Coordinates: 46°46′N 23°35′E / 46.767°N 23.583°E / 46.767; 23.583

—  City  —

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Treasure City
(Romanian: oraşul comoară);[1] (Hungarian: kincses város)[2]
Location of Cluj-Napoca
Coordinates: 46°46′N 23°35′E / 46.767°N 23.583°E / 46.767; 23.583
Country  Romania
County Actual Cluj county CoA.png Cluj
Metropolitan area Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area
Status County capital
Founded 1213 (first official record as Clus)
 - Mayor Sorin Apostu (PD-L)
 - Deputy Mayor Radu Moisin (PD-L)
 - Deputy Mayor László Attila (UDMR)
 - City 179.5 km2 (69.3 sq mi)
 - Metro 1,537.5 km2 (593.6 sq mi)
Population (est. 2010[4])
 - City 305,636
 - Density 1,704/km2 (4,413.3/sq mi)
 Metro 379,705UNIQ5d2bb0,854,736af75-ref-00,000,006-QINU
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 400xyz1
Area code(s) +40 x642
Car Plates CJ-N3
1x, y, and z are digits that indicate the street, part of the street, or even the building of the address
2x is a digit indicating the operator: 2 for the former national operator, Romtelecom, and 3 for the other ground telephone networks
3used just on the plates of vehicles that operate only within the city limits (such as trolley buses, trams, utility vehicles, ATVs, etc.)

Cluj-Napoca (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈkluʒ naˈpoka] ( listen); German: Klausenburg; Hungarian: Kolozsvár, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkoloʒvaːr]; Medieval Latin: Castrum Clus, Claudiopolis; Yiddish: קלויזנבורג, Kloiznburg), commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania[4] and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest (441 km / 276 mi), Budapest (409 km / 256 mi) and Belgrade (465 km / 291 mi). Located in the Someşul Mic River valley, the city is considered the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. In 1790–1848 and 1861–1867, it was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania.

As of 2010, 305,636 inhabitants live within the city limits, marking a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census.[5] The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area has a population of 379,705 people,[3] while the population of the peri-urban area (Romanian: zona periurbană) exceeds 400,000 residents.[6] The new metropolitan government of Cluj-Napoca became operational in December 2008.[7] Lastly, according to the 2007 data provided by the County Population Register Service, the total population of the city is as high as 392,276 people.[8] However, this number does not include the floating population of students and other non-residents—an average of over 20,000 people each year during 2004–2007, according to the same source.[8]

The city spreads out from St. Michael's Church in Unirii Square, built in the 14th century and named after the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Cluj-Napoca.[9] The boundaries of the municipality contain an area of 179.52 square kilometres (69.31 sq mi). An analysis undertaken by the real estate agency Profesional Casa indicates that, because of infrastructure development, communes such as Feleacu, Vâlcele, Mărtineşti, Jucu and Baciu will eventually become neighbourhoods of the city, thereby enlarging its area.[10]

Cluj-Napoca experienced a decade of decline during the 1990s, its international reputation suffering from the policies of its mayor of the time, Gheorghe Funar.[11] Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the country's largest university, Babeş-Bolyai University, with its famous botanical garden; nationally renowned cultural institutions; as well as the largest Romanian-owned commercial bank.[12][13] According to the American magazine InformationWeek, Cluj-Napoca is quickly becoming Romania's technopolis.[14]



Romanian inscription of a religious book: "Tiperit en Klus en Anul Domnului 1703" (Printed in Klus AD 1703).


The first written mention of its name – as a Royal Borough – was in 1213 under the Latin name Castrum Clus.[15] Despite the fact that Clus as a county name was recorded in the 1173 document Thomas comes Clusiensis,[16] it is believed that the county's designation derives from the name of the castrum, which might have existed prior to its first mention in 1213, and not vice versa.[16] With respect to the name of this camp, it is widely accepted as a derivation from the Latin term clausa – clusa, meaning "closed place", "strait", "ravine".[16] Similar senses are attributed to the Slavic term kluč[16] and the German Klause – Kluse (meaning mountain pass or weir).[17] An alternative hypothesis relates the name of the city to its first magistrate, Miklus – Miklós / Kolos.[17]

The Hungarian form, first recorded in 1246 as Kulusuar, underwent various phonetic changes over the years (uar/vár means "castle" in Hungarian); the variant Koloswar first appears in a document from 1332.[18] Its Saxon name Clusenburg/Clusenbvrg appeared in 1348, but from 1408 the form Clausenburg was used.[18] The Romanian name of the city used to be spelled alternately as Cluj or Cluş,[19] the latter being the case in Mihai Eminescu's Poesis. However, the city's name was finally changed to Cluj-Napoca[20] in 1974 by the Romanian Communist authorities.[21]

In Yiddish it is known as קלאזין (Klazin) or קלויזענבורג (Kloyznburg).[19]


Possible etymologies for Napoca or Napuca include the names of some Dacian tribes such as the Naparis or Napaei, the Greek term napos (νάπος), meaning "timbered valley" or the Indo-European root *snā-p- (Pokorny 971-2), "to flow, to swim, damp".[22] Independent of these hypotheses, scholars agree that the name of the settlement predates the Roman conquest (AD 106).[22]


Napoca on the Roman Dacia fragment of the 1st-4th century AD Tabula Peutingeriana (upper center)[23]

The Roman Empire conquered Dacia in AD 101 and 106, during the rule of Trajan, and the Roman settlement Napoca, established thereafter, is first recorded on a milestone discovered in 1758 in the vicinity of the city.[24] Trajan's successor Hadrian granted Napoca the status of municipium as municipium Aelium Hadrianum Napocenses. Later, in the 2nd century AD,[25] the city gained the status of a colonia as Colonia Aurelia Napoca. Napoca became a provincial capital of Dacia Porolissensis and thus the seat of a procurator. The colonia was evacuated in 274 by the Romans.[24] There are no references to urban settlement on the site for the better part of a millennium thereafter.[26]

"Claudiopolis, Coloswar vulgo Clausenburg, Transilvaniæ civitas primaria". Gravure[a] of medieval Cluj by Georg Houfnagel (1617)

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, two groups of buildings existed on the current site of the city: the wooden fortress at Cluj-Mănăştur (Kolozsmonostor) and the civilian settlement developed around the current Piaţa Muzeului (Museum Place) in the city centre.[16][27] Although the precise date of the conquest of Transylvania by the Hungarians is not known, the earliest Hungarian artifacts found in the region are dated to the first half of the 10th century.[28] In any case, after that time, the city became part of the Kingdom of Hungary. King Stephen I made the city the seat of the castle county of Kolozs, and King Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary founded the abbey of Cluj-Mănăştur (Kolozsmonostor), destroyed during the Tatar invasions in 1241 and 1285.[16] As for the civilian colony, a castle and a village were built to the northwest of the ancient Napoca no later than the late 12th century.[16] This new village was settled by large groups of Transylvanian Saxons, encouraged during the reign of Crown Prince Stephen, Duke of Transylvania.[15] The first reliable mention of the settlement dates from 1275, in a document of King Ladislaus IV of Hungary, when the village (Villa Kulusvar) was granted to the Bishop of Transylvania.[29] On August 19, 1316, during the rule of the new king, Charles I of Hungary, Cluj was granted the status of a city (Latin: civitas), as a reward for the Saxons' contribution to the defeat of the rebellious Transylvanian voivode, Ladislaus Kán.[29]

Many craft guilds were established in the second half of the 13th century, and a patrician stratum based in commerce and craft production displaced the older landed elite in the town's leadership.[30] Through the privilege granted by Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1405, the city opted out from the jurisdiction of voivodes, vice-voivodes and royal judges, and obtained the right to elect a twelve-member jury every year.[31] In 1488, King Matthias Corvinus (born in Klausenburg in 1440) ordered that the centumvirate—the city council, consisting of one hundred men—be half composed from the homines bone conditiones (the wealthy people), with craftsmen supplying the other half; together they would elect the chief judge and the jury.[31] Meanwhile, an agreement was reached providing that half of the representatives on this city council were to be drawn from the Hungarian, half from the Saxon population, and that judicial offices were to be held on a rotating basis.[32] In 1541, Klausenburg became part of the independent Principality of Transylvania after the Ottoman Turks occupied the central part of the Kingdom of Hungary; a period of economic and cultural prosperity followed.[32] Although Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár) served as a political capital for the princes of Transylvania, Klausenburg enjoyed the support of the princes to a greater extent, thus establishing connections with the most important centres of Eastern Europe at that time, along with Košice (Kassa), Kraków, Prague and Vienna.[31]

