The city is also called "Little Vienna", because it belonged for a very long time to the Habsburg Empire and the entire city center consists of buildings built in the Kaiser era, which is reminiscent of the old Vienna. Timişoara is an important university center with the emphasis on subjects like medicine, mechanics and electro-technology. An industrial city with extensive services, it was the first European city to be lit by electric street lamps in 1884. It was also the second European and the first city in what is now Romania with horse drawn trams in 1867. There are numerous claims that Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, built one of Timişoara's footbridges over the Bega.
The old city consists of historic city quarters with several historic squares and proms. These are: Cetate (Belváros in Hungarian, Innere Stadt in German), Iosefin (Józsefváros, Josephstadt), Elisabetin (Erzsébetváros, Elisabethstadt), Fabric (Gyárváros, Fabrikstadt). Numerous bars, clubs and restaurants have opened in the old center in the fine old baroque square.