Treasure city of Transilvania, Cluj-napoca, Romania
Reviews > Europe > Romania > Cluj-napoca > Treasure city of Transilvania
The third largest city in Romania, Cluj-Napoca is situated in the region of Transylvania. The city claims the unofficial title of the historical province of Transylvania. The city exists from the Dacian period, second century A.D. After the Roman conquered Dacia, the city was renamed Napoca, before in 124 A.D. received the rank of “municipium” (meaning the capital of a province). During Marcus Aurelius reign, Napoca grew spectacular, both economically and socially, receiving the title of “colonia”, the highest possible urban status in the Roman Empire. The name “Cluj” was first used in the 12-th Century, and it comes from “Clus” which means “Closed” in Latin and refers to the hills that surround the city. But not until the 1970s the town became “Cluj Napoca”, when the communist regime added the name of the old Roman settlement to show it’s Daco-Roman origin.
The city lies at the confluence of the Apuseni Mountains, the Somes Plateau and the Transylvania plain. It is crossed by Somesul Mic River and also by a bunch of other small streams. The town is proud to have a very famous Botanica Garden, but also a number of other parks, the largest one being The Central Park. The city is also surrounded by forests and grasslands, as well as two botanical reservations. Ski resorts are close to the town, both for beginners and advanced skiers. The numerous castles constructed by wealthy medieval families living in the city are splendid tourist attractions. Cluj-Napoca has a continental climate, with cold winters and dry summers. Average temperature in the summer is somewhere around 18 degrees C, with the winter temperature averaging around 0 degrees and even lower. This is because of the influence of the close by mountains.
Union Square (Piata Unirii) has a lot of baroque, gothic, Renaissance and neoclassical buildings. The tallest church tower in Romania, Saint Michael’s Church lies in the Union Square, being a gothic style building from the 14th century. In front of the church is a statue of Matthias Corvinus, a 15 century ruler. In the southwest corner of the square stands Hotel Continental, build in 1895. Another attraction in the square is the Hintz House, the Cluj’s first and longest running pharmacy, now transformed in the Pharmacy Museum. The same square holds another architectural achievement, Banffy Palace. This was designed by a German architect and build between 1774 and 1775. The construction is recognized as the most representative example of baroque style in Transylvania. In 1951, the palace became the home of the Cluj National Art Museum.
Another landmark is the Palace of Justice, built between 1898 and 1902. This building is part of an ensemble build in Avram Iancu Square that also includes the National Theatre, the Palace of Prefecture, the Palace of Finance and the Palace of Orthodox Metropolis. An important eclectic ensemble is erected in Iuliu Maniu Street, featuring symmetrical buildings on either side, after the Haussmann urban trend. Calvinist Reformed Church, one of the largest in southeastern Europe, is a perfect illustration of the late gothic architectural style. The church is famous also for the organ concerts that are held frequently there. The statue of Saint George that stands in front of the church was created in 1373 and was inspired by the famous sculpture that lies in centre of Prague. Saint Peter and Paul Church, another landmark in Cluj-Napoca, is most known for the Statue of Saint Mary, an extremely valuable and beautiful work of art from the 18th century. The Fortress Hill is an excellent place to view the whole city and the surroundings. The view is extraordinary.
Some historical churches include The Franciscan Monastery and Church, build in the 15th century, the Cathedral of Transfiguration and the Saint Mary Calvaria Church, one of the oldest sites in town.
Museums are another attraction in this Romanian town. Cluj National Museum of Art, Emil Racovita Speleology Institute & Museum, Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, History Museum of Transylvania and Pharmacy Museum are another reasons to visit this magnificent city.
The Botanical Garden is one of the largest in southeastern Europe and has about 10,000 plant species. The garden is 14 hectares in area and besides the Romanian part, some other attractions are the Japanese Garden, the Roman Garden and the greenhouses with desert and tropical plants. Another important park is Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park, founded in 1929. The park exhibits some 90 Romanian, Saxon and Szekler traditional houses, sawmills, wells, potter's workshops, sheepfolds and outbuildings for grinding gold-bearing ores, sheep rearing, blacksmithing and tanning hides. The park also contains several 18th century wooden churches from the Transylvania region.
How to Get in Cluj-Napoca By train
There are connections with most the Romanian cities, Bucharest, Oradea, Timisoara, Brasov, and so on. The city is also railway connected with Budapest.
