Oradea (Hungarian: Nagyvárad, colloquially also Várad, German: Grosswardein, former Turkish: Varat, Yiddish: גרויסווארדיין, Italian: Gran Varadino) is the capital city of Bihor County, in Crişana, Romania.
The city proper has a population of 206,614 as of the 2002[update] census; this does not include areas from the metropolitan area, outside the municipality; they bring the total urban area population to approximately 260,000.
Oradea is one of the most prosperous cities of Romania.
The city lies at the meeting point of the Crişana plain and the Crişul Repede‘s basin. It is situated 126 meters above sea-level, surrounded on the north-eastern part by the hills of Oradea belonging to the Ses hills.
The main part of the settlement is situated on the floodplain and on the terraces situated down the river Crişul Repede. Oradea is famous for its thermal springs. The river Crişul Repede crosses the city right in the centre, providing it with a picturesque beauty.
Its output depends on the season; the water containers (the dyke near Tileagd) have partly controlled it ever since they were built in the early 1980s.
Other sites worth visiting are:
- Baroque Palace of Oradea – today Muzeul Ṭării Criṣurilor, a wonderful Baroque museum with 365 famous windows. It was the Roman Catholic bishop’s palace until 1945, when the Communist regime took the building into public ownership. It was returned to the Roman Catholic Church in 2003. Its collection includes many fossils of dinosaurs and birds from the bauxite mines at Cornet-Brusturi.
- Catedrala barocă – the biggest Baroque cathedral in Romania,
- Cetatea Oradea – Oradea’s Fortress, with a pentagonal fort,
- Biserica cu Lună – a church unique in Europe, with a type of astronomical clock depicting the phases of the moon,
- Pasajul Vulturul Negru – the „Black Eagle” Passage,
- Ady Endre Museum – a museum dedicated to one of the greatest Hungarian poets,
- Teatrul de Stat – the State Theatre, plans for which were designed by two Austrian architects who had built around 100 theatres and opera houses in Europe by the end of the 19th century,
- Str. Republicii – one of the most beautiful streets of Transylvania, displaying an incredible number of Art Nouveau buildings (under restoration in 2006),
- There are around 100 religious sites of different denominations in Oradea, including three synagogues (however, only one is said to be still in use) and the biggest Baptist church in Eastern Europe.