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Arad Culture Palace – Visitor Information
The Cultural Palace of Arad is located in Arad’s city center at the address: Piața George Enescu 1. The palace sits right off of boulevard general dragline, on George Enescu Square.
It is in close proximity to the city’s center, and directly in front of Parcul Copiilor (kids park) and across the street to the south of Parcul Mihai Eminescu (Mihai Eminescu Park).
The cultural palace is open for visitation at the following hours:
9am to 7pm
Concert Tickets for viewing the Culture Palace’s Philharmonic, or for information regarding the palace’s museums, please visit their respective websites found in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.
Arad Culture Palace – Summary
The Cultural Palace (Palatul Cultural) is an early 20th century diverse (multi) architectural style palace located in the city of Arad, Romania. The architecture of the building contains Classic Italian Renaissance, Romanian Baroque, and French Gothic, elements and designs. Inspiration for some of the palace’s design came from the 15th century Corvin Castle, of Hunedoara, Romania.
The idea for the Cultural Palace came from the Kölcsey Cultural Association (Society) of Arad. The Kölcsey Cultural Association of Arad was a literary, historical association that operated in Arad from 1881-1948, and again in 1989. The association was formed by and consisted of a committee of Hungarian’s that were living in Arad. They are credited for preserving much of Arad’s culture and history.
The Kölcsey Association is responsible for the collection and preservation of the relics of the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848. They also collected and preserved a 45,000-volume library of books donated to the city of Arad. Besides documenting and preserving history, the association also awarded grants, published annuals, and sponsored local writers.
Members of the Kölcsey Association wanted the city to have a multi-purpose building that would house a library, a museum, an art gallery, and a concert hall. During the years the association functioned, Arad was one of the busiest and most prosperous cities in Romania. They felt that as Arad grew and expanded, it needed to have its rich history and culture preserved.
Arad Culture Palace – History
After the decision to construct the Palace of Culture in Arad was made, city officials held an international contest to choose an architect for the project. The contest received 27 submissions from designers in diverse areas ranging from distant places such as Paris, and Berlin, to closer cities like Budapest and Timisoara.
The city officials responsible for selecting a winner were however not satisfied with any of the entries they received for the contest. They felt that for a building that would go on to become so significant to the city, its design should be carried out by an expert who understands, and has a history, in the city of Arad.
They chose a candidate who fit both of those requirements, they tasked the project to Ludovic Szántay (1872 – 1961). Szántay, an Arad native, and architect of some of Arad’s most significant buildings, including Palatul Szántay (Szantay Palace), accepted the proposal. Shortly after accepting the project, and after finalizing work on a previously started building, Szantay got to work on the blueprints for what would become the Cultural Palace of Arad.
Development on the palace started in 1911 after city officials finally allocated the appropriate funds for the project. Construction took two years before the palace was officially completed. The majority of the development and building of the palace was carried out by local construction firms, along with some volunteer work from citizens of Arad.
The building was officially inaugurated on October 25th 1913. During the inauguration ceremony the philharmonic orchestra of Arad played beautiful pieces from Beethoven, Schubert, Bizet, and Goldmarck in the palace’s concert hall. Throughout the years many world-renowned musicians, such as, Richard Strauss, George Enescu, Bela Bartok, and Traian Grozavescu have also performed shows inside the palace’s concert hall.
Arad Culture Palace – Architecture
The Arad Cultural Palace is unique to many other palace’s in Arad because it uses a blend of architectural styles. The mixing and blending of the different styles makes the palace a truly unique and magnificent work of art to behold. The palace’s façade derived its inspiration from, and is formed to represent, a Neo-Classical, Greek Temple.
The building’s facade contains a grand pediment that’s supported by massive Corinthian columns. The pediment comprises elegant, half-relief style, carvings of the three muses, science, music, literature, that were carved by famed sculpture Geza Rubleczky. Directly above the pediment lies the palace’s massive front tower.
The left, and right, lateral wings of the building are comprised in an Italian Renaissance style. They both contain a polygonal based tower at their inception at the front of the building. The backside of the Cultural Palace replicates various gothic elements of Romania’s Corvin Castle.
The Secession style central hallway, and palace lobby, are constructed out of marble that was brought over from the nearby commune of Moneasa. The lobby leads into the building’s magnificent concert hall. The concert hall is elegantly decorated and contains spectacular nouveau-art style stained glass windows.
The awe-inspiring frescos inside the palace are covered in dazzling gold lamellas. The vault inside the building’s chapel contains an exquisite and fascinating panting of the planet’s solar system and Haley comet. Throughout the interior of the palace there are alluringly carved metopes, splendid geometric chandeliers, and superb appliqué style sewn works.
Arad Culture Palace – Present Day
Today the palace is the headquarters of the Philharmonics of Arad, and also contains the Museum of History and Science, as well as an art gallery. The Arad Philharmonic puts on amazing performances throughout the year which dazzle and captivate audience members who visit from near and afar. The museums inside the palace contain things such as archeological artifacts, historical photographs, scientific displays, and thousands of other interesting and fascinating objects.
In 2014 there was controversy surrounding the cultural palace. City organizers arranged and planned for an electronic music concert to be put on and performed inside the palace’s main lobby. Critics of the event complained that bringing loud “party” music inside the palace, where the prestigious Arad Philharmonic performs, is disrespectful and a form of desecration of the building. Incidents like the above are not one offs for the palace.
Local citizens had been previously enraged when a local business was given permission to transform a room of the palace to function as a night club. Seats were torn and removed from the room and crystal balls were hung and dangled from the ceiling. Members of the Philharmonic successfully lobbied, and continue to lobby, to prevent future incidents lie those mentioned to be allowed inside the palace.