă niciunul dintre proiectele prezentate nu a corespuns cerințelor autorităților locale. Din acest motiv, în cele din urmă s-a apelat la arhitectul arădean Ludovic Szantay, căruia i s-a cerut să execute un nou plan al clădirii’, a spus Bujor Buda.
A fost ales locul unde să fie construit Palatul Cultural, loc unde edificiul se află și astăzi și, după aprobarea definitivă a proiectului, au început pregătirile pentru începerea lucrărilor de construcție. Din păcate însă, din lipsă de fonduri, lucrările au stagnat până în anul 1910. În toamna anului 1912, atunci când construcția palatului era pe terminate, o parte din colecțiile muzeului au fost mutate în noile încăperi ale clădirii.
‘Inaugurarea festivă a avut loc la 25 octombrie 1913. Cu acest prilej a fost invitată și Filarmonica orașului Arad pentru un concert simfonic festiv în sala mare a palatului, concert care a cuprins piese de Schubert, Goldmarck, Bizet și Beethoven’, a precizat Bujor Buda. În perioada ce a urmat, publicul arădean s-a întâlnit în sala de concerte cu numeroase personalitați muzicale din țară și străinătate. Aici pot fi amintite faimoasele concerte susținute de marele tenor Traian Grozăvescu, de prezența lui Richard Strauss și a lui Bela Bartok și mai ales de prezența în mai multe rânduri a marelui nostru compozitor și violonist George Enescu. Acestuia din urmă i-a fost acordat în anul 1931, cu prilejul împlinirii a 50 de ani de viață, titlul de Cetățean de onoare al Aradului, evenimentul având loc în sala mare a Palatului Cultural, în prezența unei numeroase asistențe’, a mai spus Bujor.
În prezent, clădirea Palatului Cultural adăpostește sediile Muzeului Județean și ale Filarmonicii de Stat și a intrat într-un amplu proces de reabilitate, care vizează întregul ansamblu, inclusiv sala mare de concerte.
AGERPRES/(AS — autor: Ioan Weisl, editor: Marius Frățilă)
Area: 7,754 kmp. Towns and municipalities: 10, one of which is municipality: Arad. Communes: 68. Villages: 270
Photo credit: (c) Paul BUCIUTA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE
Arad County is located in the western part of Romania, bordered by the counties of Bihor, to the north and north-east; Alba to the east; Hunedoara to south-east; Timis to the south and Hungary to the west. Opened in the county are the following border crossing points: Nadlac (Romania) — Nagylak (Hungary), for road traffic; Turnu (Romania) — Battonya (Hungary), for road traffic; Varsand (Romania) — Gyula (Hungary), for road traffic; Curtici (Romania) — Lokoshaza (Hungary), for railroad traffic; Vladimirescu (Romania) — Lokoshaza (Hungary), for railroad traffic.
According to the latest census of population and housing, the resident population of Arad County was standing at 430,629 as of October 2011, 223,121 of whom were women (51.8 percent). The resident population of the largest locality on the county, the municipality of Arad numbers 159,100 people. In the county’s towns and municipalities there are 238,600 people, or 55.4 percent of the total resident population. The resident population of the most important cities is as follows: Arad municipality (159,100 people), Pecica (12,800 people), Santana (11,400 people) and Lipova (10,300 people). Information about ethnic background was available for 404,800 people, 340,700 of whom stated themselves as Romanian (84.2 percent). The registered ethnic Hungarians were 36,600 (9 percent), while the number of people having stated themselves as Roma was 16,500 (4.1 percent). Other ethnic backgrounds in excess of 100 people are Slovakian (4,500 people), German (2,900) and Ukrainian (1,300).