In terms of religion, Protestant ideas first appeared in the middle of the 16th century. During Gáspár Heltai's service as preacher, Lutheranism grew in importance, as did the Swiss doctrine of Calvinism.[33] By 1571, the Turda (Torda) Diet had adopted a more radical religion, Ferenc Dávid's Unitarianism, characterised by the free interpretation of the Bible and denial of the dogma of the Trinity.[33] Stephen Báthory founded a Catholic Jesuit academy in Klausenburg in order to promote an anti-Reform movement; however, it did not have much success.[33] For a year, in 1600–1601, Cluj became part of the personal union of Michael the Brave.[34][35] Under the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, Klausenburg became part of the Habsburg Monarchy.[36]

The New York Palace

In the 17th century, Cluj suffered from great calamities, suffering from epidemics of the plague and devastating fires.[33] The end of this century brought the end of Turkish sovereignty, but found the city bereft of much of its wealth, municipal freedom, cultural centrality, political significance and even population.[37] It gradually regained its important position within Transylvania as the headquarters of the Gubernium and the Diets between 1719 and 1732, and again from 1790 until the revolution of 1848, when the Gubernium moved to Hermannstadt (now Sibiu).[38] In 1791, a group of Romanian intellectuals drew up a petition, known as Supplex Libellus Valachorum, which was sent to the Emperor in Vienna. The petition demanded the equality of the Romanian nation in Transylvania in respect to the other nations (Saxon and Hungarian) governed by the Unio Trium Nationum, but it was rejected by the Cluj Diet.[33]

Beginning in 1830, the city became the centre of the Hungarian national movement within the principality.[39] This erupted with the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. At one point, the Austrians were gaining control of Transylvania, trapping the Hungarians between two flanks. But, the Hungarian army, headed by the Polish general Józef Bem, launched an offensive in Transylvania, recapturing Klausenburg by Christmas 1848.[40] After the 1848 revolution, an absolutist regime was established, followed by a liberal regime that came to power in 1860. In this latter period, the government granted equal rights to the ethnic Romanians, but only briefly. In 1865, the Diet in Cluj abolished the laws voted in Sibiu, and proclaimed the 1848 Law concerning the Union of Transylvania with Hungary.[39] Before 1918, the city's only Romanian-language schools were two church-run elementary schools, and the first printed Romanian periodical did not appear until 1903.[37]

Cluj-Napoca in the Grand Duchy of Transylvania maps, 1769–1773. Josephinische Landesaufnahme

After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, Klausenburg and all of Transylvania were again integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary. During this time, Kolozsvár was among the largest and most important cities of the kingdom and was the seat of Kolozs County. Ethnic Romanians in Transylvania suffered oppression and persecution.[41] Their grievances found expression in the Transylvanian Memorandum, a petition sent in 1892 by the political leaders of Transylvania's Romanians to the Austro-Hungarian Emperor-King Franz Joseph. It asked for equal rights with the Hungarians and demanded an end to persecutions and attempts at Magyarisation.[41] The Emperor forwarded the memorandum to Budapest—the Hungarian capital. The authors, among them Ioan Raţiu and Iuliu Coroianu, were arrested, tried and sentenced to prison for "high treason" in Kolozsvár/Cluj in May 1894.[42] During the trial, approximately 20,000 people who had come to Cluj demonstrated on the streets of the city in support of the defendants.[42] A year later, the King gave them pardon upon the advice of his Hungarian prime minister, Dezső Bánffy.[43] In 1897, the Hungarian government decided that only Hungarian place names should be used and prohibited the use of the German or Romanian versions of the city's name on official government documents.[44]

In the autumn of 1918, as World War I drew to a close, Cluj became a centre of revolutionary activity, headed by Amos Frâncu. On October 28, 1918, he made an appeal for the organisation of the "union of all Romanians".[45] Thirty-nine delegates were elected from Cluj to attend the proclamation of the union of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania in Alba-Iulia on December 1, 1918,[45] later acknowledged internationally by the Treaty of Trianon.[46] The interwar years saw the new authorities embark on a "Romanianisation" campaign: a Capitoline Wolf statue donated by Rome was set up in 1921; in 1932 a plaque written by historian Nicolae Iorga was placed on Matthias Corvinus' statue, emphasising his Romanian (paternal) ancestry; and construction of an imposing Orthodox cathedral began in a city where only about a tenth of inhabitants belonged to the Orthodox state church.[47] This endeavour had only mixed results: by 1939, Hungarians still dominated local economic (and to a certain extent) cultural life: for instance, Cluj had five Hungarian daily newspapers and just one in Romanian.[47] In 1940, Cluj, along with the rest of Northern Transylvania, was given back to Miklós Horthy's Hungary through the Second Vienna Award imposed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.[48][49] After the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944 and installed a puppet government under Döme Sztójay,[50][51] they forced large-scale antisemitic measures in the city. The headquarters of the local Gestapo were located in the New York Hotel. That May, the authorities began the relocation of the Jews to the Iris ghetto.[48] Liquidation of the 16,148 captured Jews occurred through six deportations to Auschwitz in May–June 1944.[48] Despite facing severe sanctions from the Hungarian administration, some Jews escaped across the border to Romania with the assistance of intellectuals such as Emil Haţieganu, Raoul Şorban, Aurel Socol and Miskolczy Dezső, and various peasants from Mănăştur.[48] On October 11, 1944 the city of Cluj was captured by Romanian and Soviet troops.[48][52] It was formally restored to the Kingdom of Romania by the Treaty of Paris in 1947. On January 24, March 6 and May 10, 1946, the Romanian students who had come back to Cluj after the restoration of northern Transylvania rose against the claims of autonomy made by nostalgic Hungarians and the new way of life imposed by the Soviets, resulting in clashes and street fights.[53]

King Ferdinand Street

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 produced a powerful echo within the city; there was a real possibility that demonstrations by students sympathizing with their peers across the border could escalate into an uprising.[54][55] The protests provided the Romanian authorities with a pretext to speed up the process of "unification" of the local Babeş (Romanian) and Bolyai (Hungarian) universities,[56] allegedly contemplated before the 1956 events.[57][58] Hungarians remained the majority of the city's population until the 1960s. Then Romanians began to outnumber Hungarians,[59] due to the population increase as a result of the government's forced industrialisation of the city and new jobs.[60] During the Communist period, the city recorded a high industrial development, as well as enforced construction expansion.[60] On October 16, 1974, when the city celebrated 1850 years since its first mention as Napoca, the Communist government changed the name of the city by adding "Napoca" to it.[21]

During the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Cluj-Napoca was one of the scenes of the rebellion: 26 were killed and approximately 170 injured.[61] After the end of totalitarian rule, the nationalist politician Gheorghe Funar became mayor and governed for the next 12 years. His tenure was marked by strong Romanian nationalism and acts of ethnic provocation against the Hungarian-speaking minority. This deterred foreign investment;[11] however, in June 2004, Gheorghe Funar was voted out of office, and the city entered a period of rapid economic growth.[11] From 2004 to 2009, the mayor was Emil Boc, the president of the Democratic Liberal Party. He went on to be elected as prime minister.[62]


Central Park residence
The banks of the Someşul Mic River
The Roman garden within the local botanical garden

Cluj-Napoca, located in the central part of Transylvania, has a surface area of 179.5 square kilometres (69.3 sq mi). The city lies at the confluence of the Apuseni Mountains, the Someş plateau and the Transylvanian plain.[63] It sprawls over the valleys of Someşul Mic and Nadăş, and, to some extent over the secondary valleys of the Popeşti, Chintău, Borhanci and Popii rivers.[64][65] The southern part of the city occupies the upper terrace of the northern slope of Feleac Hill, and is surrounded on three sides by hills or mountains with heights between 500 metres (1,600 ft) and 700 metres (2,300 ft).[65] The Someş plateau is situated to the east, while the northern part of town includes Dealurile Clujului ("the Hills of Cluj"), with the peaks, Lombului (684 m), Dealul Melcului (617 m), Techintău (633 m), Hoia (506 m) and Gârbău (570 m).[64] Other hills are located in the western districts, and the hills of Calvaria and Cetăţuia (Belvedere) are located near the centre of city.

