City of Cluj-Napoca

Cluj-Napoca (pronunciation in Romanian: /’kluʒ na’poka/; German: Klausenburg; Hungarian: Kolozsvár) is the fourth largest city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in north-western Transylvania. Geographically, it is roughly equally distant from Bucharest (323 km / 201 mi), Budapest (354 km / 220 mi) and Belgrade (327 km / 203 mi). As of January 1, 2009, 306,474 inhabitants live within the city limits, a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census. The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area has a population of 379,705 people.

Cluj entered a period of rapid growth in terms of economics and demographics in the recent past; the city’s population is projected, according to Sorin Apostu, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, to more than double by the late 2010s. Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centers in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the largest university in the country, Babeş-Bolyai University, with its famous botanical garden; nationally renowned cultural institutions; as well as the largest Romanian-owned commercial bank.

Landmarks

Cluj-Napoca has a number of landmark buildings and monuments. One of those is the Saint Michael’s Church in Unirii Square, built at the end of 14th century in the Gothic style of that period. It was only in the 19th century that the neogothic tower of the church was erected; it remains the tallest church tower in Romania to this day.

Visual arts

In terms of visual arts, the city contains a number of galleries featuring both classical and contemporary Romanian art, as well as selected international works.

The National Museum of Art is located in the former palace of the count György Bánffy, the most representative secular construction built in the Baroque style in Transylvania. The museum features extensive collections of Romanian art, including works of artists like Nicolae Grigorescu, Ştefan Luchian and Dimitrie Paciurea, as well as some works of foreign artists like Károly Lotz, Luca Giordano, Jean Hippolyte Flandrin, Herri met de Bles and Claude Michel and was nominated to be European Museum of the Year in 1996.

Music and nightlife

Cluj-Napoca is the residence of some well-known Romanian musicians. Examples of homegrown bands include the popular Romanian rock band Compact, the modern pop band Sistem-which finished third in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, the alternative band Luna Amară, as well as a large assortment of electronic music producers, notably Horace Dan D. The Cheeky Girls also grew up in the city, where they studied at the High School of Choreography and Dramatic Art. While many discos play commercial house music, the city has an increasing minimal techno scene, and, to an extent jazz/blues and heavy metal/punk. The city’s nightlife, particularly its club scene, grew significantly in the 1990s, and continues to increase. Most entertainment venues are dispersed throughout the city centre, spreading from the oldest one of all, Diesel Club on Unirii Square. The list of large and fancy clubs continues with Obsession The Club and Midi, the latter being a venue for the new minimal techno music genre. These three clubs are classified as the top three clubs in the Transylvania-Banat region in a chart published by the national daily România Liberă. The Unirii area also features the Fashion Bar, with an exclusive terrace sponsored by Fashion TV. Some other clubs in the centre are Aftereight, Avenue, Bamboo, Decadence and Kharma. Numerous restaurants, pizzerias and coffee shops provide regional as well as international cuisine; many of these offer cultural activities like music and fashion shows or art exhibitions.

The city also includes Strada Piezişă (slanted street), a central nightlife strip located in the Haşdeu student area, here a large number of bars and terraces are situated.

For more information please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluj-Napoca