The city of Oradea in Northern Romania has the most exuberent and extensive surviving Art Nouveau cityscape in the former Austro-Hungarian empire. This last extravagent flourish of belle epoque has survived not just in the main square but out into the side streets. The anti-glamour of the eastern bloc flat blocks mass and glower at the city centre edge – but as their concrete crumbles, key art nouveau buildings are being restored. The Cathedral is fabulously embellished baroque – dripping in florid detail, gold leaf and marble. Overpowering – but pick out a single door or a vista and it all works of itself.
Whatever you think of the style – what’s uplifting is the care and attention the architects lavished on giving each building an individuality – rather than churning them out. And the lightness of touch, the airy graciousness, the levity – in creating these confections of the imagination.
If you want to gorge more on Szecesszio architecture this is a good site