Established as a Roman settlement, later as a fortress of German influences, the city developed into a flourishing town during the Middle Ages and was reshaped in baroque style during the eighteenth century. It has the vocation of a Central-European cultural space.
Public schooling has existed here for over 600 years. The first higher education institution was founded by the Jesuits at the end of the sixteenth century. The first Romanian school dates back to 1853 and a “multicultural” university – as it is called today – with courses in Romanian, Hungarian and German has been functioning here since 1872. In 1919, the King Ferdinand I University is established, and during the interwar period here studied or taught personalities who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of science and culture: Emil Racoviță, Lucian Blaga, Constantin Daicoviciu, Hermann Oberth, Petre Sergescu and others. In the twentieth century, the city goes through historical and cultural experiences specific to the whole Central and Eastern Europe, including the artistic trends of the era, but also the tragedies of war; then the communist regime and then the transition to democracy. In the early twentieth century, under the coordination of Jenö Jánovics, over 100 films were produced in Cluj.
It is also not exaggerated or out of place to say that Cluj truly inhales and exhales art. Influenced by the long academic tradition that has been transmitted from generation to generation, the inhabitants of Cluj love and cherish the theatres, exhibitions and concerts organized in the city. Institutions like the Lucian Blaga National Theatre, the Hungarian Theatre, the “Puck” Puppet Theatre, the Romanian National Opera, the Hungarian State Opera House, the Transylvania State Philharmonic, the Students’ Cultural Center, the Municipal House of Culture, as well as independent institutions like the Impossible Theatre or the Paintbrush Factory all coexist peacefully in this city. Moreover, the National Art Museum, the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, the History Museum of Transylvania, the Pharmacy Museum, the Zoological Museum, the Museum of Water, the Museums of Mineralogy, the museums of the Babes-Bolyai University, the Orthodox Metropolitan Museum of Cluj are holding a large number of permanent and temporary exhibitions for interested visitors.
The central headquarters for the Writers’ Union of Romania, Romanian Fine Arts Union, and the Union of Romanian Composers are located in Cluj. Moreover, we have a large number of foreign cultural institutions, such as: the French Cultural Institute, the German Cultural Centre-Goethe Zentrum, the Italian Cultural Centre, the British Council, the “Casa do Brasil” – Brazilian Cultural Center, the Polish Cultural Centre or the Confucius Institute.
Cluj-Napoca is an eventful city, with a fast growing number of artistic events. To complete a rich cultural agenda, over 100 festivals bring annually events of theatre, dance, music, visual arts, both traditional and contemporary. Transilvania Film Festival (TIFF) is the most prominent film award and festival in Eastern Europe, its presence in the city for the last 15 years shaping both audience preferences and professional choices. Comedy Cluj Film Festival was born eight years ago and nowadays it is considered the biggest comedy film festival in Europe. Thereby, Cluj-Napoca has now the largest film audience in the country and it is steadily developing into a hotspot for cinematographic production.
The public space has become in the last four years the stage for hundreds of concerts, festivals, artistic interventions. Cluj Days, The Hungarian Cultural Days, the Visible City, Colours of Cluj, Photo Romania Festival and the Urban Stage are just a few examples.
In a place that is predominantly young and active, music festivals – Jazz in the Park, Untold Festival, Electric Castle, Mioritmic, Delahoya, Transilvania Jazz Festival, International Jazz Day – took over the city and gave back vitality to the streets that used to be so quiet during summer holidays just a few years ago.
The most prominent 45 cultural institutions and organisations in the city address annually an audience of 1,3 million people.
Cluj-Napoca, alongside Baia Mare, Bucharest and Timisoara are the Romanian cities that will take part in the final stage for the European Capital of Culture 2021 competition.
For more information about the Cluj-Napoca 2021 – European Capital of Culture project, please visit: www.clujnapoca2021.ro.