The bridges and their history
The legends of the bridges in Cluj are at least as interesting and spectacular as the city itself. Information regarding the bridges over Somes, the antic Samus, built during the Roman era is not of our disposal at present but it is possible that the main bridge of the antic Roman city had been situated in the same area as the Grand Bridge in the Middle Ages, that is, in the exact place where today is the road bridge on Horea Street.
In the 19th century there was a legend which had it that Decebal, the king of Dacians, lost his life on the bridge over Somes while the Romans were chasing him. The legend may be just an invention of humanist scholars; still, it may have been associated to the ruins of a construction which had survived from the Roman epoch.
The tunnels in Cluj – legend and reality
Most of the Cluj dwellers might have heard stories about the city’s mysterious underground tunnels built many years ago. The mysteries have always fired people’s imagination and continue to intrigue our contemporaries nowadays; however, among the myths that have fascinated the humankind those regarding the mysterious underground world are the most intriguing and enthralling. The hyperbolic verses of Cluj underground legends refer to some big tunnels which linked the center of the city to the church of Cluj-Manastur, formally fortified, to the city of Floresti and to the Austrian-built fortification on Cetatuia.
The legend of King Mathias
The building where on 23rd February 1443 king Matthias the younger son of Ioan of Hunedoara (John Hunyadi) was born dates from the beginning of 15th century. In those days a entrepreneur whose name remains unknown for us bought two buildings located in the Old City of Cluj and built in their place a large building; in the two centuries that followed it became the most comfortable and expensive inn in Cluj. The building is located on the Northern side of the small square, at the intersection of some streets, Matei Corvin, Sextil Puscariu, Virgil Fulicea, Victor Deleu and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, near to the place where seven centuries ago there was the main gate of the Old City of Cluj.
The martyrdom of Baba Novac
While Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul) was in exile in Prague, seeking to regain the goodwill of the emperor Rudolf II of Austria, his Serbian captain Starina Novak (Baba Novac) was executed in the main square of Cluj. The Prince of Romanian principalities had been defeated by his numerous enemies and forced into exile. Subsequently Baba Novac entered the city of Cluj in December 1600 and went into general Basta’s service who entrusted him with the task of defending the Transylvanian border with Lipova. Soon the Transylvanians became unsatisfied with the imperial rule, so in order to pacify the people Basta gave them Michael the Brave’s ex general, Baba Novac
The statue of St. Mary, the Protector
The statue of St. Mary is the first public monument of the city. It was erected in 1744 at the request and with the financial support of governor Antony Kornis, in recognition to St. Mary’s protection during the great epidemic of cholera which spread between 1738 and 1742. For this reason it was also called “the plague statue”.
The statue was sculpted by the Austrian sculptor Anton Schuchbauer. It was originally placed at the intersection of Strada Universității and Strada M. Kogălniceanu, due to the fact that in that area were located some catholic schools, the church and the seat of Jesuit order.
Medieval confrontations and duels
Cluj was probably the most turbulent and bustling medieval city of Transylvania. Therefore, when it was made a royal city, it was very different from any Transylvanian locality carrying urban status; while the population of the other cities in Transylvania was composed mainly of Saxon colonists, generally considered peaceful and homogeneous, Cluj was hospitable to noblemen, to merchants and craftsmen and to a great number of adventurers belonging to different social classes and nationalities.
Thanks to their presence here, Cluj acquired in time an unraveled glamour, which apart from enhancing its prestige gave birth to a tense situation leading sometimes to extremely violent armed confrontations.
A different illumination in Avram Iancu’s student days (1842)
Back when Avram Iancu was a student in Cluj, people used to celebrate with grate pomp a holiday called Illumination each evening of 18 April, in honour of the birthday of The Austrian emperor Ferdinand (aka Ferdinand Charles Leopold Joseph Francis Marcelin, born in Vienna on April 19, 1793), also bearing the title of Prince of Transylvania. Between 1841 and 1846 Avram Iancu was a student at Piarist College in Cluj, situated on Lupului Street (today M.Kogălniceanu), like many other Romanian, Hungarian, Szekler, Saxon, German and Armenian young men.
Text preluat de pe visitclujnapoca.ro2014-07-31