City of Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca, commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania, and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Cluj-Napoca is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. In 2015, Cluj-Napoca was European Youth Capital.
Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest (324 kilometres), Budapest (351 km) and Belgrade (322 km). Located in the Someșul Mic River valley, the city is considered the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. From 1790 to 1848 and from 1861 to 1867, it was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania.
Cluj-Napoca’s salient architecture is primarily Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic. The modern era has also produced a remarkable set of buildings from the mid-century style. The mostly utilitarian Communist-era architecture is also present, although only to a certain extent, as Cluj-Napoca never faced a large systematisation programme. Of late, the city has seen significant growth in contemporary structures such as skyscrapers and office buildings, mainly constructed after 2000.
Cluj-Napoca has a number of landmark buildings and monuments. One of those is the Saint Michael’s Church in Unirii Square, built at the end of the 14th century in the Gothic style of that period. It was only in the 19th century that the Neo-Gothic tower of the church was erected; it remains the tallest church tower in Romania to this day.
Another landmark of Cluj-Napoca is the Palace of Justice, built between 1898 and 1902, and designed by architect Gyula Wagner in an eclectic style. This building is part of an ensemble erected in Avram Iancu Square that also includes the National Theatre, the Palace of the Romanian Railways, the Palace of the Prefecture, the Palace of Finance and the Palace of the Orthodox Metropolis. An important eclectic ensemble is Iuliu Maniu Street, featuring symmetrical buildings on either side, after the Haussmann urbanistic trend. A highlight of the city is the botanical garden, situated in the vicinity of the centre. Beside this garden, Cluj-Napoca is also home to some large parks, the most notable being the Central Park with the Chios Casino and a large statuary ensemble.
As an important cultural centre, Cluj-Napoca has many theatres and museums. The latter include the National Museum of Transylvanian History, the Ethnographic Museum, the Cluj-Napoca Art Museum, the Pharmacy Museum, the Water Museum and the museums of Babeș-Bolyai University—the University Museum, the Museum of Mineralogy, the Museum of Paleontology and Stratigraphy, the Museum of Speleology, the Botanical Museum and the Zoological Museum.