Catedrala Romano-Catolică “Inălțarea Fecioarei Maria”
The Roman-Catholic Cathedral
  • Architecture – Baroque Style
  • Built – 1751-1779
  • Architect – Franz Anton Hillebrandt

The Roman-Catholic Cathedral ‘The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ is located on the Şirul Canonicilor Street, inside the Baroque Complex Park, where one can also find the Roman-Catholic Bishopric Palace, and it represents the fourth Diocese of the Roman-Catholic denomination in Oradea. Access to this house of worship is either through the main gate of the Baroque Complex, or through the gate that leads to the nave of the church. The building is the work of Franz Anton Hillebrandt, an architect from Vienna who accepted the proposal of bishop Paulus Forgács to design it. What is interesting to mention is that from 1750 until 1st May 1752 when the foundation was laid, the Austrian architect’s name was ubiquitous, but from this moment on, it disappeared only to be replaced by that of Italian constructor Giovanni Battista Ricca.

Some sort of bad omen hung above those names linked to this place of worship, since the Italian artist died in 1756. The arrival of a new bishop, Ádám Patachich, gave a new stimulus for the construction. He settled things in such a way that, parallel with the construction of the Baroque Palace, the same Franz Anton Hillebrandt, who in the meantime became chief-architect for the Imperial Court, would be the supervisor of the cathedral’s construction by Austrian Johann Michael Neumann. From 1761, Ricca’s plans were revised and replaced, so that instead of a North-Italian Baroque style basilica, the building would be erected in the late-Austrian Baroque style. After several amendments to the plan and after construction stalemates, works ended in the summer of 1779. The consecration of the church was done a year later, on 25th June, 1780.

Very well preserved, both inside and outside, the building is remarkable through its exterior monumentality and through the intelligent exploitation of the interior. Those who enter it will be overwhelmed by a profound state of mystical elevation, owing greatly to the light contrast, but also to the special effect of the altar. The exquisite chromatic scale, pictorial composition and the heavenly acoustics are elements that make Basilica Minor profoundly attractive.

Among the valuable objects it possesses we remind: Gothic and Renaissance style tombstones of the old cathedral in the Citadel of Oradea and the chest with the relics of Saint Ladislaus I, the miracle worker.