Satu Mare
Satu Mare general viwe, photo © Iulian Mocanu

Town of Satu Mare

Fast Facts

Location: Northwestern Romania
County: Satu Mare
Size: 58 sq. miles (150.3 sq. kilometers)
Elevation: 410 ft. (126 m.)
Population: 109,000
First documented: 1181

Satu Mare Sights and Landmarks

Located just 20-minutes from Romania -- Hungary border, Satu Mare is a natural gateway to the unique rural areas in northwestern Romania. The town stretches north of river Somes. Archaeological evidence shows settlements in the area dating to the Stone Age and the Bronze Age; there is also proof that the Geto-Dacian communities in this region continued to be free, even after the Roman conquest in 105-106 A.D.. Satu Mare was first mentioned in a written document in 1181 as Castrum Zotmar, a fortified stronghold from which the town derives its name.
In 1543, the Báthory family took possession of the citadel, proceeding to divert the Somes' waters in order to defend the southern part of the fortress; thus, the fortress remained on an island linked to the main roads by three bridges over the Somes River. In 1562 the citadel was besieged by Ottoman armies. Later it was besieged by the Habsburgs and set on fire. The Austrian general Lazar Schwendi ordered the citadel to be rebuilt after the plans of Italian architect Ottavio Baldigara; using an Italian system of fortifications, the new structure would be pentagonal with five towers. During the Middle Ages, Satu Mare and Mintiu were two distinct entities, but between 1712 and 1715 the two gradually united under one administration. On 2 January 1721 Emperor Charles VI recognized the union, at the same time granting Satu Mare the status of free royal town.

Satu means village/ town and Mare means large.
Satu Mare has a tradition in fencing dating to 1885, being the European town that has supplied the most world and Olympic champions.

The 18th century marked the beginning of an intense urbanization process of Satu Mare, some of the main attractions in town, dating from this period, include: the old city hall, the military barracks, the Catholic and Reformed churches. The first park in Satu Mare was established in 1844.
During the early 1800s, the first large industrial companies were founded: the steam mill, the brick factory, the Neuschloss wood-processing factory, the lumber factory.
Located at the crossroads of commercial routes, Satu Mare became an important railway center.
The railway to Carei was built in 1871, the one to Sighet in 1872, and the one to Baia Mare in 1894.

Most attractions in Satu Mare are located in the Old Town. Most historic buildings and cultural istitutions lay along Traian Boulevard (Bulevardul Traian), Piata Libertatii (Freedom Square) and 1 Decembrie 1918 street. Satu Mare landmarks include the Archangels Gabriel & Michael Orthodox Church of the, . Other buildings on the same street show some of the old glamour of Satu Mare. In the centre, facing the eastern part of Piata Libertatii, you will notice the large domes of the Roman-Catholic Cathedral. The church was built around the year 1800, but it was heavily damaged during the Second World War. The shape is rather unusual and the dimensions inside are impressive. North of the centre there's the small and nice Piata Pacii (Peace Square). Right in the middle of this square stands the small 19th century Hungarian Reformed Church, also known as the Church with Chains (Biserica cu Lanturi), one of the oldest churches in town. Built between 1793 and 1802, the church has a valuable collection of plates, disks and glasses dating from 1657-1679, as well as the oldest bell in Satu Mare, dating to 1633. The furniture inside the church was made between 1799-1807, from oak, by a master craftsman named Frits Iosif.

Jewish Heritage: Satu Mare

Jews settled in Satu Mare around 1700. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the population grew, reaching, before World War II, approximately 14,000 .
In early 1940s, the community was served by some eight synagogues, a yeshiva, and a Hebrew painting house. In May 1944, the Nazis deported most of the local Jewish population to death camps. A memorial to the 18,000 Jews from around Satu Mare murdered in the Holocaust stands between the two remaining synagogues. Tombstones in the Orthodox Jewish Cemetery (address: Str. 9 Mai) still show bullet holes and damage from World War II. Nearby there is also a Neolog Cemetery.
During the 19th and 20th centuries Satu Mare was the seat of the Teitelbaum and Gruenwald Hasidic Jews, who lived there until World War II.

