istorie7Modern Age

Modern age: the military operations of 1691-1692 submitted the city and the neighbouring towns to a serious effort, causing them major damages which the new Austrian administration would hurry to repair. Along with the strengthening of the parts of the fortress which had to suffer, it would also take the census of the buildings still standing (in Olosig it counted 114 houses out of which only 21 could be inhabited, and in Oradea and Velența no building was found whole).

The life of the inhabitants was again seriously affected by the Anti-Habsburg movement of 1703-1711 led by Francisc Rákóczi II. The towns around the fortress became battlefields between the imperial garrison from the fortress and the troops of rebels, and the fortress was subjected to a long siege. The signing of the Peace Treaty of Satu Mare in 1711 would also bring the recognition by the Imperials of the merits of Oradea inhabitants in the support of the imperial garrison. Thus, on 27th November 1712 Carol VI signed an imperial decree by which the inhabitants of Oradea were recognized the previously given privileges and they were also given the right to use the seal and coat of arms of the city.

The cessation of armed confrontations led to a sustained development of the economic life of the city, dominated almost to an equal extent by agricultural and non-agricultural activities. In fact, in a mercurial of 1722 drawn up by the Local Council of Oradea not less than 15 categories of craftsmen were identified: butchers, shoemakers, makers of coarse-stuff peasant coats, fair tailors, mixed tailors, furriers, strap makers, soap makers, button makers, rope makers, locksmiths, wheel makers, carpenters, goldsmiths and coopers.

From the cultural point of view there were noted a series of breakthroughs especially in the second half of the eighteenth century and in the first half of the following century. Most of them were owed to the representatives of the Church, among some of the most representative personalities of this period the bishops Ignatie Darabant and Samuil Vulcan stood out.

cetate-patratIn the fight for political and national rights for the Romanian population on the territory of Transylvania, along with other Romanian leaders the bishop Ignatie Darabant will stand out, considered by many researchers as one of the authors of the document Supplex Libellus Valachorum forwarded to the emperor Leopold II in March 1791. From the backstage, he will participate to the drawing up and the forwarding of the second Supplex, dated 30th March 1792.

The ideas of Enlightenment in the city on the banks of Crișului Repede River will take the shape of a constant preoccupation for the organization of a wide school network and the printing of as large as possible number of books necessary for the schools or by which was targeted the publication of scientific works of general use.  In consonance with this reality, in the last but one decade of the eighteenth century, in Oradea, appeared for the first time an institution of higher education, the Royal Academy, founded at the proposal of 25th December 1776 of the director of the school district of Oradea, the count Károlyi Antal. The start of the courses will be noted on 1st November 1780 with a year of philosophy, completed in 1788, with law studies.

The personality who imposed the development lines of the spiritual life of Oradea at the beginning of nineteenth century was the Greek Catholic bishop Samuil Vulcan (1806-1839). He was an energetic continuator of the programme of foundation of new schools and printing of a large number of Romanian books at the Printing House of Buda, and at the same time laid the foundation of a library which gathers a vast number of works. He was also a faithful collaborator with other illustrious personalities of Romanian Enlightenment of his time, among his collaborators there were Ioan Corneli, Gheorghe Șincai or Petru Maior (his historical work will be printed with the help of the high prelate of Oradea).

istorie8Valul revoluționar declanșat în Europa încă de la începutul anului 1848 nu a ocolit nici Oradea. Prin urmare, au fost convocate mai multe adunări ale comitatului care au ales noi conduceri administrative, au încercat să implementeze noile hotărâri luate, s-au ocupat de problema organizării gărzii naționale etc. Evoluția spectaculoasă a lucrurilor a determinat cercurile guvernamentale să dea la 24 august 1848 o altă dispoziție de formare a unei noi unități de gardă națională formată din 1200 de voluntari. Din cauza unităților militare cantonate în Oradea, în iarna dintre anii 1848-1849 situația locuitorilor de aici devenind critică datorită lipsurilor tot mai stringente. Lucrurile au fost mult înrăutățite și de sosirea în oraș a unui număr de refugiați care și-au căutat aici adăpost.

