Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top places to visit in Paris

Here you can find a selection of places that I consider the most important to visit in Paris.Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Discover Cluj Napoca - Romania

Cluj-Napoca (pronunciation in Romanian: /'kluʒ na'poka/; German: Klausenburg; Hungarian: Kolozsvár; Latin: Napoca, Castrum Clus, Claudiopolis), until 1974 Cluj, with a population of 310,243 inhabitants is the third largest city in Romania (as of July 1, 2007[1]), and the seat of Cluj County, in north-western Transylvania. It lies some 426 km north-west of Bucharest, in the valley of the Someşul Mic river and it used to be the capital of the historical province of Transylvania.

The population of the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area, as proposed by the current project is estimated at 360,000. Finally the population of the influence area (periurban area) counts over 400 thousand residents. The metropolitan area of Cluj-Napoca should be functional as early as June 2008.According to an official in the City Hall, the total population of the city is high as 504,000, including students and other non-residents (Romanian flotanţi).

The city spreads circle-wise from St. Michael's Church – built in 14th century – in Unirii Square, named after Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of Cluj-Napoca.[5] The municipal border covers a relatively small area, of 179,52 km². According to estate experts, because of the development of the infrastructure, localities (comune) like Feleacu, Vâlcele, Mărtineşti, Jucu and Baciu will eventually become neighbourhoods of the city, therefore enlarging its area.[6]

Cluj-Napoca is today one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among others, it hosts the largest university in the country, Babeş-Bolyai University — with its famous botanical garden, state-renowned cultural instutions, as well as the largest Romanian-owned commercial bank. Monocle magazine identified Cluj-Napoca as one of the top five places worldwide that are due to come to international spotlight during 2008. According to the American magazine InformationWeek, Cluj-Napoca is quickly becoming Romania's technopolis.


The first written mention of its name was in 1213 under the Latin name Castrum Clus. However CLUS as a county name appeared earlier in 1173 as Thomas comes Clusiensis. There are several theories concerning the origin of the name:

* The word Clus means "closed" in Latin, and is related to the hills that surround the city.
* from the Slavic kluč (meaning key)
* from German, either from the name Klaus, or from the word Klause (meaning mountain pass, or weir - from clusa).
* from its first magistrate Miklos/Miklus/Kolos -> Klus

The Hungarian form was recorded first time in 1246: Kulusuar; 1250: Culuswar; 1275: Clwsuar; 1297: Cluswar; 1299 Klusvar; 1315 Clusuar; 1332: Koloswar. In 1348 appeared its Saxon name Clusenburg, Clusenbvrg, since 1408 the form Clausenburg was used. The first Romanian name of the city was Cluş, also written as Klus. Klausenburg was one of the seven medieval fortified Saxon cities of Siebenbürgen (meaning seven fortresses) in Transylvania. The city appears mostly under this name on maps of Austria-Hungary. The city became known by the Romanian variant name Cluj after becoming part of the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. The city's name was changed to Cluj-Napoca in 1974 by the Romanian Communist authorities.

The city is located in the central area of Transylvania, having a surface of 179,5 km². Cluj-Napoca is established at the intersection of the parallel 46° 46’ N with the meridian 23° 36’ E, the confluence area of the Apuseni Mountains, Someş plateau and Transylvanian plain. It strains on the valleys of Someşul Mic and Nadăş and, through certain extension on the secundary valleys of Popeşti, Chintău, Borhanci and Popii rivers. In the south, it occupies the upper terasse of the northern slope of Feleac hill, being surrounded from three sides by hills and mounds with heights of between 500 and 825 meter ("Măgura Sălicei" peak, in Feleac). The Someş plateau is situated to the east, while the northern town hosts the Dealurile Clujului, with peaks like "Lombului" (684 m), "Dealul Melcului" (617 m) and "Techintău" (633 m). "Hoia" (506 m), "Gârbău" (570 m) as well as other hills are located in the western districts. The inner side of the town also hosts the Calvaria hill and the Cetăţuia hill (Belvedere). The Feleac hill features a modern 750 m long ski resort, with a vertical deviation of 98 meters. This ski resort is endowed with lighting and articial snow installations and a ski tow.

