Situated in the central area of Transylvania, in Romania, on the border of the Apuseni Mountains, on the Somesul River, Cluj-Napoca (Hungarian: Kolozsvár, German: Klausenburg) is Transylvania’s second largest city and the region’s cultural centre.
Although most of its medieval protective wall and bastions were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, the old-city still has many significant monuments to show the tourists.
The city’s most important attraction, the Gothic style St. Michael’s Church, was built during the 14th and 15th centuries. Over the years it has been the setting for numerous historic events including one abdication (that of Queen Isabella – Regent of Hungary – in 1551), sittings of Parliament, and the elections of Princes of Transylvania.
St. Michaelís Church in Cluj-Napoca
The Franciscan Church and Monastery, dating back to the 13th century, were later renovated successively in the Gothic and Baroque styles. At one time Queen Isabella lived in the monastery, and sittings of Parliament were also held here. It is now a music-school.
Close-by is an early 15th century, Gothic style dwelling, in which Matthias Corvinus, one of Hungary’s most famous kings, was born in 1443.
The Gothic style “Reformed Church”, located not far from the only remnant of the city’s protective wall, was built with an endowment from King Matthias by the Franciscans, between 1486 and 1516. The Calvinists took possession of the church during the Reformation and, as result of the damages it suffered during the religious upheavals, its tower had to be dismantled. The burial crests of many of the Transylvanian nobles are displayed inside.
Matthias Corvinus House in Cluj-Napoca
The Cimitirul Central (Central Cemetery), on the outskirts of the old-city, has been in constant use since the 16th century. The tombs of many of Transylvania’s cultural notables – writers, teachers, poets, artists – can be found here.
From the top of the 405m high hill, on the opposite side of the river to the city-centre, where once a citadel stood, one is afforded panoramic views of the whole city; it can be reached on foot via a serpentine path overlooking the river.