Baia Mare

Coordinates: 47°39′24″N 23°34′19″E / 47.65667°N 23.57194°E / 47.65667; 23.57194
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Baia Mare
Baia Mare-places
Baia Mare-places
Location in Maramureș County
Location in Maramureș County
Baia Mare is located in Romania
Baia Mare
Baia Mare
Location in Romania
Coordinates: 47°39′24″N 23°34′19″E / 47.65667°N 23.57194°E / 47.65667; 23.57194
 • Mayor (2020–2024) Cătălin Cherecheș (Coalition for Maramureș[1])
233.47 km2 (90.14 sq mi)
228 m (748 ft)
 • Density470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneEET/EEST (UTC+2/+3)
Postal code
Area code0262
Vehicle reg.MM

Baia Mare (US: /ˌbɑːjə ˈmɑːrə/ BAH-yə MAR,[3][4] Romanian: [ˈbaja ˈmare] ; Hungarian: Nagybánya; German: Frauenbach or Groß-Neustadt; Latin: Rivulus Dominarum) is a municipality along the Săsar River, in northwestern Romania; it is the capital of Maramureș County. The city lies in the region of Maramureș, a subregion of Transylvania. It is situated about 600 km (373 mi) from Bucharest, 70 km (43 mi) from the border with Hungary, and 50 km (31 mi) from the border with Ukraine.

Located south of the Igniș [ro] and Gutâi mountains, Baia Mare had a population of 108,759 at the 2021 census, and a metropolitan area home to about 200,000 residents. The city administers four villages: Blidari (Kőbánya), Firiza (Felsőfernezely), Valea Borcutului (Borpatak), and Valea Neagră (Feketepatak). Baia Mare was named the Romanian Youth Capital from 2 May 2018 to 1 May 2019.[citation needed]



The city's development on the middle course of Săsar River, in the middle of a plateau with a warm Mediterranean-like climate, has facilitated living conditions since the Palaeolithic.

Ancient times[edit]

During the Bronze Age the region was inhabited by Thracian tribes. Later, it was included in the Dacian Kingdom formed by the King Burebista when the mining exploration began, as the area is rich in gold and silver.

Middle Ages[edit]

Baia Mare is first mentioned in written documents released by Charles I of Hungary in 1328 under the name of Rivulus Dominarum (English: Ladies' River). In 1347 the town was identified in documents by Louis I of Hungary as an important medieval town with a prosperous mining industry. Its rules of organisation were characteristic of the "free towns" of that time. In 1411 the town and its surrounding areas, including the mines, were transferred into the property of the Hunyadi family by Sigismund, King of Hungary (later also Holy Roman Emperor), who recognised Janos Hunyadi's contribution to stop the Turkish invasion of Europe.

The town went into a period of prosperity, during which the St. Stephen Cathedral was built. Today the cathedral tower is one of the best-known of the town's historic landmarks (see Stephen's Tower). The first school, named Schola Rivulina, was opened in Baia Mare in 1547 by the Reformed Church following the Protestant Reformation.

Modern period[edit]

Baia Mare/Nagybánya town centre in 1890
Simon Hollosy - Nagybánya/Baia Mare painting school
The town centre

In 1703 Pintea Viteazul and his band managed to free the town for a short period of time from the German Imperial rule, under which it belonged the royal treasury. Since then Pintea is considered an important figure in the town's history, representing the idea of freedom. The Budești Church has Pintea's chain mail shirt and a helmet, reportedly worn by him in his battles. The Museum of Baia Mare displays his weapons and their harness.

In 1748 the city's mining industry made a leap forward when the Austrian authorities created the headquarters of "Superior Mining".

In the late nineteenth century, Simon Hollósy, István Réti, János Thorma, Béla Iványi-Grünwald, and Károly Ferenczy were among numerous young Hungarians who left the area to study the arts in Munich, as Hungary lacked an academy of art in those times.[5] Simon Hollósy, the young Hungarian painter, was teaching in his studio new western European techniques.