Being built on the banks of Someşul Mic river, the city is also crossed over by brooks like Pârâul Ţiganilor, Pârâul Popeşti, Pârâul Nădăşel, Pârâul Chintenilor, Pârâul Becaş, Pârâul Murătorii, but the most famous of them all is the Canalul Morilor, that runs through the center.

The area surrounding the city is vastly covered with forests and grass. Rarely species of plants, like venus's slipper or iris, are to be found here, in the two botanical reservations of Cluj-Napoca, Fânaţele Clujului and Rezervaţia Valea Morii. Such animals like boars, badgers, foxes, rabbits and squirrels live within the forests in the nearby areas, like Făget or Hoia. The Cluj-Napoca Botanical Garden, located in the inner circle of the city, also hosts a rich flora, as well as some animals that found refuge there.

Besides this, the city also hosts a number of parks, of wich 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 homonymous student campus, the highly elevated Cetăţuia, and the Opera Park, behind the building of the Romanian Opera.


After the Roman Empire conquered Dacia at the beginning of the 2nd century, Trajan established a legion camp known as Napoca. Hadrian raised Napoca to the status of a municipium, naming it Municipium Aelium Hadrianum Napoca. The locality was later raised to the status of a colonia, probably during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Napoca became a provincial capital of Provincia Porolissensis and the seat of a procurator. The colonia was evacuated in 274 by the romans.

In the 9th century, the region was conquered by the Magyars (Hungarians) and became part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The city begun to form in the beginnings of the 11th century. King Stephen I made the city the seat of the castle county of Kolozs, and king Saint Ladislus I of Hungary founded the abbey of Cluj-Mănăştur (Kolozsmonostor). The Mongol invasion destroyed the old plank fortress and also the surrounding village. A new castle and a village was built in a new place (present-day Memorandului and Emil Isac street) in the late 13th century. Crown Prince Stephen Duke of Transylvania encouraged the Transylvanian Saxons to settle down in the new village in 1272.

In 1270 Kolozsvár (the castle and the village) was donated (so thus degraded) to the bishopric of Transylvania. In 1316 received town privileges from Charles I of Hungary and to the memory of this event they began building the Saint Michael Church.
In 1331 the voivode of Transylvania lost his supremacy over Kolozsvár. Kolozsvár-Klausenburg became a free royal city in 1405. By this time the number of Saxon and Hungarian inhabitants was equal, and King Matthias Corvinus (born in Klausenburg in 1440) ordered that the office of the chief judge should be alternating between Hungarians and Saxons. In 1541 Klausenburg became part of the independent Principality of Transylvania after the Ottoman Turks occupied the Hungarian Kingdom. Although Alba Iulia served as political capital for the princes of Siebenbürgen (Transylvania), Klausenburg was the main cultural and religious centre for the principality. Prince Stefan Batory founded a Jesuit academy in Klausenburg in 1581. Between 1545 and 1570 large numbers of Germans (Saxons) left the city due to the introduction of Unitarian doctrines.[citation needed] The remaining assimilated with Hungarians, and the city became a centre for Hungarian nobility and intellectuals. With the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, Klausenburg became part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

The first Hungarian-language newspaper was published in Klausenburg in 1791, and the first Hungarian theatrical company was established in 1792. In 1798, the city was heavily damaged by a fire.

From 1790-1848 and 1861-1867, Klausenburg was the capital of the Grand Principality of Siebenbürgen within the Austrian Empire; the city was also the seat of the Transylvanian diets. Beginning in 1830, the city became the centre of the Hungarian national movement within the principality. During the Revolutions of 1848, Klausenburg was taken and garrisoned in December by Hungarians under the command of the Polish general Józef Bem.

After the Ausgleich (compromise) which created Austria-Hungary in 1867, Klausenburg and 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. On September 26, 1895, the Emperor Franz Joseph visited nearby Bánffy-Hunyad following the end of the Hungarian Army manoeuvres in Transylvania and was given an enthusiastic welcome by the townspeople, who built an arch decorated with the region's flowers and plants for the occasion.[12] In 1897, the Hungarian government decided that only Hungarian place names should be used and therefore prohibited the use of the German or Romanian versions of the city's name in official government documents.[13]

As a consequence of the Treaty of Trianon after World War I, Cluj, along with the rest of Transylvania, was transferred to the Kingdom of Romania. In 1940, Cluj and a large part of Transylvania was given back to Hungary through the Second Vienna Award by the nazi and fascist leaders of the time; but in October 1944 the Hungarian and German forces in the city withdrew in front of the Soviet and Romanian armies. All of Transylvania, including Cluj, was restored to the Kingdom of Romania by the Treaty of Paris in 1947.

