When you hear Cluj, you think of … students, dormitories, university. That’s because the most famous feature is the university city of Cluj. I do not think that is the only important asset, but it definitely ranks in the top positions.
Over time, the city grew thanks to the university environment. If we go even further in the past but we will see that Cluj has the oldest university tradition in Romania.
At number 4 Kogalniceanu Street, in a space that is both intimate and small, one can find the University Museum where “they found shelter” for the most important moments in the history of the university.
The University Museum was founded in 2001 on the initiative of the Rector of Babes-Bolyai University and aims to present the history of university education in Cluj, business, academics, and students over time, as well as the significant contributions that Transylvanian intellectuals have made to culture and science worldwide.
The museum is structured chronologically, beginning with the sixteenth century when it was founded as the first higher education in Cluj, Jesuit College, continuing with the “Ferenc József” University of Cluj, Universities Babes and Bolyai, and after World War II reaching finally, the Babes-Bolyai University of today.
The first room of the museum contains a small exhibition of technical equipment used over time at universities. Then we encounter exhibits dating from the period of the Jesuit College, founded by the prince of Transylvania, István Báthory. The exhibition depicts data on teachers and students as well as teaching activities of the college.
An important role of the museum is occupied by the “Ferenc József” which operated between 1872-1918 and presented not only its historical importance, but also the most significant activities.
With the establishment of the “Ferenc József” University, considered the first university in Cluj, the city knew a real flowering. For then the academic buildings are built and inaugurated in 1902, which continue to serve as the main building of the University today.
A large section of the museum is dedicated to the evolution of the Romanian university through the University “King Ferdinand”, which operated in Cluj between 1919-1945. In this section you can find information about the scientific life of the university and of the complex of buildings and facilities for academic life.
During the period of the “King Ferdinand” University the development of the city continued for academic purposes as the Botanical Garden, Academic College, Astronomical Observatory, etc were constructed.
The university’s activities during the communist period, illustrated with photographs and documents, is divided into two categories: the period 1945-1959, when there were two universities in operation: the Romanian “Victor Babes” and Hungarian “Bolyai” University, and the period after 1959 when the two universities were united in the Babes-Bolyai University.
Even though it was probably the most “black” period of academic education, the communist period brought with it the construction of the Haşdeu dormitory complex.
A special section is devoted to Hermann Oberth, one of the founding fathers of rocket and astronautics, who studied at Cluj. Also, all the important personalities of the Cluj University who have made contributions to the development of university and science, occupies an important place in the museum.
The collection of over 750 exhibits, original and reproduction, stand as a testament to history of education in Cluj and help us visualize transformations and progress over the centuries. It is very interesting how, after a visit to the University Museum, we realize that in addition to historical information about the university, one can learn many interesting things about the city itself.
Periodically, the museum organizes exhibitions and special programs such as: “Two hundred years after the birth of Janos Bolyai” (2002), “Cluj scientific personalities” (2003), “140 years of the founding of the modern university” (2013), which are not only interesting but also useful for raising awareness in our town.
Monday to Friday – 9:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Hours vary during temporary exhibitions.
We recommend scheduling your visit in advance.