The Palace of Culture

1911 – 1913 / 1 George Enescu Square / Historical monument


The Cultural Palace is one of the most representative buildings in the city of Arad. The impressive building was built between 1911-1913. Today, the Cultural Palace hosts the Museum compound and The State Philharmonic Orchestra of Arad.

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The construction of the building was initiated in 1901, by the Kölcsey Cultural Society from Arad, which started the procedures in order to build an edifice which would host the local museum, the city library and a concert hall.

Architect Ludovic Szantay from Arad was chosen to draft a plan of the building. The current place was decided upon and, after its final approval, the preparations for the building of the palace began. Due to the lack of sufficient funds, works were delayed until 1910. In the autumn of 1912, the construction was almost finished and a part of the museum’s collections had already been moved to the new chambers of the building.

The festive inauguration took place on the 25h of October 1913. On this occasion, the Philharmonic of Arad was invited for a festive symphonic concert in the grand hall of the palace, the concert including works by Schubert, Goldmark, Bizet and Beethoven. During the following period, the public of Arad witnessed many Romanian and foreign music personalities perform on stage, including the great composer and violinist George Enescu among them.

Nowadays, the building of the Palace of Culture hosts the headquarters of Arad’s Museum Compound, that of the Marriage Registration Hall of the City of Arad and of the State Philharmonic.


The building displays a wide variety of styles. The Neo-Classical façade is decorated with a pediment supported by massive Corinthian pillars, on top of which a massive tower is situated. The lateral wings are dominated by elements of the Italian Renaissance style. In the backside, isolated gothic elements typical of the Hunedoara Castle can be remarked. The central hallway of the building is carved into marble from Moneasa.

The decoration of the main hallway was done in Secession style. The Art Nouveau windows have been preserved until today. The painting on the concave of the dome represents the solar system and the Halley Comet.

Interesting facts

Twenty-seven projects participated in the competition for the architectural project of the Cultural Palace. The competition raised such interest that, among participants, there were architects from Paris, Berlin and Budapest. None of the projects presented met the requests of local authorities.

Throughout the time, the concert hall of the Palace of Culture hosted performances of the grand tenor Traian Grozăvescu, of Richard Strauss and Béla Bartók. In 1931, on the occasion of his 50th anniversary, George Enescu received the title of honorary citizen of Arad, in the grand hall of the Palace.


  • The building was projected by architect Lajos Szantay of Arad.
  • For the architectural design of the building, there was a contest where 27 projects supported by architects from Paris, Berlin and Budapest, had entered, but none of them won.
  • Headquarters of the Museum Compound and The State Philharmonic Orchestra of Arad are located in the Palace.
  • The building showcases a mix of architectural styles: neoclassical Corinthian, Italian Renaissance and Gothic inspiration.
  • Numerous personalities in music, such as Traian Grozăvescu, Richard Strauss, Béla Bartók and the Romanian composer and violinist, George Enescu, performed in the hall of the Philharmonic.
  • In the great hall of the Palace, on his 50th birthday,  George Enescu received the title of honorary citizen of Arad.


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