Imagine a half-day walk through Cluj, the Transylvanian capital, where history meets modernity. You could start your journey at the house of a famous Hungarian king, absorbing the stories embedded in the aged bricks and mortar. Continue to the city's oldest church, a sanctuary of architectural and spiritual grace. Next, ascend the most picturesque tower for a panoramic view of Cluj, offering a bird's-eye glimpse of the cityscape below.
As you stroll, consider the diverse architecture—Secessionist or Art Nouveau—that defines the city's visual personality. Feel the pulse of local life at the central collective farm market, where you can revel in the aroma and flavours of fresh produce and traditional foods. Follow the charming canals and streams that lace through the city, finally relaxing in the shade of the urban park, a haven amid bustling life.
To cap off your journey, indulge in a meal at a local restaurant, like Maimuța Plângătoare, renowned for its soups and local brews. The atmosphere inside and in its cosy courtyard will make you feel like you've discovered Cluj's heart.
Matthias Corvinus, born in 1443 in Cluj-Napoca, was one of the most prominent kings of Hungary, ruling from 1458 until his death in 1490. He was a remarkable military leader, known for campaigns that extended Hungary's territories and for defending its borders. His reign is also notable for the flourishing of the arts and sciences, making him a true Renaissance king. The building said to be his birthplace, the House of Matthias Corvinus, stands as a monumental landmark in Cluj-Napoca. This edifice, a prime example of Gothic architecture, is located in the heart of the city's historic center. It serves as the starting point for many walking tours, inviting visitors to step back in time and explore the rich tapestry of Cluj's history and culture. The house itself has become an enduring symbol, connecting the city's past and present, and linking it to one of the most illustrious figures of Hungarian and Romanian history.
The Matia Corvin House, situated at the heart of Cluj-Napoca's old town, serves as a symbolic starting point for walks through the city. Known for his significant contributions to art and culture, Matia Corvin's legacy lives on not only through his biography and achievements but also through this iconic house. Just a short distance away, you'll find Strada Vasile Goldiș, a street that holds its own historical significance. Previously known as the Street of Lanterns, this road is now adorned with decorative lights, reminiscent of the gas lanterns installed during the Austro-Hungarian Empire when the city was part of Hungary. Together, these landmarks offer a rich tapestry of Cluj-Napoca's history and culture, blending past and present in a unique way that captures the spirit of the city.
In the heart of Cluj-Napoca lies its oldest square, now known as the Museum Square. Throughout its existence, this central location has gone through multiple name changes reflecting the city's intricate history. Once a hub for fairs along with Piața Mare (now Piața Unirii), it's been a focal point for trade and community gatherings for centuries. Established as "Carolina ter" in 1592, it later became known as "Piața Carolina" in 1941, then "Kispiac" in 1613, and "Ovar ter" in 1869. The square went through a series of name changes, including "Piața Cetății" and "Dimitrovskaia Square," before finally settling on "Museum Square" in 1964. Amidst these changes, the essence of the square as a communal space has remained, offering residents and visitors a glimpse into the layers of history that define Cluj-Napoca.
Empress Augusta Carolina was the wife of Emperor Francis I of Austria, and she played a significant role in the Austrian Empire during the early 19th century. Born in Bavaria, she came from the House of Wittelsbach and married Francis in 1808. Known for her intelligence and influence, Augusta Carolina was deeply involved in the political landscape, often acting as an advisor to her husband. Her visit to Cluj-Napoca in 1817 left a lasting impression on the city.
The obelisk dedicated to her on Museum Square in Cluj-Napoca stands 10 meters tall and serves as a tribute to her influence and the royal visit. It's an integral part of the square, contributing to the historical and cultural significance of the area, especially given its proximity to the Transylvanian History Museum. The obelisk is likely the oldest secular monument in the city, making it a point of interest for locals and tourists alike.
The element of the fortified city with three towers in the coat of arms of Cluj-Napoca is symbolic of the town's historical significance as a stronghold. The three towers are often interpreted as a sign of defense, fortification, and the city's role as a guardian of the region. This dates back to its Roman past when it was known as Napoca. Established around A.D. 124, Napoca was a Roman colony and a significant military and trading post. The name "Napoca" itself is believed to be of Dacian origin, likely meaning "timbered valley" or "wooded," though the exact etymology remains a subject of debate. After the Roman Empire retreated from Dacia, the name persisted, blending into the city's later medieval and modern identity as Cluj-Napoca. The fortified city element in the coat of arms thus not only represents the city's physical fortifications but also its historical continuity, from Roman times to the present.
The Franciscan Church in Cluj-Napoca, also known as the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, is one of the city's oldest and most significant religious buildings. Located in the heart of the city, the church has been a spiritual landmark since the 13th century. Built initially in Romanesque style and later reconstructed in Gothic architecture, it showcases a blend of artistic and architectural influences. It's renowned for its intricately carved wooden altar, among other interior details, serving as a testament to the craftsmanship of the time. The Franciscan order has played a pivotal role in the city's religious and social life, offering not just religious services but also education and social services over the centuries. The church is a living monument, encapsulating the deep-rooted religious traditions and diverse cultural influences that have shaped Cluj-Napoca.
The Franciscan Church of Cluj-Napoca, also known as the Ovári Ferenc Rendi Templom, has a rich history that intertwines with the various epochs of the city itself. Roman-era ruins and statue fragments have been discovered in the crypt beneath the church's sanctuary, marking the earliest evidence of Christianity in Cluj from the 3rd century. The church was originally built on the site of a royal fortress named "Ordar - Castrum Clus," which had its own chapel. This original structure was destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1241 but was rebuilt decades later.
The church underwent multiple transformations over the centuries, both in name and architectural style. Initially, it was a simple basilica-type church with high and semi-wide side aisles, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Anthony. Over time, the Dominicans took over the church during King Sigismund's reign and expanded it, incorporating peak-arched Gothic elements. Financial aid for the church's construction also came from notable figures like Hunyadi János, the then-governor of the country. The Gothic church boasted intricate structural elements, such as ribbed vaults in its sanctuary, pointed-arch windows, and an ornate rosette window.
One of the most architecturally fascinating sections of the church is its sacristy and the Sub Rosa room connected to it. These areas feature unique design elements like eight-sided columns and complex vault ribbing, which are considered exceptional examples of local architecture. The Franciscan Church serves not just as a spiritual sanctuary but also as a time capsule that opens up various layers of Cluj-Napoca's rich history and architectural heritage.
