Tree or four decades ago, Satu Mare was celebrated as millennial town- reaching the age of one thousand since its documentary attestation. The first of the 34 historical names was given by Queen Gisele, the German wife of the Saint King Stefan. The most appropriate name seems to be the German Salzmarkt (salt market). Szatmar, Szotmar or Zotmar, whatever the name, one thing is certain - it was always a beautiful place. Nature gave its charm, and from thevariety of cultures - 3-4-5-6 nationalities were always living here - a spirit of tolerance was born. Situated on the banks of a navigable river - the Some; - the trade turned into hospitality. Satu Mare passed through the Middle Ages like any other important place - it was conquered, invaded by the Turkish and the Tatars, burned down and rebuilt. In the 16th century, it was among the most representative towns in Transylvania. The most important document, which influenced the destiny of the Transylvanianpopulation in the beginning of the modern era - the 1711 Peace - was signed in Satu Mare. In 2011, it will be 300 years since the signing. The building where this event tookplace is an evidence of that. It houses the Art Museum of Satu Mare. Only a few walls from the old fortification were preserved and later transformedinto foundations for the buildings. In the Old Centre, a few streets with monumental buildings stand out because of the traces let by time on their facades. Tens of edificesbuilt in different styles, from Neo-Baroque to Secession, are waiting to be restored so that the town regains its sober brilliance from the past. Here, the traveller will surprisingly notice the resemblance of a European burgh, where the rigour and piety subtly harmonize in an enlivening architectonical dialogue. A town of quietness where everything seems to have settled a long time ago. The life of the old town was always connected with the Some;, the river that flowsthrough it. The right bank, where the old town is, with all its charming neighbourhoods, nice and comfortable houses drowned in verdure, many of them real architectonical jewels and the left bank, where the workers' districts rose in the communist era. In 1601, at the end of June and the beginning of July, Michael the Brave settled its camp in Moftinul Mic, nearly 30 kilometres from Satu Mare. On the 7th July, hisarmies joined hands with general Basta's troops. The general resided in Satu Mare for a while. Between 2nd April and 13th May, general Basta answered the letters of Sigismund Bathori from here, mediating the conflict between Bathori and the emperor Rudolph II. In addition to the letters sentto the emperor, Basta also wrote to the archduke Matias, to Carol of Liechtenstein andnuncio F. Spinelli. After a short journey to Cassovia, general Basta returned to his Satu Mare camp, where he hastened the preparations of war, on 7th July joining Michael the Brave. After the murdering of Michael the Brave, on 9th August at CampiaTurzii, on 20th October the same year, his army camped at Carstienesti elects Radu :erban as ruler of Romanian country. His destiny is also connected with Satu Mare. Radu Serban stayed here from November 1601 until July 1602. Failing to defeat Simion Movila, he retreated with his suite and army at Satu Mare, where his family was staying - Elena, his wife and their 6 year old daughter, Ancuta. Satu Mare is theplace from where Stroe Buzescu, the new ruler's confidant, set out to deliver Radu Serban's oath of allegiance to Rudolph II. In July 1602, Radu Serban with his armyand faithful boyars set out from Satu Mare to Wallachia and Moldavia, driving away Simon Movila. In 1659 and 1660, Satu Mare was an important matter in the life of colonel Jan Sobieski, future king of Poland and of Mihnea Voda ruler, on his real name Mihail Radu, known as Mihnea III. Colonel Jan Sobieski was the conqueror of Satu Mare town and domain in 1659, his name being mentioned in the peace treaty signed by the Polish and theTransylvanians. The siege and conquest of Satu Mare town was an aftermath of an incursion in Poland by George Rákóczi II, where he conquered Krakow on 7th Apriland Warsaw on 23rd June. His intention was to to take hold of the Poland throne. The Polish army counter-attacked. He defeated George Rákóczi II at Czerni Ostrow on 22nd July and set out in his pursue conquering Satu Mare. On the background of this dispute, after the allies of George Rákóczi, the rulers Constantin Serban and Gheorghe :tefan were banished, the throne of Romanian country is taken by Mihnea. He made an alliance with George Rákóczi II on 4th October 1659 and after a battle against the Turkish he retreats in Satu Mare. The historical sources recorded the friendship between George Rákóczi II and Mihnea and the fact that Rákóczi offered Mihnea housing in Satu Mare. It is also recorded the good atmosphere created by the local aristocracy around the Romanian ruler exiled here. Mihnea lived in Satu Mare from December 1659 to 6th April 1660. His death occurred at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, after a heart attack at one of the feasts organized in his honour by the Satu Mare aristocracy. He was buried in the military cemetery of the town next to the present Calvaria church. We remind that the medieval town of Satu Mare was located in the perimeter of Decebal street, Cuza-Vod[ street, the Public Finance building and the front of Bunavestire chemist's, then again Decebal street, which was situated on the westernwall of the town. Also, it's worth mentioning the passing through or the presence in Satu Mare of some remarkable culture figures. Ioan Slavici, the classic of our literature, was born in :iria (near Arad), but also halted in our town. After attending schools in Arad, a high school in Timisoara, then back in Arad, in 1868 he passes his bacalaureat in Satu Mare. The registration certificate kept here proves this fact. In April 1923, on 19th, 20th and 23rd, Satu Mare houses the writers Liviu Rebreanu, Ion Minulescu, Victor Eftimiu, E. Sperania, Alfred Mo;oiu, A. Cazaban and Mircea Radulescu. They enjoyed a triumphant welcome at the railway station and afterwards a banquet given by the county mayor and prefect took place in the big hall of the Dacia Hotel. On 19th November of the same year, 1923, in Urania hall from the present building of Cooperation in :tefan cel Mare