Cluj-Napoca has a quite big airport, with connection to a lot of important European towns: Bucharest, Timisoara, Budapest, Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Milano, Bologna, Ancona, Bergamo, Florence, Rome, Treviso, Verona, Lviv, Paris, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and London. Another option is the Budapest Ferihegy Airport, followed by a six-eight hours travel by the shuttles from many companies. The price varies between 60-80 Lei (about 20 Euros). There is also the possibility of car rentals.
Cluj Napoca has a good road connection with towns in Romania, but also with the rest of Europe, by having a comfortable connection with Budapest.
By busSame as car accessibility, you can get to Cluj Napoca with buses from most of the Romanian cities and a lot of European cities.
Things about Cluj-napoca you may be interested in
Read about Cluj-napoca in our travel-guide
About the Botanical Garden of Cluj NapocaCluj hotel experiences
Recommended Cluj-napoca Guide
The cheapest and easiest way to get around in Romania is by train, but although you can travel by rail from practically any corner of the country to another, train rides can be rather long, and often crowded. There are several types of trains, depending on how fast they go and how many stops they make along the way. Keep in mind that when travelling on the so called ‘personal’ trains, you might not always find a seat. If you can afford it, either take an intercity train, an “accelerat”, or get a first-class ticket. There are regular train connections to Cluj-Napoca from Bucharest, Timisoara and other major cities, and... Read more »
Recent reviews for Cluj-napoca
All about Cluj Napoca - Apr 3, 2009, by cipristb
Location and Climate The city of Cluj Napoca is placed in the center of Transilvania at the intersection of the Apuseni Mointains, the Somesan plateau and Transilvania's plain.There are many small rivers that traverse the city situated in... Read more »
Cluj hotel experiences - Jun 13, 2009, by MadSuh
Flying out to Cluj was not exactly an easy task. The connection was easy but I was traveling with my mom and my 96 year-old grandpa. This of course makes a trip like this quite a project. Where are the elevators and where are the toilets,... Read more »
Visiting Cluj for a couple of days - Jun 13, 2009, by MadSuh
Cluj Turned out to be quite different from what I had remembered. The city is much larger than Oradea and there is much more going on. You can go out every night of the week and you'll see lots of students. During the day while visiting the... Read more »
About the Botanical Garden of Cluj Napoca - Apr 6, 2009, by cipristb
The Botanical Garden “Alexandru Borza” aparteining at Babes-Balyai University from Cluj Napoca was founded in 1920 by the teacher Alexandru Borza. Having a surface of 14 hectares it host 10 000 species of plants from all over... Read more »
More reviews you might be interested in
Kingston reviews - Ontario
Located 3 hours from Toronto and easily reachable on the scenic Route 2 if you want to drive there, Kingston is a city that offers a beautiful...
Things to know about Kingston, Ontario
London reviews - United Kingdom
Test Like a typical Americans, I like to go on frequent vacations and I expect that you too like traveling. If you want to take a vacation break,...
How to travel safely in London
Thira reviews - Greece
It is a fabulous volcanic island with an antique minoan city. Some people think Santorini is the home of the lost city of Atlantis... The quite...
What to see in Santorini
Puok reviews - Cambodia
I am really not sure what to write about, one of the wonders of the world or the mess this country is in. I have no doubt that greed is what rules...
Experiencing Angkor Wat
Pietroasa reviews - Romania
Padis is the region located 20 km east wards from the former miner city of Pietroasa. It is a great spot for all kinds of visitors. There are nice...
Family trip to Padis
Chicago reviews - Illinois
If you're in Chicago, have any ability to move around, and love Mexican food, then you should try Cemitas Puebla. It's not a fancy place by...
Alta reviews - Utah
Not far from the Salt Lake City International Airport, lays the beautiful Alta Ski at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Getting there from the...
Great ski area in Alta, UT
Arosa reviews - Switzerland
Arosa is a small mountain resort in Switzerland. It was discovered in 1883 as a health resort, but after a few years it became a winter resort. It...
Snowboard and ski in Arosa
Jackson Hole reviews - Wyoming
Not further than 57 miles from Yellowstone National Park, Jakson Hole has found a way to become a successful resort town while managing to keep...
Ski and have fun in Jackson Hole, WY
Zell Am See reviews - Austria
These two related ski resorts, Zell am See and Kaprun, are so popular that everything is set so you can easily reach them. Whether you want to...
Hiking and white snow in Zell am See und Kaprun