The history of the church spans several centuries, reflecting significant religious and social transformations. According to records from 1529, the church was initially served by 13 monks, 7 novices, and 8 lay brothers, dedicated to the glory of God and the salvation of souls. However, due to the Reformation, by 1556 the Dominican Order had to leave the church and even the city of Kolozsvár permanently. After that, the building was used by various Protestant congregations—Lutheran, Calvinist, and Unitarian.
For a brief period, Queen Isabella made it her residence, and later, it served as a Unitarian school and a place of worship for the Saxon Reformists. The Hungarian Reformed Church used the building until 1693, after which the Jesuits took over until 1724. In 1725, the church was granted to the Franciscans, who were its caretakers when the roof burned down in a fire in 1697, and the vaulted ceiling collapsed in 1727.
Between 1728 and 1745, the Franciscans extensively renovated the Gothic church into a Baroque style, which remains to this day. New chapels were built between 1730 and 1745 on the southern side of the nave, among the Gothic pillars, complete with burial crypts for the builders. Artworks and sculptures, including a gilded tabernacle, adorn the richly decorated Baroque main altar and side altars. Unfortunately, the church suffered severe damage during WWII in 1944, destroying the roof and most of its artistic windows and delicate interior. Restorations and modifications were undertaken in various years, including 1827, 1839, 1861, 1873, 1912, 1926, 1945, and between 1975 and 1985, ensuring its survival and continued relevance.
The epitaph suggests that the church serves as the final resting place for notable figures in Hungarian history, adding another layer to its historical significance. Among those buried here is Count Karl Engelshaus from Carniola, who initially served in the military in the city of Kolovellus and later took a commanding role in Claudiopolis. He served for 53 years and achieved notable honors under the reigns of Emperors Charles VI and Francis Joseph II. He died in the year 1774.
The epitaph captures the essence of a life dedicated to military service and honor, encapsulated in the phrase "NULLUS ULTRA SEPULCRUM," which can be interpreted as "No one has gone beyond this tomb." It invites the traveler (viator) to pause but warns not to go "beyond the tomb," adding an air of reverence and finality to the life and deeds of Count Karl Engelshaus. The presence of such notable figures highlights the church's importance not only as a religious and architectural landmark but also as a monument to the influential people connected to Cluj-Napoca and broader Hungarian history.
The second epitaph, "Hic Requiescii Domino illufdama Dna SUSANNAPETKI," marks the resting place of Lady Susanna Petki, Countess of Kiraly Halma. She was renowned for her virtues and was the esteemed wife of Francis Kornis, Count of Goncz and Ruzskal Soprani. The title "Comes De Kiraly Halma Viribus & Marins Clariffima" suggests her distinguished standing in society and her role as a supportive spouse.
This epitaph serves as another testament to the church's role as a sanctuary for notable figures, in this case, a significant woman in Hungarian nobility. Lady Susanna Petki and her husband, Francis Kornis, likely played crucial roles in the social and possibly even political landscape of their time. Her epitaph, like that of Count Karl Engelshaus, invites contemplation on the lives and legacies left behind by these distinguished individuals.
The church, therefore, is more than just a house of worship; it's a historical tapestry woven with the threads of individuals who had a significant impact on the area, and perhaps even the nation. Both epitaphs contribute to the rich history and the enduring importance of this sacred place.
The sacristy adjacent to the church and the Sub Rosa room are areas of both architectural and cultural fascination. The eight-sided columns offer a sense of Byzantine elegance, a deviation from typical Gothic or Romanesque motifs, while the complex vault ribbing in the ceiling showcases the pinnacle of artisanal craftsmanship of that era.
The entrance inscription, "Domus Lavretana Verblin Carnatie Virgine nath Venerat lanla popVLI probouk Vr," indicates that the sacristy may have specific religious importance, perhaps devoted to the Virgin Mary or "Virgo Lauretana." This makes the space not merely an architectural achievement but also a significant site of spiritual and local reverence.
"Sub rosa" literally translates to "under the rose," signifying secrecy or confidentiality. This Latin phrase has roots in ancient Roman traditions where a rose was hung over banquet tables to symbolize that matters discussed should remain confidential. This meaning extended into the Middle Ages, where roses adorned rooms where confidential meetings were held, and even in Catholic confessionals. The symbol originates from Amor, who received a rose from Venus and dedicated it to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to keep lovers' secrets safe. This adds an extra layer of intrigue to the Sub Rosa room, implying that it might have been a setting for secret or sacred activities, a notion that enriches its already multi-faceted significance.
In essence, the sacristy and the Sub Rosa room are not just marvels of architecture but intricate tapestries of spiritual, cultural, and even secretive dimensions that add depth to the church's overall heritage.
King Ferdinand I of Romania reigned from 1914 until his death in 1927 and played a crucial role in Romania's modern history. Born into the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty, he was initially an unlikely candidate for the Romanian throne but became king following the unexpected death of his predecessor, King Carol I. Ferdinand is best known for leading Romania through World War I on the side of the Allies, and his reign culminated in the Great Union of 1918, unifying Romania with Transylvania, Bukovina, and Bessarabia.
His reign saw cultural and infrastructure development, laying the groundwork for modern Romania. This legacy is commemorated in many places, including Cluj, where the central street is named in his honor. Ferdinand's commitment to unity and progress makes him a revered figure in Romanian history.
Ferdinand was not the first choice for the throne; he was essentially a "second option" after his elder brother Leopold renounced his succession rights. This made Ferdinand the next in line, and he took the throne with some hesitation but a sense of duty. He married Queen Marie of Romania, a British princess, which further legitimized his rule and brought about a fruitful alliance with Britain.
His successor was his son, King Carol II, who was a rather controversial figure. Carol II had a tumultuous personal life, including multiple affairs and an illegitimate son, which scandalized the Romanian public and political landscape. He even abdicated in favor of his own son, Michael I, before reclaiming the throne. Carol II's reign was marked by political instability and the rise of fascist elements within the country. He eventually abdicated again in 1940, leading to his son, Michael I, taking the throne for the second time.
Ferdinand's careful governance starkly contrasted with the issues created by his successor, making him all the more respected in the annals of Romanian history.
Steampunk Transylvania in Cluj isn't part of the mainstream historical narrative but rather a subcultural fascination blending the Victorian-era aesthetics with futuristic tech elements. Inspired by Romania's rich history and Transylvania's mysterious lore, this theme captures imagination through art installations, festivals, and even themed cafes or shops. It's a unique intersection of history and speculative fiction, offering both residents and visitors an alternative lens to explore Cluj's cultural landscape.
If Steampunk Transylvania in Cluj presents itself as a museum, it would be an interactive space where art, history, and futurism converge. However, as far as I know, Steampunk Transylvania is not an official museum in Cluj. It's more of a style or theme that can appear in various forms of art and cultural events.
