The first documentary acknowledgement of the city was noted in 1113 in a diploma of Benedictine abbey of Zobor. The context in which it is mentioned for the first time the toponymy Oradea (Varadinum) was caused by the repeated and destroying incursions of the Moravian prince Svatopluk, in his capacity of ally of the German emperor Henry IV, over a significant number of settlements on the Valley of Vahului and Nitrei (of today’s Slovakia).
In the second half of the 19-th century Oradea will know a sustained industrial development. The sources of income of the city came from the rents of the establishments and own houses, from the taxes levied to large and medium enterprises and from customs. There were 4 customs in 1899: pavement customs, fair customs, bridge customs and customs of rafts flowing down Criș.
From the urban point of view several achievements could be noted during this period. New parks appeared, such as the one made by the rearrangement of the banks of Crișului River from the current Liberty Square (1890-1892) or the one between the base of hills and Criș, near Continental Hotel, born on a surface donated to the city by will by the canon V. Bunyitay in 1908. Then emphasis was placed on the problem of common transportation, on 7th March 1906 the first three tramway waggons were given for use in Oradea. The necessity of potable water for a population on the increase was solved by the building of a plant which filtrates the water coming from Criș, given for use in January 1895, and the matter of public lighting found partial resolution by the introduction of electrical lighting beginning with 1904. In parallel, new constructions come to complete the image of the city: Black Eagle Palace, station building, premonstratens gymnasium and Law Academy (Mihai Eminescu High School), Real State Higher School (Emanuil Gojdu High School), Post Palace, Pannonia Hotel (the current Transylvania), Museum of the city, the two synagogues, the current building of the Prefect’s Office, Ullman Palace etc.
City Hall Tower – the façade with its wealth of architectural elements (pilasters, colonnades, balconies, arches, the carriageable portico and until recently the allegorical statuary group) were carefully crafted by the designer-builder. They are also highlighted by the relatively classical and compositionally modest side wings. The clock tower served as a watch tower for the city’s firefighters.
Oradea Fortress – became, in the 16th and 17th Centuries, one of the key pieces of the defensive system conceived and realized by the Habsburg Empire and the Transylvanian Principality against the Ottoman Empire, and thus a redoubtable bastion of Christian Europe faced with Muslim expansion, a position it held for two centuries, unanimously recognized by its contemporaries.
Vulturul Negru Palace – Its construction, on the old location of the “Black Eagle” Inn, begins in 1907, under the supervision of construction engineer Sztarill Ferenc, and in December 1908, the edification is complete.Comprised and two unequal and asymmetrical building bodies, connected to a third, much retracted one, in the middle, the complex was to house: a theatre, ballrooms, a casino, offices and so on. The Y-shaped passage with its three entry points (main entry in Unirii Square, secondary entrances on V. Alecsandri and Independenței Streets), the staggering avalanche of curved lines, the alternation of stuccos-bass reliefs with floral and figurative motifs, the stained glass and the colossal chandeliers are compositionally organized in such a symmetrical way that the eminence of the edifice cannot be contested.
Oradea Theatre – Situated in the center of a true architectural museum, this building in eclectic style imposes with exceptional craftsmanship. The construction, so avidly desired by the municipality of the age, was entrusted to renowned Viennese construction firm Fellner and Helmer. The two Viennese entrepreneurs, well known throughout Europe for their efficiency and good taste, presented a project to the Oradea municipality, and the construction work began on the 21st of July 1899. Due to the builders’ Rimánoczy Kálmán senior, Guttman József and Rendes Vilmos efficiency, by the 1st of October 1900 the building was finished and two weeks later the festive inauguration would take place.
Greek Catholic Bishops Palace – was built in eclectic style by Rimánoczy jr., on the location of the old baroque building which had served as Episcopal headquarters. The construction work is done between 1903 and 1905. Framed by two lateral towers and dominated by the tower which connects the two wings, the edifice is a refined combination of eclectic style with numerous Romanic and Byzantine decorative elements.