This tour is going to give you the chance to discover not only the historic center of the city, but also, some of its best kept secrets and of course, the unique Transylvanian kitchen.
We will start with a walk through Cluj’s century old history and traditions, the interesting architecture and culture and get a glimpse of this modern Transylvanian city. We will start the tour right next to the old Benedictine monastery, which was also the starting point in the cities evolution. The birth houses of Mathias Corvinus (king of Hungary) and Stephan Bocskai (ruler of Transylvania), the old market square and the many guilds and craftsmen houses, all tell great stories about the people who used to live here centuries ago.
Right next to this silent pedestrian area, we will visit the city’s main square, with some of its most important monuments: the catholic church of St. Michael (the second largest gothic building between Vienna and Istanbul), the statue of Mathias Corvinus, the unique mirror street and the majestic baroque palace of the Bannfy family.
Departing from the main square, we will walk to the headquarters of the Babeş-Bolyai University, with an ongoing tradition since the 16th century. Nowadays it is one of Europe’s largest multicultural universities, with almost 60.000 students. Crossing through several palaces which host different faculties and administrative buildings of the university, we will reach the former Franciscan monastery, famous both for its architecture and its almost perfect acoustic. The church was restored in the past couple of years and the glance of this superb monument was brought back to light. Just behind of this monument, we will visit the only medieval tower still standing, a memory of the cities past military ambitions. Next on our list is the former lumberjack market which used to be a gathering place of the Romanian community. At the end of the 19th century, the famous Viennese company “Helmer und Fellner” were given the task to build the cities theater and opera house. Nowadays, it is one of Cluj’s most important cultural institutions. On the other side of the square, we will discover the orthodox cathedral. Built after the First World War in neo-byzantine and neo-Romanian style, it is one of the important pieces in this colored but tolerant, multicultural and multiethnic mosaic.
At noon we will go to one of the city’s oldest and most traditional restaurants, where generations of people have been enjoying the traditional Transylvanian dishes, such as “cabbage a la Cluj” or “sarmale”. It is one of the best places to get to know the locals.
In the afternoon we will drive to one of the cities symbols: the botanical garden. Founded in 1920, it is one of the largest of its kind in the whole world and hosts rare and exotic plants in a beautiful, 14 hectares park.
Departing from the botanical garden, we will drive to another “green-oasis” of the city: the local ethnographic museum. After the First World War, many villages in the Transylvanian mountains were deserted, as the people decided to move to other regions. This was the reason why these kinds of museums were opened all over the country and old houses, water mills or workshops were brought and preserved here. We will visit among others, a very beautiful wooden church from the 18th century, built by the Romanian hero, Horia and an old gold mine from Roşia Montană.
The city tour will end with a beautiful panorama view over the whole city.