street, the master George Enescu gave a concert, at the invitation of the Philharmonic Society of the town. A journalist from "Satu Mare" newspaper wrote< "My pen isn't able to write in the majestic way Enescu played his delightful violin." In the same year, the master Enescu conducted the Philharmonic orchestra of Philadelphia (USA). On 16th March 1925, the great artist Nottara arrived in the town railway station, expected by the town authorities. In the same evening, at 9 o'clock, in front of a packed house, the actors from the National Theatre of Bucharest, headed by Constantin Nottara, played "Sunset" with the great artist in the role of :tefan the Great. But one of the most important personalities who visited Satu Mare was G. M. Zamfirescu. Arrived here in 1922, when he was only 24 years old, he remained until 1924. He worked at the "Satu Mare" publication , "New Somes" and "The Tree Cris Rivers". It is here where he wrote the first draft of the novel "The Love Vacant Land" and the volume "The Wet-eyed Host" and published the magazines "Maramure; Sacred Pictures" and "The Arrow". Among all the cultural personalities who visited our town, G. M. Zamfirescu let the deepest marks. The author of the Hungarian anthem Kolcsei, the national poet Sandor Petofi, married to Sendrei Iulia, passed by and prayed in front of the cross which is present today in the Roman-Catholic Episcopal Palace. The first translator of the Bible in Hungarian, Karolyi Gaspar, born in Carei, mostlikely walked through Satu Mare. The list of the personalities who, in a way or another, tied their name to Satu Mare is a long one. There are artists, writers and cultural personalities - Ady Endre and his Romanian friend Octavian Goga. In his early youth, Mihai Eminescu, the national poet of the Romanians, came here as an answer in time to the national poet of the Hungarians, Sandor Petofi. The painters from Satu Mare successfully completed the work of Baia Mare painting school. Built in the ‘70s, in the middle of the communist era, the Administrative Palace, the tallest building in Romania, overtopping Intercontinental Hotel in Bucharest by 2.6 metres, could easily compete with the controversial People's House. Huge andinhospitable, if the structure housing the Romanian Parliament is a symbol of communist mad ambition, the construction in Satu Mare rather seems a symbol of socialist realism. Big and cold, gloomy and dark, it could house a film crew of a project about a Dracula of the Ceausescu era. At the same time, the building has an immense architectural potential and it couldbe brought to European standards. Besides any critic related to its function, it has a huge artistic potential. The photo artists from all corners of the world take pictures of it in the daylight and at night, in the twilight or at sunrise. Above the last floor there is an amphitheatrewhich offers a panoramic view of the whole town. The only reason why it doesn't become a brand of the town is the sad era in which it was built. The Somes divides the town in two parts - the old town is on the right bank and on the let there are the residential districts Micro 14, 15, 16. At the Cluj exit ofthe town there is the Industrial Park and the International Airport, and at the Oradea exit there are twohypermarkets - Real and Praktiker.
Transnational companies, such as Electrolux or Drexlmeiyer, considered Satu Mare as the ideal place to have a production line, having the access to European countries and Ukraine. From the quite large offer of hotels, the ones in the centre of the town stand out - Poesis (****), Astoria, Aurora, Dana, Dacia (in restoration) or Vila Bodi. Following an old tradition of terraces andsummer gardens, the most important are Poesis garden, Miorita, Bouling, No Pardon, the terraces in the centre of the town, opened all summer. The North Theatre, built at the end of the19th century, has two sections - Romanian and Hungarian. The Dinu Lipatti Philharmonic is across the studio of the great sketcher Paul Erdos, close to the Music and Art High School, all situated under the "spell" of the Firemen Tower, a sort of an Eiffel Tower of the town on Some;.
As if taken out of a building complex from Budapest or Vienna, :tefan cel Mare street makes an impression on anyone passionate about architectural jewels. The different styles facades are waiting to be restored. An oasis of quietness stretches in the courtyard and surroundings of Calvaria church, which is situated within the ancient precinct of the town. A few hundred metres away there's Poesis Artists' Café and a few streets closer to the Some; there is the studio of the greatest Satu Mare painter, AurelPop. The Rome Garden, situated near the railway station, is a natural reservation in the real sense. Secular trees, brought from all over the world. Dark alleys where lovers walk slowly, playgrounds for children, benches where the retired revive stories from their past. The old public bathroom was restored and a tower is waiting to be turned into a work of art like Trajan's column, which would illustrate moments from the town's life. The churches in the town are true architectural jewels. Some of the most important are Calvaria - built in gothic style `n 1844 by the bishop Hám Janos> the Roman-Catholic cathedral "The Ascension of the Lord"> dedicated to the Evangelist John, known as Hildegarda, the Hungarian Greek-Catholic church "Saint Nicholas"> the Chains Church - stands out through the simplicity of the puritan baroque form> theProtestant church in Mintiu is also an example of the late baroque> the Greek-Catholic Cathedral "The Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel" - one of the most representative architectural works in town> Aurel Popp Chapel - built according to the plans of the famous artist from Satu Mare, the edifice successfully combines Neo-Br]ncoveanu style with traditional elements> the Orthodox Cathedral "The Assumption of the Virgin". Today, Satu Mare is one of the most interesting Transylvanian towns, a burgh situated in the palmof a plain stretching from under the extinct volcanoes of Oa; all the way to Vienna, a capital which is equalin distance as Bucharest. A beautiful town the same as its inhabitants who, accompanied by the tireless purling of the Some;, have been dreaming for a thousand years the story of a tear interweaved with a smile.