Some of those young painters decided to settle down together in Baia Mare, then called Nagybánya, to work on art. They persuaded Hollósy to join them and founded the Nagybánya artists' colony, working on naturalism and plein air painting. The artists' colony became known later on for influencing the development of twentieth-century Hungarian and Romanian art.[5] Works by each of these important painters is held by the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, which in 2009 opened the exhibit, Munich in Hungarian, Hungarian Artists in Munich 1850-1914, 2 Oct 2009 - Jan 2010. In addition, in 1966 the museum held a major exhibition of their work: The Art of Nagybánya. Centennial Exhibition in Celebration of the Artists' Colony in Nagybánya.[6]

Following World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved, and in 1920, Baia Mare officially became part of the Kingdom of Romania. It became part of Hungary again in 1940 by the Second Vienna Award, until the end of World War II. Near the end of that period, the city hosted the Baia Mare ghetto. After the war, the city was returned to Romania. Shortly after World War II in postwar development, the town of Baia Mare started to grow both in population and inhabited area. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a new town centre was developed with modern architecture buildings and structures.

Cyanide spill[edit]

On 30 January 2000,[7] Baia Mare was the site of what has been considered Europe's worst ecological disaster since Chernobyl, which took place at gold mining company Aurul, a joint-venture of the Australian company Esmeralda Exploration and the Romanian government.[8] The tailing dam at the gold processing plant broke and 100,000 m3 (3,531,467 cu ft) 70 tons of toxic cyanide and heavy metal-laced waste water escaped into the River Tisza and into Hungary, making its way into the Danube and affecting Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, and Bulgaria.[8] More than 1,400 tons of fish, numerous eagles, storks and otters died.[8] Scientists fear the release may have led to the ultimate extinction of at least five fish species.[9] Despite the accident's happening in Romania, much of the adverse effects were suffered in Hungary. The accident prompted Hungary to ban the use of cyanide in gold processing and it has urged the rest of Europe to do the same.[10]

Since 2013, local romani businessman Daniel Boldor has been operating out of the CUPROM mine and refinery outside of Baia Mare, selling what he claims are under-extracted Ore concentrate shipments to international metal traders in China, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States.[11][12] Based on claims that the material was, in fact, worthless mining sludge, the public prosecutor's office in Constanța filed an indictment against Boldor in June 2018 on charges of money laundering, customs fraud, document forgery, the collection and transport of hazardous waste, and tax evasion.[11]

Roma wall[edit]

In 2011, the local administration built a 1.8m-tall wall between the road Strada Horea and an area of social housing that houses 1000 Roma people into one-room apartments, some without water or electricity.[13] According to the mayor, this wall was designed to "prevent traffic accidents",[14] while pro-democracy organizations say it amounts to a "roma wall" and "institutionalized racism".[14]

In 2011, the national anti-discrimination council fined mayor Cătălin Cherecheș for the building of the wall and ordered it to be pulled down.[15]

The wall nevertheless proved popular with the majority population and the mayor was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2012.[13]

Coat of arms[edit]

Stephen's Tower in the town centre

The coat of arms of Baia Mare was granted to the city by the Government in the late 1990s, early 2000s, some years after the communist symbols established in 1968 were de facto out of use starting 1989.

The shield is party per pale. In dexter, gules a miner in a mine argent, in sinister, azure a church tower or. The shield is topped by a mural crown with seven towers.

The miner refers to the main local economical activity. The church tower refers to the local cultural/ecclesiastical tradition. The crest shows the city's status as a county seat.


The city is situated in the vicinity of the Gutâi and Igniș [ro] mountains. Altitudes reach 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) in some peaks. The area is famous for its outstanding landscapes, and the mountains are easily accessible from the city, notable routes being: Igniș (1,307 m), Mogoșa (1,246 m), Gutâi (1,443 m), Creasta Cocoșului (1,450 m), Piatra Șoimului (839 m), Pleștioara (803 m), Dealul Bulat (683 m), Murgau (633 m), Dealul Crucii (500 m), etc.

The city is situated in the Baia Mare valley and is encircled on all sides by hills and mountains, which makes the climate in the city milder than the rest of the surrounding area. Proof of this is that the outskirts of Baia Mare are the only areas where you can find chestnut trees that usually need Mediterranean climate to grow. This is the northernmost reach of the chestnut tree. However, abrupt temperature changes take place and, during the winters, the temperatures may occasionally drop below -20 degrees Celsius.

