Cluj-Napoca (German: Klausenburg; Hungarian: Kolozsvár) commonly known as Cluj, is the second most populous city in Romania, behind the national capital Bucharest, and is the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest (441 km), Budapest (409 km) and Belgrade (465 km). Located in the Someşul Mic River valley, the city is considered the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania also called because of this The Heart Of Transylvania or The Treasure City. Between 1790 and 1848 and between 1861 and 1867, it was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania.
The city spreads out from St. Michael’s Church in Unirii Square, built in the 14th century and named after the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Cluj-Napoca. Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the country’s largest university, Babeş-Bolyai University, with its famous botanical garden; nationally renowned cultural institutions; as well as the largest Romanian-owned commercial bank.
The most prominent is the neo baroque theatre at the Avram Iancu Square. Built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Viennese company Helmer and Feller, this structure is inscribed in UNESCO’s list of specially protected monuments. Since 1919, shortly after the union of Transylvania with Romania, the building has hosted The Lucian Blaga National Theatre and The Romanian National Opera. The Transylvania Philharmonic, founded in 1955, gives classical music concerts. The multiculturalism in the city is once again attested by The Hungarian Theatre and Opera, home for four professional groups of performers. The National Museum of Art is located in the former palace of the count György Bánffy, the most representative secular construction built in the Baroque style in Transylvania. The museum was nominated to be European Museum of the Year in 1996.
As an important cultural centre, Cluj-Napoca has many theatres and museums:
- The National Museum of Transylvanian History
- The Ethnographic Museum
- The Cluj-Napoca Art Museum
- The Pharmacy Museum
- The Water Museum
and the museums of Babeş-Bolyai University
- The University Museum
- The Museum of Mineralogy
- The Museum of Paleontology and Stratigraphy
- The Museum of Speleology
- The Botanical Museum
- The Zoological Museum.
Cluj-Napoca hosts an ethnographic museum, The Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, which features a large indoor collection of traditional cultural objects, as well as an open-air park, the oldest of this kind in Romania, dating back to 1929.
The National Museum of Transylvanian History is another important museum in Cluj-Napoca, containing a collection of artefacts detailing Romanian history and culture from prehistoric times, the Dacian era, medieval times and the modern era. Moreover, the city also preserves a Historic Collection of the Pharmacy, in the building of the its first pharmacy (16th century), the Hintz House.
The Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), held in the city since 2001 and organised by the Association for the Promotion of the Romanian Film, is the first Romanian film festival for international features. Comedy Cluj, which debuted in 2009, is the newest annual film festival organized in Cluj-Napoca.
The Peninsula / Félsziget Festival, the country’s largest event of its type and formerly held at Târgu Mureș, moves to Cluj-Napoca starting in 2013. Delahoya, Romania’s oldest electronic music festival, established in 1997 is also held in Cluj.
In 2015, the city will be the European Youth Capital, an event with a budget of 5.7 million euros that is projected to boost tourism by about a fifth.
Find out more on english wikipedia here.
VISIT THE OFFICIAL TOURISTIC PAGE OF CLUJ-NAPOCA HERE.
Other notable landmarks around Cluj-Napoca
Bánffy Castle (or Bonţida Bánffy Castle) is an architectonic Baroque monument situated in Bonţida, a village in the vicinity of Cluj-Napoca (~32 km). It was owned by the Bánffy family (of which Miklós Bánffy was a member). The owner is Katalin Banffy, who has 2 daughters, Nicolette and Elisabeth.
The castle was desecrated during World War II by German troops and neglected by the communist regime in Romania; it is currently being restored by the Transylvania Trust, with funds from the European Union, Romanian Ministry of Culture, Getty Grant Programme, World Monuments Fund, NKA (Hungary), etc. The Castle of Bonţida is now being restored as a cultural center.
Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda in Romanian) is now a veritable history museum of salt mining situated ~30 km from Cluj-Napoca in the city of Turda. The excellent state of preservation of mining and machinery used to transport salt, together with the cautious work carried out for preparing the mine to become a tourist attraction, have made history and legend meet harmoniously here. The increasing number of tourists arriving from distant geographical areas to visit the mine are a confirmation of interest and historical value.
Salt was first extracted here during the antiquity and the mine continuously produced table salt from the Middle Ages (the mine being first mentioned in 1075) to the early 20th century (1932).
Since 1992, Salina Turda has been a halo-therapy center and a popular tourist attraction. Inside the salt mine the temperature remains constant at a 10–12 °C all the time, at any time of the year. Humidity in the air remains constant, too, at about 75-80%.
Find out more here.
Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii in Romanian) is a natural reserve (on Hășdate River) situated 6 km west of Turda and about 30 km south-east of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania. The canyon, formed through the erosion of the jurassic limestone of the mountain, is 2 900 m long and the walls have heights reaching 300 m. The total surface of the canyon is of 324 ha. The site has been inhabited since the neolithic. More than 1,000 plant species can be found in the reservation.67 species of birds, fish, amphibians and some mammals (foxes, weasels, martens, wild boars etc. Cheile Turzii contain one of the richest and most scenic karst landscapes in Romania. More than 1000 plant and animal species (some of them rare or endangered, like the wild garlic or some species of eagle) live here. There are some 60 known caves, almost all of them being of small size (the longest one has 120 m).
Cheile Turzii are just a few km away from two other canyons (Cheile Turului and Cheile Borzești) as well as from Ciucaș waterfall.
Cheile Turzii is one of the main rock climbing sites in Romania.
Other interesting landmarks can be found here.