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Cluj-Napoca Art Museum

Banffy Palace

Banffy Palace is the most important secular building in Transylvania, built in Baroque style, influencing the entire Baroque architecture of this principality. The Banffy family was one of the richest and most influential aristocratic families in Transylvania.

In 1790 the capital of Transylvania moved from Sibiu to Cluj, and Count Gheorghe Banffy was appointed governor. For this he needed a residence suitable for his rank. Thus he hired as a designer and builder the architect of Sibiu, Johann Blaumann, who will build the palace between 1774 and 1786. The main facade is imposing, and holds the coat of arms of the noble family the griffin crowned with sword, heraldic symbol, framed by two other griffins. This facade is decorated with statues representing characters of ancient mythology: Mars, Minerva, Apollo, Diana, Hercules, Perseus, made by the greatest sculptor of the Baroque era in Transylvania, Anton Shuchbauer.

 Among the guests of the palace were Emperor Francis I, Empress Karolina, and Franz Lizt. The first cinema in Cluj was set up in the courtyard of the palace. Starting with 1951, the palace houses the collections of the Cluj-Napoca Art Museum.