Great Synagogue

Address: Str. Decebal 4 - 6
Built in 1890s, in similar design to the synagogue in Oradea, it remained closed for decades until the community reopened it as a concert hall and cultural venue.

Saar Ha Torah Synagogue

Address: Str. Decebal 4 - 6
Built in the 1920 and located next to the Great Synagogue, it is the only remaining working synagogue. A small prayer room is used for regular services.

Satu Mare Jewish Community

Comunitatea Evreilor din Satu Mare
Address: Str. Decebal 4A
Telephone: (+4) 0261 713.703

Romania Jewish Heritage more info

Satu Mare
Satu Mare night view, photo © Vali Manda


Art Collections Museum
Muzeul Colectiilor de Arta
Address: Piata Libertatii 21
Tel: (+4) 0261 710.114
Tue. – Sun.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission charge

Satu Mare County Museum
Muzeul Judetean Satu Mare
Address: Str. Lucaciu 21
Telephone: (+4) 0261 737.526
Tue. – Sun.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission charge

Nearby Attractions

Land of Oas (Tara Oasului)

Annual Gathering of Sheep Owners
(Sambra Oilor)

When: 1st Sunday in May
Where: Huta Certeze (36 miles northeast of Satu Mare)
Access: car, bus

Each spring village people and farmers in the Oas region gather on a hillside overlooking Huta-Certeze to celebrate "Sambra Oilor". This centuries-old traditional festival marks the time of the year when shepherds leave for the mountains with their sheep. To help them get through the lonely months ahead of them, they celebrate one last time with folk music, dances and a rich meal. Since 1970 the event is complemented by a major folk festival.

A compilation of Romania’s main events is available at

Day Trips

The Merry Cemetery - Sapanta

Cimitirul Vesel
Where: village Sapânța, 48 miles northeast of Satu Mare
Access: car, train
(nearest train station: Sighetu Marmatiei)
One of the most unique cemeteries in the world lays not far from Satu Mare. Colorful, five-foot, carved oak crosses, featuring carved portraits or scenes from the deceased's life, are inscribed with witty epitaphs that capture essential elements – both the good and the imperfections – of the villagers who rest here. Words and images were chosen by the sculptor as he saw fit at this unique cemetery located just 15 minutes outside of Sighetu Marmatiei.
The crosses also feature geometric designs in symbolic colors: yellow for fertility (the subject had many children), red for passion, green for life, black for early death. The townsfolk's ancestors considered death as a beginning, not the end. Therefore, the background is always blue, the color of hope and freedom.
Even without benefit of translation, visitors will appreciate the handiwork of sculptor Stan Ion Patras (1907-1977), who began carving these epitaphs in 1935. Patras' house in the village is now a fascinating museum. Vasile Stan, one of Patras' apprentices, continues the work of his master.

The wooden Churches of Maramures

Where: 60 - 90 miles west of Satu Mare

Town of Baia Mare

Where: 41 miles east of Satu Mare
Baia Mare info

Town of Oradea

Where: 81 miles south of Satu Mare
Oradea info



By air

Satu Mare Airport (SUJ)
Aeroportul Satu Mare
Address: Soseaua Satu Mare - Zalau Km 9.5
Tel: (+4) 0261 768.640
Satu Mare is served by direct flights from/to Bucharest.
The airport is located about 7 miles south of town centre.
Bus # 9 links the airport with Piata Libertatii / town centre.

