Cluj Napoca – the city between the hills of Transylvania

Placed in the western area of Transylvania, the original settlement from the 2nd century A.D. had the name of Napuca, which was changed to Napoca after the city was taken over by Romans. The name of Cluj originates in Castrum Clus, used since 12th century. Clus means closed in Latin language and it has to do with the hills that surround the city.

Napoca will be added to the name of the city in 1970’s, during the communist regime, just to emphasize the Daco-Roman origin of the settlement. Cluj represents a cultural and educational city, having the largest percentage of students in the entire country.

Union Square

Union Square displays a mix of multiple architectural styles, like Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical. The square is dominated by St. Michael’s Church , the Banffy Palace,  on its south side, by the equestrian statue of ruler Matei Corvin, the Continental Hotel which served as a German military headquarter during WWII, and the Hintz House which housed the first and longest opened pharmacy between 1573 and 1949. Today, the Hintz House is a Pharmacy Museum.

Cluj Napoca
Cluj Napoca

Saint Michael’s Church

This magnificent gothic monument was built between 1350 and 1487 on a site where was a previous chapel of St. Jacob. The oldest remaining part of the church is the altar, dating back to 1390, while the most recent part of it is the neo-gothic tower built in 1860. Inside visitors can see stained glass windows, vaults with star-shape, sculptures and murals from 15th century.

Cluj-Napoca city centre
Cluj-Napoca city centre

Banffy Palace

Built between 1774 and 1775, after the designs of Johann Eberhard Blaumann for the governor of the city Banffy Gyorgy the place was also used throughout history as a residence for other Austro-Hungarian governors. This edifice is believed to be the most representative for the Baroque style used across Transylvania.

Calvinist Reformed Church

Erected between 1486 and 1516, its pulpit was added in 1646. The church is among one of the largest churches in the southeastern Europe and it is representative for late gothic style. In front of the church stands the statue of St. George, illustrating him slaying a dragon. It was created in 1373 by masters George and Martin of Cluj and it was inspired by an equestrian sculpture from 14th century from Prague.

Fortress Hill

The Fortress Hill offers a splendid view over the city and its surroundings, form an altitude of 200 ft. The name of the place reminds of the Austrian fortress which was here in the 18th century. It served as a control point and occasionally as a prison, here being held the famous Stephan Ludwig Roth in 1848, accused of treason and executed a year later at the northern gate of the city.