Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Cluj in the Afternoon

 It is 4AM and I have jet lag. They were doing noisy street repairs outside my window and it got hot so I had to open the window - now all is quiet but I thought I should write a little about the images I have uploaded.

This is the birth house of Matyas Corvinus, one of Hungary's greatest kings.  There is a beautiful passageway to a garden inside through the big wooden door,but the concierge wouldn't let me go into the garden because it is now an art school and I wasn't a student.
Below is a big university. I've forgotten which one. There are many here in Cluj.

This is is on the northeast section of the main square with St. Michael's behind us.

 One of the first things I did in the afternoon was go to the grocery store. There was an incredible variety of cold cuts and sausages.

The store in fact was mostly meat, cheese, chocolate and alcohol.

I wish we had a section with hanging sausages in the U.S.

The fruit and vegetable section was comparatively small, but I suspect you get most of these things from your corner vegetable grocer. I've seen a few here and there (but not as many as bakeries!!)

I took that picture for my Mom, because she loves figs and they had huge beautiful purple figs on the top shelf to the left.

Above is the so-called Mirror street. The buildings are identical on either side of the street.   


Next I stopped at a big University and took some pictures. This may be the somewhat controversial Jesuit school - Babes-Bolyai University. There is a long history of animosity between the Hungarians and Romanians here and for a while the Romanians forbade teaching Hungarian and then when Hitler gave Transylvania back to the Hungarians turnabout seemed fairplay.

For awhile after the war there were separate Universities for each culture and then they were forcibly merged and then in 1997 demerged again. All I know is that this is a beautiful place. Gigantic in scope it has two courtyards on either side with gorgeous bright yellow tiles and a very Italianate renaissance look.

 Here is the second of the two court yards.

After I exted the universty I seemed to run into a portion of the old medieval city wall.

This section is blocked off from traffic (probably to preserve the historic quality of the streets and wall ). It is stunning to suddenly turn a corner and see this lovely old stone work.

Evidently the homeless also find it hospitable. No people were there, but there were coats and signs of bedding.

There is quite a lot of graffiti in Cluj, some of it quite lovely. The Austrian man at the airport complained of this, but it gives the town its own character.

Next I headed down Republicii street, thinking I would visit the big grave yard in the south. I was assured I did not need to worry about vampires, although it was really rain I was worried about.

The textures and colors of the trees along this street do not come across in my photos.

Unfortunately this lovely building was in ill-repair, but you could see that it used to be some wealthy estate (possibly for the wealthy Hungarians that used Cluj as their domicile when they ruled Romania.

I've been very taken with the iron work that has many differnet forms here. The geometric detail on this house is also quite typical of the region.

This seems to be some kind of psychological school or establishment.  Unfortunately the weather was starting to worsen, so it is not nearly as attractive in the photo as real life.
  And a funny thing happened on the way to the cemetery. I ran into the Botanical garden that I had helped me choose my hotel. I chose Hotel Capitolino, because I knew I would want to visit the Alexandru Borza (Gradina) Botanical Gardens that were nearby.

It is a gigantic place and I barely scratched the surface. I had asked the gate keeper to do me a favor and take care of the weather, but to no avail. The longer I stayed the rainier it got.

There are many sections dedicated to the plants of different continents. It was pleasant to see so much statuary integrated into the planting environments. This is the museum and offices.

Everywhere autumn was plain to see.

Somehow I happened upon the Japanese garden, which was fortunate because they had a roofed area and it was beginning to drizzle.

I picnicked here, before heading to a couple of the buildings.

There was a huge palm house with three different areas. This one had a pond.

The palms were absolutely huge and there were two glass rooms with some of the windows broken out between them (perhaps for circulation - although the breakage was not always smooth - so I wondered if it might have to do with vandalism. There were sharp pieces sticking out from some of the frames.

This was the view as I left the Palm house. Now it had really begun to rain. I decided to skip the cemetery and head back to the hotel, which was conveniently nearby.

I wandered along this little path that had  very smooth round rocks set along the edge of the path.  On the way home there were more interesting buildings of course.

There was a little church with some old looking graves in front. Quite charming.

I also passed this lovely ironwork again with geometric designs on the house exterior.

At the hotel I made plans for dinner and the next day!

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