Cluj-Napoca: The heart of Transylvania!
January 1, 1970
by Dican Iulia
When you hear about Transylvania, România, you probably think about a mysterious land with vampires and about Dracula’s house…even some things sound fictional, Transylvania is a real place, in the center of Romania, bordered by Carpathian Mountains, where a lot of beautiful medieval cities are waiting for you to be discovered! Soooo please take your garlic J and let’s visit one of the most beautiful cities from Transylvania: Cluj-Napoca!
Situated in the “heart of Transylvania”, Cluj-Napoca, with a population of around 330,000 , is the second most populous city in Romania, after the Bucharest, which is the national capital. The name Cluj comes, for long time ago, from Castrum Clus, first used in the 12-th century as the name of the citadel surrounding the city. Clus means “closed” in Latin and refers to the hills that surround the city. Nowadays, Cluj is one of the most important economic city and well known for their impressive cultural and educational potential. There are six state and several private universities which house hundreds of college, that are attractive for both Romanian and foreign students.
What can you do in Cluj?
If you are attracted to history, nature, sports, music festivals , shopping, clubs , cultural or medieval events will be impossibly to get bored in Cluj! The beautys of Cluj are different, depending on the viewer, but below is a selection of some places that you should not miss if you have the opportunity to visit the city.
- Union Square or “Piata Unirii”
Union Square and zero point of the city, is one of the most important places in the town. Because of the importance of history and impressive architecture of the buildings , Unirii Square is the meeting place for both locals and tourist groups started exploring the city. Here you can visit Church St. Michael, the statue of Matthias Corvinus, Bánffy Palace , which houses the Museum of Art, the buildings constructed in the mirror and open Maniu street and in the square center , lies the remains of the old Roman city Napoca !
- Museum Square or “Piata muzeului”
Museum Square is named after The History Museum of Transylvania, which is located at the end of pedestrian area. Here you can also vizit memorial house Matei Corvin, the Franciscan Church , one of the oldest religious buildings in Cluj, currently serving as the headquarters of ” High School Music Sigismund Toduta “. Besides these historic attractions, museum square is a place full of restaurants, cafes and places to rest after you have wandered!
- Fortress Hill or “Cetatuia”
After you have rested in the Museum Square, it’s time to climb some 200 feet up to Fortress Hill! The name refers to the fortress built here in the 18-th century to ensure the safety of city. There are no more words to say about Fortress Hill, because the panoramic amazing view of the city, will let you without words…
- Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden
Spread over an area of almost 14 hectares in the southern part of Cluj , botanical garden is a place you should not miss, is an oasis of peace, and a research base for Biology students . The garden contains more than 10 000 species of plants from all over the world, being divided into several sectors : ornamental , systematic , economic and medicinal .
- Central Park
Central Park, with a length of over 180 years , is one of the main green spaces in the central area of Cluj –Napoca. “The middle of town forest” is the place where you will want to spend many summer evenings . Besides the activity that you can do every day , such as boating on Lake Chios , bike rides , read on grass, lazy in the hammock or running , the park is home for many festivals in Cluj such as : Untold, Festival of Light, Lollyboom , salsa evenings or treasure hunt events.
- Lucian Blaga National Theatre
At the end of the boulevard Eroilor, with an impressive architecture , National Theatre Lucian Blaga been welcoming you . The building currently houses both the National Theatre company and the Romanian Opera . The first performance in National Theater of Cluj held on 14 May 1919 and nowadays here you can find a large number of cultural events.
If you are passionate about museums , you will definitely love the city! J The main museums that you can visit are :
- Cluj National Museum of Art (Muzeul National de Arta Cluj)
- Emil Racovita Speleology Institute & Museum (Insitutul de Speologie Emil Racovita)
- Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania(Muzeul Etnografic al Transilvaniei)
- History Museum of Transylvania (Muzeul National de Istorie al Transilvaniei)
- Pharmacy History Collection (Colectia de Istorie a Farmaciei)
If you’re for several days in Cluj, you can give a run to …
- Turda – At 30 km from Cluj , lies the town Turda. Here you can make trails or you can climb the gorges. The view is amazing and if you like nature, this place need to be on your to see list. Also in Turda, you can do a journey to the “Center of the Earth”! Salina Turda, is a former salt mine , which currently enjoys an impressive number of visitors . Besides the health benefits , the salt also gives you the opportunity to play tennis, billiards , bowling or to go with boat on the underground lake .
- Barajul Tarnita – Tarniţa dam , located on the Warm Somes River , about 30 kilometers from Cluj -Napoca , was built on a foundation of rocks at an altitude of about 500 meters. With an area of approx. 215 ha and a length of 8 km and a maximum depth of 70 meters , the lake Tarniţa is one of the most popular tourist areas in Cluj and the most supple double curvature arch dam in Romania .
- Rachitele – At 60 km from Cluj , Rachitele Region is situated on the northern branch of the Apuseni Mountains. Here you can take long and relaxing walks to the Bridal Veil Waterfall, “White rocks” or to the Vlădeasa Peak. The Bridal Veil waterfall is a waterfall in two stages and is the most representative of the Apuseni Mountains . The waterfall lies at an altitude of 1000 m and has a height of 50 m and 2 stage . Legend says that a bride, on her wedding day, fell right on the rocks , and her veil remained hooked . Wedding guests stopped the party and cried the bride and from their tears was formed a waterfall. Vlădeasa is a group Apuseni Mountains of belonging to the Western Carpathian Mountains . The highest peak is Vlădeasa Peak , with an elevation of 1,836 m. White Rocks is a rock formation located in the Apuseni Mountains Vlădeasa which make the place be more mystique and interesting to be explored!