Built on the banks of Someşul Mic River, the city is also crossed over by brooks or streams such as Pârâul Ţiganilor, Pârâul Popeşti, Pârâul Nădăşel, Pârâul Chintenilor, Pârâul Becaş, Pârâul Murătorii; Canalul Morilor runs through the centre of town.[64]

A wide variety of flora grow in the Cluj-Napoca Botanical Garden; some animals have also found refuge there. The city has a number of other parks, of which the largest is the Central Park. This park was founded during the 19th century and includes an artificial lake with an island, as well as the largest casino in the city, Chios. Other notable parks in the city are the Iuliu Haţieganu Park of the Babeş-Bolyai University, which features some sport facilities, the Haşdeu Park, within the eponymous student housing district, the high-elevation Cetăţuia, and the Opera Park, behind the building of the Romanian Opera.


Turda Gorges (south-east of Cluj) seen from the west end
Bánffy Castle (north-east of Cluj) is currently being restored
Typical rural houses in Mănăstireni, west of Cluj.

The city is surrounded by forests and grasslands. Rare species of plants, such as Venus's slipper and iris, are found in the two botanical reservations of Cluj-Napoca, Fânaţele Clujului and Rezervaţia Valea Morii ("Mill Valley Reservation").[66] Animals such as boars, badgers, foxes, rabbits and squirrels live in nearby forest areas such as Făget and Hoia. The latter forest hosts the Romulus Vuia ethnographical park, with exhibits dating back to 1678.[67] Various people report alien encounters in the Hoia-Baciu forest, large networks of catacombs that connect the old churches of the city, or the presence of a monster in the nearby lake of Tarniţa.[68][69]

A modern, 750-metre (820 yd)-long ski resort is sits on Feleac Hill, with an altitude difference of 98 metres (107 yd) between its highest and lowest points. This ski resort offers outdoor lighting, artificial snow and a ski tow.[70] Băişoara winter resort is located approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the city of Cluj-Napoca, and includes two ski trails, for beginner and advanced skiers, respectively: Zidul Mic and Zidul Mare.[71] Two other summer resorts/spas are included in the metropolitan area, namely Cojocna and Someşeni Baths.[72]

There are a large number of castles in the countryside surroundings, constructed by wealthy medieval families living in the city. The most notable of them is the Bonţida Bánffy Castle—once known as "the Versailles of Transylvania"[73]—in the nearby village of Bonţida, 32 kilometres (20 mi) from the city centre. In 1963, the castle was used as a set for Liviu Ciulei's film Forest of the Hanged, which won an award at Cannes.[74] There are other castles located in the vicinity of the city; indeed, the castle at Bonţida is not even the only one constructed by the Bánffy family. The commune of Gilău features the Wass-Bánffy Castle,[75] while another Bánffy Castle is located in the Răscruci area.[76] In addition, Nicula Monastery, erected during the 18th century, is an important pilgrimage site in northern Transylvania. This monastery houses the renowned wonder-working Madonna of Nicula.[77][78] The icon is said to have wept between February 15 and March 12, 1669.[79] During this time, nobles, officers, laity and clergy came to see it. At first they were sceptical, looking at it on both sides, but then humbly crossed themselves and returned home petrified by the wonder they had seen.[79] During the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (commemorating the death of the Virgin Mary) on August 15, more than 150,000 people from all over the country come to visit the monastery.[77]


Cluj-Napoca has a continental climate, characterised by warm dry summers and cold winters. The climate is influenced by the city's proximity to the Apuseni Mountains, as well as by urbanisation. Some West-Atlantic influences are present during winter and autumn. Winter temperatures are often below 0 °C (32 °F), even though they rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). On average, snow covers the ground for 65 days each winter.[80] In summer, the average temperature is approximately 18 °C (64 °F) (the average for July and August), despite the fact that temperatures sometimes reach 35 °C (95 °F) to 40 °C (104 °F) in mid-summer in the city centre. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer is low, there are infrequent yet heavy and often violent storms. During spring and autumn, temperatures vary between 13 °C (55 °F) to 18 °C (64 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be higher than in summer, with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.

Climate data for Cluj-Napoca
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11
Average high °C (°F) −1
Average low °C (°F) −6
Precipitation cm (inches) 2

Law and government


Map of Cluj-Napoca's districts (2007)

The city government is headed by a mayor. From 2004, the office was held by Emil Boc,[82] who was re-elected in 2008 but resigned the following year to become prime minister. Decisions are approved and discussed by the local council (consiliu local) made up of 27 elected councillors.[82] The city is divided into 15 districts (cartiere) laid out radially, some of them with their own local administrative structure (town hall). City hall intends to develop local administrative structures for most of the districts.

Because of the last years' massive urban development, in 2005 some areas of Cluj were named as districts (Sopor, Borhanci, Becaş, Făget, Zorilor South), but most of them are still construction sites.[83] Beside these, there are some other building areas like Tineretului, Lombului or Oser, which are likely to become districts in the following years.[84]

Additionally, as Cluj-Napoca is the capital of Cluj County, the city hosts the palace of the prefecture, the headquarters of the county council (consiliu judeţean) and the prefect, who is appointed by Romania's central government.[82] The prefect is not allowed to be a member of a political party, and his role is to represent the national government at the local level, acting as a liaison and facilitating the implementation of National Development Plans and governing programmes at the local level.[82] Like all other local councils in Romania, the Cluj-Napoca local council, the county council and the city's mayor are elected every four years by the population.[82]

Cluj-Napoca is also the capital of the historical region of Transylvania, a status that resonates to this day. Currently, the city is the largest in the Nord-Vest development region, which is equivalent to NUTS-II regions in the European Union and is used by the European Union and the Romanian Government for statistical analysis and regional development. The Nord-Vest development region is not, however, an administrative entity.[82] The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area became operational in December 2008,[7] and comprises a population of 360,000.[6] Besides Cluj-Napoca, it includes communes such as Apahida, Feleacu, Ciurila, Floreşti, Gilău, Baciu and Chinteni.

The executive presidium of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) and all its departments are headquartered in Cluj,[85][86] as are local and regional organisations of most Romanian political parties. In order to counterbalance the political influence of Transylvania's Hungarian minority, nationalist Romanians in Transylvania founded the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) at the beginnings of the 1990s; the party was present in the Romanian Parliament during the 1992–1996 legislature.[87] The party eventually moved its main offices to Bucharest and fell into decline as its leadership joined the ideologically-similar PRM.[87] In 2008, the Institute for Research on National Minorities, subordinated to the Romanian Government, opened its official headquarters in Cluj-Napoca.[88]

Eleven hospitals function in the city, nine of which are run by the county and two (for oncology and cardiology) by the health ministry. Additionally, there are well over a hundred private medical cabinets and dentists' offices each.[65]

Justice system

Cluj-Napoca has a complex judicial organisation, as a consequence of its status of county capital. The Cluj-Napoca Court of Justice is the local judicial institution and is under the purview of the Cluj County Tribunal, which also exerts its jurisdiction over the courts of Dej, Gherla, Turda and Huedin.[89] Appeals from these tribunals' verdicts, and more serious cases, are directed to the Cluj Court of Appeals. The city also hosts the county's commercial and military tribunals.[89]

Cluj-Napoca has its own municipal police force, Poliţia Municipiului Cluj-Napoca, which is responsible for policing of crime within the whole city, and operates a number of special divisions. The Cluj-Napoca Police are headquartered on Decebal Street in the city centre (with a number of precincts throughout the city) and it is subordinated to the County's Police Inspectorate on Traian Street.[90] City Hall has its own community police force, Poliţia Primăriei, dealing with local community issues. Cluj-Napoca also houses the County's Gendarmerie Inspectorate.


