Church of Franciscan Monastery

Franciscan Temple

The church and Franciscan monastery are located in Cetatea Veche (Old Fortress), the present Piaţa Muzeului (Museum Square), the worship place being built on the place where it was the first church of the city in the 11th century. In 1390, St. Michael church could be used as parochial church and this location was given to the Dominican order. The Dominican monks started to build the current buildings from the precinct of the monastery with the support of John Hunyadi. The year 1556 marks the beginning of the Reform in Cluj, the monks are chased away from the city and from 1693, along with the foundation of the Habsburgic jurisdiction over Transylvania, the church and buildings are given to the Jesuitic order. In 1697 a fire burned up the church and buildings, the Gothic arch being permanently destroyed, the Jesuits starting to build a new church on Universităţii (University) Street – today the Piarists’ church.

In 1728 the Franciscan order starts the Baroque reconstruction of the church which lasted until 1745. The church is one of room-type which still preserves traces of Gothic elements, the traces of former windows and abutments. In the central part of the altar is found a religious painting from 1730, true copy of a painting from Rome in Santa Maria Magiore Church. In the lateral chapels are found funerary monuments of Transylvanian aristocrats, the most important being that of Korniş family. This monument was built at the initiative of Count Sigismund Korniş, the governor of Transylvania between 1713 and 1731. He brings a crucifix of impressive sizes from the chapel of the castle from Mănăstireni and it can be considered the most important object of art from the church.

In 1949 the Franciscan order was dissolved on the Romanian territory, the Franciscan monks returning to Cluj-Napoca after 1990, when it starts a process for retrocession of owned properties.

“Calvaria” Roman-Catholic Church

Biserica Romano-Catolică „Calvaria” Cluj-Napoca

In Mănăştur neighbourhood, on a hill which in the medieval period dominated the entrance in the city from the West, we find what is left from one of the most important institutions of medieval Transylvania, the Benedictine abbey from Cluj-Mănăştur. The archaeological research carried out in this area proves the existence of a fortification from the 9th century.

Starting with the 11th century, the hill was fortified, being used the technique specific to the time, walls from earth and logs. Inside the fortifications, in the 11th century, the Benedictine abbey was built, which did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Roman-Catholic Episcopacy from Alba Iulia, but was directly subordinated to the Archbishop of Esztergom. The tartar invasion from 1241 destroyed the abbey, the only element which can be considered to belong to the Benedictine abbey being the lion on the South-Eastern wall of the present church.

The present church was built after 1896 and includes several elements of the churches from previous periods: the old gate of the church or a sun dial on which can be identified the name of Anton abbot. Around the church are found funerary monuments from the 16th – 19th centuries.

“Sfântul Mihail” (Saint Michael) Roman-Catholic Church

Statuia lui Matei Corvin

St. Michael Church, that dominates one of the central squares of the city Piaţa Unirii (Union Square), is an important Gothic building from Transylvania. The church neo-Gothic tower together with the cross from its top have a height of 80 m.

The church construction dates from the time of Hungarian kings from Anjou dynasty, the beginning of the construction dating from 1316, in the time of King Carol Robert. The city reached a development which imposed the construction of such building and the chosen place was Piaţa Mare (Big Square) of the city instead of an older church. A document issued by the papal chancery from Avignon dates from 1349, in fact a so-called indulgence, by which it was promised the forgiveness of sins for those who offered donations to Sain. Michael Church.

In 1400, Pope Bonifacius IX issues a document by which he encourages all worshipers from Europe to support the construction of Saint Michael Church. The church will be finalized in 1442, as indicated by an inscription from the second abutment, at West from the Southern gate of the church.

One of the most important decorations of the church, the casing of the sacristy door dates from 1528 and is made in the late Renaissance style. Many meetings of the Transylvanian Diet were held and the princes Sigismund Bathory, Sigismund Rakoczi, Gabriel Bathory and Gabriel Bethlen were enthroned in this church.

”Adormirea Maicii Domnului” (Assumption of Virgin Mary) Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral

catedrala ad

The year 1918 marks the creation of the Romanian unitary state by the political-administrative union of the Romanian territories under the jurisdiction of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and of the Czarist Empire with Romania Kingdom. After 1918, an orthodox see with the title the Episcopacy of Vad, Feleac and Cluj is re-founded in Cluj. Between 1923 and 1933, at the initiative of the bishop Nicolae Ivan and with the support of the Royal Romanian House, in the space in front of “Lucian Blaga” National Theatre from Cluj-Napoca, in Avram Iancu Square, it is built the Episcopal cathedral. The cathedral was built according to the project of the architects George Cristinel and Constantin Pomponiu, a byzantine monument with characteristic elements of Brâncoveanu style. However, the recession from 1930 did not allow the initial project, the cathedral being nevertheless inaugurated on November 5th 1933.

