Timișoara is the capital city of Timiș County and the main economic, social and cultural center in western Romania. Located on the Bega River, Timișoara is considered the informal capital city of the historical Banat. From 1848 to 1860 it was the capital of the Serbian Vojvodina and the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar.
With 319,279 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Timișoara was then the country's third most populous city, after Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. It is home to almost half a million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, while the Timișoara–Arad conurbation concentrates more than 70% of the population of Timiș and Arad counties. Timișoara is a multicultural city, being the home of 21 different ethnicities and 18 religions. Interculturality has long been a special characteristic for the western part of the country.
Conquered in 1716 by the Austrians from the Ottoman Turks, Timișoara developed in the following centuries behind the fortifications and in the urban nuclei located around them. During the second half of the 19th century, the fortress began to lose its usefulness, due to many developments in the military technology.