In Cluj, the architectural landscape is a fascinating tapestry of contrasts, almost like a visual dialogue between epochs and styles. Nouveau riche elements with ostentatious features coexist with the subtlety and elegance of Art Nouveau. The city's paradox is punctuated by semi-abandoned courtyards and crumbling houses that echo past lives. These various elements don't clash; instead, they add layers to Cluj's complex historical narrative. It's a city where the old and the new, the opulent and the decaying, speak to the multi-faceted nature of its cultural and historical identity.
In Cluj, the allure of passageways and courtyards offers a window into a bygone era. Long communal balconies, or loggias, stretch across multiple apartments, providing a shared space that fuses private and public lives. Wooden staircases, creaking with every step, add a rustic touch to the ambience. Behind timeworn, often swollen doors lie a tapestry of historical legacy, as if time itself is taking a nap. It's a captivating blend of decay and resilience, where every nook and cranny seems to whisper stories of the past.
Based on the rich tapestry of Cluj's history, where even in the 14th and 15th centuries the city stood as an "economic, political, and cultural treasure," it's almost satirical that something as seemingly mundane as a printing press would get its own street. Yet, given the context, it's fitting. After all, this was a city where the affluent studied in prestigious Western schools and where people were so content with their standard of living that they didn't join Gheorghe Doja's revolt in 1514.
Imagine, then, that printing press strategically perched near a fortress wall or gate. If you were an aspiring merchant or scholar, it was as if the city planners had subtly guided you toward enlightenment or, at least, better business contracts. These institutions were the 16th-century equivalent of today's "innovation hubs," if you will. Just as Matia Corvin had granted the city privileges that were, let's say, better than a modern-day tax break, having a street named "Strada Tipografiei" was like a historical wink to its significance, a significance that remains etched both in stone and modern-day city maps.
The building was constructed in 1574 as part of the city's second medieval defensive wall. Initially, it was known as the "Small Gate on Soap Street" (Szappany utcai kis kapu in Hungarian). The Firemen's Tower, along with a section of the wall, is one of the few remnants of Cluj's second medieval defense line that still exists today.
The gate survived because, in the 19th century, it was raised and used by firefighters for city surveillance until the early 20th century, which is how it got its current name: the Firemen's Tower. After it was no longer used for fire observation, the tower housed the Firemen's Museum, which is now defunct.
Starting in 2017, the Cluj-Napoca city hall began a comprehensive restoration process for the tower. This project aimed to repair the entire structure and replace the glass roof with a terrace that serves today as an urban observatory.
The Mill Canal, known as "Canalul Morii" in Romanian, was an important part of Cluj-Napoca's historical infrastructure. Originating from the Somesul Mic River, the canal was essential for powering mills and other industries that thrived in the city's past. Even today, it's a symbol of how urban development coexists with natural resources. The canal's course through the city also offers a fascinating glimpse into the interplay between modernity and history.
Mihai Viteazul, also known as Michael the Brave, was a Voivode of Wallachia who ruled from 1593 to 1601. His statue on the eponymous square in Cluj-Napoca stands as a tribute to his historical significance. Born into the lesser nobility, legends about his origins vary, but he was likely of mixed Romanian and Serbian descent. Mihai Viteazul's rule was significant for uniting Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia under his leadership, effectively realizing the concept of modern-day Romania for a short period.
His successful rule can be attributed to a blend of military skill and diplomatic cunning. In 1595, he gained independence from the Ottoman Empire by repelling their forces in the Battle of Călugăreni. Not stopping there, he took advantage of internal strife within Transylvania to seize control in 1599. His rule was endorsed by the Austrian Habsburgs, hoping to weaken the Ottomans. Eventually, Mihai was betrayed and assassinated in 1601, likely due to political machinations involving Habsburg and Ottoman rivalries.
In essence, Mihai Viteazul's short-lived unification of the Romanian principalities was a complex interplay of his own abilities and the geopolitical landscape of the time. His actions paved the way for the later unification and independence of Romania, immortalizing him as a national hero.
The Eternal Flame in Cluj-Napoca is situated on Mihai Viteazul Square, serving as a poignant reminder of those who fought for freedom and unity. The flame symbolizes resistance and sacrifice, embodying the spirit of Mihai Viteazul, a legendary figure who championed the cause of Romanian unification in the late 16th century.
The Szeki Palace in Cluj-Napoca, meanwhile, takes its name from the Szeky family, an influential aristocratic lineage. Built in the 18th century, the palace stands as a testament to the city's architectural diversity and historical depth, encapsulating its multi-faceted past.
Interestingly, the Eternal Flame and the Szeki Palace, although different in origin and purpose, find a unique harmony on the same historical canvas of Cluj-Napoca. The flame, representing the fight of ordinary people for independence, and the palace, a symbol of the aristocratic past, both contribute to the city's rich cultural heritage. The coexistence of these two landmarks suggests a unity between the struggles of the common folk, personified by Mihai Viteazul, and the historical influence of the nobility, as represented by the Szeki family.
The juxtaposition of architectural styles along King Ferdinand Street in Cluj-Napoca tells a story of time and change. Directly opposite the Palatul Szeki, a historic palace with its own story to tell, stands a modern glass bank building. This contrast reflects the city's willingness to embrace the future while honoring its past. Further down the street, 19th-century two-story buildings lend an air of historical charm, creating a beautiful mix of old and new that captures the essence of Cluj-Napoca.
The Morii Canal in Cluj-Napoca isn't just a tributary of the Someșul Mic River; it's a living archive of the city's past and ongoing transformation. Extending for 7.2 km, this artificial canal starts from the western edge of the city, serving as a flowing memoir of Cluj-Napoca's urban and industrial growth. Its story begins in 1558, when the city council envisioned it as a way to sanitize the Someș River. The old dam near Mănăștur stands testament to this age when water wheels of flour mills turned ceaselessly along the canal banks. However, the construction of a taller dam in the 1970s dried up the canal's flow, silencing the mills forever.
Yet, even as it has ebbed, the canal has been a stage for urban narratives, be it the disappearing rodents or the arrival of wild ducks that delight local children. In recent years, there's been a decline in the ecosystem, with the city's development encroaching on natural habitats. The concrete parapets and the covered sections tell another tale—one of changing aesthetics and perhaps a loss of old-world craftsmanship. Despite its many transitions, the Morii Canal continues to be a symbol of the city's complex relationship with its geography, history, and urbanization.
