Cluj-Napoca hosts a great deal of historical buildings. There are cumulations of palaces spread throughout the Old Town, especially Unirii Square, Avram Iancu Square and Ferdinand & Horea Streets.
Their architectural beauty is undoubted, but there isn’t much historical information regarding them. As we want you to know about them for your next time in the city, here is a list of all the superb palaces of Cluj-Napoca:
The architectural and urbanistic complex of the four palaces on the banks of Somes River, displayed in a square, with only a crosswalk or the bridge between them:
- Babos Palace on Ferninand Street, No. 38. The ‘V’ shaped monument was built in 1890 to superbly represent the Belle Epoque architecture in Cluj. It was named after its first owner, Sandor Babos and today.
- Szeki Palace on Ferdinand Street, No. 37. Right across the Babos Palace, the ‘L’ shaped Szeki Palace is a neogothic monument built in 1893 by the reputable pharmacist Tibor Szeki. The corner of the L was the entrance to the Mathias Corvinus Pharmacy, which was directly linked to the pharmacist’s apartment through a spiraled stair. The pharmacy is still open to this day and still keeps the neogothic furniture and decorations.
- Berde Palace on Horea Street, No. 1. A historical and architectural monument built in a classic Secession style that was finished in 1900. First it was named Being Palace after the one who built it, Samuel Benigni, the vicepresident of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Cluj. In its shadow will be built the Astoria Hotel, one of the famous hotels of Cluj, which today houses the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Elian Palace on Horea Street, No. 2. Right across from the Belde Palace, Elian was built in 1891 by an important winemaker, Viktor Elian. It inspires a discreet Parisian air by the Art Deco style it was built in.
- Urania Palace on Horea Street, No. 4. A zebra crossing away from the Elian, the Urania Palace was built in 1910 in Viennese Secession architecture, and it is the twin of the Urania Palace in Vienna. For a long time it has been a 400 places cinema as well as it housed a café, a grocery store and apartment buildings.
- Rhedey Palace on Unirii Square, No. 9. The building was bought in the 18th century by and gets its name from the noble family of Rhedey. The end of the 15th century found this area as four houses of Cluj patricians. Apparently they were torn down and Rhedey Palace was built in an eclectic style. A plaque on the outside walls reminds how this is where the first Hungarian theater in 1792. You can also spot Sara of Bulusd’s blazon.
- Josika Palace on Unirii Square, No. 8. This neoclassic palace is also known as the House with Legs due to the Doric columns sustaining a balcony. Legend says that if a student passes under the columns, that day he will fail an exam. Initially, this was Casa Kakas where Transylvania’s princes resided, but then it became the residence of Antal Josika. Throughout time, it housed the Hungarian Casino, Palace of Justice, Medicine Library and the Court of Appeal.
- Wass Palace on Unirii Square, No. 9. The Wass Palace is right next to Josika Palace and it represents an interesting mélange between Renaissance, Classic and Rococo architectures. The last owner was Countess Otilia Wass.
- Palace of Finance on Dorobantilor Street No. 1 and Avram Iancu Square, No. 19. Built in 1880 in a Classic style, the building has always kept its destination.
- Palace of Justice on Dorobantilor Street, No. 2 and Stefan cel Mare Square The imposing edifice was finished in 4 years, in 1902, and it is a representation of the eclectic style. Today it houses the Cluj Court of Appeal and the Cluj Courthouse. It is possibly the most expensive historical building in Cluj – 17 million euro.
- Palace of Prefecture on 21st December 1989 Boulevard, No. 58. A beautiful mélange between Gothic, Moorish Revival and Secession built in 1910.
- Palace of CFR Railway on 21st December 1989 Boulevard. It was built in 1980 in an eclectic style and it has always housed the CFR Railways.
- Palace of Telephones on Vasile Mitrea Street. Built in 1968, Telephones Palace is a representative building for Cluj-Napoca.