If you happen to come to Cluj, the lovely city located in Northern Romania, one of the places that you must visit is the Avram Lancu Square. The highlights of this Square include the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, Statue of Avram Lancu and The Romanian Opera and National Theater building. If you will visit it at night, you will also be able to watch the beautiful light shows between these two magnificent buildings.
I would like to begin with the Metropolitan Cathedral, it takes its inspiration from the Renaissance and Byzantine architecture which creates a unique and attractive fusion. Its’ construction began in 1923 between the Great Wars and it took 10 years to finish it. From the architectural point of view, we can find significant similarities with the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul which also blended architectural characteristics of Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim styles. The interior of the building is organized to recreate a Crucifix format in the middle and the walls are covered with marvelous engravings and paintings depicting the orthodox Christian culture.
Upon leaving the church from its main gate we are welcomed by the great statue of Avram Lancu who also gave the name to the Square. The Statue rests on a rather high plinth. In the Romanian history, Avram Lancu is considered a national hero for his great contributions in the fight for independence against Hungary in 1848. Since our visit took place only two days after December 1st, the National Independence Day of Romania, there was an extraordinarily high number of wreaths lying beside the statue.
Past the statue, we bump into yet another great work of art, the Cluj National Opera and Theater Building. It was made in 1906 with countless ornaments and details both inside and outside. It has a gigantic stage with four levels of curtains and an amazing illumination system. We were also very lucky to be invited to the premier of the latest play La Ordin, Führer tonight and had the chance to witness firsthand what the theater had to offer. You can read more about the play in the separate piece we made it. The theater building was deeply affected by the radical changes in the political landscape of Romanian politics during the 20th century. Throughout the Communist era, the most important artists of the regime performed here. After the regime change, the ideological imposing was moved aside and esthetic principles were put forward. Many modern plays were brought to this theater with the cooperation of other European companies. More diverse plays also were introduces following the collapse of Ceausescu’s era.
Along with these three highlights of Romania, Avram Lancu Square is also home to many government buildings, restaurant and cafes. From this square, we can move on to the next square which is very close and harbors many other beauties in itself.