The summers are mild, cooler than in the rest of the country. The precipitations in this area are quite high, due to the mountains in the north and east which do not allow the air masses to pass beyond the region's limits, the average rainfall being almost 1,000 mm/year. The city of Baia Mare is the most populous of northern Romanian cities (Satu Mare, Suceava, and Botoșani), with a population of approximately 109,000. It also has a high level of culture and education, being home to theatres, schools, museums and art galleries.

Not far from the city there are a few very important natural reservations, among them Creasta Cocoșului, Cheile Tătărului, Lacul Albastru etc. Because of its privileged location in the Eastern Carpathian Mountains it is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Romania.


Historical population
1912 12,877—    
1930 13,904+8.0%
1948 20,959+50.7%
1956 35,920+71.4%
1966 62,658+74.4%
1977 100,985+61.2%
1992 149,205+47.7%
2002 137,976−7.5%
2011 123,738−10.3%
2021 108,759−12.1%
Source: Census data
The Reformed church

At the 2021 census, Baia Mare had a population pf 108,759. At the 2011 census, the city had a population of 123,738, a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census.[16]

The ethnic composition of the city is as follows:

and 642 others, including Greeks, Turks, Italians, Lipovans, Poles, and Slovaks.

Baia Mare metropolitan area has a population of 215,932, an area of 1,395.38 km2 (538.76 sq mi), and includes the municipality of Baia Mare, five towns (Baia Sprie, Cavnic, Seini, Șomcuta Mare, and Tăuții-Măgherăuș), and 13 communes (Cernești, Cicârlău, Coaș, Coltău, Copalnic-Mănăștur, Dumbrăvița, Groși, Mireșu Mare, Recea, Remetea Chioarului, Satulung, Săcălășeni, and Valea Chioarului).[17]

Historical population[edit]

In 1912, out of the total population of 12,877 people, 9,992 were Hungarians (including Jews), 2,677 Romanians, and 175 Germans (i.e., Zipser Germans).

In 1920, of the 12,780 inhabitants, 5,005 were Romanians, 4,652 Hungarians, 1,792 Jews, 1,232 Germans, and 99 of other ethnicities.[18] Many inhabitants declared themselves as Hungarian-speakers during previous censuses, despite not being ethnic Hungarians

Before the Second World War, Baia Mare had a community of more than 1,000 Jews. In 1944, most of the Jews were deported by the Hungarian occupation authorities to Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Most of the few survivors emigrated from the area. As of 2011, 32 Jews lived in the city. Along with Rădăuți, Gura Humorului and others, Baia Mare had a Jewish shtetl, or settlement. The synagogue dates from 1885.


The Baia Mare Municipal Council, elected at the 2012 local elections, had the following political composition:

    Party Seats in 2008 Seats in 2012 Current Council
  National Liberal Party (PNL) 9 8                
  Social Democratic Party (PSD) 5 7                
  Conservative Party (PC) 0 2                
  Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR/RMDSZ) 3 2                
  People's Party – Dan Diaconescu (PP-DD) 0 2                
  Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) 6 1                
  National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) 0 1                

The Baia Mare Municipal Council, elected at the 2016 local elections, had the following political composition:

Party Seats in 2012 Seats in 2016
  Coalition for Baia Mare (FDGR-PNȚCD-PSRO-UNPR)
0 11
  National Liberal Party (PNL) 8 3
  Social Democratic Party (PSD) 7 3
  Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR/RMDSZ) 2 2
  Ecologist Party of Romania (PER) 0 2
  People's Movement Party (PMP) 0 2

The Baia Mare Municipal Council, renewed at the 2020 local elections, consists of 23 counsellors and has the following political composition:

Party Seats in 2020
  National Liberal Party (PNL) 7
  Coalition for Maramureș (PSD) 7
  Save Romania Union (USR) 4
  People's Movement Party (PMP) 3
  Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR/RMDSZ) 2


Sphalerite ore sample from the Herja Mine, Baia Mare, Carnegie Museum of Natural History specimen CM27810.