The revolutionary wave initiated in Europe since the beginning of 1848 did not avoid Oradea. Therefore, there were convened several meetings of the county which chose new administrative managements, tried to implement the newly taken decisions, handled the problem of organization of National Guard etc. The spectacular evolution of things determined the governmental circles to issue on 24th August 1848 another order of formation of a new National Guard unit made of 1200 volunteers. Because of military units cantoned in Oradea, in the winter of 1848-1849 the situation of the inhabitants became critical because of the more and more stringent shortages.

Things were much worsened by the arrival in the city of a number of refugees who sought shelter here. In the fortress, after the imperial troops left it, at the beginning of 1849 there were moved the armament workshops which made rifles, bayonets and swords and here was built an ammunition warehouse.  At the same time, in other locations of Oradea, workshops were arranged for the production of things necessary for the army: uniforms, shoes, harnesses etc. The decision of tsar Nicolae I of coming to the rescue of Francisc Josef I of Austria to put an end to the revolutionary wave from the empire will make that on 8th August 1849 the first Russian troops arrived in Oradea led by the cavalry general Rüdiger.

Completed in short time with other troops, they went towards Arad, but not before executing Kazimir Rulikowski, of Polish origin, who, in the last days of the revolution, left the Russian army in which he served as lieutenant and passed to the side of Hungarian revolution (28th August 1849). The defeat of the revolution will also bring more repressive measures from Austrian authorities: a part of the officers of Austrian army who passed to the side of the revolution were killed, and many tens of persons were sentenced to prison. To get rid of such a fate, many revolutionaries will take the path of exile settling in different corners of the world, from Asia Minor to United States of America. In parallel, it went through a policy of Germanization in all the fields of social life, step which was much facilitated by the significant presence of German craftsmen in the city (in fact, the first gazette designed to bring order to the city was Polizei-Anzeiger which appeared in the period 2th January 1855-31st December 1856).

vama-patrat Halfway across the nineteenth century the union of the 4 towns around the fortress takes place (Oradea-Olosig, Oradea-Orașul Nou, Oradea-Subcetate și Oradea-Velența with a total population of 16 849) under a single administration. There is no official act in this respect, but on 4th November the Habsburg authorities appointed as mayor Bölönyi Menyhért. He will reorganize the administration of the city, by creating several new institutions for this purpose. Unsatisfied with his performance the Austrians will change him on 25th June 1851 with Csorba János, recognized for his loyalty to the imperial court and for his energy for the resolution of the problems of the city.

In the second half of the 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 demographic point of view the population of the city increased across the nineteenth century from 4 700 inhabitants in 1814, to 15 727 in 1823, 28 698 in 1870, 31 324 in 1880 and 40 750 in 1890. The increase continued in the following century, in 1910 their numbers were 64 169, and in 1914 their numbers were 69 949.

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.

The outbreak of the First World War had immediate repercussions on Oradea. On 25th July 1914 it would live the first moments of mobilization, carried out in an atmosphere of euphoria, fast stifled later by the first signs of initiation of the great conflagration: the sudden rise of food prices, the introduction of restrictions etc. There was instated the civil security of the city, it was attempted to collect funds for the support of troops, there were organized popular kitchens which offered at low prices food for the poor, Right Hand Association was created within Red Cross Society for the care of the wounded. Several branches of industry reduced their activity, which led to the increase of unemployment rate. Since 1915 the problem of bread was especially acute, in January the following year it was rationalized, one person was given 300 grams every day. New rationalizations of food would be noted in 1917, the list comprised: flour, coffee, sugar, potatoes, bacon and lard.

mosoiu-patratOn 10th October 1918 the municipal council of Oradea, convened in the large hall of the Mayor’s Office delivered in favour of the independence of Hungary, but nobody said a word about the fate of nationalities from the new state. Therefore, in the same period, the leaders of Romanian National Party decided to convene the Executive Committee of the party on 12th October. The meeting took place in Oradea in the house of dr. Aurel Lazăr and ended with the drawing up of Declaration of Oradea by which it was required for the Romanian nation ”the right to decide alone its location among free nations, free of any foreign interference, and to establish the connection of its coordination with the other free nations”. In spite of some opposition, the great event of Alba Iulia of 1st December could not be stopped; the decisions adopted there were actually inferred long time in advance by the Press of Oradea.