Thursday, April 26, 2018

Once upon a time in Cluj-Napoca - Impressions

"Welcome to Transylvania - the land of Dracula," Sergiu (my colleague) said. The city's history dates back to centuries and has several architectural masterpieces spread across. While roaming through the city, you are never too far from a church OR a museum OR a park.

Cluj-Napoca from Hotel Belvedere
Transfiguration Church
Biserica Înălţarea Domnului

St. Michael's Church @ Piața Unirii (Union Square, the city main square)

Statue of King Matthias Corvinus
Symmetrical architecture @ Piața Unirii 

National Theater and Opera of Cluj-Napoca

Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral and Statue of Avran Iancu

Central Park
I was in the city of Cluj-Napoca for a few times in 2017 during the months of April (end of Winter/early spring), June (Spring/Summer) and October (Autumn). 

A glimpse of the Iulius Mall and the lake
Being a University town, Cluj-Napoca has a youthful culture and entire city complements this further. In my view, the transportation is fairly reasonable. One time bus/tram ticket costs RON2. The maximum cab fare that I paid for my commute (during day) over weekends was RON25 (< 6), when I went from Iulius mall to the Polus mall. These are the two main malls of the city and are located on the opposite ends of the city. Its a small city and while going from Iulius to Polus or vice versa, you could practically cross the entire city of Cluj-Napoca.

One of the many Faculties of Babeș-Bolyai University
With students pouring in from various Romanian states and overseas, the atmosphere is very lively - especially the night life. There are several clubs in the city and they run until late night OR should I say until early mornings. :)
Easter Celebration @ Iulius Mall, 2017
Cluj-Napoca is a beautiful city in Romania with different shades in all the seasons. Though I missed the snow, I saw the spring (April), summer (June) and the autumn (October) seasons in Romania. 
Central Park in March-April
Central Park in October

Casino - Central Park
I saw cherry blossoms, walnut trees, blueberries, blackberries, this berries, that berries, all of them. I also kept tasting them too! :) 

One more aspect of the city is about its environment. The air quality in Cluj-Napoca is among the best in Europe.
Union Square
Now let me talk about some of the local food that I was able to get my hands on - Mici (flavorful seek kebabs), Sarmale (cabbage rolls), Papanash (dessert) were among the top of the list. There were a few items that were from the neighboring countries as well, such as Hungarian Goulash and Kürtős Kalács, Souvlaki (Greek), Portuguese food and Tacos and burritos and pasta... And the list goes on. 

Some of my plates during my visits to Cluj-Napoca
Last but not the least,  there are a couple of Indian restaurants in the city too and I went to the one called Indigo. You must try it if you want to get a flavor of India. 

Unfortunately, I did not have more time to explore the places outside of the city. But as they say, you must leave something for the next time and so I did.

There are several other places to be visited while you are in cluj, such as Salt Mines of Turda, Botanical Garden, a lot of museums and if time permits neighboring states of Romania.

Cluj-Napoca: You will be missed!

Best time to visit: I would say throughout the year. However, if you don't like snow please avoid winter season (December to March). 

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