The economic activity of Baia Mare has been based on the mining activities located in the surrounding areas. However, after the 1989 Revolution and industrial changes, such mining declined considerably.[19] They have been replaced with several activities which have improved the city's economy in recent years. Baia Mare has become one of the most economically evolved cities in the region[citation needed]. As a result, several supermarkets have been built in the city as well as one of the biggest shopping malls in over 100 km (62 mi) radius. The largest sofa manufacturing plant in Eastern Europe[citation needed], Italsofa, is located near the Baia Mare city highway ring.

The city has a mainline (and branch) passenger and freight railway service provided by CFR, the national railway carrier.[citation needed]


Ethnographic Museum in Baia Mare - frontal view

In Baia Mare there is one library (with a few branches), 6 museums, one planetarium and observatory, 2 theaters, 2 cultural centers, one art school and one popular university.

  • "Petre Dulfu" County Library
  • County Museum of History and Archeology Baia Mare
  • Museum of Mineralogy Baia Mare
  • Planetarium and astronomical observatory Baia Mare
  • Arts center Baia Mare- Art Museum
  • Ethnography and folk art Museum Baia Mare
  • Municipal Theater Baia Mare
  • Puppet Theater Baia Mare



Singers and composers[edit]




Writers, poets[edit]


In Baia Mare there are 23 schools, 34 kindergartens and 18 highschools. Higher education is represented by:

National highschools from Baia Mare:

  • Gheorghe Șincai National College
  • Emil Racoviță Theoretical Highschool
  • Vasile Lucaciu National College
  • Mihai Eminescu National College
  • Arts College
  • "Nicolae Titulescu" Economics College
  • Highschool of Sports
  • "George Barițiu" Technical College
  • "Anghel Saligny" Technical College
  • "C.D. Nenițescu" Technical College
  • "Németh László" Theoretical Highschool

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Baia Mare is twinned with:[20][21]



  1. ^ "Results of the 2020 local elections". Central Electoral Bureau. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Populaţia rezidentă după grupa de vârstă, pe județe și municipii, orașe, comune, la 1 decembrie 2021" (XLS). National Institute of Statistics.
  3. ^ "Baia Mare". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Baia-Mare". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b Munich in Hungarian, Hungarian Artists in Munich 1850-1914 Archived 30 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine, 2 October 2009 - Jan 2010, Hungarian National Gallery
  6. ^ Valerie Majoros, "Lajos Tihanyi and his friends in the Paris of the nineteen-thirties" Archived 18 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine, French Cultural Studies, 2000, Vol. 11:387, Footnote, p. 388, Sage Publications, accessed 30 January 2013
  7. ^ Cunningham SA (June 2005). "Incident, accident, catastrophe: cyanide on the Danube". Disasters. 29 (2): 99–128. doi:10.1111/j.0361-3666.2005.00276.x. PMID 15910645.
  8. ^ a b c [1] Archived 23 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Report of the International Task Force for Assessing the Baia Mare Accident" available at Archived 12 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Hungary Urges Europe to Adopt Wide Ban on Cyanide Mining Technology Archived 13 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Sofia Echo, 2 February 2010
  11. ^ a b Clapp, Alexander (1 September 2022). "The sludge king: how one man turned an industrial wasteland into his own El Dorado". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 December 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  12. ^ Șerban, Alexandra (5 September 2022). "Un român a vândut moloz drept concentrat de minereu, din SUA până în China. Istoria unei escrocherii care a ridicat un imperiu la Baia Mare". Libertatea (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 19 December 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  13. ^ a b Estrin, James (5 November 2012). "Breaking Through Walls of Bias". New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Romanian town erects wall by Roma neighborhood". Reuters. 1 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Romanian mayor fined over 'Roma wall'". Euronews. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Population at 20 October 2011" (in Romanian). INSSE. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Articles of Incorporation" Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine at
  18. ^ "ERDÉLY ETNIKAI ÉS FELEKEZETI STATISZTIKÁJA" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  19. ^ Clapp, Alexander (1 September 2022). "The Sludge King: How One Man Turned an Industrial Wasteland Into His Own El Dorado". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 September 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Orașe înfrățite cu Baia Mare". (in Romanian). Baia Mare. Archived from the original on 15 August 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Jumelages". (in French). Combs-la-Ville. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.

External links[edit]