Timișoara is the third most populous city in the country, with 319,279 inhabitants as of the 2011 census. Timișoara is the informal capital city of the historical region of Banat. In September 2016, Timișoara was selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2021.
Timișoara lies at an altitude of 90 metres (300 feet) on the southeast edge of the Banat plain, part of the Pannonian Plain near the divergence of the Timiș and Bega rivers. The waters of the two rivers form a swampy and frequently flooded land. Timișoara developed on one of few places where the swamps could be crossed. These constituted a natural protection around the fortress for a very long time, however, they also favoured a wet and insalubrious climate, as well as the proliferation of the plague and cholera, which kept the number of inhabitants at a relatively low number and significantly prevented the development of the city. With time, however, the rivers of the area were drained, dammed and diverted. Due to these hydrographical projects undertaken in the 18th century, the city no longer lies on the Timiș River, but on the Bega canal. This improvement of the land was made irreversible by building the Bega canal (started in 1728) and by the complete draining of the surrounding marshes. However, the land across the city lies above a water table at a depth of only 0.5 to 5 metres (1.6–16.4 feet), a factor which does not allow the construction of tall buildings. The rich black soil and relatively high water table make this a fertile agricultural region.
|Languages spoken||Romanian, Serbian|