In the heart of Cluj-Napoca stands an architectural jewel, the post office building, completed in 1898. Crafted meticulously according to the plans of Ray Rezső Vilmos, it serves as a historical beacon that marks the evolution of communication in the city. Though the building itself is a 19th-century marvel, the tale of postal services in Cluj-Napoca dates back even further—to 1724, in fact. The edifice is not just a stunning work of architecture; it also chronicles the advancements in connectivity, highlighted by the regularization of the postal service between Kolozsvár (the Hungarian name for Cluj-Napoca) and Buda in 1809. A walk around this building is like a journey through time, reflecting both the architectural tastes of an era gone by and the enduring necessity of bridging distances through communication.
The canal's origin can be traced back to 1558 when Cluj's city council decided to establish a waterway for hygiene and aesthetic appeal, aiming to captivate visiting VIPs. The canal followed a silted route of the Little Someș River and its segment along Andrei Șaguna Street echoes the charm of famous European cities known for their urban canals. After World War One, Transylvania was integrated into Romania, changing the political landscape while retaining a diverse population that was primarily Hungarian. During the communist era, a section of Canalul Morii was concealed to expand George Barițiu Street. As you wander down George Barițiu Street toward Mihai Viteazu Plaza, you come across the modern Transilvania Bank, built atop the covered canal. The plaza itself is an architectural tapestry, blending past and present; three of its corners are adorned with ornate Habsburg architecture, while the bank symbolizes modernity. The canal reappears as you cross King Ferdinand Street, which commemorates the ruler who brought Transylvania and Romania together, and meanders alongside Andrei Șaguna Street. Along the canal, quaint old houses have been subtly renovated, adding to the atmosphere.
The entrance to the Central Agricultural Market from Mihai Viteazu Street in Cluj-Napoca serves as a gateway to a world of local flavors and traditions. As you step through the broad gates, you're welcomed by the bustling atmosphere of vendors displaying a wide variety of goods. From fresh produce to traditional handicrafts, the market offers a snapshot of the region's agricultural abundance and cultural richness. Often adorned with elements that echo Transylvania's heritage, the entrance itself sets the tone for an authentic market experience. Walking further in, the sights and smells of fresh vegetables, fruits, and regional specialties make it abundantly clear why locals and tourists alike frequent this hub of community life.
In Romanian cuisine, grapes are primarily utilized for wine-making, a craft deeply embedded in the culture. Apples are commonly used in desserts like "plăcintă," a traditional Romanian pastry. Peaches find their way into jams and sweets, but also appear fresh in various dishes. Celery is less central but is used in broths and stews for flavor. Dill is a staple herb, frequently appearing in soups, pickles, and fish dishes. Cranberries are less common but are usually used in desserts and sometimes in sauces accompanying meat. Each of these ingredients tells a story of Romania's agrarian roots, cultural exchanges, and the versatility of its national cuisine.
Zucchini is often featured in baked vegetable dishes and fritters in Romanian cuisine. Lingonberries are usually turned into jams and sauces. Currants could be used in desserts and also for making a traditional liquor. Cabbage is the star of sarmale, the stuffed cabbage rolls. Peppers are often stuffed with meat and rice or feature in various stews. Eggplants are commonly used for making "salata de vinete," an eggplant dip.
In Romania, various types of tomatoes and peppers are cultivated, each with unique characteristics. For tomatoes, some popular varieties include "Roma," known for their elongated shape and suitability for sauces, and "Beefsteak," famous for their large size and juicy flesh, ideal for salads. "Cherry tomatoes" are also common, small and sweet, often eaten fresh.
As for peppers, "Gogosari" is a native Romanian variety that is round and red, perfect for pickling. "Kapia" peppers are red, elongated, and often used for roasting or stuffing. "Ardei iute" are hot chili peppers used to add spice to various dishes. Each subtype has its particular use in Romanian cuisine, from filling and grilling to making relishes and spicy oils.
In Romanian cuisine, cold-smoked meats are usually sausages like cârnați, seasoned with a mix of spices, mainly garlic and pepper. These are smoked slowly at low temperatures and often enjoyed sliced or added to various dishes. The flavor is subtle, capturing the essence of the smoke without overpowering the meat.
Hot-smoked meats are more common and include varieties like păstramă, which is usually made from lamb or pork. The meat is seasoned with spices like coriander, garlic, and black pepper before being hot-smoked. The result is a fully cooked, robustly flavored meat that can be enjoyed immediately.
As for sausages and salamis, you'll find a variety like Sibiu salami, a dry-cured type, and mici, a type of fresh, uncased sausage commonly grilled. Both hot and cold-smoked meats, as well as these sausages, are staples in market stalls throughout Romania, offering a glimpse into the nation's rich culinary heritage.
Certainly, adding to the list are smoked pork loin (okorok) and smoked ribs. The okorok is a sizable piece of pork loin, typically smoked until it adopts a deep golden hue. It’s often cut into slices and is characterized by its tender, juicy texture. Smoked ribs are usually seasoned with a simple yet flavorful combination of salt, pepper, and sometimes paprika before smoking. The ribs turn a deep, smoky color, and the meat becomes tender, easily coming off the bone.
Both okorok and smoked ribs can be found at market stalls in Romania, along with the other smoked meats and sausages. Each offers its own texture and flavor profile, making them popular choices for both everyday meals and special occasions.
The market in Cluj stands at a significant crossroads, where the road from Bucharest meets the road to Satu Mare. This isn't just a geographical junction; it's a cultural meeting point as well. Historically, this area served as a confluence of cultures from Wallachia to the south and Bukovina to the north, all within the heart of Transylvania. The market embodies this rich tapestry, offering a variety of goods that reflect the diverse traditions of these regions.
This location isn't a mere coincidence; it's a testament to the market's role as a center of exchange and cultural interaction. One can experience Wallachian, Bukovinian, and Transylvanian influences all in one place, from food items like smoked meats and sausages to handicrafts and textiles. The market becomes a living museum, where buying a simple food item becomes a journey through Romania's complex history and rich cultural diversity. It illustrates how trade routes and markets have historically been instrumental in the mingling of cultures, making them more than just places for economic transaction. They are, in essence, arenas where different worlds meet and enrich one another.
The market in Cluj is more than just a trading hub; it's a vibrant spectacle of agricultural diversity. As if responding to the rich tapestry of cultures converging here, local farmers spontaneously lay out their goods directly on the ground, creating an informal marketplace. From Ivan tea and apples to asters and sunflowers, you'll find an eclectic mix that reflects the rich soil and agricultural traditions of the region. This grassroots approach to commerce adds a unique layer of authenticity, making the market not just a place to shop but also a space to experience the community's genuine way of life.