Airlines with service to Satu Mare:


Satu Mare Bus Stations

Autogara Orizont - Satu Mare
Address: Str. Grivitei 1
Telephone: (+4) 0722 388.061

Autogara Fany
Address: Bd. Cloșca 14
Telephone: (+4) 0741 607.941

Daily domestic bus service from/to: Alba Iulia, Arad, Baia Mare, Bistrita, Carei, Cluj, Constanta,
Iasi, Oradea, Sebes, Sibiu, Sighetu Marmatiei, Sighisoara, Timisoara, Targu Mures

A shuttle service from Baia Mare - Satu Mare to Budapest (Hungary) Nepliget bus terminal
(with a stop at Budapest Airport)
is operated by Efi Travel / EFI Bus
For more information and reservations please
E-mail EFI Travel
or call (+4) 0745 600.796

By car

Driving route from Bucharest to Satu Mare via A1 - E81:
Bucuresti – Pitesti – Sibiu – Alba Iulia – Cluj – Zalau – Satu Mare

Driving route from Budapest to Satu Mare via E71 – E671:
Budapest – Debrecen – Satu Mare

Road Distance from/to Satu Mare:
City Distance
Bucharest 365 miles
Arad 155 miles
Baia Mare 40 miles
Brasov 260 miles
Budapest (Hungary) 210 miles
Cluj-Napoca 90 miles
Constanta 485 miles
Iasi 290 miles
Oradea 80 miles
Sibiu 195 miles
Sighisoara 180 miles
Suceava 200 miles
Targu Mures 95 miles
Timisoara 190 miles
Vienna (Austria) 360 miles


By train

Satu Mare train station
Gara Satu Mare
Address: Str. Grivitei 1
Telephone: (+4) 0261 768.704
Satu Mare train station is located ½ mile east of the city centre.
There are daily trains connecting Satu Mare to Baia Mare, Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj,
Sighisoara, Timisoara and several other cities in Romania.

To check train and bus schedules for domestic routes please visit
RomaniaTourism Domestic Transportation section.

Public Transportation

25 bus routes connect Satu Mare main areas and tourist attractions.
Satu Mate public transportation routes map


Satu Mare Taxi companies

Satu Mare Taxi Companies
NamePhone #
Prima Taxi (+4) 0724 979.906   or   0261 949
Galant (+4) 0745192.942   or   0261 942
VIP Taxi (+4) 0788 510.222   or   0261 945
Cielo (+4) 0788 704.190   or   0261 944


Satu Mare Hotels

Accommodations in Satu Mare include:

Hotel Name Class Location
Hugo boutique / upper-midscale Satu Mare town centre
Villa Central boutique / upper-midscale town centre – central park
Viena four star / midscale town centre
City Hotel four-star / midscale town centre
Dome four-star / midscale town centre
Charm four-star / midscale town centre
Marida four-star / uppermidscale three miles north of Satu Mare town centre
Aramia three-star/ midscale 0.4 miles north of town centre
Aurora three-star/ midscale town centre
Coral three-star/ midscale 4 miles northeast of town centre


Satu Mare Tourist Info

Satu Mare Tourist Info Centre - Town Hall
Primăria Municipiului Satu Mare
Address: Piata 25 Octombrie Nr. 1
Telephone: (+4) 0261 807.566

Satu Mare Local Authorities

Satu Mare General Emergency Telephone number: (Ambulance (Ambulanta) , Police (Politia), Fire Department (Pompieri))

Satu Mare County Archives
Directia Judeteana Satu Mare a Arhivelor Nationale
Address: Str. 1 Decembrie 1918, nr. 13
Telephone: (+4) 0261 711.102

Satu Mare Town Hall
Primăria Municipiului Satu Mare
Address: Piata 25 Octombrie Nr. 1
Telephone: (+4) 0261 807.566

Satu Mare Consumer Protection Agency
Oficiul pentru Protectia Consumatorilor – Satu Mare
Address: Str. Gheorghe Lazăr 3
Telephone: (+4) 0261 736.240

Satu Mare Main Post Office
Address: Str. Mihai Viteazu 2
Tel: (+4) 0261 712.222
Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Post offices display a postal horn symbol and the word Posta.

Telephoning Satu Mare from Abroad
International Access Code +4 (country code) + 0261 or 0361 (area code) + six-digit telephone number


Satu Mare - City Map (harta Orasului Satu-Mare)
Romania Physical Map (Romania - Harta Fizica)
Romania Detailed Road Map (Romania - Harta Detaliata)
Romania Road Map (Romania - Harta Drumurilor, Sosele)
Romania Rail Map (Romania - Harta Cailor Ferate)