Cluj had 16,763 inhabitants of Jewish ancestry in 1941. After the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944 and established a more pro-nazi government there, the Jews of Cluj were forced into ghettos under conditions of intense overcrowding and practically no facilities.

Liquidation of the ghetto occurred through six deportations to Auschwitz between May and June 1944. Despite facing severe sanctions from the Hungarian administration of Horthy, many Jews escaped across the border to Romania with the assistance of the inhabitants of neighboring villages. They were then able to flee Europe from the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanţa. Other Jews originating from East European countries were helped to escape from Europe by an Anti-Nazi group led by the Jewish Joint and Romanian politicians in Cluj and Bucharest. The leader of this network, between 1943 and 1944, was Raoul Şorban.

Hungarians remained the majority of the city's population until the 1960s, when Romanians began to outnumber Hungarians, thanks to the population influx, mostly Romanian, from other regions of Transylvania, as a consequence of the policy of forced industrialization of the city. The need to shelter this massive population influx led to the building of huge blockhouse districts around the old city center. According to the 1966 census, the city's population of 185,663 was composed of 56% Romanians and 41% Hungarians. Until 1974 the official Romanian name of the city was Cluj. It was renamed to Cluj-Napoca by the Communist government to recognize it as the site of the Roman colony Napoca.
Palaces on the Someş River
Palaces on the Someş River

Following the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the nationalist politician Gheorghe Funar became mayor and ruled for the next 12 years. His tenure was marked by strong Romanian nationalism and anti-Hungarian ideas. A number of public art projects were undertaken by the city with the aim of highlighting Romanian symbols of the city, most of them regarded by Hungarian ethnics as a way of obscuring the city's Hungarian ancestry. In June 2004 Gheorghe Funar was voted out of office. He was replaced by Emil Boc of the Democratic Party. The laws on municipal bilingualism have not been applied in administration as the 2002 city census showed less than 20% Hungarians.

In 1994 and 2000, Cluj-Napoca hosted the Central European Olympiad in Informatics (CEOI). It thus made Romania not only the first country to have hosted the CEOI, but also the first country to have hosted it a second time.

The city is known in Hasidic Jewish history for the founding of the Sanz-Klausenburg dynasty.


Cluj-Napoca has a continental climate, characterised by hot dry summers and cold winters. The climate is influenced by the city's proximity to the Apuseni Mountains, as well as by the 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). 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.

Law and government

The city government is headed by a mayor (primar), currently (as of 2007) Emil Boc. Decisions are approved and discussed by the local council (consiliu local) made up of 27 elected councillors. The city is divided in over 15 districts (cartiere) disposed radially, some of them with their own local administrative structure (townhall). The city townhall intends to develop local administrative structures for most of the districts.

* Andrei Mureşanu
* Bulgaria
* Bună Ziua
* Centru
* Dâmbul Rotund

* Gheorgheni
* Grădinile Mănăştur
* Grigorescu
* Gruia
* Iris

* Între Lacuri
* Mănăştur
* Mărăşti
* Someşeni
* Zorilor

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

Additionally, as Cluj-Napoca is the capital of the Cluj County, the city hosts the palace of the prefecture, the headquarters of the county council (consiliu judeţean) and prefect, who is appointed by Romania's central government. The prefect is not allowed to be a member of a political party, and its role is to represent the national government at local level, acting as a liaison and facilitating the implementation of National Development Plans and governing programmes at local level. The current prefect of the county of Cluj (as of 2007) is Călin Platon. Like all other local councils in Romania, the Cluj-Napoca local council, the county's council and the city's mayor are elected every four years by the population.

