Cluj Napoca

The city of Cluj-Napoca is situated in the central area of Transylvania, covering 179, 5 km². Located in the area connecting Apuseni Mountains, the Somesan Plateau and the Plain of Transylvania, the city stretches in the valley of Somesul Mic and Nadas Rivers and, to some extent, in the secondary valleys of Popesti, Chintalau, Borhanci and Popii. To the south-east, it occupies the superior terrace of the northern flank of Feleac hill, and is surrounded from three sides by hills and mounds 500-825 meters high.

Cluj-Napoca is watered by rivers Somesul Mic and Nadas, as well as some other springs: Gypsies’ Spring, Windmill Channel, Popesti Spring, Nadasel Spring, Chintenilor Spring, Becas Spring, Muratorii Spring.

Cluj-Napoca is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania.

Novelties on Cluj

The oldest documented mention of the city appears in the writings of Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century, where there is a mention of Napuca – of the most important settlements in pre-roman Dacia. Its first official confirmation is dated to 1167 under the name Castrum Clus.

In 1867 and in 1940, Cluj-Napoca was under the rule of the Hungarian Kingdom.

Cluj-Napoca is crossed by 10 rivers and springs, and the most important is Somesul Mic.

Babes Bolyai University is the largest in Romania, with over 45,000 students.

At the Babes Bolyai University courses are taught in 4 languages.


The Pharmacy Museum. The building that hosts it is the house of Hintz family and it was the place of the first pharmacy in Transylvania. Here you can discover how medicine was prepared, how it was stored, promoted and sold. In addition, this is the place where they say you can find the elixir of love.

The Citadel, o fortification built during the Habsburg period atop the homonymous hill. Only part of the wall and four buildings are left from the old Citadel, and the keep was transformed to Skydivers’ Tower. Hotel Belvedere and a huge iron cross were built atop the hill. It is worth seeing the city panorama from up here.

“Alexandru Borza” Botanical Garden (considered to be one of the most beautiful in South Eastern Europe) stretches on 14 hectares and has on display some of the rarest plants in the world, a Water Tower, a Japanese and a Roman garden and also a huge water lily.

Calvaria Church is the oldest historical and architectural monument preserved in the former village of Manastur. In the second half of the 11th century here was the Benedictine Abbey of Monasteriul Beatae Mariae de Clus. Calvaria is surrounded by a high rampart. The bell tower of the church, the clock, the ruins of the old tower and some architectonic details make the worship place a landmark worth visiting.

Cluj-Napoca is the capital of the historical region of Transylvania, a status that resonates to this day.

The Tailors’ Bastion is one of the few fortified towers still intact until present times. The construction of each tower of the medieval wall of defense was financed by a guild – shoemakers, carpenters, masons etc. For having a full medieval experience it is worth visiting.

The Museum Square with its picturesque spots. It was named after the Transylvania History Museum located at one of its ends. The square was transformed into a pedestrian area, and during the summer it is full of open air pubs and bars. In the eastern part there is the Franciscan Church, and in its center the Karolina obelisk – made to honor Emperor Francisc I and his wife Carolina Augusta’s visit to Cluj, between August 18th and 27th 1817 to calm the spirits in the city after the famine caused by the Napoleonic wars.

Matia Corvin House or the “Mehffy House” is a 15th century gothic building (currently the University for Arts and Design). In this house – the city inn at that time – was born ob February, 23rd 1443, Matia Corvin, son the great Ioan of Hunedoara, Voivode of Transylvania.

The Tower of Church Saint Michael in Union Square. Almost 700 years ago, on August, 19th 1316, Carol Robert of Anjou (1308-1342), king of Hungary, declared Cluj a city. In the desire to point out the importance their city was knowing, the people wanted to build up a church worthy of their new status. And this is how Saint Michael Church was erected. As the dimensions planned for the new church went beyond the possibilities of local people in those days, a new worship place was to be built in stages in a period of 150 years.

Historical Marks

The name of Cluj comes, most likely, from the Latin name Castrum Clus, used for the first time in the 12th century for identifying the citadel of the medieval town. The toponym Clus means “closed” in Latin and makes a reference to the hills surrounding the town. Another hypothesis is that the name comes from the German term Klaus or from the word Klause, meaning “a pass between mountains” or “of the dam”.

The name Cluj became naturalized especially after the town become part of the Kingdom of Romania in 1918.

By State Council decree issued on October, 16th 1974, the city had its name changed from Cluj to Cluj-Napoca to make eternal the name of this ancient settlement – proof of the antiquity and continuity of the Romanian people in these lands.

The first documented confirmation of a settlement located on the current site of Cluj was made by Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy who mentioned here one of the most important settlements in Dacia, named Napuca. The first documented confirmation of Roman Napoca dates back to the immediate period following the wars for conquering Dacia, years 107-108, and consists of a military milestone, discovered in Aiton, used in the construction of an imperial strategic road.

The Tower of Church Saint Michael, with its height of 76 meter (80 meter including the cross), is the highest one in Transylvania.

Cultural centers

Important cultural center, Cluj-Napoca is home to a series of cultural and educational institutions and centers.

