26 reasons why Cluj-Napoca is more European than you think

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26 reasons why Cluj-Napoca is more European than you think

Cluj-Napoca is an ancient center of the Romanian culture and civilization, being one of the largest cities in Romania with more than 400.000 inhabitants.  It is metaphorically called The Heart of Transylvania because it is the vibe of this region, where Culture, Education, and Finance meet. There are plenty of books who can present you Cluj facts in an academic manner. I am not going to do that. Today, I have challenged myself and found out that Cluj-Napoca is more European than I thought…

How would it be to have a look at my hometown from a different perspective? The perspective of a foreigner, who traveled around the world? Can I find common aspects with the world I’ve seen so far?  Let’s find out…

This article is for you if:

  • you are the lucky “bastard” one to live in Cluj
  • you want to find out 26 similarities between Cluj and the world
  • you think Cluj is small and there’s nothing new to do
  • you are a foreigner, an Erasmus student or a visitor and need a different perspective

I don’t know about you, but when I visit a place, I always ask myself if I would live there. I’ve been traveling to 22 countries while living 24 years in Cluj-Napoca. When abroad, I always asked myself:  “Would I live here? Can this city be my home?” My answer would always be “Maybe”, but never “Yes”, with all of my heart.

Cluj-Napoca is a small city that you sometimes want to escape. I put together a akward funny list to remember when you want to escape it, but you can’t. For those moments you want to travel, but you only have Cluj, here’s what you need to read…

26 reasons why Cluj-Napoca is more European than you thought

These resemblances are made only with other places I personally visited. Please treat it accordingly and don’t take it too seriously.

  • 1. The coffee stores are like Paris. Your table neighbors will hear what your date says. Also, our old green buses are from France, I spotted them in Paris.
  • 2. Our Museum Square has paved streets just like in Rome.
  • 3. Our IT sector is growing and Cluj-Napoca has been called the new Silicon Valley, just like in San Francisco.
  • 4. We still have some old trams and one hilly road, Piezisa, just like in Lisbon.
  • 5. California Burger has its burger recipes just like in Char Pit from Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe.
  • 6. We can find Budapest in Café Bulgakov.
  • 7. Our iconic hotel Continental, was once called New York.
  • 8. We have the one and only “Canal al Morii”, not like in Amsterdam, but still…it is a canal.
  • 9. We also have old markets, remember the “Oser”? It looks just like the antique markets in Granada.
  • 10. Our salsa parties are the best, even better than in Seville.
  • 11. During winter, we serve gluhwein in the Central Square just like in Vien.
  • 12. We don’t have a chocolate factory like in Cologne, but we have a beer factory.
  • 13. We have gothic architecture examples such as in St. Michael’s church, pretty much the same style as in the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
  • 14. We don’t have such a tall Obelisc like in Washington, but we have Obeliscul Carolina in Museum Square
  • 15. Our Hollywood hill from Los Angeles is “Cetatuia”.
  • 16. Our Las Vegas casino is Chios.
  • 17. Our night-life is better than in Miami. (and cheaper)
  • 18. We have a cafeteria where they make all their mousses and cakes with Belgian chocolate, just like in Brussels.
  • 19. We also have a great Greek cafeteria, just like in Thessaloniki.
  • 20. We don’t have Oktober fest like in Munchen, but we have Untold.
  • 21. We have “shaorma cu de toate” and a mosque just like in Istanbul.
  • 22. We have “tuica”, and that is pretty much the same like rakia in Sofia.
  • 23. We have more and more biking lanes and parking, just like in Copenhagen.
  • 24. We also have a fortress wall like in Berlin, it is called Baba Novac.
  • 25. We have awesome coffee, just like in Costa-Rica & Central America.
  • 26. We also have mai-tai just like in Hawaii.

See now?  Cluj-Napoca is a pretty awesome home to have. And it is more European than you might have thought. You can find my new video about Cluj below which surprises some of the aspects in this article. But before watching it, I invite you to expand this list. What resemblances can you spot with the places YOU have visited? Leave me a comment below. I am curious :)

Live passionately,

Watermark Ioana



P.S: If you need a guided tour around, my friend Andreea (the first lady that appears in the video) knows the perfect road to take you. Contact her :)