Cluj-Napoca is also the capital of the historical region of Transylvania, acting consequent upon this status even 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. The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area should be functional as early as June 2008,[15] comprising a population of 360,000.[16] Besides Cluj-Napoca, it includes communes such as Apahida, Feleacu, Ciurila, Floreşti, Gilău, Baciu, and Chinteni.

The city headquarters the Uniunea Democratǎ a Maghiarilor din România, as well as local and regional organisations of most Romanian political parties.

Justice system

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

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 the Traian Street. The City Hall has its own community police force, Poliţia Primăriei, dealing with local community issues. Cluj-Napoca also houses the County's Gendarmerie Inspectorate.


Cluj-Napoca's crime rate is rather low in comparison to other large East European cities. However, it has had problems typical of a city during its history, the most notorious being the case of "the man with the hammer", the most dreaded serial criminal of Cluj-Napoca. During the 1970s, he was charged for five murders, and several attempted murders, but never imprisoned because of his lack of discernment and reportedly poor mental state: he suffered from schizophrenia. However, he was institutionalized in the Ştei psychiatric facility in 1976, following a three year long forensic investigation comprising four thousand interogatories. The urban myths brought the number of victims up to 200 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.

In present times, the degree of satisfaction engendered by the activity of the local police is high. More than half the people questionated during a poll declared themselves satisfied (62,3%) or very satisfied (3,3%) with the activity of the county police department. The most efficient domains seem to be, according to the same study, car traffic supervision, the presence of the officers in the street, road education; on the negative side, one should mention corruption and public transport safety.

The efforts made by local authorities in Cluj-Napoca district at the end of 1990s to reform the child rights protection system and assist street children have proved to be insufficient due to a lack of funding, coherent policy and the absence of any real collaboration between the actors involved (Child Rights Protection Direction, Social Assistance Service within the District Direction for Labor and Social Protection, Minors Receiving Center, Guardian Authority within the City Hall, Police). This has led to large numbers of children on the street, whose poverty and lack of identity documentation brings them into constant conflict with the local law enforcement.[19] Following the collaboration between the local council and the Prison Fellowship Romania Foundation, homeless people, street children and beggers are taken over, identified and accommodated within the Christian Centers for Street Children and Homeless People, respectively, and the "Ruhama" center.[20] This last features a marshalling center for beggers and street children, as well as a doss house for those in question. As a consequence, the fluctuating movement of children, beggers and homeless people in and out of the centre had considerably reduced, with most of the initial beneficiaries successfully integrating into the program rather than returning to the streets.[19]

From 2000 onwards, Cluj-Napoca has seen an increase in streetracing (illegal road races) which occur mainly at night in the city's outskirts or on industrial sites, although there have been attempts to legalise this races, as in the case of those organised by the KO Racing Club.

A significant problem in the city remains institutional corruption, which is seen as the most important justice-and-law related problem in the city.


Cluj-Napoca is an important economic centre in Romania. Famous local brands that have become well known at a national, or even international level, include: Banca Transilvania, Farmec, Jolidon, Napolact, and Ursus breweries.

The city has also become an important IT sector centre, with over 100 software companies and two universities that provide quality graduate engineers. Nokia invested 200 million euros in a mobile telephone factory and a research centre in Cluj. The final discussions between representatives of the County Council and those of the Finnish group were held on March 20, 2007 after the decision was made to invest in Romania. "Given that demand for mobile phones is seeing a steady increase, Nokia has looked into opportunities of increasing its production capacities in order to meet the growing demand from customers". On March 26, 2007 a memorandum was signed between Nokia and Cluj County Board, in the presence of prime-minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, and the facility opened on 11 February 2008. Nokia also located on this ocasion some of its offices in the city of Cluj-Napoca. The city also houses headquarters of MOL, Perfetti Van Melle, Bechtel, Office Depot and Genpact.

British investment and financial services group Dawnay Day, owner of the Braşov-based commercial centre MacroMall, says it will invest 135 million euros in two real estate projects in Cluj-Napoca. The first project, Atrium Center, which has started construction on the site of the former Tricotaje Someşul plant located in Cluj-Napoca city centre, amounts to 85 million euros. The project will include a four-star hotel, a business centre with a total surface area of 10,000 square metres, as well as some 32,000 square metres of retail space. The Tricotaje Someşul plant held an 18,000 square-metre plot of land in the area.