The Arad county overlaps the territory from the Apuseni Mts. (eastern Arad) to the large plain formed by the Mures and Crisul Alb rivers. Relief grows in altitude from the west to the east, with three main relief units: the Western Plain (that includes the High Plain of Arad and the Plain of Crisul Alb), the Western Hills and the Apuseni Mountains. The most representative relief units in the county are: the Codru-Moma Mountains (elevation 1,112 meters Plesu Peak), the Bihor Mountains (1,486 meters Gaina Peak), Zarand Mountains, Codru Piedmont, Zarand Depression, Moneasa-Ramsa Inter-mountain Depression, Almas Gurahont Depression, Halmagiu Depression, Lipova Hills, Mures Corridor (Lipova-Petris), Arad Plain, Vinga Plain, Teuz Plain and the Crisul Alb Plain.
The county’s drainage is made up by the Mures river and its tributaries Crisul Alb and several rivers composing the drainage network of Crisul Negru (Teuz, Sartis). The county’s lakes have various origins, natural lakes, meadow lakes and anthropogenic lakes.
The list of protected areas in the Arad county includes: Dosul Laurului-Zimbru Reserve (Gurahont rural town), the Narcissus Glade at Rovina, the Rovina Moor, the Soimos Moor (nearby Lipova), Dutu Cave, Sinesie Cave, fossilipherous place Zabalt (Ususau rural town), fossilipherous place Monorostia (Barzava commune), Beech Forest at Archisel (Archis commune), ‘Dealu Mocrea’ Ineu Reserve, Mixed Reserve ‘Prundul Mare’ (Secusigiu commune), Moneasa Mixed Nature Reserve, “Dealul Plesa” Sebis Reserve.
The most important underground resources are: hydrocarbon deposits (Pecica, Peregu Mic, Seitin, Santana), marble (Moneasa quarry), molybdenum ores (Savarsin), gravel (Ghioroc), kaolin (Agrisu Mare), dolomite (Galsa), granite (Radna), andesite stone (Leasa, Mocrea, Paulian, Sebis quarry) and mineral waters (Lipova, Moneasa, Macea, Curtici, Dorobanti, Sofronea and Mocrea).
Trade plays an important role in the county’s economy, followed by industry. The German investors top the ranking of the largest companies in the county.AGERPRES
The archaeological discoveries prove the continuity of life in the lands of today’s Arad County, starting from the Paleolithic (Iosasel, Macea, Sanpetru German etc.), while traces of settlements dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages were identified at Pecica, Simand, Socodor, Siclau, Varsand etc.
Photos taken by: (c) Ioan WEISL / AGERPRES ARCHIVE
Also important are the material proofs of the existence of settlements belonging to the free Dacians that were discovered near Arad (the 4th century B.C.), in the areas of Pecica, Santana, the great treasure from Silindia (the 3rd century B.C.).
In the 9th-10th centuries, the southern part of the current county was part of the Romanian state formation led by voivode Glad, while the northern area was part of Menumorut voivodate. Under the leadership of these voivodes, the domestic population put fierce opposition to the domination tendencies of the Hungarian feudal state, which also explains the fact a range of smaller cnezate — or principalities — and voivodates in the area of Arad (Cladova, Covasint, Nadab etc.) managed to defend their existence.
Their successor was Ahtum, his voivodate being recorded in the early 9th century by several sources, among which Gesta Hungarorum, the Legend of Saint Gerard and the Chronicle of Mahmud Terdzuman.
The discoveries at Sanpetru German (the 11th-13th centuries), Frumuseni (the 12th century), Pecica (the 12th-13th centuries) and others serve proof of a numerous domestic population in the early Middle Ages.
Amid the domination of the Hungarian feudal kingdom and its concern to strengthen by acts the possessions of the nobles on the land seized from the Romanian population a range of communities are mentioned, among which Arad. Among the first documents there is one from 1131, which speaks of an offering made by the king to St. Martin church in Arad. For the same year, Arad is noted in the Painted Chronicle of Vienna. In a document from 1177, Novak castrum near Arad is recorded, while a document from 1216 speaks of a complaint of the serfs in Arad castrum over their lands being occupied; documents from 1217, 1235, 1238, 1239, 1241 present Arad castrum as a very well fortified and well guarded point.
