Sunday 23 January 2022

Edgar Allen Poe in Timisoara



1 comment:


    It's a 10 minutes walk from "my" (or rather my parents' house). When I was a child in the 80s, my grandfather took me to the area quite often as it is not far from a market place where he shopped. At that time I was afraid to go there, the neighbourhood was full of decrepit buildings where poor Gypsies lived. It had a bad reputation. Naughty children were, at that time, threatened to be "given to the Gypsies" ("te dau la țigani"). I don't know what it meant. Did it suggest that Gypsies stole, bought or enslaved children? Or did it merely mean that the naughty child would have a much tougher life, would be neglected in a poor Gypsy family?

    My grandfather would meet all kind of old ladies, acquaintances of his, and they'd start chatting in Hungarian and I would not understand a word. He was the only one in our family to speak Hungarian as he was born 10 years before Transylavania and Banat changed to Romania. Hearing him speak was like a glimpse in a private life of his, hidden to us. Today one can still hear Hungarian on the streets of Timișoara, but it is much rarer than in the 80s.

    I have somewhere at home an almanach published in the 1920s in Romanian. Almost all shops had Hungarian or German names. 95% percent of the city's population was non-Romanian before 1918. Today I can spot "non-native" Timișorenians because they have no clue where Lahovary or Küttl square are, these being the pre-war names of squares in the city, still used by the "old" people.

    Some more monumental buildings, mainly in the square proper, were renovated, unfortunately it seems it was not a very thorough job, the façades started peeling again. But other buildings, on the streets leading to the square, some of them very beautiful with Art Nouveau decorations, decay, their floors collapse, are deserted and neglected.