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Cluj, (also known as Cluj-Napoca), The historic capital of Transylvania / POP.318,000 (metro: 379,000)


Cluj, Transylvania, Romania

> Saint Michael's Church in Unirii Square.
> The Old City's architecture. 
> Transilvania International Film Festival.
> It is a major university city and you can feel it.
> You can fly low-cost to Cluj from over 14 European cities.

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The city is located in Northern Transylvania, on Somes River.

About Cluj, Transylvania

It is the capital of Transylvania and it is, therefore, the place to see Transylvanian urban life at its best. 1/4 of the population (almost 100.000) are students; it hosts the largest university in the country, Babes-Bolyai University. Along with fine dining, excellent cultural activities, a wonderful historical legacy and a great atmosphere, the city will certainly not disappoint those who add it to their travel itinerary. What's more is the fact that Cluj is so easy to access and get around.
Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania, focusing its growth on IT and banking.

From the Middle Ages onwards, the city of Cluj has been a multicultural city with a diverse cultural and religious life: today, around 80% of the population of the city are ethnic Romanians, with the second largest ethnic group being the Hungarians, 60,000, the second-largest urban Hungarian community in Romania (after Targu Mures); the city features a Hungarian state theatre and opera and the Protestant Theological Institute of Cluj. Mainly because of the universities, the city receives a large influx of migrants, around 25,000 yearly.

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Places to visit in Cluj, Romania

The Botanical Garden spreads over 14 hectares and contains among others a small Japanese garden, greenhouses for ecuatorial and tropical plants, a small water course through its middle, and a tower which can be climbed to get a better view of the garden arrangements. It is one of the most impressive in Eastern Europe.

The Central Park a welcome break from the rush of the city. The park built more than a century ago hosts a small lake and the Casino, from the terrace of which you can rent rowboats and hydrobicycles to circle the small island in the centre of the lake.

Other notable parks in the city are the Iuliu Hatieganu Park of the Babes-Bolyai University, which features some sport facilities and the Hasdeu Park, within the eponymous student housing district, the high-elevation Cetatuia.

Saint Michael's Church in Unirii Square
...the Catholic church was finalised in 1390 in the Gothic style of that period; it has the tallest church tower in Romania to this day. In front of the church is the equestrian statue of Matthias Corvinus, erected in honour of the locally-born king of Hungary. The cathedral's gothic architecture piece is one of the most valuable in Transylvania.

The Orthodox Cathedral
...the orthodox equivalent to St. Michael's Church on Avram Iancu Square, built in the interwar era. One of the 10 Metropolitan regions of the Romanian Orthodox Church has the seat in Cluj.

The Banffy Pallace
...the former residence of the count Gyorgy Banffy, the most representative secular construction built in the Baroque style in Transylvania.

The Cetatuia Hill (Fortress Hill)
...used to hold a stronghold, as its name implies. People were also jailed there. Not much of the old fortress remains, but the view it offers is great. The hill can be climbed by stairs from the centre of the city.

The Mirror Street (Iuliu Maniu Street)
...a unique architectural accomplishment dating back to the late 1800s; the buildings on one side mirror those from the other. The street connects the two main cathedrals of the city.

Also see:
The Teleki Palace, the first Unitarian Church in the world, the Franciscan Monastery (built 1290), the Piarist Church, the Presbyterian Church (Biserica Reformata) built in 1486, the Saxon Citadel Wall and the Tailor's Bastion (Bastionul Croitorilor) and the Matthias Corvinus (King of Hungary) place of birth.

The Ethnographical Museum
...which features the largest collection of traditional cultural objects in Romania, as well as a large open-air park, the oldest of this kind in Romania (sixth in Europe), dating back to 1929. It is placed in an area rather remoted from the city center, on a plateau on top of a hill.

The National Museum of Transylvanian History
The Pharmacy Museum
The Geology Museum
The Zoological Museum
The National Museum of Art

The Old City is one of the most beautiful in Romania. Start from Unirii Square, where the St.Michael Cathedral is located and hang around for a few hours to see the beautiful examples of Hungarian and Habsburg architecture, inner courts, old houses and isolated Churches.

Part of Cluj-Napoca's architecture is made up of buildings constructed during the Communist era, when historical architecture was replaced with "more efficient" high-density apartment blocks. Nicolae Ceausescu's project of systematisation did not really affect the heart of the city, instead reaching the marginal districts (Manastur, Gheorgheni, Grigorescu, Marasti).

The Babes-Bolyai University (UBB) is the largest in the country, with almost 50,000 students attending various specialisations in Romanian, Hungarian, German and English. The university claims roots as far back as 1581, when a Jesuit college opened in Cluj, but it was in 1872 that emperor Franz Joseph founded the University of Cluj. The city also hosts nine other universities, among them the Technical University, the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, the University of Arts and Design, the Music Academy and other private universities and educational institutes.

Two of the biggest malls in Romania are located in Cluj: Iulius Mall and Polus Center.

Also check out: 
Strada Piezisa (slanted street), a central nightlife strip located in the Hasdeu student area, where a large number of bars and terraces are situated.

Concerts & Festivals in Transylvania

The National Romanian Theatre and the Romanian Opera
...oldest and one of the finest in Romania.

The Hungarian Theare and Opera

The Transylvania Philarmonic

The Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF)
...held in the city since 2001 is the first Romanian film festival for international features.

Transilvania Jazz Festival
...every October, lots of international guests

Sarbatoarea Muzicii
...aka "Fete de la Musique" is a music festival taking place yearly on 21 June, organised under the aegis of the French Cultural Centre.

Toamna Muzicala Clujeana
...a classical music festivals organized every September by the Philarmonic starting with 1965.

...modelled after German Oktoberfest, takes place nearby Splaiul Independentei, on the banks of Somesul Mic River

Delahoya Electronic Music Festival of the most important one in the area, Delahoya is organized since 1997. It happens outdoor, nearby Hoia forrest.
Cluj is increasingly becoming a concerts venue: recently, Sugababes and Beyonce performed in Cluj-Napoca.

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