Also in order to strengthen the domination, the Hungarian feudal kingdom introduces the county as a feudal institution set up around old Romanian fortresses such as Arad county and Zarand county that generally included the territory of today’s Arad county. The two counties emerge as late as in the 13th century.
In the 5th decade of the 15th century, amid the intensified Ottoman pressure, Transylvania then led by Iancu de Hunedoara (1441-1456) played an important role in organising the fight of the Romanian principalities against the Turks. During Iancu de Hunedoara’s reign, a broad anti-Ottoman front was achieved, victories over the Ottoman Porte were gained, thus delaying the Ottoman expansion towards central Europe.
As the peasants’ social situation becomes harsher, many revolts take place, among which the Peasants’ Uprise from 1514 led by Doja and the revolt from 1526 led by Serbian chieftain Ivan the Black that encompassed northern Banat and the area of Arad county.
In 1552, Arad and the surrounding regions were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and included in Timisoara Pashalik, staying under Turkish administration till 1687, when Transylvania (therefore this part too) was occupied by the Austrian troops.
The Ottoman domination will be temporarily ended during the reign of Michael the Brave (1558-1601). In 1595, as the Ottoman troops suffer defeats peaking at Calugareni, the fortresses of Lipova, Ineu, Arad and Dezna are freed from the Turks and in 1599, with the victory at Selimbar, Arad enters under Michael the Brave’s rule.
After Michael the Brave’s death, following fresh battles between Transylvanians, imperials and Turks and as a result of the latter’s win, Arad area is again under Ottoman domination. Such domination will be gradually replaced, as the Habsburgs start entering Transylvania. Thus, the fortress of Arad is conquered in 1687, Soimos and Lipova in 1688, Ineu, Siria and Dezna in 1691; the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699 authorises such changes, once the Habsburg rule is recognised in Transylvania. However, Banat, Lipova included will remain under Ottoman domination for some time, till the Peace of Passarovitz (1718), when it will also go under Habsburg rule.
The main branch of the economy all through the Middle Ages remained agriculture, while the diversification of crafts led to an increase in the number of craftsmen. The guilds emerge in the 18th century, with the tailors setting up the first guild in Arad in 1718, to be followed by the millers in 1770. Shipping salt on the Mures river had special importance in the county of Arad.
A silk manufacture is set up at Santana in 1789; there were in Arad a bell foundry, tanneries and matches manufacture.
The most important uprise against the feudal oppression is the uprise from 1784 led by Horea, Closca and Crisan that spread through Zarand county from its very outbreak, with several settlements being occupied.
The Arad Romanians took part in all the important assemblies that outlined the programme of the Romanian Revolution of 1848 in Transylvania. Such was the Arad Romanians Conference from April 12/24, 1848, the first such assembly of the Transylvanian Romanians.
Arad locals attended in high numbers the assembly in Alba Iulia, where more than 100,000 participants voiced for Transylvania’s unification with Romania on December 1, 1918.
Arad developed at a fast pace in the inter-war years, so that in 1937 it was assessed as the most powerful economic centre in Transylvania and the fourth-most powerful in Romania.
In early September 1940, major protests took place all over Arad county against the Vienna Award from August 30, 1940. On September 22, 1944, the German and Hungarian troops were forced out by the Romanian Army in cooperation with Soviet troops, marking the day of the liberation of Arad.
After the Peace of Trianon (July 4, 1920), following the switch of the largest part of Elek (Aletea) area to the Hungarian state, the area of Arad county dwindled from 6,443.39 square kilometers as it had at the 1910 census to 6,005 sq km.
The High Royal decree no. 4.063 from December 7, 1929 modified the administrative division of Arad county. A new modification of the administrative structure of Arad county took place in 1936, when its 227 rural towns were included in 10 administrative units. The number of the communities was also modified to 234.
After World War Two, Arad county is integrated into Banat region, being divided into several districts. In 1968, when the administrative organisation of Romania took place, the current Arad county is re-established.AGERPRES