On top of Cluj-Napoca: the Cetățuia Hill

Eva Poteaca | Live the World

November 23, 2022

There are two ways of looking at an object, which can apply to a city as well. There is the perspective way, where one finds himself looking at an object or an architectural monument from far away, and the detailed view, when you may find yourself in front of a building examining every decorative element. Each of these angles has its uniqueness. If you are looking for a perspective view of the city of Cluj-Napoca, you won’t be disappointed by the Cetățuia Hill, a place where you can be on top of one of the most incredible cities in Transylvania.

What will one find here?

The view, especially amazing at sunset or sunrise, is just one of the perks of this amazing place. The city center and its glorious architecture, like the Piarist Church, an exhibition venue, will delight your eyes.  Cetățuia Hill is not just a highland that offers a panoramic view of the Cluj-Napoca city. The hill is also a site where a marvelous fortress was built by the Habsburgs. A park also hosted here will give you an opportunity not only to relax but also escape busy city life.

Situated on an altitude of 405 meters, the Cetățuia Hill with its fort is a reminiscence of what once stood here. Only four buildings escaped the cruelty of time, where once the Vauban Fortress with star-shaped walls, bastions, a garrison and an armory repository used to stand. The Parachute Tower stands where the last defensive line was placed 300 years ago. But let’s just back up a little, and take a look at what this place unveils us.

Picture © Credit to: iStock/ELENAPHOTOS

A short history of the fort

The fortress was built by the Habsburgs between 1715 and 1735 to serve as a control point over the city. Later on, it became a prison for about two hundred years and was mostly used after the Revolution of 1848. As you may know, the Revolution in 1848 took place all over Europe and aimed to remove monarchies and create the independent nation-states we know today. In the 1970s, the Belvedere Hotel was built at the Cetățuia Hill, and an iron cross was placed here in 1995 to commemorate those imprisoned.   

Picture © Credit to: iStock/ELENAPHOTOS

How to get to Cetățuia Hill?

Giovanni Murando Visconti, an architect of this fort, designed four access gates, out of which only two - the southeast gate 'the Water Gate' and the north gate 'the Viennese Gate' - can be still seen today. To get to the Cetățuia Hill one must pass the Someș River's bridge next to the Chamber of Commerce and start climbing 237 steps until one reaches this breath-taking place. From the Chamber of Commerce, one can also walk on the Emil Racoviță Street, reach the „seven streets” cross and then turn left on the Cetății Street. On the way, please take a look at this crossing unique in Europe, as seven streets meet here, and the traffic is only regulated by signs. Accessing this highland from the city center, one will enter the fortress through the Viennese Gate.

Picture © Credit to: Wikimedia Commons/Unuplusunu

Cetățuia Hill is one of the most visited places in Cluj-Napoca not only for its historical value but for the panoramic view it delivers. Who wouldn’t want to be on top of a wonderful city and enjoy both nature and the perspective view at the same time?

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