Despite Cluj-Napoca being the second-largest city in Romania after Bucharest, with a population exceeding 300,000, a significant portion of its residents have rural roots. While they may reside in multi-story buildings, their love for the land remains undiminished. This is evident in the rose gardens that adorn the areas surrounding many of these urban homes. While there may not be specific Romanian rose varieties, the respect and affection for these flowers are part of the cultural heritage. These rose gardens are not just ornaments; they are symbols of resilience and adherence to traditional values that have survived the migration from village to city. As for the ethnic composition, Cluj-Napoca is predominantly Romanian, but it also has Hungarian, Roma, and other ethnic minorities, enriching its cultural landscape.
The Podul Traian, or Trajan's Bridge, in Cluj-Napoca carries a name that harks back to Emperor Trajan, who famously defeated Decebal, the last king of Dacia. The bridge's construction began in 1928 and was opened in 1931. Interestingly, the motto for the bridge's project was "Decebal," a nod to the Dacian king. Initially, the bridge was located at the edge of the city and was primarily used by those who wanted to bypass the city center.
The old bridge was entirely demolished between August 2016 and June 2017 and was replaced by a new structure that reopened on June 30, 2017. The choice to name it after Trajan, and the use of "Decebal" as its initial project motto, encapsulate the enduring historical interplay between Roman and Dacian cultures in Romania.
In Cluj-Napoca, a major city in Romania, the Someșul Mic river holds a pivotal role in the region's geography and hydrology. Originating from the confluence of two headwaters, Someșul Cald ("Warm Someș") and Someșul Rece ("Cold Someș"), near the locality of Gilău, the river runs through the city of Cluj and its surrounding areas. The canal Someșul Mic is also part of this context, serving as a component of the broader hydro-technical infrastructure designed to regulate water levels and prevent flooding.
As it flows through Cluj, the Someșul Mic collects water from various tributaries like Căpuș and Nadăș. These feeders are crucial for maintaining the river's water level and, consequently, the region's ecosystem. Hydro-engineering work has also been conducted near the village of Mănăstirea, located about 1 km upstream from its confluence with the Someșul Mare river.
The names of these rivers and canals hold significance: "Someșul Mic" translates to "Little Someș," highlighting its relation to the larger Someș river, which it eventually joins. "Someșul Cald" and "Someșul Rece" denote the temperature characteristics of these headwaters, translating to "Warm Someș" and "Cold Someș," respectively. These names reflect the natural attributes of these water bodies.
In summary, the Someșul Mic river and its tributaries constitute a complex hydrological system that impacts the ecology, geography, and urban planning of Cluj-Napoca. This river and its canals are vital to the region and its inhabitants. The names of these rivers provide insights into their characteristics and roles within the local landscape.
The name "Someș" is thought to be of Dacian origin, though its exact meaning is not clear. In various languages like Hungarian, it's known as "Szamos," and in German, it's "Somesch" or "Samosch."
The old houses overlooking the Small Someș Canal in Cluj have a worn yet charming vibe. They're a bit like that scruffy pigeon you mentioned—imperfect but full of character. These houses have seen a lot of history and add a unique layer to the city's atmosphere. Despite their age and wear, they continue to be an integral part of Cluj's landscape, just like that pigeon is in its own way.
The Urania Palace in Cluj-Napoca, located on Horea Street no. 4, was built in 1910 and designed by architect Géza Kappeter. It is one of the iconic buildings in Cluj-Napoca that showcases the influence of Viennese Secessionist architecture. The original owner was Udvari András, a carriage manufacturer who was passionate about cinematography. Interestingly, this building is the sister project of Vienna's Urania.
Over the years, the cinema within the building has gone through several name changes. In 1964, it was renamed to "23 August," which was then Romania's National Day. Post-1989, it was called Favorit, which had no connection to the name Urania. However, in 2015, the cinema was fully renovated and now operates under the name Centru Cultural Urania Palace.
Interestingly, the concept of cinema is not exclusive to Urania Palace. The building directly opposite to it, built in 1908 in Art Nouveau style, also shares cinematic roots. Originally the site was occupied by a blacksmith's shop that set up a cinema tent in the courtyard. A new building was eventually constructed on that location, accommodating a 400-seat cinema of its own. Today, this building serves as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, adding yet another layer to the intricate relationship between art, culture, and commerce in Cluj-Napoca.
Constructed at the end of the 19th century by Samuel Benigni, an influential businessman and vice-president of the Cluj Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Palatul Berde is named after the esteemed Berde family who once resided there. Notably, Aaron Berde, the first rector of Cluj University, was a representative of this family.
This two-level building, adorned with towers, is a prime example of Cluj-Napoca's Belle Époque architecture. Its Secession style harmoniously complements nearby architectural landmarks like Palatul Széki, Palatul Elian, and Palatul Babos. Palatul Berde embodies the city's rich architectural history and serves as a living testament to the contributions of its notable residents.
Secession, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Jugendstil are all architectural styles that flourished during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, each with their unique characteristics yet interconnected philosophically. Secession style, like the one seen in Palatul Berde, emphasizes geometry and abstraction, often incorporating ornamental features that serve both aesthetics and function. Art Nouveau leans towards fluid, organic forms and intricate detailing, often inspired by nature. Art Deco, though more modern, employs bold lines and geometric shapes, usually with a more luxurious flair. Jugendstil, the German counterpart to Art Nouveau, also draws from natural elements but tends to be more restrained and less ornate. Despite their differences, they all challenge traditional styles, emphasizing new materials and techniques, and each reflects the spirit of innovation and change prevalent during their times.
The Tranzit Project emerged in 1997 to address a cultural and social gap in the city, starting with ambitious, almost utopian goals. Many of these have since been realized.
The Venue We leased the former “Poalei Tzedek” synagogue in Cluj from the Jewish Communities Federation. Used as a craftsmen's synagogue until 1974 and later as a storage space, the building had deteriorated due to neglect. Despite its decay, the synagogue's architecture made it a prime location for artistic endeavors.
The Game Plan Tranzit aims to simultaneously restore the synagogue and infuse it with artistic and communal life. Even before we had the needed infrastructure, we began hosting events to engage both artists and the public, aiming to revitalize a neglected yet central space. The goal was to welcome diverse social, ethnic, and professional communities. This approach has since been validated as symbolic assets were converted into tangible ones.