Portion of the city's centre, as viewed from Cetăţuia

Cluj-Napoca and the surrounding area (Cluj County) had a rate of 268 criminal convictions per 100,000 inhabitants during 2006, just above the national average.[91] After the revolution in 1989, the criminal conviction rate in the county entered a phase of sustained growth, reaching a historic high of 429 in 1998, when it began to fall.[91] Although the overall crime rate is reassuringly low, petty crime can be an irritant for foreigners, as in other large cities of Romania.[92] During the 1990s, two large financial institutions, Banca Dacia Felix and Caritas, went bankrupt due to large-scale fraud and embezzlement.[93][94]

Also notorious was the case of serial killer Romulus Vereş, "the man with the hammer"; during the 1970s, he was charged with five murders and several attempted murders, but never imprisoned on grounds of insanity: he suffered from schizophrenia, blaming the Devil for his actions. Instead, he was institutionalised in the Ştei psychiatric facility in 1976, following a three year long forensic investigation during which four thousand people were questioned. Urban myths brought the number of victims up to two hundred women, though the actual number was much smaller. This confusion is probably explained by the lack of attention this case received, despite its magnitude, in the Communist press of the time.[95]

A 2006 poll shows a high degree of satisfaction with the work of the local police department. More than half the people surveyed during a 2005–2006 poll declared themselves satisfied (62.3%) or very satisfied (3.3%) with the activity of the county police department.[96] The study found the highest satisfaction with car traffic supervision, the presence of officers in the street, and road education; on the negative side, corruption and public transport safety remain concerns.

Efforts made by local authorities in the Cluj-Napoca district at the end of the 1990s to reform the protection of children's rights and assistance for street children proved insufficient due to lack of funding, incoherent policies and the absence of any real collaboration between the actors involved (Child Rights Protection Directorate, Social Assistance Service within the District Directorate for Labour and Social Protection, Minors Receiving Centre, Guardian Authority within the City Hall, Police). There are numerous street children, whose poverty and lack of documented identity brings them into constant conflict with local law enforcement.[97]

Following cooperation between the local governmental council and the Prison Fellowship Romania Foundation, homeless people, street children and beggars are taken, identified and accommodated within the Christian Centers for Street Children and Homeless People, respectively, and the Ruhama centre.[98] The latter features a marshaling center for beggars and street children, as well as a flophouse.[99] As a consequence, the fluctuating movement of children, beggars and homeless people in and out of the centre has been considerably reduced, with most of the initial beneficiaries successfully integrated into the programme rather than returning to the streets.[97]

From 2000 onwards, Cluj-Napoca has seen an increase in illegal road races, which occur mainly at night on the city's outskirts or on industrial sites and occasionally produce victims. There have been attempts to organize legal races as a solution to this problem.[100]


Historical population of Cluj-Napoca
Year Population  %± Romanians Hungarians
1453 est. 6,000[101] n/a n/a
1703 7,500[102] 25% n/a n/a
1714 5,000[103] −33.3% n/a n/a
1785 9,703[102][104] 94% n/a n/a
1787 10,476[102][104] 7.9% n/a n/a
1835 14,000[102][105] 33.6% n/a n/a
1850 19,612 40% 21.0% 62.8%
1880 32,831 67.4% 17.1% 72.1%
1890 37,184 13.2% 15.2% 79.1%
1900 50,908 36.9% 14.1% 81.1%
1910 census[b] 62,733 23.2% 14.2% 81.6%
1920 85,509 36.3% 34.7% 49.3%
1930 census 100,844[106] 17.9% 34.6% 47.3%
1941[c][d] 114,984 14% 9.8% 85.7%
1948 census 117,915 2.5% 40% 57%
1956 census[e] 154,723 31.2% 47.8% 47.9%
1966 census 185,663 20% 56.5% 41.4%
1977 census 262,858 41.5% 65.8% 32.8%
1992 census 328,602 25% 76.6% 22.7%
2002 census 317,953[5] −3.2% 79.4% 19.0%
2010 est. 305,636[4] −3.8% n/a n/a

Source (if not otherwise specified):
Varga E. Árpád[59]

The city's population, at the 2002 census, was 317,953 inhabitants,[5] or 1.5% of the total population of Romania. The population of the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area is estimated at 379,705.[3] Finally, the population of the peri-urban area numbers 400,000 residents.[6] The new metropolitan government of Cluj-Napoca became operational in December 2008.[7] According to the 2007 data provided by the County Population Register Service, the total population of the city is as high as 392,276 people.[8] The variation between this number and the census data is partially explained by the real growth of the population residing in Cluj-Napoca, as well as by different counting methods: "In reality, more people live in Cluj than those who are officially registered", Traian Rotariu, director of the Center for Population Studies, told Foaia Transilvană.[8] Moreover, this number does not include the floating population—an average of over 20 thousand people each year during 2004–2007, according to the same source.[8]

In the modern era, Cluj's population experienced two phases of rapid growth, the first in the late 19th century, when the city grew in importance and size, and the second during the Communist period, when a massive urbanisation campaign was launched and many people migrated from rural areas and from beyond the Carpathians to the county's capital.[107] About two-thirds of the population growth during this era was based on net migration inflows; after 1966, the date of Ceauşescu's ban on abortion and contraception, natural increase was also significant, being responsible for the remaining third.[60]

From the Middle Ages onwards, the city of Cluj has been a multicultural city with a diverse cultural and religious life. According to the 2002 Romanian census, just under 80% of the population of the city are ethnic Romanians, with the second largest ethnic group being the Hungarians, who make up 19% of the population. The remainder is composed of Roma (1%), Germans (0.23%) and Jews (0.06%). Today, the city receives a large influx of migrants: 25,000 people requested residence in the city during 2007.[108]

In terms of religion, 69.2% of the population are Romanian Orthodox and 12.2% are Reformed. The Roman Catholic and the Romanian Greek-Catholic communities claim 5.5% and 5.8% of the population respectively, while other religious groups like Unitarians (1%), Pentecostals (2.6%) or Baptists (1.2%) round out most of the rest.[5] By contrast, in 1930, the city was 26.7% Reformed, 22.6% Greek Catholic, 20.1% Roman Catholic, 13.4% Jewish, 11.8% Orthodox, 2.4% Lutheran and 2.1% Unitarian.[109] Contributing factors for these shifts were the extermination[110] and emigration[111] of the city's Jews, the outlawing of the Greek-Catholic Church (1948–89)[112] and the gradual decline in the Hungarian population.

On a more historical note, the Jewish community has figured centrally in the history of Transylvania, and in that of the wider region.[113] They were a substantial and increasingly vibrant presence in Cluj in the modern era, contributing significantly to the town's economic dynamism and cultural flourishing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[113] Although the community comprised a significant share of the town's population during the interwar era—between 13 and 15 percent[114]—this figure plummeted as a consequence of the Holocaust and emigration; by the 1990s only a few hundred Jews remained in Cluj-Napoca.[113]

St. Michael's Church, the city's largest Gothic-style church

In the 14th century, most of the town's inhabitants and the local elite were Saxons,[32] largely descended from settlers brought in by the Kings of Hungary in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries[115] to develop and defend the southern borders of the province.[115] By the middle of the next century roughly half the population had Hungarian names. In Transylvania as a whole, the Reformation sharpened ethnic divisions: Saxons became Lutheran while Hungarians either remained Catholic or became Calvinist or Unitarian. In Klausenburg, however, the religious lines were blurred. Isolated both geographically from the main areas of German settlement in southern Transylvania[113] and institutionally because of their distinctive religious trajectory, many Saxons eventually assimilated to the Hungarian majority over several generations. New settlers to the town largely spoke Hungarian, a language that many Saxons gradually adopted.[32] (In the seventeenth century, out of more than thirty royal free towns, only seven had a Hungarian majority, with Kolozsvár/Klausenburg being one of them;[116] the rest were largely German-dominated.[116]) In this manner Kolozsvár became largely Hungarian speaking and would remain so through the mid-20th century, though 4.8% of its residents identified as German as late as 1880.[117]

The Roma form a sizable minority in contemporary Romania, and a small but visible presence in Cluj-Napoca: self-identifying Roma in the city comprise only 1 percent of the population; yet they are a familiar presence in and around the central market, selling flowers, used clothes and tinware.[113] They are an important object of public discourse and media representation at the national level; however, Cluj-Napoca, with its small Roma population, has not been a major focus of Roma ethno-political activity.[113]

