The building of the Palace of Culture (which also hosts the Romanian Opera House) started in 1871, according to the designs of Viennese architects Helmer and Fellner (designers of many theatre halls in Central Europe, namely Budapest, Vienna, Odessa). The work was finished in 1875. In its initial shape, the building hosted a performance hall located in the centre (today it is the performance hall of the National Theatre and the Romanian Opera House, including the stage, warehouses, auxiliary buildings, dressing rooms), an inn and symetrically, time-specific businesses all around.
Two big fires damaged the building. The first one took place in 1880; rebuilding lasted until 1882, with the building original shape preserved entirely in its "Renaissance" style. After the second fire in 1920, the side wings of the building were the only ones kept intact. The rebuilding was made according to the designs of architect Duiliu Marcu. The original style was preserved for the side façades only. The main façade and the performance hall took on a neobyzantine style, typical for the Romanian architecture of the time. (Duiliu Marcu also applied the architectural pattern of the theatre façade in Timisoara to the Romanian stand of the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1837).