Cluj-Napoca is also an important regional commercial centre, with many street stores, shopping centres and hypermarkets. Eroilor Avenue and Napoca and Memorandumului streets are the most expensive arteries, with a yearly rent price of 720 euro/m²,[38] but Regele Ferdinand and "21 December 1989" avenues also practise high rent prices. There are two large malls: Polus Center (including an Carrefour hypermarket), and Iulius Mall (including an Auchan hypermarket). Another two are in construction: Atrium Center and Akademia Center, an awarded Nisco Invest retail project. Other large stores include Ambient, Baumax, Billa, Central, Cora, Kaufland, Plus, Praktiker, Profi, Metro, Real, Selgros, Sigma Center, Sora, etc.

Among famous retailers found in the center of the city, one can mention Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Lee Cooper, Ecco, Quiksilver, Kenvelo, United Colors of Benetton, Guess, Liu Jo, Outwear, Steillmann, s.Oliver, L'Oreal, Yves Rocher and Paco Rabanne. Hugo Boss,[39] JLo,[40], Pinko,[41] and Gianfranco Ferre [42] have all announced their presence within 2008 in the center of the city. The shopping centers in the outskirts include stores like Mango, Zara, New Yorker, Intersport, Sephora, Calvin Klein, O'Neill, Energie, Swatch, Bata, Lacoste and so on.

Cluj-Napoca has a diverse and growing cultural scene, with cultural life exhibited in a number of various fields, including the visual arts, performing arts and nightlife. The city's cultural scene represents a mixture of elements of Romanian, Hungarian, German and international culture.


Cluj-Napoca has a number of landmark buildings and monuments. Perhaps the most prominent and the oldest of these 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, remaining the tallest church tower in Romania to this day. 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.

Another well-known landmark of Cluj-Napoca is the Palace of Justice, built between 1898 and 1902, and designed by architect Wagner Gyula in an eclectic style. 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. Iuliu Maniu street is considered to be an important landmark of the city, as it is built completely symmetrically after the Haussmann urbanistic trend. A highlight of the city is the botanical garden, the largest in southeastern Europe and surely one of the most beautiful. As well this garden, Cluj-Napoca is also home to some large parks, the most notable being the Central Park with its distinguished Casino Chios and large statuary ensemble.

As an important cultural centre, Cluj-Napoca has many museums and theatres. These include the Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Ţăranului Român), the National Museum of Transylvanian History, the Ethnographical Museum, the Pharmacy Museum, the Geology 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, considered to be the most representative construction built in the Baroque style in Transylvania. The museum features extensive collections of Romanian art, including works of artists like Nicolae Grigorescu, Ştefan Luchian, Dimitrie Paciurea, as well as some works of foreign artists like Károly Lotz, Luca Giordano, Jean Hippolyte Flandrin, Herri met de Bles or Claude Michel, and was nominated for the European Museum of the Year in 1996.

The most notable of the city's other galleries is the Gallery of the Union of Plastic Artists. Situated in the city center, this gallery depicts collections of the contemporary arts scene. The Gallery of Folk Art is also distinguished, as it promotes the authentic products and art of the Romanian culture, in the field of interior decoration.

Performing arts

Performing arts are one of Cluj-Napoca's strongest cultural elements, and the city has a number of renowned facilities and institutions. The most prominent is the neobaroque theatre at the Avram Iancu Square. Built at the beginning of the 20th century by the viennese company Helmer and Fellner, this structure is inscripted in UNESCO's list of specially protected monuments.[43] The building hosts, since the union of Transylvania with Romania in 1920, 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. 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. Historic rock bands from 1970s, like Compact, modern pop musicians, like Cristina Rus or Andra, underground sounds like Luna Amară as well as a large pallet of electronic music seem to mix quite well within the city's eclectic music scene. The city is also renowned as home city of the Cheeky Girls. 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, the renowned Diesel Club, at the Unrii Plaza. The Unirii area also features the "Fashion Bar", with an exclusive terrace under the aegis of Fashion TV. 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. Some other clubs in the center are Aftereight, Avenue, Euphoria, Kharma, Oscar and Zink.

The city also hosts the Piezişa 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 that is particularly popular with young people.

