Inhabitation of this area goes back thousands or years and the town itself can be traced back to the 15th Century. Already in 1771 the steel industry started to establish itself, making this the oldest industry in Romania. In the 1920s the town industrialised in a quick pace. In 1948 the steelworks and factories were nationalised. Most of the city's history disappeared when the town centre was restructured and modernised after 1947 during the communist regime. After 1965 the residential area of the city were greatly expanded with 4 mikrorayons.
By the early 1990s, the steel industry had caused serious pollution problems of air, water and soil. Reșița is among the most polluted areas of Eastern Europe.
However, the industry also contributes to the identity of the area and fro that reason, a number of buildings of the industrial complex have been designated as heritage. Four industrial elements of the Reșița works are listed as historic monuments: the locomotive factory, blast furnace #2, the brick factory and the puddling and steam laminating workshop. Also a number of villa's from the industrial elite have been declared heritage.