Hungarian community

Matthias Corvinus Alley, facing the birthplace of the eponymous King of Hungary

Approximately 60,000 Hungarians live in Cluj-Napoca. The city is home to the second-largest urban Hungarian community in Romania, after Târgu Mureş,[118] with an active cultural and academic life: the city features a Hungarian state theatre and opera, as well as Hungarian research institutions, like Erdélyi Múzeumi Egyesület (EME), Erdélyi Magyar Műszaki Tudományos Társaság and Bolyai Társaság.[119] With respect to religious affairs, the city houses central offices for the Reformed Diocese of Transylvania, the Unitarian Diocese and an Evangelical Lutheran Church Diocese (all of which train their clergy at the Protestant Theological Institute of Cluj). Several newspapers and magazines are published in the Hungarian language, yet the community also receives public and private television and radio broadcasts (see Media). As of 2007, 7,000 students attended courses in the 55 Hungarian-language specialisations at the Babeş-Bolyai University.[120] Gheorghe Funar, mayor of Cluj-Napoca from 1992 to 2004, was notorious for acts of ethnic provocation, bedecking the city's streets in the colours of the Romanian flag and arranging pickets outside the city's Hungarian consulate; however, tensions have cooled since.[11]


Eroilor Avenue, the largest and most expensive commercial street
The Ursus Brewery, where a popular Romanian beer is produced
Promenade area in Unirii square, where scalpers once plied their trade
Regele Ferdinand Avenue, another large commercial street

Cluj-Napoca is an important economic centre in Romania. Famous local brands that have become well-known at a national, and to some extent even international level, include: Banca Transilvania,[121] Farmec,[122] Jolidon,[123] and Ursus breweries.[124]

The American online magazine InformationWeek reports that much of the software/IT activity in Romania is taking place in Cluj-Napoca, which is quickly becoming Romania's technopolis.[14] Nokia invested 200 million euros in a mobile telephone factory near Cluj-Napoca;[125] this began production in February 2008 and is due to close in December 2011. It also opened a research centre in the city[126] that was shut down in April 2011.[127] The city houses regional or national headquarters of MOL,[128] Aegon,[129] Perfetti Van Melle,[130] Bechtel,[131] FrieslandCampina,[132] Office Depot, Genpact[133] and New Yorker.[134]

British investment and financial services group Dawnay Day, owner of the Brașov-based commercial centre MacroMall, says it will invest 135 million euros in two real estate projects in Cluj-Napoca. The first project, Atrium, which has started construction on the site of the former Tricotaje Someşul plant located in Cluj-Napoca city centre, will cost 85 million euros.[135]

Cluj-Napoca is also an important regional commercial centre, with many street malls and hypermarkets. Eroilor Avenue and Napoca and Memorandumului streets are the most expensive venues, with a yearly rent price of 720 euro/m²,[136] but Regele Ferdinand and "21 Decembrie 1989" avenues also feature high rental costs. There are two large malls: Polus (including a Carrefour hypermarket) and Iulius Mall (including an Auchan hypermarket). Another two are under construction: Atrium and Akademia Center Cluj, an award-winning Nisco Invest retail project. Other large stores include branches of various international hypermarket chains, like Cora or Real.

Among the famous retailers found in the city centre are United Colors of Benetton, Guess, and Paco Rabanne, while shopping centers on the outskirts include stores like Mango and Zara. Hugo Boss,[137] JLo,[138] Pinko,[139] and Gianfranco Ferre[140] have all announced their intent to open stores in Cluj-Napoca by the end of 2008.

In 2008, the city's general budget amounted to 990 million lei,[141] the equivalent of over 266 million Euros (207 million pounds sterling). Over the previous year, the budget increased 19% in 2006, 56% in 2007 and 35% in 2008. In lei, the budgets for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 are 396,303,743, 472,364,500[142] 739,214,224,[143] and 990,812,338 respectively.[144]


In 2007, the hotel industry in the county of Cluj offered total accommodations of 6,472 beds, of which 3,677 were in hotels, 1,294 in guesthouses and the rest in chalets, campgrounds, or hostels.[145] A total of 700,000 visitors, 140,000 of whom were foreigners, stayed overnight.[145] However, a considerable share of visits is made by those who visit Cluj-Napoca for a single day, and their exact number is not known. The largest numbers of foreign visitors come from Hungary, Italy, Germany, the United States, France, and Austria.[145] Moreover, the city's 140 or so travel agencies help organise domestic and foreign trips; car rentals are also available.[146]

Arts and culture

View of downtown Cluj-Napoca from the Victor Babeş Street in the Haşdeu area

Cluj-Napoca has a diverse and growing cultural scene, with cultural life exhibited in a number of fields, including the visual arts, performing arts and nightlife. The city's cultural scene spans its history, dating back to Roman times: the city started to be built in that period, which has left its mark on the urban layout (centered on today's Piaţa Muzeului) as well as surviving remnants. However, the medieval town saw a shift in its center towards new civil and religious structures, notably St. Michael's Church.[147] During the 16th century, the city became the chief cultural and religious center of Transylvania;[148] in the 1820s and the first half of the 1830s, Kolozsvár was the most important center for Hungarian theater and opera,[149] while at the beginning of the 20th century, still a Hungarian city, it became the chief alternative to Budapest's cinematography.[150] After its incorporation into the Kingdom of Romania at the end of World War I, the renamed Cluj saw a resurgence of its Romanian culture, most conspicuous in the completion of the monumental Orthodox cathedral in 1933 across from the (newly nationalised) Romanian National Theatre.[151] This marked an unambiguously "Romanian" centre, a few blocks to the east of the old Hungarian center;[151] however, the Romanianness of the town—like the Romanian hold on Transylvania—was by no means securely established even by the end of the interwar period.[151] The late 1960s brought a revival of nationalist discourse, concomitant with the urbanisation and industrialisation of the city that gradually advanced the Romanianisation of the city.[152] Nowadays, the city is home to people of different cultures, with corresponding cultural institutions such as the Hungarian State Theatre, the British Council, and various other centres for the promotion of foreign culture. These institutions hold eclectic manifestations in honour of their cultures, including Bessarabian,[153] Hungarian,[154] Tunisian,[155] and Japanese.[156] Nevertheless, contemporary cultural manifestations cross ethnic boundaries, being aimed at students, cinephiles, and arts and science lovers, among others.


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 14th century in the Gothic style of that period. It was only in the 19th century that the neogothic tower of the church was erected; it remains the tallest church tower in Romania to this day.[157]

In front of the church is the equestrian statue of Matthias Corvinus, erected in honour of the locally-born king of Hungary. The Orthodox Church's equivalent to St. Michael's Church is the Orthodox Cathedral on Avram Iancu Square, built in the interwar era. The Romanian Greek-Catholic Church also has a cathedral in Cluj-Napoca, Transfiguration Cathedral.

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.[158] This building is part of an ensemble erected in Avram Iancu Square that also includes the National Theatre, the Palace of Căile Ferate Române, 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.[159] 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. Many of the city's notable figures are buried in Hajongard Cemetery, which covers 14 hectares (35 acres).

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 Babeş-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.

Visual arts

In terms of visual arts, the city contains a number of galleries featuring both classical and contemporary Romanian art, as well as selected international works.

The National Museum of Art is located in the former palace of the count György Bánffy, the most representative secular construction built in the Baroque style in Transylvania.[160][161][162] The museum features extensive collections of Romanian art, including works of artists like Nicolae Grigorescu, Ştefan Luchian and Dimitrie Paciurea, as well as some works of foreign artists like Károly Lotz, Luca Giordano, Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, Herri met de Bles and Claude Michel,[163] and was nominated to be European Museum of the Year in 1996.[164]

The most notable of the city's other galleries is the Gallery of the Union of Plastic Artists. Situated in the city centre, this gallery presents collections drawn from the contemporary arts scene. The Gallery of Folk Art includes traditional Romanian interior decoration artworks.