Traditional culture

In spite of the influences of modern culture, the traditional Romanian culture, however, continues to have an influence in domains such as theatre and music. Additionally, Cluj-Napoca hosts an ethnographic museum, the "Transylvanian Ethnographic Museum", which features a large indoor collection of traditional culture, as well as an open-air park, the oldest of this kind in Romania, dating back in 1929.

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 the prehistoric times, Dacian era, medieval times and the modern era. Moreover, the city also preserves a Historic Collection of the Pharmacy, in the building of the first pharmacy (16th century), the Hintz House.

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 June 21st, organised under the aegis of the French Cultural Center. In September, the "Transilvania" Philarmonic hosts the Toamna Muzicală Clujeană Classical Music Festival. Additionally, the "Splaiul Independenţei", on the banks of Someşul Mic river, hosts throughout the summer a number of beer festivals, of which one could mention the "Septemberfest", modelled after the German "Oktoberfest".

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. Beyoncé Knowles also performed in Cluj-Napoca, during 2007, on the Ion Moina Stadium (which is currently under reconstruction). Moreover, the local clubs regularly organise events featuring international artists, usualy foreign disk 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.[44] 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, is also organised annually in Cluj-Napoca by Be An Angel, the city's largest LGBT rights organisation.


Cluj-Napoca's architecture is features a mosaic of styles, especially Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic. The modern era, has also brought a remarkable collection of buildings from the mid-century style. The mostly-utilitarian Communist-era architecture is also present, allthough only to a certain extent, as Cluj-Napoca never faced a large systematization programme. The city is lately invaded by contemporary structures such as skyscrapers and office buildings, mainly constructed after 2000.

Historical architecture

The nucleus of the old city, important cultural and commercial center, used to be a military camp, attested in documents with the name "castrum Clus". The oldest residence in Cluj-Napoca is the house of Matei Corvin, featuring the marks Transylvanian Renaissance because of a latter renovation, being a Gothic structure at its origins.

The Bánffy Palace (1774-1785), a Baroque structure, constructed around a rectangular yard, is the masterpiece of Eberhardt Blaumann. Its peculiarity resides in the aspect of the principal façade. St. Michael's Church, the oldest and most representative Gothic style building in the country, dates back in the 14th century. The oldest of its sections is the altar, inaugurated in 1390, while the newest part is the clock tower, which was built in Gothic Revival style (1860).

In fact, both the Avram Iancu and the Unrii Squares depict ensembles of eclectic architecture, including the Palace of Justice, the Theatre, the Iuliu Maniu symmetrical street and the New York Palace among others.

The banks of Someşul Mic also feature a wide variety of architectural masterpieces. 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 palaces Berde, Babos, Elian, Urania, and Szeky consist of a mixture of Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic styles, following the Art Nouveau/Secession and Revival specifics.

In the 2000s, the old city center underwent large restoration works, ment to convert much of it in a pedestrian area, including Bulevardul Eroilor, Unirii Square and other smaller streets. 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.

A part of Cluj-Napoca's architecture is made up of buildings constructed during the Communist era, replacing the historical architecture with "more efficient" high density apartment blocks. Nicolae Ceauşescu's project of systematization has not affected much the inner circle of the city, instead it reached the districts surrounding it.

Still, the center hosts some monuments of modern architecture dating back in the communist era. The bulding of the Hungarian Theatre arose at the beginning of the 20th century, but it made object of an avant-garde renovation in 1961, when it adopted the modernist style of architecture. Another example of modernist architectural art is the Palatul Telefoanelor, situated in the vecinity of the Mihai Viteazul Plaza, a square that also features a complex of large apartment buildings.

Some outer districts especially the Mănăştur district, and to a certain extent the Mărăşti district also, largely includes such large mutant apartment ensambles. The city, however, doesn't face the urbanistic problems that arose in other places within Romania because of the high-density constructions; roughly all other complexes in the city are built with some respect to the urbanistic laws appliable today.

Contemporary architecture

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 usualy 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 m or 164 feet. 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 suposed 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 eventualy converted in an office building. Another building of architectural importance servers as the headquarters of Banca Transilvania, at the intersection of Regele Ferdinand Avenue and Bariţiu Street, and was originally constructed to host the regional offices of Romtelecom, the public phone company, but was latter sold to Banca Transilvania.