Between 1997 and 2000, at the initiative of Archbishop Bartolomeu Anania, an ample renovation process of the cathedral starts, process within which it was also succeeded the addition of elements from the initial project which in could not be carried out in the ‘30s. Thus, the four small towers that bordered the central tower were added, the bases and capitals of monumental columns were sculpted from rotunda of the big tower, the eight medallions sculpted in stone and the stone arches from the lateral facades.

In the present, at the basement of the cathedral was opened a museum which presents the history of Orthodox eparchies from Cluj area, the iconographic art starting with the 14th century and the crypt of hierarchs.

Bánffy Castle from Bonţida

Bánffy Castle from Bonţida is one of the architectural monuments representative of the Transylvanian Baroque style, the richness of elements specific to this architectural style also bringing it the name of “Transylvania’s Versailles”. According to historical documents, the castle took the place of a former mansion, a noble residence that existed around the 14th century.

King Sigismund of Luxembourg donated to the Bánffy family, in 1387, the estate on which Bánffy Castle now stands. Dionisie Banffy starts the construction of the castle in Bonţida commune, a place located approximately 30 km north-east of Cluj-Napoca. The construction was designed to have the shape of the letter “L”, in the first phase being built a fortress surrounded by a fortifications system, with strong stone walls and doors carved in Renaissance style.

The tower located at the entrance to the castle, had an important defense role. Symmetrical alleys, long terraces, airy atmosphere, are the things that completed the castle park, making it look unique.

The main buildings of the palace are dominated by architectural elements specific to the Renaissance style, in the 18th century being made extensions in the Baroque style.

The reconstruction of the castle, in Austrian Baroque style, is initiated by Dionisie Bánffy II, starting with 1745, according to the plans of the Viennese architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlachc. He gives a new shape to the palace, like the letter U, by creating new buildings: the riding hall, the stable, the shed and the servants’ houses. The amusement park keeps the same baroque style, being provided with symmetrical alleys, the lake on the right side of the castle from where you can admire the romantic side of the castle, statues, obelisks and artesian wells.

The next descendant of the family, József Bánffy, changes the appearance of the estate by demolishing the gate tower and redefining the sober baroque forms in the park, with more free, romantic forms, characteristic to English ones. Also during the reign of József, a new wing of the building was raised, and a water mill was built from the material resulting from the demolition of the tower, made available to the villagers.

In 1944 the castle was used as a military hospital, and at the end of World War II it was largely damaged by vandalism and arson by retreating German troops. After 1950, one of the wings of the castle became the headquarters of the Bonţida Agricultural Production Cooperative.

The domain of the Bánffy family was not limited only to the Bonțida Castle, but also extended within the Răscruci village, located in the same commune. Bánffy Castle from Răscruci was built in the 18th century, in an eclectic neoclassical style, the residence being surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks of the Bánffy family estates. The palace belonged to the Bonţida estate and was used as a summer residence by the Bánffy family, the two residences being connected by a poplar alley.

Currently, Bánffy Castle from Bonțida is under the administration of the Transylvania Trust Foundation, which aims to restore and capitalize on the potential of the Bonțida estate. Numerous cultural-artistic activities are currently organized here, activities that attract many visitors.

The castle became famous due to the fact that every year it hosts the famous Electric Castle music festival. The festival initiated on the castle estate in 2013, taking place over 3 days, in which lovers of different musical genres lived a unique experience in Romania. From one year to another, the festival becomes more and more popular, registering increases among the participants, the scenes used, innovation and creativity. The 2019 edition marked the existence of the first festival in Romania that translated for those with hearing impairments, the most important concerts, using sign language.

Among the most important awards obtained by the festival are the Best Camping Award at the European Festival Awards in 2017, the Best Food & Drinks Award at the European Festival Awards in 2018 and the Best Medium Sized Festival award at the European Festival Awards in 2019.

The access to the castle is made from the national road leading to Bonțida, a commune located about 30 km from Cluj-Napoca.

The castle awaits its visitors with its gates opened every day.

Address: Ștefan Emilian street,  Bonțida

Phone: 0264-439.858; 0745-141.540

E-mail: [email protected]o


Teleki Castle from Luna de Jos, Dăbâca commune

Castelul Teleki din Luna de Jos, comuna Dăbâca

Just 33 km from Cluj-Napoca, in Luna de Jos, Dăbâca commune, we can admire an old tower that once belonged to a beautiful castle built in Renaissance style, Teleki Castle. Its construction was started by the Transylvanian noble family Teleki, in the second part of the 17th century, being completed in 1700 by Pál Teleki (1677-1731).

