Friday, July 23, 2010

Bike rentals

If you enjoy getting around by bike, you can rent one in the following places:

DownTown Rent a Bike,on 13 David Ferenc Street. The company rents 8 city bikes and 4 MB.
1h = 7 RON
24h = 35 RON
helmet/24h = 10 RON

UmiBike Snow, on 12 I.C. Bratianu Street, also rents bikes, but they said that they intend to close their business in the near future, so give a phone call before, 0740-074851.

Since July 1st until October you can rent a bike for free (with your identity card), for two hours, near the Sports Hall

Sala Sporturilor

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tiramisu and Cremeschnitte in Cluj

If you want to enjoy a creamy Tiramisu and/or a vanilla Cremeschnitte in Cluj, you should go to Euphoria, in Museum Square. Ask a friend to join you, the "dose" is huge!

I have no idea what the Italian motto is, I think they are a bit less restrained when it comes to Tiramisu, which they invented. Since they invented it, I'm in no position to tell the Italians what to do. BUT...if they are looking for a motto, as far as I'm concerned, they might want to consider: Mascarpone, Espresso and Chocolate.

I have no idea, about the history of Cremeschnitte but it's a tasty crispy cake with vanilla cream. If there is somebody who knows anything about the history of it, please share it with us.

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite is the motto for today, July 14. At the dessert's table should be no exception!

The Reformed Church on Kogalniceanu Street

The Woolf Street, today Kogalniceanu Street, is ruled by the dignified block of the tower less church built in Gothic style. Its enormous gable "is a big A letter, with a compassionate entrance between its sides" (Zoltan Jekely).

The construction of the church began in the year 1486 for the Franciscans on the order of King Matthias. The first document referring to the construction of the church is from September 9, 1486, the judge of the city and the town council gave the area besides the Tailor's Bastion to the Franciscans, on which both the monastery and the church could be built. Before 1516 the church and the monastery built in the honor of Virgin Mary were already finished. The organ was made before 1534.

In 1556, Dominicans and Franciscans had abandon the city and the church on the Wolf Street was left deserted for three and a half decades. Yet, it had visitors. In 1577 somebody scratched on the southern pillars the following taunting poem "Qui non canit in coro/Stat, sicut bos in foro" (Who doesn't sing in the choir, stands like an ox in the market).

In 1581, the monastery received inhabitants once again, Istvan Bathory, the reigning prince of Transylvania granted the ensemble of buildings to the Jesuit order and to their academy which was educating almost 150 young people. In the summer of 1603, the population instigated by the Unitarian preacher chased out the fathers from the city and devastated the church and monastery. The church's arch collapsed and the monastery was used as a quarry and the sanctuary of the church was transformed into a warehouse.

In 1638 Gyorgy Rakoczi I initiated the restoration of the church bringing competent master-builders from Kurland (today Latvia). The restoration and the heightening of the southern bell-tower could be linked with their names.

The hexagonal painted sandstone pulpit with alabaster insertions is the masterpiece of the 17th century Transylvanian  stone-cutting, the work of Elias Nicolai and Benedikt Mueck, masters from Sibiu. Made out of cypress, the painted and gilded pulpit-crown was set up in April 1647. The pews which fill in the intercolumniations are handiwork of joiners from Sighisoara and Bistrita. The renewed church was sanctified on the 30th June 1647.

The southern bell-tower didn't manage to hold for long the weight of the bell, it had to be demolished again and the bells were moved to the belfry which stood in the place where the parish is today. The first organ of the church was assembled in 1765 in the sanctuary's organ-loft made out of wood. The inlaid decorated holy table was made in the 1820s. The new organ made by the Angster company form Pecs was placed in 1913.

The unique collection of the funeral crests and printed crests from the 17th-19th centuries which hang on the pews and walls, was gradually formed and its purpose is to immortalize the memory of the deceased protectors and bereaved. A few gilded funeral crests cherish the memory of the old burial habits. The only reference today to the old funerals of the church are two burial plates and the grave of the reigning prince Mihaly Apafi I.

 Biserica Reformata

Monday, July 12, 2010

Statue of Saint George slaying the dragon

A statue of St. George slaying the dragon can be seen in front of the Reformed Church on the Wolf Street (Kogalniceanu Street). The statue is a copy made in 1904 by Kalman Lux. The original statue, from 1373, designed by two metalworkers Martin and George from Cluj, is in Prague.

St George was a Roman soldier and priest in the Guard of Diocletian. In the year AD 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But George objected and loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted. Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation on April 23, 303.

The story St George slaying the dragon
In the fully-developed Western version of the story, a dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of Silene. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Luna Amara in Irish Music Pub

Don't let the dreams fall asleep...go to Irish Music Pub tonight to listen to some good music, to listen Luna Amara (Bitter Moon).

Fluturi pe Asfalt and Blood Print will share the stage at the beginning.