The Reimagination A cornerstone of Tranzit's mission is the "reconversion" of space—turning the symbolic importance of the synagogue into its physical form. Artists, starting from early events like "We and They" (1997) and "Passer-by" (1998), have worked to repurpose the synagogue's empty space. The idea was to seamlessly integrate Tranzit House into Cluj's urban fabric, as it is part of a larger architectural setting that includes the synagogue, a courtyard, a formerly closed Nameless Street leading to the synagogue, and a ruined bridge on the Samus River—all overlooked until recently. These factors led to our new goal: to rehabilitate the entire site. Over time, the Tranzit Foundation has not only filled the synagogue with events and exhibitions but also restored the building, revitalized the courtyard, and reopened part of the Nameless Street.
The Cluj-Napoca Hungarian Opera, known as Kolozsvári Állami Magyar Opera in Hungarian and Opera Maghiară din Cluj in Romanian, is a prominent public opera company located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Established on December 17, 1948, it's housed within the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj. The building itself has historical significance; it was constructed between 1909 and 1910 on the location of a former summer theater and underwent a major reconstruction between 1959 and 1961. With a seating capacity for up to 862 attendees, the venue remains an integral part of the city's cultural landscape.
The construction of the bridge over the Somesul Mic River in Cluj was born out of necessity to connect the military garrison at Cetatuia with the lower part of the city. This was an essential infrastructural move, a strategic imperative dating back to the 1800s. Over time, the bridge took on more than just a functional role; it became a symbol of remembrance. In 1899, tragedy struck when Empress Elisabeth of Austria, commonly known as Sisi, was assassinated. Her death was deeply mourned, and to commemorate her, numerous monuments and namesakes were established throughout the towns and cities of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In Cluj, this bridge was dedicated to her, becoming a part of a broader tribute that included a promenade on Cetatuia Hill. The dedication was an echo of the cult-like admiration Sisi had garnered in her lifetime, making the bridge not just a passage but a historical landmark. However, the course of history had other plans for the bridge. During the Second World War, as German troops retreated, they demolished it along with other bridges on the Somes, foreseeing the advance of the Soviet Army. This destructive act was a dramatic shift in the bridge's purpose—from a symbol of unity and remembrance to a casualty of war.
Over time, the bridge was rebuilt, serving as a testament to resilience and remembrance. It regained its functional role but also emerged as a symbol of overcoming adversity, all while carrying the historical weight of its past, from its original military necessity to the commemoration of Empress Elisabeth, and finally to its regeneration after wartime devastation.
Gazing at the river from under the bridge offers a secluded retreat where time seems to stand still. The water's flow becomes a mesmerizing sight, making the chaos of the world above momentarily irrelevant. However, the experience is marred by overhead power lines clumsily stretching across the canal. In an era when underground wiring is becoming the norm, it's odd to encounter this outdated setup, making the view a blend of natural beauty and lingering remnants of the past.
Central Park in Cluj-Napoca is a multi-faceted urban sanctuary, serving as much more than just a recreational area. Established in the 19th century, the park graces the southern bank of the Someşul Mic River. Notably, it's home to the University of Arts and Design and the Chemistry Faculty of the Babeş-Bolyai University, reflecting its vital role in the educational fabric of the city.
In 2012, the park received considerable attention through an extensive restoration project, with a particular focus on refurbishing the iconic Old Casino building. This restoration symbolizes the city's commitment to preserving its historical landmarks while embracing the future.
Annually, the park's west half transforms into a bustling venue for the Untold Festival, demonstrating its adaptability and importance as a center for cultural events. As you stroll along the park's scenic paths, you may encounter various monuments honoring distinguished individuals. Among these is the statue of Nicolae Bretan, a celebrated Romanian opera composer, whose presence adds an extra layer of historical and cultural richness to the park.
The presence of the University and the annual Untold Festival, along with tributes to influential figures like Nicolae Bretan, make Central Park in Cluj-Napoca a unique blend of history, culture, and contemporary life.
Located within the heart of Cluj-Napoca, Central Park is not just a recreational area but also a cultural landmark, thanks in part to its association with the University of Arts and Design (UAD). While the main campus of UAD graces Piața Unirii and has a rich history dating back to 1926, Central Park is home to a specialized, smaller building exclusively used for art exhibitions. This intimate venue serves as an extension of UAD's cultural impact, offering a setting where academic and public realms converge.
Originally named the "Ion Andreescu" Institute of Fine Arts, UAD has transformed over the years, incorporating faculties of Fine Arts and Decorative Arts and Design. Its multifaceted identity mirrors the essence of Central Park, enriching the city's urban oasis with layers of artistic and educational depth. The union of these spaces in Cluj-Napoca embodies a crossroads of nature, art, and community, making each a more enriching experience for residents and visitors alike.
Lacul Chios is a central feature of "Simion Barnutiu" Central Park, also known as Parcul Mare, a true oasis for the locals and a must-see for tourists in Cluj.
The park's history spans over 185 years and has been on the list of historical monuments of Cluj County since 2010. Created in 1865 by the Park Association, which was responsible for the park's maintenance at the time, Lacul Chios has its own rich history. The association landscaped the pathways, dug the lake, and constructed a music pavilion. By 1871, the Skating Association rented the lake and in 1877, they built a wooden pavilion on the central island.
Today, as the weather warms up, the lake becomes a prime location for boating. Boats are readily available for locals and tourists alike, looking to enjoy some relaxation while gliding over the serene waters.
The black swans of Lacul Chios add an enigmatic touch to the lake, captivating both locals and tourists alike. These majestic birds are not native to the region, but their presence has come to symbolize the mix of natural beauty and cosmopolitan allure that defines Cluj's Central Park. Often seen gracefully gliding over the water or nesting near the lake's edges, the black swans serve as living art pieces that enhance the aesthetic and emotional landscape of the park. Their mysterious appearance also fuels local lore and provides a rich subject for photography, further adding layers to the multifaceted experience of spending time in this urban oasis.
The harmony between Lacul Chios, its central island, the casino building, and the lakeside restaurant creates an atmosphere of tranquility and grandeur that defines the essence of Cluj's Central Park. The lake itself, surrounded by lush greenery, serves as the perfect backdrop for the casino's vintage architecture, bringing a touch of old-world charm into this modern urban setting. The island in the middle of the lake adds a sense of mystery and natural elegance, acting as a focal point that captures the eye and imagination. Finally, the restaurant by the lake adds the finishing touch, offering a place for visitors to relax and absorb the park's scenic beauty while enjoying a meal. Together, these elements form a harmonious blend of nature and architecture, each enriching the other, making Lacul Chios not just a destination but an experience.
