The history of Tirgu-Mures
Situated at the crossing of three geographic and economic areas - The Transylvanian Field, The Mures Valley and The Nirajului Valley - the territory of Tîrgu-Mures has been the cradle of human settlements, starting from ancient times. Numerous material proofs attest the presence of Neolithic cultures and then those of the Bronze and Metal Ages. The archaeological diggings have brought to light Roman relics in the surroundings of the town.
The settlement has distinguished itself from the very beginning of its history as a locality of fairs, a feature that has defined its destiny along the centuries. In the earliest document, dating from 1300, the locality appears under the name of Forum Siculorum (Market of the Seklars), and then in 1332, its name is Novum Forum Siculorum (The New Market of the Seklars), the Seklars being those inhabitants who did not become serves, but lived freely with the duty of defending the boundaries of the Hungarian Kingdom.
In 1599, duke Mihai Viteazul names the settlement "oppidi nostri Zekelyvásárhely". The name "market of the Seklars" was used until the 29th of April 1616, when Bethlen Gábor, prince of Transylvania, granted to the settlement the title of free royal town, changing also its official name to Marosvásárhely (Market place on the Mures river - in Hungarian -). The name "market on the Mures river" has been preserved, being translated in the mother tongue of several merchants, who had maintained trade relations in the area: Tîrgu-Mures - for the Romanians, Marosvásárhely - for the Hungarians, Neumarkt am Mieresch - for the Germans, etc.
The urbanisation process of the locality began at the end of the 15th century. By virtue of the privilege act granted by king Matei Corvin, in the year 1482, the town is given the right to hold three markets every year. This is also the century when artisan guilds developed, their privileges being recognised since 1493. In 1490 the Gothic-style Church of the Citadel is finalised. The town's reputation is mainly due to its position, capital of the Mures seat, as well as to the fact that it has provided home for The Transylvanian Diet for several times (among others to that of 1571, when the freedom of religious beliefs within the Principality was declared).
In 1595 the residents of Tîrgu-Mures provided duke Mihai Viteazul with help in the fights against the Turks. In 1601-1602, the town is rubbed and fired by the mercenaries hired by the Austrian Empire, led by general Basta. Between 1605-1652, on judge Borsos Tamas’s initiative (who became a famous chronicler of his time), the Citadel and other buildings with architectural and cultural value were erected. Beginning with the 16th century, Tîrgu-Mures excells as an important cultural and educational centre. The first school appears in 1492.
In 1754, in Tîrgu-Mures is built the so-called "Royal Board", where many young people, protagonists of the 1848 Revolution completed their studies in law. The greatest Hungarian poet, Petõfi Sándor, fallen in the social movement of 1848, spent his last days in Tîrgu-Mures.
In 1786, the first printing shop is established and in 1802 count Teleki Sámuel, chancellor of Transylvania, gathering over 40,000 books, lays the foundations of the documentary library that bears his name even today.
The town of Tîrgu-Mures has been led, since old times, by a mayor, supervised by a council, whose structure and attributions have been changing continuously. At the beginning of the 16th century, the council is made up of six councilors elected by the citizens. In the following century, the law prescribes that the 50 members of the jury voted by the citizens should elect, in their turn 12 councilors, a mayor and a sub-clerk from among them. Nowadays, the Tîrgu-Mures municipality is lead by a mayor, two deputy mayors and a local council composed of 23 councilors voted by the residents.
Tîrgu-Mureş became a modern town in the second half of the 19th century, at the same time with the construction of the railway. The two mayors Bernády György (1864-1938) and Emil Dandea (1893-1969) are considered to be the initiators of the town modernization.
Dr. Bernády György - mayor of Tîrgu-Mures, between 1902-1913 and 1926-1929.
During his mandate, the reconstruction of the town began. Several achievements were accomplished, such as: sewerage, roads asphalting, the building of the power and water station, the building of several bridges, regularization of the stream of Mures river and public buildings were constructed – the Town Hall, the Palace of Culture; there were settled the Academy of Music, the Municipal Library and the Art Galleries. There were erected several buildings destined to host primary, secondary schools and universities.
Dr. Emil-Aurel Dandea - mayor of Tîrgu-Mures, between 1922-1926 and 1934-1937.
Among the urbanistic and cultural achievements, one can mention the following: the statue of The Romanian Soldier (December 1923), the setting up of the primary school in Remetea - Podeni (1923), providing the buildings for the functioning of the Romanian educational institutions: The Pedagogic School, „Al. Papiu Ilarian” College for Boys, „Unirea” College for Girls, The Commercial College, The Latinity Monument (May 1924), The Moument of Avram Iancu (initiated in 1925 and inaugurated in 1930), the foundation of the Orthodox Cathedral, Greek-Catholic Cathedral and the hostel for the Romanian apprentices.
The following achievements date from the second mandate - 1934-1937: the Orthodox Cathedral (December 1934), the monument of Vasile Pop in Mureşeni (dec. 1935), the initiation and organising of the picture gallery of Tîrgu-Mureş, the monument of Constantin Romanu Vivu, prefect in Avram Iancu’s Army in Sângeorgiu de Mureş (1936), the hostel for the Romanian apprentices (1936), the Greek-Catholic Cathedral (1937).
Dr. Dorin Florea - the present mayor of Tîrgu-Mureş, is the first Romanian mayor, elected at the local elections in the summer of 2000.
With the establishment of the communist dictatorship, Tîrgu-Mureş has gone through a forced industrialization period. Thus, together with the radical change of the urban aspect, the population of the town has registered a rapid growth. Huge factories were constructed, having various profiles: chemical, food producing, wood and leather processing, car building, electric apparatus and products, photosensitive materials and others. Nevertheless, Tîrgu-Mures has remained a powerful cultural and university centre.
Presently, Tîrgu-Mureş houses is a department of the Romanian Academy - The Social and Human Research Institute "Gheorghe Sincai", the Medicine and Pharmacy University, The Technical Sciences, Economy and Letters "Petru Maior" University, the Theatre Academy, University of Sciences “Sapientia”, state and private higher education units.