What it is and what it meant :
Cluj-Napoca is a proeminent and progressive city in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. It’s dated roots come as far as the Roman conquest that occured in this region. The Roman Empire conquered Dacia between the year AD 101 and 106 and, thus, the settlement Napoca was founded; it was first recorded on a milestone that was found near the city in the year 1758 and dating from the year 108 AD. Anyone who has heard of or came here, knows for a fact that the city has a distinctive youthfull energy, and through its young people, it became a leading symbol in Romania in fields such as visual arts and medical research.
Points of Historical interest :
Milliarium of Aiton
St. Michael’s Church
Palace of Justice
- For a true and sincere expression of its ancient and amazing roots, I strongly recommend visiting the Milliarium of Aiton. It is an ancient Roman milestone, which was discovered in the year 1758 near Cluj, and which tells of the construction of a road between Napoca and Potaissa, thus making it the first dated mentioning of the two cities. While not spectacular in sight, its historical and emotion-building significance make up for it quite fairly.
- The construction of St. Michael’s Church was started in the year 1316 and finally completed in the year 1487. It is a gothic-style Roman catholic church in the center of Cluj-Napoca and it’s Unirii Square, and stands out from the other buildings in the zone by its dominance in terms of dimensions and style of architecture; it is also the second highest church in Transylvania, losing first place to Brașov’s Black Church. It’s history had many ups and downs, but moments in history that took place in the church which are worth mentioning would be that in the year 1551 Queen Isabella of Hungary gives the Hungarian Crown to General Castaldo, the deputy of Ferdinand I, and that in the year 1608 election of Gabriel Báthory as Prince of Transylvania.
- The Palace of Justice, which is located on the Dorobanți Street, ten to fifteen minutes away from Unirii Sqaure, is another location worth seeing. Its construction started in the year 1898 and finished in 1902. It is part of the ensemble in Avram Iancu Square, alongside with the Romanian National Opera.
- The Banffy Castle is considered the highest point in Transylvania’s baroque style. Built between the years 1774 and 1786, it served multiple purposes, it’s very first owner was the Hungarian duke György Bánffy (1746 – 1822), the governer of Transylvania. Since the year 1951, the palace has housed the National Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca, which includes works of many proeminent Romanian artists such as Nicolae Griogrescu, Stefan Luchian, Camil Ressu and others.
Daily and nightly activities
Where to eat and socialize :
- Unirii Square, as I have stated before, is located in the very heart of the city. It has St. Michael’s Church in the middle, and many restaurants, pubs and shops placed on every side of it. Some of them are very well known locally such as the pubs Diesel, Nuka Bistro and Tolouse. Each and every one of them has its own style and personal blending with both new and old fashion. You can enjoy a drink or a hot meal to go with your beverage, the only variable in this instance is the amount of time you will be spending there.
- Piezișă Street is arguably the most famous street in all of Cluj, mainly because it is very close to Hașdeu, a huge campus of students that come on the street for its pubs and bars. It all gets better when the hot season comes around, because every single pub can set up a terace in front of their bar and even more people can come; which I do not know for sure if its a good thing or bad one, because the street is so tight, you can barely fit a car through it, much less hundreads of students daily.
- Eroilor Bulevard is home to many high thought of diners such as La Piazzetta, which is a restaurant focused on, you guessed it, pizza! The bulevard stretches out from Unirii Square right into Avram Iancu Square, so talking in means of transport, the central zone of the city is recommended to be traveled by foot in order to fully engulf in the experience it can offer.
Current and upcoming festivals :
Electric Castle Festival
- TIFF stands for Transilvania International Film Festival which has been held every year since 2001, and organised by Association for the Promotion of the Romanian Film, is the first Romanian film festival for international features.
- The Electric Castle Festival is a four day celebration that takes place in the Banffy Castle in Bonțida, a village close to Cluj. It combines in a unique mode different genres including electronic music, reggae, mainstream and subculture ones. Its first edition was back in 2013 and is going strong since then.
- The Untold Festival is most likely the biggest social boom in terms of concerts and media exposure in Romania as a whole. The first edition took place in 2015 for a period of four days and over 240 thousand people came in those days, not just Romanians but also people from abroad because of the spectacular line-up what included Avicii, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren and ATB. The next one is scheduled to take place at the same location as last year, Cluj Arena, through 4-7 August.
Cluj-Napoca offers to its citizens and tourists several methods of transportation with its public transportation sysem consisting of bus, trolleybus and tram lines. It also provides road, air and rail connections to major cities in the country and Europe. Situated on E576, the airport is connected to the city centre by public transport bus nr. 8. The Cluj-Napoca Rail Station is located aproximately two kilometres from the centre, and is situated on the CFR Romanian Railways Main Line 300 and on Line 401.