Historically, the city was one of the most important cultural and artistic centres in 16th-century Transylvania. The Renaissance workshop, formed in 1530 and strongly supported by the Transylvanian princes, served local and wider requirements: from the middle of the century onwards, when the Ottomans had conquered central Hungary, it extended its activity throughout the new principality. Its style, the "Flower Renaissance", used a variety of plant ornament enriched with coats of arms, figures and inscriptions. It continued to be of great importance into the 18th century, and traces of it are still apparent in 20th-century vernacular art; Klausenburg was central to the long, anachronistic survival of the style, particularly among Hungarians.[165]

Performing arts

Lucian Blaga National Theatre

The city has a number of renowned facilities and institutions involving performing arts. The most prominent is the neobaroque theatre at the Avram Iancu Square.[166] Built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Viennese company Helmer and Fellner, this structure is inscribed in UNESCO's list of specially protected monuments.[167] Since 1919, shortly after the union of Transylvania with Romania, the building has hosted the Lucian Blaga National Theatre and the Romanian National Opera. The Transylvania Philarmonic, founded in 1955, gives classical music concerts, and has since 1965 organised, the Toamna Muzicală Clujeană Festival.[168] The multiculturalism in the city is once again attested by the Hungarian Theatre and Opera, home for four professional groups of performers. There is also a number of smaller independent theatres, including the Puck Theatre, where puppet shows are performed.

Music and nightlife

Cluj-Napoca is the residence of some well-known Romanian musicians. Examples of homegrown bands include the popular Romanian rock band Compact,[169] the modern pop band Sistem—which finished third in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005,[170] the rhythm and blues band Nightlosers,[171] the alternative band Luna Amară,[172] Grimus—the winners of the 2007 National Finals of Global Battle of the Bands,[173] as well as a large assortment of electronic music producers, notably Horace Dan D.[174] The Cheeky Girls also grew up in the city, where they studied at the High School of Choreography and Dramatic Art.[175] While many discos play commercial house music, the city has an increasing minimal techno scene, and, to an extent jazz/blues and heavy metal/punk. The city's nightlife, particularly its club scene, grew significantly in the 1990s, and continues to increase. Most entertainment venues are dispersed throughout the city centre, spreading from the oldest one of all, Diesel Club,[176] on Unrii Square. The list of large and fancy clubs continues with Obsession The Club and Midi, the latter being a venue for the new minimal techno music genre. These three clubs are classified as the top three clubs in the Transylvania-Banat region in a chart published by the national daily România Liberă.[176] The Unirii area also features the Fashion Bar, with an exclusive terrace sponsored by Fashion TV. Some other clubs in the centre are Aftereight, Avenue, Bamboo, Decadence and Kharma. Numerous restaurants, pizzerias and coffee shops provide regional as well as international cuisine; many of these offer cultural activities like music and fashion shows or art exhibitions.[146]

The city also includes Strada Piezişă (slanted street), a central nightlife strip located in the Haşdeu student area, where a large number of bars and terraces are situated. Cluj-Napoca is not limited to these international music genres, as there are also a number of discos where local "Lăutari" play manele, a Turkish-influenced type of music.

Traditional culture

In spite of the influences of modern culture, traditional Romanian culture continues to influence various domains of art.

Cluj-Napoca hosts an ethnographic museum, the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, which features a large indoor collection of traditional cultural objects, as well as an open-air park, the oldest of this kind in Romania, dating back to 1929.[177][178]

The National Museum of Transylvanian History (Muzeul naţional de istorie a Transilvaniei) is another important museum in Cluj-Napoca, containing a collection of artefacts detailing Romanian history and culture from prehistoric times, the Dacian era, medieval times and the modern era.[179] Moreover, the city also preserves a Historic Collection of the Pharmacy, in the building of the its first pharmacy (16th century), the Hintz House.[179]

Cultural events and festivals

Cluj-Napoca hosts a number of cultural festivals of various types. These occur throughout the year, though are more frequent in the summer months. "Sărbătoarea Muzicii" (Fête de la Musique) is a music festival taking place yearly on 21 June, organised under the aegis of the French Cultural Centre. In September, the Transilvania Philarmonic hosts the Toamna Muzicală Clujeană Classical Music Festival.[168] Additionally, Splaiul Independenţei, on the banks of Someşul Mic River, hosts a number of beer festivals throughout the summer, among them the "Septemberfest", modelled after the German Oktoberfest.[180]

The city has seen a number of important music events, including the MTV România Music Award ceremony which was held at the Sala Sporturilor Horia Demian in 2006 with the Sugababes, Pachanga and Uniting Nations as special international guests.[181] In 2007, Beyoncé Knowles also performed in Cluj-Napoca, at the Ion Moina Stadium. In 2010, Iron Maiden included the city in their Final Frontier World Tour. Moreover, the local clubs regularly organise events featuring international artists, usually foreign disc jockeys, like André Tanneberger, Tania Vulcano, Satoshi Tomiie, Yves Larock, Dave Seaman, Plump DJs, Stephane K or Andy Fletcher.

The Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), held in the city since 2001 and organised by the Association for the Promotion of the Romanian Film, is the first Romanian film festival for international features.[182] The festival jury awards the Transilvania Trophy for the best film in competition, as well as prizes for best director, best performance and best photography. With the support of Home Box Office, TIFF also organises a national script contest. The Gay Film Nights festival, showcasing LGBT culture and cinema, has also been organised annually since 2004 in Cluj-Napoca by Be An Angel, the city's largest LGBT rights organisation,[183] while Comedy Cluj, which debuted in 2009, is the newest annual film festival organised in Cluj-Napoca.[184]


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.[185]

Historical architecture

Bánffy Palace

The nucleus of the old city, an important cultural and commercial centre, used to be a military camp, attested in documents with the name "castrum Clus".

I. Maniu Street: construction of this symmetrical street was undertaken during the 19th century

The oldest residence in Cluj-Napoca is the house of Matthias Corvinus, originally a Gothic structure that bears Transylvanian Renaissance characteristics due to a later renovation.[186] Such changes feature on other Hungarian townspeople's residences, built from the mid-15th century mostly of stone and wood with a cellar, ground floor and upper storey, in the Late Gothic and Renaissance styles; although the late medieval houses have often been considerably altered, the street façades of the old town are mostly preserved.[165] St. Michael's Church, the oldest and most representative Gothic-style building in the country, dates back to the 14th century. The oldest of its sections is the altar, dedicated in 1390, while the newest part is the clock tower, which was built in Gothic Revival style (1860).[157]

As Renaissance styles survived late in the city, the appearance of Baroque art was also delayed, but from the mid-18th century Klausenburg was once again at the centre of the development and spread of art in Transylvania, as it had been two centuries earlier. The first enthusiasts for Baroque were the Catholic Church and the landed aristocracy. Artists came initially from south Germany and Austria, but by the end of the century most of the work was by local craftsmen. The earliest signs of the new style appear in the furnishings of St. Michael's church: the altarpieces and pulpit, which date to the 1740s, are carved, painted and richly decorated with figures. An altarpiece depicting the Adoration of the Magi (1748–50) is the work of Franz Anton Maulbertsch. The earliest two-towered Baroque church was built by the Jesuits from 1718 to 1724 on the pattern of Košice and was later handed over to the Piarists. During the century more simply designed Baroque churches were built for the mendicant orders, Lutherans, Unitarians and the Orthodox Church. The noble families built houses and even palaces in the old town.[165] The Baroque Bánffy Palace (1774–1785), constructed around a rectangular yard, is the masterpiece of Eberhardt Blaumann. Its peculiarity lies in the appearance of the principal façade.[185]

Both Avram Iancu and Unrii Squares feature ensembles of eclectic and baroquerococo architecture, including the Palace of Justice,[158] the Theatre,[166] the Iuliu Maniu symmetrical street,[159] and the New York Palace, among others.[187] In the 19th century many houses were built in the Neo-classical, Romantic and Eclectic styles. Also dating to that period are the two-towered Neo-classical Calvinist church (1829–50), its new college building of 1801, and the City Hall (1843–6) in the marketplace, by Antal Kagerbauer.[165]

The banks of the Someşul Mic also feature a wide variety of such old buildings. The end of the 19th century brought a building ensemble that fastens the corners of the oldest bridge over the river, at the north end of the Regele Ferdinand Avenue. The Berde, Babos, Elian, Urania, and Szeky palaces consist of a mixture of Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic styles, following the Art Nouveau/Secession and Revival specifics.[188]

The 17th century Canalul Morii

In the 2000s, the old city centre underwent extensive restoration works, meant to convert much of it into a pedestrian area, including Bulevardul Eroilor, Unirii Square and other smaller streets.[189] In some residential areas of the city, particularly the high-income southern areas, like Andrei Mureşanu or Strada Republicii, there are many turn-of-the-century villas.