Cluj-Napoca is undergoing a period of architectural revitalisation, that is set to bring the manner of extension to the vertical. A financial center, containing a tower of 15 storeys, will rise up until 2010 on Ploieşti Street.[45] Two 35 floors twin towers are projected to be constructed in the Sigma area in Zorilor,[46] while the Floreşti area will host a complex of three towers with 32 levels each.[47]


Cluj-Napoca is very well served in terms of transport and infrastructure for Romanian city standards, being an important element of the national air, rail and road transport networks.


The Cluj-Napoca International Airport (CLJ), located 9 km to the east of the city centre, is the fourth busiest airport in Romania, after the two Bucharest airports (OTP and BBU) and Timisoara airport. 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 direct destinations like Bucharest, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Milan, Rome, Bergamo, Bologna, Frankfurt, Munich, Dortmund, Budapest, London and Vienna.


The Cluj-Napoca Main Rail Station, located about 2 km to the north of the city centre, is situated on the CFR-Romanian Railways Main Line 300 (Bucharest - Oradea - Romanian Western Border) and on the 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 the parts of the city by the trams, trolleybuses and buses of the local public transport company, RATUC.

The city is also served by two other secondary rail stations, the Little Station (Romanian: Gara Micǎ) and Cluj-Napoca East. There is also a flag station, Halta "Clujana".

The local tranportation company, RATUC, manages a tram line that runs over the city. The modernisation project comprises the installation of new rail tracks and the separation of the tram route from the road traffic. This will bring a large scale of advantages, including vibration and shocks reduction, substantial noise decrease, long use expectancy and higher transit speed (60-80 km/h).[48] The route will suffer major alteration on Horea Street, between the Chamber of Commerce and the central rail station, a quite problematic area. This problem should be solved either with the relocation of the track next to the sidewalk, or through the construction of a suspended tunnel.[49] Another area that will benefit from large scale changes is the "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 carried on the traffic circle on Primăverii Street. Giving the development of the metropolitan area, further plans feature the creation of a light rail track between Gilău and Jucu, that will use this modernised tracks in the city.[50]


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 (Romanian: Autostrada Transilvania), currently under construction, will link the city with Bucharest and the Romanian western border. Its western part (Romanian border - Oradea - Cluj-Napoca) is planned to be finished by 2009, while its eastern and southern part (Cluj-Napoca - Braşov) is planned to be finished by 2012. The Cluj-Napoca Coach Station (Romanian: 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.

The number of automobiles licensed in Cluj-Napoca is estimated at 175 thousand.[51] As of 2007, the 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 this cars were limousines or SUVs.[52]

RATUC, the local public transport company, runs an extensive 342 km public transport network within the city using trams, trolleybuses and buses.


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 usualy reissued from Cluj-Napoca in a regional version, covering Transylvanian issues. Such newspapers include România Liberă, 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 business.[53] Apart from this regional editions, that are distributed throghout Transylvania, the national newspaper Ziua also runs a local franchise, Ziua de Cluj, that acts as a local daily, being 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, first of the series of local weeklies edited by the media trust MediaPro, is one of the largest newspapers in Transylvania, with an audience of 53,000 readers per edition.[54] This weekly is dubbed by a daily online version, entitled Clujeanul, ediţie online, updated on a real time scale. Cluj-Napoca is also the center of the Romanian Hungarian language press. The city hosts the editorial offices of the two largest newspapers of this kind, Krónika and Szabadság, as well as those of the magazines Erdélyi Napló and Korunk. Săptămâna Clujeană is an economic weekly published in the city, while Piaţa A-Z is a newspaper for announcement and advertisements distribuited to all Transylvania.

Among the local television stations in the city, TVR Cluj is the only one that broadcasts regionaly, while the others are restricted to the city limits. 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 windows to the national programming. This situation can also be applied to the radio broadcasting companies: except for Radio Cluj, Radio Impuls and the Hungarian-language Paprika Rádió, all other stations are local affiliates to the national broadcasters. Casa Radio, situated on Donath Street, is one of the modern landmarks of the media and communications industry, however not the only one: Palatul Telefoanelor ("the telephone palace") is also a major modernist symbol of communications in the city's center.

