Cluj-Napoca is the second largest city in Romania. In the past it was the residence of Cluj County, and one of the historical capitals of Transylvania. Nowadays, it is a charming city with beautiful architecture and cosy cafes. It is also considered to be Romania’s youth capital, because it’s full of universities, and consequently a great number of students study here. But apart from this, Cluj-Napoca has a rich history with its glorious moments, a testament of which you can admire nowadays in its historic center.
Deepen your history of the Matthias Corvinus House
Located in the very center of Cluj-Napoca, not far from the cathedral, the Matthias Corvinus House is one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to the 15th century. In the course of its history, the Matthias Corvinus House served as a guest house, jail, hospital, museum, and nowadays it is the main department of the University of Art and Design of Cluj-Napoca. You can enter it, where you’ll see inside some replicas of famous ancient Greek sculptures. You can also take a break in the inner garden of the university, and take delight in some of the modern sculptures here at this peaceful and serene place.
Marvel at the impressive church in the center of Cluj-Napoca
The Church of Saint Michael is also one of the most representative monuments of Gothic architecture in Transylvania. Located in the main square of Cluj-Napoca, the Union Square, the Church of Saint Michael is considered to be one of the most emblematic monuments in the city. The church was constructed on the place of the old chapel of Saint Jacob during 1350-1437, while the altar was built around 1390. Once you enter the church, you’ll be amazed by its grandeur and imposing size, as the nave is 50 m (164 ft) high. Take a minute to admire the beautifully decorated walls with stained glass windows. After being here for a couple of minutes, I am sure you’ll be moved by the majestic atmosphere of Saint Michael’s church.
Take a stroll through the Heroes Avenue
The Heroes Avenue connects the Union Square and the Avram Iancu Square. It is one of the most important arteries in the city, which in 2007 was transformed into a pedestrian zone. The street is full of cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and outlets, so it is like a boiling kettle of life all the year round. If you’re hungry, but at same time in a hurry, you can have some soup at Souper Restaurant. There are also some delicious and healthy salads, pizzas, and sandwiches on the menu at this restaurant. If you just want to relax in a cozy atmosphere, with a glass of wine and a paradise-like dessert, I suggest you visit the restaurant, Cabinet de Vin & Cocotte. Nothing is compared to the food served here, and I promise you’ll be more than satisfied.
Be enchanted by the beauty of the Orthodox Cathedral
The Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral, the Orthodox Cathedral of Cluj-Napoca is situated in the Avram Iancu square. It was built between 1920 and 1930, and is one of the main religious buildings of Cluj-Napoca. The initiative to construct the cathedral belonged to Bishop Nicolae Ivan, whereas the process of constructing it lasted 10 years. Nowadays, we can admire the results of the marvelous work that was done in the past. Its greatness is reflected not only through its exterior architecture, but also through its interior. Once you enter it, you’ll be amazed by its inner splendour, which will surely mesmerize your eyes.
In front of the cathedral, you’ll see the statue of Avram Iancu, an important figure in the history of Romania who had a significant role in the Austrian Empire Revolutions from 1848 to 1849.
Visit the Lucian Blaga National Theatre
The Lucian Blaga National Theatre of Cluj-Napoca is also located in the Avram Iancu square, right in front of the Orthodox Cathedral. Dating back from 1821, it is the first theatre in Cluj-Napoca, and one of the most prestigious theatrical institutions in Romania. On the stage of the theatre you can watch various performances, such as ballet and opera from the national and international repertory. So in case you want to gorge yourself with a play at the theatre, I would recommend either buying the tickets online, or going directly to the ticket office which is situated on the right side of the theatre across the street.
You can do it all by foot!
The best thing about this tour, is the fact that all these places are very close to each other. There is no need to use the public transport to reach any of these sights. You can enjoy the walk, and at the same time make stopovers at some of the cafes or restaurants along Heroes Avenue.
One more suggestion from me, is to visit the outlets that are also located on Heroes Avenue, such as Tabita, Le Majole, or the London Outlet. All of them have a great range of clothes and shoes at a very good price. You can even find famous brands, like Massimo Dutti, COS, Guess, Calvin Klein, and many others here as well.
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