Modern and Communist architecture

Blocks of flats in central Cluj-Napoca

Part of Cluj-Napoca's architecture is made up of buildings constructed during the Communist era, when historical architecture was replaced with "more efficient" high-density apartment blocks. Nicolae Ceauşescu's project of systematisation did not really affect the heart of the city, instead reaching the marginal, shoddily built districts surrounding it.[185]

Still, the centre hosts some examples of modern architecture dating back to the Communist era. The Hungarian Theatre building was erected at the beginning of the 20th century, but underwent an avant-garde renovation in 1961, when it acquired a modernist style of architecture.[190] Another example of modernist architectural art is Palatul Telefoanelor, situated in the vicinity of Mihai Viteazul Square, an area that also features a complex of large apartment buildings.

Some outer districts, especially Mănăştur, and to a certain extent Gheorgheni and Grigorescu, consist mainly of such large apartment ensembles.[185] The city, however, does not face the zoning problems that arose in other Romanian locales because of the high-density constructions; roughly all other complexes in the city are built with some respect to the zoning laws in force today.[citation needed]

Contemporary architecture

"Clădirea biscuite"

Since 1989, modern skyscrapers and glass-fronted buildings have altered the skyline of Cluj-Napoca. Buildings from this time are mostly made out of glass and steel, and are usually high-rise. Examples include shopping malls (particularly the Iulius Mall), office buildings and bank headquarters. Of this last, regional headquarters of the Banca Română pentru Dezvoltare is the tallest office building in Cluj-Napoca, with 50 metres (160 ft).[191] Its twelve storeys were completed in 1997 after 4 years of work and house offices for the bank and for divisions of several other companies, including insurance and oil companies.

Another architecturally interesting building is the so-called "Clădirea biscuite" (the biscuit building). This building was supposed to house the local headquarters of the Banca Agricolă (Agricultural Bank), but entered in the custody of the city due to the failure of that bank in the 1990s and its subsequent purchase by the Raiffeisen Bank, to be eventually converted in an office building.[192]

BRD Tower (side view)

The headquarters of Banca Transilvania, at the intersection of Regele Ferdinand Avenue and Bariţiu Street, is also a large contemporary building and was originally constructed to host the regional offices of Romtelecom, the public phone company, but was later sold to the bank.[193]

Cluj-Napoca is undergoing a period of architectural revitalisation that is set to bring the manner of expansion to the vertical. A financial centre, containing a tower of 15 storeys, is slated for completion in 2010 on Ploieşti Street.[194] Two 35-storey twin towers are projected to be constructed in the Sigma area in Zorilor,[195][196] while the Floreşti area will host a complex of three towers with 32 levels each.[197]


Cluj-Napoca has a complex system of regional transportation, providing road, air and rail connections to major cities in Romania and Europe. It also features a public transportation system consisting of bus, trolleybus and tram lines.

Cluj-Napoca is an important node in the European road network, being on three different European routes (E60, E81 and E576). At a national level, Cluj-Napoca is located on three different main national roads: DN1, DN1C and DN1F. The Romanian Motorway A3, also known as Transylvania Motorway (Autostrada Transilvania), currently under construction, will link the city with Bucharest and Romania's western border.[198] The 2B section between Câmpia Turzii and Cluj Vest (Gilău) opened in late 2010.[199][200] The Cluj-Napoca Coach Station (Autogara) is used by several private transport companies to provide coach connections from Cluj-Napoca to a large number of locations from all over the country.

A3 motorway near Cluj-Napoca

The number of automobiles licensed in Cluj-Napoca is estimated at 175,000.[201] As of 2007, Cluj County ranks sixth nationwide according to the cars sold during that year, with 12,679 units, corresponding to a four percent share. One tenth of these cars were limousines or SUVs.[202] Some 3,300 taxis are also licensed to operate in Cluj-Napoca.[203]

RATUC, the local public transport company, runs an extensive 321 kilometres (199 mi) public transport network within the city using 3 tram lines, 6 trolleybus lines and 21 bus routes.[65] Transport in the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area is also covered by a number of private bus companies, such as Fany and MV Trans 2007, providing connections to neighboring towns and villages.[204]

The Cluj-Napoca International Airport (CLJ), located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) to the east of the city centre, is the fourth busiest airport in Romania, after the two Bucharest airports (OTP and BBU) and Timişoara airport.[205]

Situated on the European route E576 (Cluj-Napoca – Dej), the airport is connected to the city centre by the local public transport company, RATUC, bus number 8. The airport serves various direct international destinations across Europe.

Cluj-Napoca Rail Station, located about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the city centre, is situated on the CFR-Romanian Railways Main Line 300 (BucharestOradea – Romanian Western Border) and on Line 401 (Cluj-Napoca – Dej). CFR provides direct rail connections to all the major Romanian cities and to Budapest. The rail station is very well connected to all parts of the city by the trams, trolleybuses and buses of the local public transport company, RATUC.

City bus in Cluj-Napoca on route 32b

The city is also served by two other secondary rail stations, the Little Station (Gara Micǎ), which is technically part of and situated immediately near the main station, and Cluj-Napoca East (Est). There is also a cargo station, Halta "Clujana".

The local transportation company, RATUC, manages a tram line that runs through the city. Planned modernisation will involve the installation of new rail tracks and the separation of the tram route from road traffic. This will bring a number of advantages, including vibration and shock reduction, a substantial noise decrease, long use expectancy and higher transit speed – 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph)-80 kilometres per hour (50 mph).[206] The route will undergo major alteration on Horea Street, between the Chamber of Commerce and the central rail station, a rather problematic area. This dilemma should be solved either with the relocation of the track next to the sidewalk, or through the construction of a suspended tunnel.[207] Another area that will benefit from large-scale changes is "Splaiul Independenţei", where the tracks will be pulled back to the Central Park, so that the roadway can host two lanes. In the Mănăştur area, under the bridge, the tracks will be brought closer, while other major works will executed on the traffic circle on Primăverii Street. Given the development of the metropolitan area, further plans feature the creation of a light rail track between Gilău and Jucu that will use these modernised tracks in the city.[208]

Media and popular culture

Cluj-Napoca is the most important centre for Transylvanian mass media, since it is the headquarters of all regional television networks, newspapers and radio stations. The largest daily newspapers published in Bucharest are usually reissued from Cluj-Napoca in a regional version, covering Transylvanian issues. Such newspapers include România Liberă, Gardianul,[209] Ziarul Financiar, ProSport and Gazeta Sporturilor. Ringier edited a regional version of Evenimentul Zilei in Cluj-Napoca until 2008, when it decided to close this enterprise.[210]

A newspaper kiosk in the central area
Hungarian- and Romanian-language newspapers published in Cluj-Napoca

Apart from the regional editions, which are distributed throughout Transylvania, the national newspaper Ziua also runs a local franchise, Ziua de Cluj, that acts as a local daily, available only within city limits. Cluj-Napoca also boasts other newspapers of local interest, like Făclia and Monitorul de Cluj, as well as two free dailies, Informaţia Cluj and Cluj Expres. Clujeanul, the first of a series of local weeklies edited by the media trust CME, is one of the largest newspapers in Transylvania, with an audience of 53,000 readers per edition.[211] This weekly has a daily online version, entitled Clujeanul, ediţie online, updated on a real-time basis. Cluj-Napoca is also the centre of the Romanian Hungarian language press. The city hosts the editorial offices of the two largest newspapers of this kind, Krónika and Szabadság,[212] as well as those of the magazines Erdélyi Napló and Korunk. Săptămâna Clujeană is an economic weekly published in the city, that also issues two magazines on successful local people and companies (Oameni de Succes and Companii de Succes) every year, while Piaţa A-Z is a newspaper for announcements and advertisements distributed throughout Transylvania. Cluj had an active press in the interwar period as well: publications included the Zionist newspaper Új Kelet, the official party organs Keleti Újság (for the Magyar Party) and Patria (for the National Peasants' Party);[213] and the nationalist Conştiinţa Românească and Ţara Noastră, the latter a magazine directed by Octavian Goga.[214] Under Communism, publications included the socio-political and literary magazines Tribuna, Steaua, Utunk, Korunk, Napsugár and Előre as well as the regional Communist party daily organs Făclia and Igazság and the trilingual student magazine Echinox.[215][216]

Among the local television stations in the city, TVR Cluj (public) and One TV (private) broadcast regionally, while the others are restricted to the metropolitan area. Napoca Cable Network is available through cable, and broadcasts local content throughout the day. Other stations work as affiliates of national TV stations, only providing the audience with local reports in addition to the national programming. This situation is mirrored in the radio broadcasting companies: except for Radio Cluj, Radio Impuls and the Hungarian-language Paprika Rádió, all other stations are local affiliates of the national broadcasters. Casa Radio, situated on Donath Street, is one of the modern landmarks of the media and communications industry; it is, however, not the only one: Palatul Telefoanelor ("the telephone palace") is also a major modernist symbol of communications in the city centre.[citation needed]

Magazines published in Cluj-Napoca include HR Journal, a publication discussing human resources issues, J'Adore, a local shopping magazine that is also franchised in Bucharest, Maximum Rock Magazine, dealing with the rock music industry, RDV, a national hunting publication and Cluj-Napoca WWW, an English-language magazine designed for tourists. Cultural and social events as well as all other entertainment sources are the leading subjects of such magazines as Şapte Seri and CJ24FUN.