The Casino Centru de Cultură Urbană Cluj, located in Central Park "Simion Bărnuțiu," has recently become a hub for cultural and artistic events in Cluj. The building itself is a historic monument, built in the late 19th century in a Viennese eclectic style. The design was helmed by architect Pakey Lajos, who also designed the renowned Hotel Continental and other historic buildings in the city.
Over the years, the building has served various functions: a casino, an ethnographic museum during the interwar period, a fine arts school in 1925, and a restaurant. Following renovations funded by the Cluj-Napoca City Hall with non-refundable European funds, the Casino now hosts a variety of cultural and artistic activities, aligning with the dynamic cultural atmosphere of major university cities worldwide.
For those looking to organize events, the Casino offers a streamlined, bureaucracy-free process. A written request can be submitted in person or via email, and feedback on venue availability is typically provided within 24 hours. Alternative options are given if the venue is booked, making it a versatile and accessible space for cultural enrichment.
The legacy of Hirschler József, the parish priest of St. Michael's Church, is intricately woven into the fabric of Cluj-Napoca's Arany János Street. He commissioned 8 tenement houses built in the style of English turn-of-the-century architecture, collaborating with Budapest-based architects Károly Lajos and Markovits Sándor. The original designs were likely modified by Pápai Sándor, the architect of the Transylvanian Roman Catholic State. These residences have stood the test of time and are among the most prestigious places to live in the city today.
Living in one of these architectural marvels was Onisifor Ghibu, a luminary in Romanian intellectual and political history. Ghibu was a dedicated educator and an anti-Austro-Hungarian activist who later had a decisive role in the unification of Bessarabia with Romania. He also made lasting contributions to the educational landscape of Cluj, particularly its university.
The synthesis of Hirschler József's architectural vision and Onisifor Ghibu's residency adds a multi-layered depth of cultural and historical significance to Arany János Street. Both figures, in their respective domains, have shaped a locale that stands as a landmark of culture, education, and politics, and their legacies continue to grace the city through these enduring structures.
Among the significant projects Spiegel worked on is the Hungarian State Theater and the Hungarian Opera in Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania). This building was erected as the city's summer theater on the site of an older wooden structure from 1874, which served the same purpose. From 1957 to 1961, its architecture was altered with the addition of a reception hall and a new façade. Gezá Márkus was another architect involved in the project.
Frigyes Spiegel, born into a Jewish family in Pest, was not just an architect but also a furniture designer. After earning his architectural degree from the Royal Technical University József in 1887, he began his career collaborating with Vilmos Freund and later with Fülöp Weinréb. Much of their work focused on designing theaters and playhouses, particularly in the Secession style, the Hungarian counterpart to Art Nouveau.
During the Hungarian Soviet Republic, Spiegel held a position, and after its fall, he fled to Oradea, continuing his architectural practice. He soon returned to Budapest, back to his roots and homeland, where he ended his life, leaving behind a legacy that embodies the fusion of art and national identity.
Ibanez is a brand of Hoshino Gakki, a company founded in Japan. It started as a bookshop in 1908 and then transitioned to selling sheet music and musical instruments. In 1935, they began producing guitars under the Ibanez brand. The founder of Hoshino Gakki is Yoshitaro Hoshino, who was born in Japan where he also established the company.
Ibanez gained fame for its high-quality instruments and innovative technologies, such as string-locking systems and unique body shapes. Their guitars are chosen by many rock and jazz stars.
Ibanez is always considered one of the major players in the musical instruments market. They compete with big brands like Fender, Gibson, and Yamaha.
The name "Ibanez" comes from the Spanish guitar and lute maker Salomón Ibáñez, who started his business in the late 19th century. However, unlike his brand, which was highly respected but little-known outside Spain, the modern Ibanez brand has no direct connection to Salomón Ibáñez. The name was acquired by Hoshino Gakki in the early 20th century to expand their market and add "Western" allure to their products. This strategic move proved successful, and Ibanez is now one of the most recognizable names in the musical instrument industry.
As in the case of all universities in Romania, the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca is headed by an elected Senate (Romanian: Senat), representing the academic staff and the students. The Senate elects its Standing Bureau (Romanian: Birou Senat), consisting of the Rector, Prorectors, and Chancellor. The following table presents the members of the Standing Bureau of the Senate of the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Romanian: Biroul Senatului Universităţii Tehnice din Cluj-Napoca) as of October 2009. The Senate has 67 members, including the Standing Bureau. The Senate also elects the Academic Council (Romanian: Consiliul Academic). As of 24 June 2008, it consisted of 20 members; the president of the council is Nicolae Burnete.
The Faculty of Automation and Computers (Facultatea de Automatică și Calculatoare) is a standout department within the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (UTCN). Located in Romania's Transylvanian region, this faculty has garnered acclaim for its high academic standards and groundbreaking research in automation, computer science, and intersecting disciplines. Over the years, the faculty has achieved numerous awards and recognitions for its research and development initiatives, ranging from machine learning algorithms to smart automation systems. Collaborations with industry giants and participation in international conferences have further solidified its reputation as a leader in the field.
Offering a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, the Faculty of Automation and Computers equips students with the skills they need in an ever-evolving technological landscape. If you're looking to be at the forefront of technology and computer science in Romania, this faculty offers a robust foundation and abundant opportunities for research and career development.
In the heart of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, lies a historic street now known as Bulevardul Regele Ferdinand. This street, originally named Strada Podului, once led to a bridge over the Someș River. Its name has undergone several changes over the years, reflecting the shifting tides of politics and rulership. At the northern end of this street, buildings from the late 19th century present a mix of Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic styles. One of these, Palatul Széky, stands out for its distinct neo-Gothic style and intricate terracotta decorations.
In the 1970s, the area near the river saw the construction of the Palatul Telefoanelor, a concrete building that altered the medieval character of the street. Despite this, the street retains its commercial vibrancy. High-end stores and brands like Kenvelo and Lee Cooper have found a home here, making it a bustling commercial hub. The heart of this activity is Central, a gallery full of various retail stands.
Today, Bulevardul Regele Ferdinand serves as a vital link between Unirii Square and a bridge over the Someșul Mic River, encapsulating a rich tapestry of history, architecture, and commerce.
In Cluj's old town, Sextil Iosif Pușcariu, born in Austro-Hungarian Brașov on January 4, 1877, and deceased on May 5, 1948, lends his name to a street with a web of ironies. A philologist educated in France and Germany, Pușcariu started his scholarly career in 1906 by compiling a general dictionary of the Romanian language, advancing it to the letter "L". He also established an atlas of the language and founded a research institute in Cluj, where he spearheaded the creation of a new university.