Magazines published in Cluj-Napoca include J'Adore, a local shopping magazine that eventualy also extented to Bucharest, 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 like Şapte Seri and CJ24FUN.


Cluj-Napoca is one of the most important academic centres in Romania. Students make up more than a third of the city's population.


* Babeş-Bolyai University (UBB), with more than 43,000 students, offering 105 concentrations in Romanian, 52 in Hungarian, 13 in German and 4 in English
* Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (UTC-N), with more than 12,000 students
* University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
* Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, with more than 6,000 students
* Art and Design University
* Gheorghe Dima Music Academy

Some private universities

* Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University, with more than 1,500 students, official site
* Bogdan Vodă University, official site
* Avram Iancu University, official site
* Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, official site

Some important public schools: Liceul Teoretic Avram Iancu, Liceul de Informatică Tiberiu Popoviciu, Colegiul National George Baritiu, Liceul Teoretic Lucian Blaga, Colegiul National Emil Racoviţă, Liceul Gheorghe Şincai, Liceul Nicolae Bălcescu, Liceul George Coşbuc, Liceul Mihai Eminescu, Liceul Onisifor Ghibu, Báthory István Elméleti Liceum, János Zsigmond Unitárius Kollégium, Brassai Sámuel Gimnázium, Apáczai Csere János Elméleti Liceum, Liceul de Arta.

Sister cities and legations

* Germany Cologne
* Greece Athens
* Brazil São Paulo
* Israel Beersheba
* Hungary Pécs
* Croatia Zagreb
* China Zhengzhou
* Venezuela Chacao Municipality
* France Dijon and Nantes
* South Korea Suwon
* Philippine Makati
* Albania Korçë
* Italy Cervia
* United States Columbia, East Lansing and Rockford

Before the communist centralization of 1948, several foreign consulates for countries like France, Czechoslovakia, Canada were based in Cluj. The last closed legation was that of the Republic of Hungary in 1988. In 1997 the legation was re-opened, as part of Timişoara Treaty. An Information Office of the US Embassy also functioned in Cluj-Napoca from 1994 to 2007. One of its aims was to monitor the interethnic relations in Transylvania. Just before the closure, Mrs. Lisa Heilbronn, head of the office, stated in an interview,[58] that those relations were no more a matter of concern. Currently there are legations from several countries in Cluj, including Republic of Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Travel Guide For Scotland

This article gives advice about places to visit, places to stay and places to eat in Scotland. Scotland is a superb country to visit and it is steeped in history. With famous cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland has plenty to offer for everyone.

Places to visit in Scotland

Edinburgh castle has been a focal point of the Edinburgh skyline for over eight hundred years. It includes the Scottish National War Museum which lists all of Scotland's war dead since 1914. Adult admission to the castle is currently £8 and for children it is only £2.

Loch Ness and the Great Glen is a must. I am sure you have all heard of the loch ness monster, see if you can see him when you visit here. Many people have stated that they could!

The Glasgow science centre is the most recent major museum opened in Glasgow. This is a most impressive place which caters for all age groups. I have only ever heard positive comments from people who have visited this museum.

The National Gallery of Scotland has a wide range of paintings including works from Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Ramsay. Entrance is free apart from for special exhibitions.

Places to stay in Scotland


Balmoral is probably one of the best hotels in Edinburgh and is situated on Princes Street. It is also one of the most expensive hotels however.

Albany is a Georgian style hotel and is situated on Albany Street.

The Bonham is a contemporary style hotel with a European style restaurant and is situated in Drumsheugh Gardens.

Ingrams is more of a hotel/bed and breakfast. It is situated on Northumberland Street.


Glasgow Hilton is a top of the range hotel and is very modern. It is situated on William Street.

St Jude's is a small hotel situated on Bath Street.

Langs has a special feature being a Japanese influenced Oshi spa.

Places to eat in Scotland

Inverlochy Castle has three dining rooms and has won many awards. If you can afford it, this is the one you want to visit.

Other places to eat:
Culloden House
Summer Isles Hotel
Eden Court

I hope this short guide is of use during your trip to Scotland. The above suggestions are only a few of many wonderful places to go.