In the early 20th century, film production in Cluj-Napoca (in those times Kolozsvár), led by Jenő Janovics, was the chief alternative to Budapest.[150] The first film made in the city, in association with the Parisian producer Pathé, was Sárga csikó ("Yellow Foal", 1912), based on a popular "peasant drama". Yellow Foal became the first worldwide Hungarian success, distributed abroad under the title The Secret of the Blind Man: 137 prints were sold internationally and the movie was even screened in Japan.[150]

The first artistically prestigious film in the annals of Hungarian cinematography was also produced on this site, based on a national classic, Bánk bán (1914), a tragedy written by József Katona.[150]

Later, the city was the production site of the 1991 Romanian drama Undeva în Est ("Somewhere in the East"),[217] and the 1995 Hungarian language film A Részleg ("Outpost").[218] Moreover, the Romanian-language film Cartier ("Neighbourhood", 2001) and its sequel Înapoi în cartier ("Back to the Neighbourhood", 2006) both feature a story replete with violence and rude language, behind the blocks in the city's Mănăştur district.[219] This district is also mentioned in the lyrics to the song Înapoi în cartier by La Familia member Puya, featured on the soundtrack of the motion picture.

Documentary and mockumentary productions set in the city include Irshad Ashraf's St. Richard of Austin, a tribute to the American film director Richard Linklater,[220] and Cluj-Napocolonia, a mockumentary imagining a fabulous city of the future.[221]


Higher education has a long tradition in Cluj-Napoca. The Babeş-Bolyai University (UBB) is the largest in the country, with approximately 50,000 students[222] attending various specialisations in Romanian, Hungarian, German and English. Its name commemorates two important Transylvanian figures, the Romanian physician Victor Babeş and the Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai. The university claims roots as far back as 1581, when a Jesuit college opened in Cluj, but it was in 1872 that emperor Franz Joseph founded the University of Cluj, later renamed the Franz Joseph University (József Ferenc Tudományegyetem).[223] During 1919, immediately after the end of World War I, the university was moved to Budapest, where it stayed until 1921, after which it was moved to the Hungarian city of Szeged. Briefly, it returned to Cluj in the first half of the 1940s, when the city came back under Hungarian administration, but it was again relocated in Szeged, following the reincorporation of Cluj into Romanian territory. The Romanian branch acquired the name Babeş; a Hungarian university, Bolyai, was established in 1945, and the two were merged in 1959. The city also hosts nine other universities, among them the Technical University, the Iuliu Haţieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, the USAMV, the University of Arts and Design, the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy and other private universities and educational institutes.

The first mention of public education provided in the city dates back to 1409, namely the caption "Caspar notarius et rector scholarum" ("Caspar secretary and director of schools").[224] Concomitantly, a Catholic school founded during the 14th century also functioned in the city.[224] Today close to 150 pre-university educational institutions operate in Cluj-Napoca, including 62 kindergartens, 30 primary schools and 45 high schools.[65] Their activity is supervised by the County Board for Education. Most schools are taught in Romanian; nonetheless, there are some Hungarian-language schools (Báthory István, Apáczai Csere János and Brassai Sámuel high schools), as well as mixed schools—e.g.George Coşbuc and Onisifor Ghibu high schools with Romanian/German classes and Romanian/Hungarian classes, respectively.[225] Statistics show that 18,208 students were enrolled in the city's secondary school system during the 1993-94 school year, while a further 7,660 attended one of the 18 professional schools.[226] In the same year, another 37,111 pupils and 9,711 children were registered for primary and pre-school, respectively.[226]


Sala Sporturilor Horia Demian

Football (soccer) in the city features four clubs playing in the leagues organised by the Romanian Football Federation, including two teams participating in Liga 1—formerly Divizia A[227][228]—the top division in the Romanian football association. CFR 1907 Cluj-Napoca (founded in 1907) is the oldest established team in the Romanian Championship.[229] During the 2007–2008 season, it won the Romanian Championship[230][231] and the Romanian Cup[232] for the first time in its history. The 2009–2010 season was the second season in which CFR Cluj won both the Liga I and the Romanian Cup. The "U" Cluj football team—also playing in the Liga I—was founded in 1919, and its greatest success ever was the 1965 Romanian Cup.[233] The city is also represented in the third league, through CS Sănătatea Cluj-Napoca, founded in 1986. This team, which has the Victoria Someşeni Stadium as its home ground, reached the ⅛ finals of the Romanian Cup during the 2007–2008 season, its best performance.[234] Clujana Cluj-Napoca is the local women's soccer team, established in 2001 by Babeş-Bolyai University.

Porsche 996 GT3 RS at the Raliul Clujului, in the parking lot of Cora

The Ion Moina Stadium, home ground for "U" Cluj, was the largest in Cluj-Napoca (capacity 28,000); it is currently going through a reconstruction process scheduled for completion in July 2011. The new arena will have a capacity of 30,596 and will be ranked as a UEFA Elite stadium. The next largest stadium (23,500 seats) is the Dr. Constantin Rădulescu Stadium, home field of the CFR Cluj football team, located in Gruia. This stadium has undergone major refurbishment, featuring up-to-date lighting for night games and automated lawn irrigation, and is due to undergo still further modernisation with the construction of new seating.[235]

"Universitatea" club also incorporates teams in sports such as rugby union, basketball (with the successful men's basketball team, U Mobitelco), handball and volleyball. The city also features three water polo teams, as recognised by the Romanian Water Polo Federation: CSS Viitorul, CS Voinţa and Poli CSM.[236] Facilities for such sports are located in the vicinity of the stadium, including the Sala Sporturilor Horia Demian, a multi-functional hall designed for sports like handball, basketball or volleyball, the Politehnica Swimming Complex, which includes indoor and open-air swimming pools, as well as the Iuliu Haţieganu Park – with tennis and track facilities and a new swimming pool under construction. Cluj-Napoca regularly organises national championships in different sports because of this large concentration of facilities.

In the automotive field, Cluj-Napoca hosts two stages in the National Rally Championship. Raliul Clujului is held in June;[237] the Avram Iancu Rally, held in September, has been officially organised since 1975, though there were several years when it was not held.[238] The latter rally begins in Cipariu Square and runs across the surroundings of the city.[239]

Cluj Arena, opened in 2011

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Cluj-Napoca is twinned with:


a.^ The engraving, dating back to 1617, was executed by Georg Houfnagel after the painting of Egidius van der Rye (the original was done in the workshop of Braun and Hagenberg).

b.^ After Transylvania united with Romania in 1918–1920, an exodus of Hungarian inhabitants occurred. Also, the city grew and many people moved in from the surrounding area and Cluj County as a whole, populated largely by Romanians.

c.^ In August 1940, as the second Vienna Award transferred the northern half of Transylvania to Hungary, an exile of Romanian inhabitants began.

d.^ The 1941 Hungarian census is considered unreliable by most historians. In 1941, Cluj had 16,763 Jews. They were forced into ghettos in 1944 by the Hungarian authorities and deported to Auschwitz in May–June 1944.

e.^ In the 1960s a determined policy of Industrialisation was initiated. Many people from the surrounding rural areas (largely Romanian) were moved into the city. As a consequence, for the first time in its long history, Cluj had a Romanian majority.


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