“Lucian Blaga” National Theatre was opened on December, 1st 1919, in Avram Iancu Square and it is the most important theatre institution in Transylvania. The building, executed in 1907 following the plans of Austrian architects Helmer and Fellner, also hosts the Romanian National Opera, the oldest lyrical-drama institution in Romania, the First National Opera in the country, where the famous soprano Angela Gheorghiu made her debut in 1990. In Cluj there are also the Magyar State Opera and The Magyar State Theatre. Also, here is located the Transylvania State Philharmonic, a concert institution, established in 1955.

Bánffy Palace, home to the National Museum of Art, is hosting many exhibitions: works of Romanian artists like Theodor Aman, Ion Andreescu, Dumitru Ghiata, Nicolae Grigorescu, Stefan Luchian, Dimitrie Paciurea, Theodor Pallady, Nicolae Tonitz, but also of foreign artists like Constantin David Rosenthal or Karl Storck.

The National Museum for the History of Transylvania, also known as the Petrevich-Horvath House, is the successor of the first museum association in Transylvania, the Ardelean Museum Societym established on November, 23rd 1859, with large collections of antiques, mineralogy, botanic, a picture gallery, an ethnographical collection and zoology.

The Paintbrush Factory, a space for creation and dissemination of contemporary art, well-known internationally especially for the visual arts. One of the artists that creates here, painter Adrian Ghenie, is already one of the best Romanian artists of all times; one of his works was sold for approximately 260.000 euros at a bid in London, in the summer of 2013.

The Mint Manufactory was where the official currency – coins – of the Principality was made. The Mint was established in 1527 by Ioan Zapolya (1487 – 1540) who actually brought it from Sibiu. Ioan Zapolya was a Voivode of Transylvania and later became King of Hungary. The old Mint House was let go when the street underwent broadening works, and on the front of the building that replaced the old one was attached a memorial tablet with the inscriptions: “Domus cementariaet auricusoria”, meaning “Exchange and goldsmith 1608”. The insignia of the Mint in Cluj was represented on the Transylvanian coins by the very Cluj coat of arms. The people in Cluj made coins for the voivodes, princes and chancellors of Transylvania.

Matia House is one of the most important historical monuments in Cluj because in this building, currently locate on Street Matei Corvin no. 6, King Matia Corvin was born. King of Hungary between 1458 and 1490, Matia Corvin was born in Cluj on February, 23rd 1440, as the son of Ioan of Hunedoara, Voivode of Transylvania.

The building, in its current form is the result of consecutive significant transformation that started in late 15th century, but it is very likely that it was an important building even in the precedent period, suitable for housing the family of Ioan of Hunedoara.

Matia House underwent throughout the time varied modifications and adaptations to the newer trends. Thus, in the first half of the 15th century were introduced a series of Renaissance architecture elements. In late 19th century, finding itself in an advance state of degradation, it underwent restoration and a series of elements characteristic to the style of the 1900’s were added. In 1940, it was restored again by architect Károly Kós, and then, in the communist period, a lot of the 1900’s modifications are eliminated.

The city also includes Strada Piezișă (slanted street), a central nightlife strip located in the Hașdeu student area, where a large number of bars and terraces are situated.

“Assumption of the Virgin Mary” Orthodox Cathedral. Bishop Nicolae Ivan had the initiative to build the cathedral. In 1919, he addressed the Directorial Council of Transylvania requesting for financial aid necessary to build up the orthodox cathedral in Cluj. The Council approved the bishop’s request offering initially 2 million Austrian-Hungarian crowns, and the Cluj Mayor’s Office agreed to give up the park located in front of the National Theatre for the erection. The Cathedral was fitted up with 4 bells, made by “Seltenfer” company in Sopron (Hungary), the biggest weighing almost 2 tons. Their chimes were heard for the first time on May, 6th 1927. The edifice paintings were made by professors Anastasie Demian and Catul Bogdan, from the Academy of Art, during 1928-1933.

The Transfiguration Greek-Catholic Cathedral, known also as the Church of Friars Minor, is a historical and architectural monument erected between 1775 and 1779 in baroque style. Since 1924, it has been serving as the cathedral of the Greek-Catholic Episcopacy of Cluj-Gherla. The church is located on Eroilor Boulevard no. 10. The edifice was built by the Roman-Catholic Order of Friars Minor Conventual (the so called “Minorites, the oldest Franciscan branch) on the site of the old “Henter house” and on other neighboring sites obtained by trading; master mason and planner was Francisc Kirtner. The necessary money for the works were donated by Empress Marie Theresa, also Great Princess of Transylvania.

The She-Wolf Statue, located on Eroilor Boulevard, in front of the Transfiguration Greek-Catholic Cathedral, Lupa Capitolina Statue, also known as the She-Wolf Statue, was gifted to the city of Cluj by the municipality of Rome in 1921 as a symbol of the Latin bond between Italy and Romania. In the same year, “Roma madre” also gifted the bronze twins to the cities of Timisoara, Bucharest and Targu-Mures. The bronze statue is the exact replica of the Capitoline Wolf, with Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

Hajongard Cemetery is one the most picturesque landmarks in the city and it stretches on approximately 14 hectares. The Hajongard Cemetery, officially known as the Central Cemetery (Magyar Házsongárdi temető, German Hasengarten) on the former Butchers’ Lane, currently Avram Iancu Street, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Cluj, established in the 16th century after the cemetery around Saint Michael’s Church, in the city center, became insufficient.