Mihai Viteazu Boulevard
The Metropolitan Bishop Andrei Șaguna bridge, formerly called the Bishops' Bridge, was put into use in 1913.
Ever since the time before the revolution of 1848/1849, a wooden bridge was placed here, which was repeatedly strengthened and repaired. In 1911, within a larger program of the Timișoara municipality for the arrangement of new bridges, the decision was made to replace the old wooden bridge with a modern bridge.
The architect Gerster Kálman from Budapest was contacted to carry out the architectural projects of the bridge, the technical design of the bridge being the responsibility of Lád Karoly, an engineer at the engineering office in the city on the Bega. The projected width of the path on the bridge was 10 meters, a value considered very high for the needs of those times. With the exception of a few syncopes, due to the often unfavorable weather conditions in 1912, the work went well, so that from 24 November 1913 the bridge was put into use for vehicular traffic, after it had been opened, shortly before, for pedestrian traffic. Together with the opening of the new bridge began the dismantling of the old bridge, the last wooden bridge and at the same time one of the oldest in Timișoara.
According to the initial intentions, the bridge was to be inspired by the famous Charles Bridge in Prague and have two statues at each end, representing four prominent bishops of the Roman Catholic diocese of Cenad: St. Gerhard, the first bishop of the Cenadian Diocese, Joseph Lonovics, Alexandru Dessewffy, and Ladislau Koszeghy.
However, the outbreak of the First World War thwarted the realization of this plan. There was an intention to widen the bridge in the second half of the twentieth century, but this plan did not materialize. The bridge, which - according to the expertise of the bridges over the Bega in the 1970s - had the best viability and resistance, continues to serve its original purpose today.
Jancsó Árpád, The History of Bridges in Timișoara, Mirton Publishing House, Timișoara, 2001.
Pia Brînzeu, Family Journal, Manuscript
Stop 16: The bishops’ bridge / The Mitropolit Andrei Şaguna bridge
April 1, 2008. Like in an April’s fool prank, I woke up obsessed with the letter K. I discovered that, if you wanted to, you could connect everything under the sign of a single letter. No matter which one. K is less common for Romanians, but that’s the very reason why it is challenging enough to push you towards a labyrinthine, undulating, hard to define zone. A zone that is somehow lost among the fogs of other languages. I let myself be tempted, knowing it feels nice, from time to time, to not be sure of what you are saying, to not clearly delimit concepts, and to open yourself through one such fuzzy concept to a risky or even damaging adventure. I was hoping to discover something new within this territory, to run into a poem of the unknown where you rather feel than think. In the worst case, I told myself, the mystery of the letter K will throw me into the geography of Central Europe and will make me evolve like William Blake’s “mental traveller”: the search will make me become less and less knowledgeable and, thus, the subject of a perpetual rejuvenation.
However, the result of my thoughts was, unfortunately, clear and well defined geographically. I didn’t know how to get lost in the fogs and I remained sheltered only in my grandparents’ two towns: Jimbolia and Lugoj. There doesn’t seem to exist anything for me beyond them. Unlike the Romanian Lugoj, Jimbolia has more names - Hatzfeld/Zsombolya/Žombolia – and it reminds me of the streets of my Timișoara childhood, where I would go for walks with Grandmother Netti or with Mother, both used to talking with people in three languages and tolerantly accepting different opinions, ethnicities, and religions. In Jimbolia, the letter K relates to my great grandfather, Karl Diel, and to Kaba Gabor, the mayor who has helped me to set up a memorial house for my great-grandfather. In the same way in which the troublesome letter can throw you into Central Europe, the museum has been conceived to illustrate the way in which a Central European family used to live in Jimbolia in the previous century. That’s why I have placed in showcases my great-grandfather’s business cards in four languages, my mother’s school certificates, as she went to German, Hungarian, and Romanian schools, as well as the photographs in which she is wearing Tyrolese, Swabian, Hungarian, and Romanian costumes. I have chosen birth, baptism or death certificates in several languages, and the statements of Hungarian or Romanian nationality belonging to Germans who, once moved to these lands, had to shift their identity from one ethnicity to another according to how the borders moved over Jimbolia. They would do it with serenity and free of any vanity, passing from Karl to Károly or Carol as if it wasn’t about them, it was about an area that needed to be mapped in a modest and friendly way. And so the first letter of the name could be replaced with any other, without any problem.
How did the letter K get to Lugoj, though? It’s quite simple. Kurtág Gyorgy was invited there yesterday, to receive the title of honorary citizen of the town he was born in, but also the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the National University of Music from Bucharest. Well-known as a composer in Hungary and France due to works which modernized and simplified the musical language, while also connecting him to literature, Kurtág is also a Central European citizen whose life and work link Eastern to Western Europe. The official festivities in Lugoj also included a touching moment for me, when he delivered to me the composition entitled Carol-ballad, op. 46, dedicated to the memory of my uncle, Felician Brînzeu, who had been Kurtág’s Romanian language teacher at the “Coriolan Brediceanu” high school. He confessed to me that this uncle had impressed him so much as a teacher, through his love for the Romanian language and for music, that he used him as a role model for the rest of his life. That’s how he has succeeded in never growing old. By loving art and by gifting to others parts of his sensibility, he always slipped back to his youth and could rightfully be placed among Kafka, Kerényi, Kiš, Klimt, Koestler, Kokoschka, Konrád, Kundera and Kusniewicz. Those who bear the name of Karl could also be placed there. However, only the first letter of the first name, all by itself, is nowhere near enough...