During World War I, Pușcariu served in the Austro-Hungarian Army, but at the war's end, he fervently supported the formation of Greater Romania. As head of foreign affairs in Bukovina's provisional government and founder of the newspaper Glasul Bucovinei, he, along with Ion Nistor, facilitated the region's union with Romania in November 1918. However, Pușcariu's legacy is marred by his increasing radicalization in the 1920s and '30s, including imposing a Jewish quota at the University of Cluj and open support for fascist politics. During World War II, he even led a propaganda institute in Berlin to promote Romanian culture and counter Hungarian claims over Northern Transylvania following the Second Vienna Award in 1940.
His ideologies and associations with the Iron Guard eventually led to his resignation in 1943. After Romania shifted towards communism, his reputation waned, and he faced legal scrutiny before he died in 1948. His scholarly work would be revived only after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. And so, the street named after him connects the city's oldest Catholic cathedral with the birthplace of a legendary Hungarian king—a compelling backdrop for a man who held such complex and often contradictory views.
Nestled amidst the swirling currents of Transylvanian history, one of the picturesque courtyards on Sextil Pușcariu Street offers a peaceful oasis. The gate leading to this courtyard retains an untouched, almost rural charm, contrasting sharply with its urban surroundings. It's as if you've stepped back in time or into a secret garden, shielded from the cacophony of ideological battles and historical storms that have swept through this land. This little corner serves as a quiet testament to how ordinary life—marked by shared meals, laughter, and simple daily tasks—persists even when idealists, ideologues, and ego-driven fanatics strive to impose their visions, often leaving a trail of suffering and sorrow in their wake, instead of the glory and pride they aimed to instil. It's an unassuming sanctuary that speaks volumes, embodying everyday existence's resilience and quiet continuity amid the contradictory legacies that such streets are often burdened with.
The Jewish Museum in the heart of Cluj's old town is modest but filled with rich history, encapsulating the experiences of the Jewish community in Cluj (or Kolozsvár, as known in Hungarian). This community began to form in the first half of the 19th century, though Jews had visited the city as early as the 16th century. Tragic events, such as the massacre ordered by General Giorgio Basta in 1600, were also part of their complex history.
By the 19th century, the community was rapidly expanding, with legislative changes in 1840 allowing Jews to reside in the city. Their first synagogue was outgrown quickly, leading to a more prominent, stone-built classical-style temple on Paris Street. This, along with adjacent structures like the rabbi's house and school, became the focal point of Jewish life.
The community saw divisions following the 1868 Hungarian Jewish Congress, siding initially with the Orthodox community. Over time, diverging beliefs emerged. In 1875, the Hasidim (known as "Sephardim" because of their prayer style) established their synagogue, Beth Abraham. In 1881, local Jewish intellectuals and bourgeoisie founded a Status Quo community that later evolved into a Neolog community, with the Neolog synagogue inaugurated in September 1887.
Educational institutions also sprouted, including the first Jewish boys' school in 1875 and a girls' school in 1908. By 1910, there were over 7,000 Jews in Cluj, almost doubling by 1930. However, the dark clouds of anti-Semitic riots and WWII had a devastating impact. Thousands were concentrated in ghettos, and most were sent to concentration camps.
Today, a small Jewish community still exists in Cluj, maintaining a synagogue, a kosher restaurant, and a Chabad house led by Rabbi DovBer Urech. The museum, situated unassumingly in a courtyard basement, is a profound testament to this community's resilience and history.
Calea Moților is one of the main streets in Cluj-Napoca, extending from west to east through the city. Its name originates from "moților," which refers to Romanian peasants from the Apuseni Mountains. In the past, this road connected the old village of Mănăștur to a fortress on the Someș River; today, it links the Mănăștur district to the city center.
Avram Iancu lived in Cluj from the mid to late 1840s, where he attended the Piarist lyceum and studied law from 1844 to 1847. This period of his life is associated with the house on Strada Republicii in Cluj. During the revolutionary years of 1848-1849, Iancu stood at the intersection of socio-political ideologies, embodying the liberal and national aspirations of his generation. A leader of the Romanians of Transylvania, he fought not only for individual freedoms but also for the collective rights of his community. Iancu led a force of around 20,000 to 25,000 Romanians against Hungarian forces, remaining committed to finding peaceful resolutions to ethnic and national tensions. Disillusioned by defeat and direct rule from Vienna, Iancu withdrew from public life but remained a symbol of the struggle for national and liberal ideals.
In the latter part of his life, profoundly disillusioned and feeling betrayed by Austro-Hungarian authorities, Iancu retreated to the mountains of Țara Moților, where he originated from and was held in high regard. There, he wandered with the shepherds and found peace. Although rumours suggested that Avram Iancu had gone mad, he passed away in tranquillity.
Piața Lucian Blaga, formerly known as Piața Păcii until 1995 and Béke tér in Hungarian is one of the central squares in Cluj-Napoca. Significant landmarks surround the square: to the south lies the "Dumitru Fărcaș" Student Culture House; the western side is home to the Central University Library. In contrast, the north side is connected to Petru Maior Street, leading to Cluj's City Hall. On the east, Napoca Street links it to Piața Unirii. The square is named after the Romanian writer Lucian Blaga. It serves as a hub of academic and cultural activity and a crossroads connecting various vital parts of the city.
The history of the square dates back to the 19th century when the Cigány-Patak stream flowing through the area was channelled. In 1904, a statue of St. George, donated by Emperor Franz Joseph to the Transylvanian Museum, was erected here. Between 1906 and 1907, the University Library was built at the corner of the square and Mikó Street.
Fast forward to 1959-1960, the square underwent significant changes. Its original triangular shape was transformed into a rectangle, and the St. George statue was moved to Farkas Street. In the following years, various landmarks appeared: the Student Cultural House on the southern side in 1960 and opposite block buildings between 1961 and 1962. The ground floors of these northern block buildings housed Krokko Café, a popular hangout for university students.
In 1993 and 1998, Lucian Blaga, Octavian Goga, and George Coșbuc busts were placed in front of the University Library and the Cultural House. Though there was a proposal in 1995 to return the St. George statue to the square, it never happened. Finally, modernization works commenced in the spring of 2020, including planting plane trees and installing new lamp posts. By 2021, intelligent traffic lights were introduced that adjust their operation based on traffic density.
Maimuța Plângătoare in Cluj is not just a restaurant; it's a place with a unique atmosphere. It stands out among other local establishments due to its focus on soups and local beer varieties. The appeal isn't just in the menu; the space itself is also captivating. The interior is styled in a unique manner, and the cozy courtyard adds extra charm. It's a spot where you can enjoy local cuisine while soaking up the vibe of Cluj.