26-27 August, 2011
Cluj-Napoca is the traditional capital of the province of Transylvania. The former name was Cluj (or Klausenburg in German, Kolozsvár in Hungarian). The Napoca was added by the Romanian Communist government to acknowledge the old Roman name for the province. The Romanian language is descended from Latin (like French, Italian, Spanish etc.) Romanians are keen to stress this, as a way of distinguishing their roots from Hungarian and Slavic connections.
The main square has the statue of Matthius Corvinus (probably Hungary’s greatest king) in front of the 14th c. Gothic St. Michael’s Church. King Matthius (Mátyás in Hungarian) is thought to have been born in the “White House” here in 1440.
Other pics show the main Orthodox church, Jewish synagogue, a monument from 1867, the year of the creation of the Austria-Hungary union, a monument with Romulus and Remus, a gift from the city of Rome in 1921, and views from the hill overlooking the town.
Cluj is home to the largest university in Romania, but there are not so many students around at the moment. It’s the summer break and many have gone back home.
I keep being reminded about how hilly (or even mountainous) most of Eastern Europe is (except Hungary). Most cities and towns have a hill (or even mountain) on their doorstep. Regular trudging up steps is par for the course here. When I get to the Ukraine I am even thinking of climbing their highest mountain (Hoverla) in the Carpathian range. I believe it’s quite an easy hike but I will check it out when I get there.