The concert starts at 8pm, on Horea Street.
Ticket price: 15 RON.

 Irish Music Pub

Quo Vadis Cafe

On a cold cloudy day there's nothing better than some good and sweet stuff to cheer you up. So we've decided to go to Quo Vadis Cafe on 13 Mihai Eminescu street (near Central Park) for a chat and some cake.

This is a no smoking cafe. Smokers should take a place outside.

The interior is interesting, the decorations are nice and the music is good. This is a place where you can relax and have a chat with an old friend (from Tuesday to Sunday - Monday is closed).

We chose to stay near the big mysterious door. I wonder what's behind it...

Finally we ate some deserts. From left to right: Death by chocolate (the name is misleading, no deaths were recorded after eating that cake), Brownie (warm and sweet), Poppy seed cake, Banana milkshake. Delicious...

We stopped here... But the menu is quite generous: coffee (from 3.5 RON), milkshakes (7.5 RON), desserts (6.5 RON), brownie (5 RON), tea (4.9 RON), fresh fruit juice (8.5 RON), cocktails named after the characters in the "Quo Vadis" novel (8 RON).

Where are you going?

Quo Vadis Cafe

Transfiguration of our Lord Cathedral in Cluj-Napoca

The present cathedral, on Eroilor Street, was built by the Franciscan Minor Conventual Friors between 1775 and 1779, occupying the Henter House area and other areas bought by them, the monks Ioan Sandor and Balint Heja taking care of all prerequisites for the building process, one of the builders being Francisc Kirtner.

On September 4, 1779, with the church almost entirely built, the tower collapsed, affecting the front side. After long parleys, Queen Therese donated 7000 florins for the reconstruction of the tower and the front side, the mission being entrusted to the famous architect Eberhard Blaumann, who fulfilled the work late 1783.

After 1918, with a serious increase of the number of Greek-Catholics in Cluj, the Holy Marry Reunion in Cluj wrote a memorial to his Grace Vasile Suciu, the Metropolitan Bishop, asking for the purchase of the Franciscan Minor Conventual Church. The memorial was forwarded to Rome, and in 1924, the Franciscan Order, gave the church and all its belongings to Holy Father Pius XI who on April 29, 1926, donates it to the Metropolitan Church of Alba Iulia and Fagaras.

Starting 1948, the Greek Catholic Church was abusively used by the Romanian Orthodox Church, but after the fall of the communist regime, a process started to be taken back and on March 13, 1998, the first Greek Catholic Mess in 50 years is celebrated again.

The church is built in stone and bricks in a simplified baroque style. It is adorned in Byzantine style, with interior frescoes painted by Franscis Lohr in 1934 and restored by Coriolan Munteanu in 1968, with beautiful stained-glass in the widows. The wall in the altar and the windows are still wearing the heraldic of the Franciscan Order.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Evangelic Cat

God saved the cat! Actually, A&J saved the cat, almost five years ago, late September. El Pisun was stuck in a drain pipe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, built between 1816 - 1829, from Cluj city centre.

I don't know if El Pisun was a fan of baroque and neoclassic style or it found out that the church has stones from the Round Bastion incorporated in it. Maybe it was a fellow of George Winkler, the architect of the church or enjoyed the paintings from the sanctuary by Johannn Gentiluomo.

Or maybe it was just a melomaniac and during an organ concert it dripped in the pipe.

I'm pretty sure that after being saved El Pisun followed the words scratched on the facade of the church: "PIETATI".

Cluj public transport information

Harta RATUC Cluj-Napoca is a useful website for travelers who want to get around by public transport in Cluj- Napoca. There you can find maps, timetables and stations for all bus, trolley and tram lines in Cluj. The information is in Romanian, Hungarian, German and English.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Finomsag Fair - Slow Food Fair in Cluj

We attended the Finomsag Fair (Slow Food Fair*), and we finally understood what finomsag (Hungarian word) means. Delicatessen!

We enjoyed the cheese with pepper and basil, the syrup of fir bud, homemade chocolate and some slices of smoked sausage.

Of course, we couldn't resist to a huge palanet (flat cake made from bread dough) with cheese and another one with cabbage.


On the way home I saw another finomsag. Four bottles of cheery brandy were lying in the sun.

INVITATION: Join Transilvania Fest, between July 30 and August 1, in Biertan, near Sibiu.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Slow Food Fair in Cluj

Do you remember cooking with granny traditional delicatessen? Whatever the answer is you are all invited to enjoy a true Transylvanian gastronomy experience at Finomsaguri Fair.

This Saturday, starting 9 am, at Transylvanian Ethnographic Museum*, you'll have the pleasure to taste traditional cookery, bread, cheese, smoked meat, juice, fresh vegetables, pickles, honey, wine, tea, jam.

Old habits die hard!

 * Address: 21, Memorandumului Street

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