Cluj-Napoca – history in a few words
This western city in the region of Transylvania traces its origins back to the Dacian settlement of Napuca in the 2-nd century A.D. After the Roman take-over of Dacia, it was renamed Napoca and in 124 A.D., received the rank of “municipium”. The city quickly advanced socially and economically and during Marcus Aurelius’ reign Napoca received the title “colonia”, the highest possible urban status in the Roman Empire.
The name Cluj comes from Castrum Clus, first used in the 12-th century as the name of the citadel surrounding the city. Clus means “closed” in Latin and refers to the hills that surround the city. German merchants, who arrived here in the 12th century, rebuilt the medieval earthen walls of Clus in stone after the Tartar invasion of 1241.
Known as Klausenburg to the Germans* and Kolosvar to the Hungarians, Cluj became Cluj Napoca in the 1970s, when the communist regime added the name of the old Roman settlement to emphasize its Daco-Roman origin.
With one of the most vibrant economies in the country and a population of around 330,000, Cluj, is today a vibrant cultural and educational city. The six state and several private universities located here also make Cluj Napoca the city with the largest percentage of student population in Romania.
The main square, resplendent with 18th and 19th century buildings and home to many shops and restaurants, is dominated by the 15th century St. Michael’s Church, one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in Romania. The square also claims the 18-th century baroque Banffy Palace, housing the weaponry and Romanian art collections of the Art Museum.
Visitors who want to learn more about the region should pay a visit to the open-air section of the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, a true display of folk architecture. For entertainment, spend an enjoyable evening at the Opera or attend a classical music concert offered by the Cluj Philharmonic.