Almost every time I got to Cluj I had no more than one day to actually see the town. But the people I met, their way of being and ordinary happenings that proved to be extraordinary went always straight to my heart. On my way to Maramureş I finally spent more time in this beautiful Romanian town. I met special people (some of them for the first time) and we ended up as usual having long discussions. Somehow, the visit of the town had never been a top priority. However, I’m beginning to know it better, so I can give you some suggestions on how to spend at least one day in Cluj. If you are just passing by as I was, these few tips may be of great help.
The Tailors’ Tower or Bastion is a place where you could start your day over a cup of coffee.
Not far away you can find The Reformed Church, a valuable Gothic edifice with a beautiful interior. If you reach it, you have to see Saint George’s Statue or at least its bronze copy. The original, made by two sculptors from Cluj following the orders of Charles IV, can be found in the royal palace Hradciani of Praga.
The National Theatre of Cluj, a very beautiful and also a very yellow building (I’m not the only one who noticed that), is also worth seeing. Some very interesting data about the history of this place can be found on its official website.
Nearby, you’ll find The Metropolitan Cathedral. You should enter to see the mosaics. They are extremely beautiful, made of Murrano glass imported from Venice. I hope you will be luckier than I was and see them lit.
When you get out of the church, you could take a walk on the (almost) pedestrian Iuliu Maniu Street towards Piaţa Unirii. You will find on your way a very nice hostel – Transylvania Hostel (in case you are still looking for a place to sleep and you want something cheap and clean ) and the restaurants from Agape. In case you wanna grab a bite to eat, this place is one of the best self-services in town. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the beautifully painted and folk decorated salons.
If art is your cup of tea, The Art Museum is a good choice. You are not a passionate? In this case, you may want to visit The Pharmacy Museum. Speaking of art again, I have to warn you that even if The Art Museum exhibits very valuable paintings, they are not appreciated as they should be. Sometimes, due to poor lighting, you see your reflection in the pictures, and as flattering as this may be, I don’t think you went there for this!
You can complete your “artistic impressions” by admiring the stained glass of Saint Michael’s Catholic Church, one of the most important Gothic buildings in Romania.
A walk in a park is always a pleasure and the Botanical Garden is the perfect choice. But if you want to stay close to the center, you could easily get to the Fortress (Cetaţuia) where, at sunset, the view of the town is magnificent!
Hungry? I have three propositions for dinner.
The first restaurant is called Baracca and it’s right next to my favourite boutique from Cluj, VinoVero. I for one, left the place charmed by the beef strips, gorgonzola and pear salad. I have never eaten chestnut soup before, but after tasting it at Baracca’s, I’m pretty sure I ‘m having some the next time I go there.
If you want a glass of good wine and a delicious pie you can have them at Piccadilly Pies&Wine, on Napoca Street, just nearby. The good news is that the wines they propose are excellent; it’s a shame that I can’t say the same thing about their serving temperature.
Euphoria from Piaţa Muzeului is my third proposition. You can have a fine cup of tea on the terrace and in the evening you can enjoy your dinner down in the basement. I adored the roasted eggplant salad, and they also have good wines and beers for all tastes. Do not rush to get coffee or dessert in a restaurant. I suggest you to take a walk to the Amadeus Mozart Café, it’s on the Cardinal Iuliu Hossu or Pavlov Street, behind the Chemistry Faculty (I have a little doubt regarding the name). I guarantee you that for a while you’ll think yourself in Austria!
There are some other things to be told, but my intention was to suggest you a one day visit!
Are there any places that you would include on the list? I’m also accepting two or three days trip suggestions!
Author: Roxana Farca
English version: Mihaela Florea