The political orientation of the family attracts the retaliation of the imperial army that destroys the building, today only the old hunting tower with a height of about 35 m and part of the domain park can be admired. Thus, the material resulting from the demolition of the castle was used to build a wall of about 700 m long and one meter thick, which was intended to protect the new pavilion built in neoclassical style, arranged on two levels: ground floor and first floor.

Due to the over 500-year-old specimens of existing trees (oaks, beeches, chestnuts), the park around the tower is still an attraction for tourists.

Currently, the pavilion has a care and assistance center for helping the elderly with disabilities, protected by approximately 200 m kept from the old wall.

Korniș Castle from Mănăstirea, Mica commune

Castelul Kornis din satul Mănăstirea

On a terrace on the bank of Someş river near Dej, in Mănăstirea village, Mica commune, in the 16th century, Kristof Kereszturi built an important castle: Kornis Castle. Due to the stone statues in the form of unicorns, guarding the entrance to the castle, the castle is also known as the castle with unicorns.

Following the marriage between Korniș Boldizsár and Kristof Kereszturi’s daughter, the castle belongs to the young couple. The development of the castle is closely related to the Korniş family name, whence the name of the castle. During that period, the extension of the second floor was made, two bastions were added on the north side, the rooms of the castle were decorated as well as the access tower to the castle was rebuilt. The tower was protected by a water ditch, which is still preserved today. An icon sculpted in 1700, gave people faith that the Mother of God is the protector of the castle, this icon still exists today at the Dej Municipal Museum.

The last changes to the castle were made during the time of Kornis Zsigmond. During that period, two new octagonal bastions were added in the northern part of the castle, the tower at the entrance was rebuilt, and the rooms of the castle were redecorated with frescoes on the ceilings.

In case of danger and during the night, the suspension bridge at the entrance was lifted, therefore providing additional security to the castle.

After nationalization, impressive book collections (a library of about 9,000 volumes) as well as a real hunting museum were destroyed. The castle is private property, but it can be visited because it’s fenceless.

Wass-Bánffy Castle from Gilău

In the Middle Ages, the Gilău domain was owned by the Bishopric of Transylvania, and the town – formed near the Roman fortress – was one of the bishop’s residences. The medieval fortress of Gilău is mentioned in documents from the year 1428, during the time of bishop Gheorghe Lépes. From the time of Bishop Ladislau Geréb (1479-1502), the cousin of King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), have been preserved the first elements of artistic value of the episcopal residence in Gilău. Among these we mention:

– Bishop Ladislau Geréb’s coat of arms (leaning lion in a crown, currently located in Cluj-Napoca, National History Museum of Transylvania)

– Two identical rectangular pieces decorated with fasces laureati (a symbol of victory in the Roman era, also used in Renaissance art), carved in stone, built into the fireplace of the upstairs salon.

– A rectangular piece decorated with the figure of the Archangel Michael slaying the dragon (currently located in Cluj-Napoca, National History Museum of Transylvania).

In 1541, in the Gilău castle was signed the agreement regarding the unification under the leadership of the Habsburgs of the Hungary Kingdom territories not occupied by the Ottomans. From 1580 the domain had several owners: in 1587 the governor John Ghiczy, in 1597 the bishop of Transylvania Dimitrie Náprágyi, between the years 1600-1603 the owners were Mihai Viteazul, Ștefan Csáky and general Giorgio Basta, in the years 1603-1605 the noble Pancrațiu Sennyei. After sieging the castle in 1605, Prince Ștefan Bocskai also ordered the first inventory of it.

During the reign of Prince Gheorghe Rákóczi I, the castle became a princely residence and was radically modified. In 1663 the Gilău castle and domain was mortgaged to the noble Dionisie Bánffy, Comite of Dăbâca. Between 1704-1705, during the Revolt of the Hungarian Aristocracy, it was damaged.

In 1874 the castle was bought by Bernat Rosenberger. He is responsible for the renovation and reconstruction of the castle after the fire from 1861. In 1911 it was bought by Countess Ecaterina Bánffy. She owned it until its nationalization in 1948. After 1972, the castle was used as a school for disabled children until 2002, when it was returned to the old owner. The current owner renovated the castle through a project with European funding. In the near future, it is planned to rehabilitate the entire domain adjacent to the castle.

E-mail: [email protected]