Cluj-Napoca Kolozsvár

Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania

12:34 PMJaamZIN

Travelling to Romania with Singaporeans brought me special experiences. Things, that where so familiar to me resembling my childhood or my former trips to Transylvania, were shockingly or amazingly surprising for Zannnie and for our Singaporean friend Daniel.

Cluj, Transylvania

I'v got this impressions from the very beginning. When I paid the toll they required my name and even my registered address. I have no idea why my address, or even my name is relevant when I just simply want to use the road, but suddenly I found myself in a very familiar situation where authorities are the one who raise the questions...:)


Right after we crossed the road, Daniel was shocked by the view of tons of people hitchhiking beside the roads. It was not like hippies wanted to reach to the coming festival but in Romania many people simply can't effort not only a car but also public transportation. Decent ladies, grandmas visiting their grandchildren, students and many many workers are travelling like this all over the country.


From Singaporean point of view, one of the "WOW" aspect of the country is the landscape with endless fields and far mountains. At times we had a view with over 30-40 km without identifying any settles or buildings. The blue met the green without any human in vicinity.


It took like 5 hours to reach Cluj-Napoca which is Kolozsvár in Hungarian or Klausenburg in German. Three different nations have been living in Transylvania since centuries and Kolozsvár (I prefer to use my language to name it) was always the cultural, economical and sort of political centre of the area. Transylvania for more than 1000 years used to be a Hungarian territory but since the cruel Mongolian invaders have killed the majority of the population in 1241-42 new settlers were arriving from Saxon and the German influence became very strong in the area. Due to it's multicultural atmosphere, the richness of sources and good geographic location Transylvania had been like a pearl of the South-East of Europe for a long period.


Now-days it is like a living museum, one feels like travelling in time while going there but I do not necessarily say it in a negative way. Transylvania has a lot of potential, I hope one day it will be the green paradise of the East-Balkan with highly respected and conserved natural sources and with a vibrant multicultural European life. That's how I see the past and also the future of Transylvania and spite of the tensions and political bullshits  that have obstacle this area I recognised many promising elements in Kolozsvár.

The city is outstandingly multicultural. In Eastern Europe societies are still rather homogeneous. Immigrants did not colour the palette yet, if there are minorities it is almost sure that they face discriminations and conflicts with the mainstream society. In Kolozsvár, I had a very multicultural experience. At the beautiful main square where the statue of Matthias King is standing they held an ice-cream festival. The sellers were packing in the morning talking softly in Romanian amongst each other. Currently the majority of the inhabitants are Romanian in Kolozsvár. Zannnie has approached them and recognising that an Asian customer is standing there, they started to communicate in English with her. But for some reason Zannnie has asked for the ice-cream in Hungarian and the lady immediately has switched the language of the conversation to Hungarian. An everyday moment perhaps in Switzerland, but not in the Eastern Europe. Except Kolozsvár which has kept its multicultural atmosphere.


I believe that we have some assignments or better to say lessons to learn. Jerusalem, Northern Ireland, the Walloon and Flemish of Belgium or Transylvania. Potentially fruitful meeting points of nations are these areas but we still have to learn how to use this potential. Kolozsvár could be one of the success stories of the future I hope. 

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