One of the best ways to discover a city in the true sense of the word is by visiting the oldest buildings. Not only the architecture, but also the materials used highlight both the purpose for which it was built and the strategy behind it. This is also the case of Calvaria Church in Cluj Napoca, a building with a record age of about 1000 years. Stay with us and discover his story!
History and presentation
Even until now, the real date on which the Calvary Church in Cluj Napoca was built is not known. According to signs and messages passed down from generation to generation, it dates from the second half of the 11th century. It is interesting that the place of worship is located in the largest district of Cluj, originally planned as a Benedictine monastery. Hence the name of the Mănăștur neighborhood.
In the 16th century, Calvary Church was transformed into a Catholic church. Later, it became Jesuit and, only in the 19th century, it was a place of worship for Greek Catholics. This last transition was temporary, as everything was done on the basis of a rent by Greek Catholics for the amount of 1 leu.
It was not until the end of World War II that Calvary Church became an Orthodox church. Now all the goods of the Greek Catholics are confiscated, but only for half a century. Thus, starting with 1994, the building is returned to the Roman Catholics.
However, between 1991 and 1994, the church was used not only by the Orthodox Church but also by the Roman Catholic Church.
Even though it is called Calvary, it is not the official name of the Church. It is called the Church of the Benedictine Abbey and, to date, has undergone six attacks. The first was given in 1189, and the last in 1658. Interestingly, however, the Church was rebuilt 5 times, being a point of real interest for both invaders and locals. Moreover, it was a large notarial center in Transylvania.
Calvary Church is dedicated to St. Mary and is recognized as the oldest historical monument, built in Gothic style. According to historical records, it underwent partial demolition in 1241, 1598 and 1658. The fortification was also designed with a defensive wall surrounding it, consisting of defense ditches at three cardinal points: south, east and west. In the strategy, there was also a steep natural slope in the northern part.
Today, only the church choir is preserved from what was the old building. All other architectural elements have been built over time and brought as improvements to the original structure.
Calvaria Church can be found in Cluj-Napoca, on Primăverii Street no. 60. Fortunately, the fortification has benefited from renovations and investments in recent years, which is why it is now in exemplary condition.
Those wishing to visit Calvaria Church can do so every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, between 16:00 and 18:00.
There is no entrance fee for visiting Calvaria Church.