Made For History

Mayor Joseph Geml (1914 – 1919) wrote in his memoirs that the Lloyd Palace “is the most beautiful house in Timișoara”.

Palatul Lloyd
Palatul Lloyd 1912-14 /

THe LLoyd Name

The Lloyd Society of Temesvár was founded in 1865 at the initiative of Ignác Sámuel Eisenstädter from Buziaș and, due to the large number of members, it was the largest society in the history of the city at that time. Since 1868, the company has also had an economic arbitration court next to the Stock Exchange and is the cornerstone of the future Chamber of Commerce, an institution founded by Emperor Franz Joseph’s Imperial Decree.


The CITY 150 Years AGO

Before 1865, this was a small market square behind the Petrovaradin Gate, an access point to the citadel. The entire area was occupied by the walls of the fortress, complete with the ditches called Graben and in front of them a space called Glacis, an unbuildable area of several hundred meters width. The gates of the fortress were closed each evening by the military and only later were they widened to allow the horse drawn tram to pass.

For further development and to unite the old city with the satellite districts, the current Iosefin and Fabric neighborhoods, demolition of walls started in 1860. In 1905, the walls became the property of the City, and the process continued. Result of the demolitions were 25 million bricks. 18 million were sold to private parties and 7 million were used to build public buildings.


LLoyd Palace

The new pattern of the city and therefore of this public forum that will later become the center of the city was drawn by the architect Lajos Ybl, nephew of the famous Budapest architect Miklós Ybl. The first construction to bring change to the future square was the Theater Palace, completed in 1865, and this is the reason why the area will be called the Opera Square – Opernplatz – Opera tér, until the Revolution of 1989.

Simultaneously with these demolition and expansion plans, the then President of the Lloyd Society, Baron István Ambrózy, together with the director Salamon Sternthal and the secretary Neubauer Vilmos took the decision to build the Lloyd Palace, which was only the second edifice in this square, after the Theatre. Later, the whole group of monumental buildings that followed behind it was called The Lloyd Row.

The Society will order and finance the construction of the Lloyd Palace (1910-1912), a creation of the famous Budapest architect Lipót (Leopold) Baumhorn. He designed an edifice with the dimensions and aesthetics of the commercial palaces of Budapest.

The foundation of the Palace was built using the bricks from the fortress wall, sold by the Temesvár City Hall at a preferential price. The 1st floor, with the great hall, housed the Grain Exchange organized by the London company Lloyd.

One of the directors of the company was the grain and timber merchant Löffler Béla. The Löffler family palace is opposite and you can admire it through the restaurant window, something that Löffler himself also did often, whenever dining here.

In front of the row of buildings once called Lloyd, a promenade space was arranged, called Corso, and the side opposite was called Surrogate, these being separated by a carefully arranged green space. Corso was walked by the aristocracy, the officers, the teachers, the lawyers, the elegantly dressed. Young people, students, pupils, soldiers on leave walked on Surrogate. In the summer season, people used to dine on the shaded terrace.

Interior Lloyd 1912-14 / Magyar Nemzeti Digitalis Archivum

Lloyd 1912

The restaurant opened on June 28, 1912, before this building was completely finished, under the name Café Wien, until 1926.

The interiors were richly decorated in Wiener Secession style by famous artists of the time, the furniture, partitions and inlaid wood paneling, the work of Lehman craftsmen from Timisoara.

Between September 15 and October 18, 1915, the building housed the headquarters of the German troops, and Marshal August von Mackensen served his coffee or meal in this iconic location.

The special envoy of the Post WWI Paris Peace Conference talked in this restaurant to the French general Farret, the Serbian general Grujić and the bishop Letić about the partition of Banat. The subsequent return of this part of the Banat Region to Romania was the result of these debates. Lloyd also hosted the famous Prague reporter Egon Erwin Kisch.

Essential to the CIty

Since the establishment of this restaurant, tables were reserved according to profession and social status. Lloyd had a special table reserved for the mayor of Timișoara: mayors Carol Telbisz, Joseph Geml, Stan Vidrighin, Gen. Domășneanu, Coriolan Băran, Coriolan Drăgulescu all dined here.

Among those who managed the restaurant and ensured its international fame through good operation, the extraordinary quality of services and products, we can mention the concessionaires: Rónay János, Keméy Béla, Meyer Sigmund.

After an extensive renovation, the restaurant reopened on June 26 1926, under the name Grand Café Lloyd. Later, during the communist period, the place was known to the people of Timisoara as the Bulevard Restaurant.

In 1948, the building became the seat of the Politehnica University of Timișoara.

Since 2000, the restaurant has returned to the Lloyd name, and today it is an essential meeting point for businessmen, artists, tourists and Timișoara residents who appreciate the care for a symbol of the city.

Claudiu Preda,
Historian and Tour Guide