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Timişoara

Romania’s third-largest city (after Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca) is also one of the country's most attractive urban areas, built around a series of beautifully restored public squares and lavish parks and gardens. It's known as Primul Oraş Liber (the First Free City), for it was here that anti-Ceauşescu protests first exceeded the Securitate’s capacity for violent suppression in 1989, eventually sending Ceauşescu and his wife to their deaths. With western Romania's nicest hotels and finest restaurants, it makes a perfect base for exploring the Banat region.

Timișoara will serve as the European Capital of Culture in 2021.

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