Cluj Napoca, Klausenburg in German, is one of the seven Transylvanian fortified towns.
Developed into one of the largest towns of the region, it became the capital of Transylvania in 19th century. Now it’s one of the largest cities in Romania, population about 350,000 and an important cultural and economical center.
It’s situated in Somesul Mic Valley, a depression surrounded by high hills, in the heart of Transylvania.
The city grew from one of the oldest settlements of the country, traces dating back from the Stone Age being found. During the Roman period (106 – 274 AD) it was an important town of the province, but suffered a decline during the migrating period (5th – 10 century). The place was destroyed during the Hungarian invasion, coming back to life during the centuries that followed. A major influence came from the German colonists that arrived in 13th and 14th century. Destroyed by the Mongols in 1242 it was rebuilt and later protected by fortifications built during the next centuries. From those fortifications part of the wall and a bastion are still standing, the rest being demolished, the stones and bricks being used in the new buildings.
At the end of the 16th century a Jesuit academy with three faculties was founded, the town becoming the most important Transylvanian cultural center.
During the Austrian rule the town had to accept the presence of on garrison, later, at the beginning of the 18th century, a Vauban-type stronghold was built on top of a hill overlooking the town, of which only a few towers survived a land slide and time.
- the fortifications, from which sections of the 15th century wall and the Tailor’s bastion are still standing
- St. Michael Catholic Church, built in Gothic style, between 1350 and 1580, in five stages. It’s considered the most representative example of a hall church from Transylvania. Its tower was built in 1859, in neo-Gothic style. The church also served the German community, the original frescoes being destroyed during the Reformation. It stands in the center of the city, near a large square, guarded by the 1902 equestrian statue of Matei Corvin, son of Iancu of Hunedoara and considered the greatest Hungarian king (1458 – 1490)
- Matei Corvin’ s house, one of the oldest civil building from Cluj. He was born here in 1443
- Banffy Palace, one of the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture, built in 1785 for the Transylvanian governor Gyorgy Banffy. It houses the Museum of Fine Arts
- the Hungarian Reformed Church, built by King Matei Corvin in 1486
- the Botanical Garden, opened in 1930
Not at last, the vibrant and lively central area, around Babes – Bolyai University, founded in 1872, and not only, Cluj being one of the largest university center in the country.