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Cel mai mare cheese-cake făcut vreodată în România va fi preparat duminică, de o echipă de bucătari, în cadrul “Zilelor Clujului”.

Prăjitura va avea 210 kilograme, iar pentru prepararea ei se vor folosi 120 de kilograme de cremă de brânză, 40 de kilograme de biscuiți și pandișpan, 20 de kilograme de unt, 20 de kilograme de smântână, 8 kilograme de zahăr și două kilograme de cremă de ciocolată.

Prăjitura se va monta în decurs de trei-patru ore, într-o tavă imensă, care a fost făcută special în anii trecuți pentru alte campionate de gătit organizate în cadrul “Zilelor Clujului”, un festival dedicat orașului Cluj-Napoca.

“Pentru anul acesta ne-am gândit să realizăm acest desert, atât pentru partea de spectacol, cât și pentru o acțiune caritabilă. La prepararea lui vor participa în jur de 15-20 de persoane, maeștri bucătari cu care vom colabora la toate acțiunile culinare care au loc în cadrul festivalului dedicat municipiului Cluj-Napoca, iar astăzi vom realiza acest desert de dimensiuni mari. La final, principalii beneficiari ai tortului vor fi, pe lângă vizitatori, copiii de la Asociația Down — Centrul Educațional Raluca, care ne vor și ajuta să împărțim cele peste 2.000 de porții care vor rezulta”, a declarat Gheorghe Vișan, coordonatorul restaurantului care organizează evenimentul.

Cheese-cake-ul pe care îl vor prepara bucătarii va fi realizat după o rețetă simplă, care poate fi încercată, la proporțiile de rigoare, în orice bucătărie. Pe lângă ingredientele amintite, care sunt elemente de bază pentru orice tip de cheese-cake, la prăjitura de 200 de kilograme se vor mai folosi și batoane de vanilie și zahăr vanilat.

“Prepararea este simplă, se macină biscuiții, care apoi se amestecă cu untul. Vom folosi și pandișpan, cu ajutorul căruia se va crea un alt strat al prăjiturii, după care brânza, amestecată cu smântâna, va fi turnată peste această bază. Pentru că cheese-cake-ul are dimensiuni foarte mari și nu îl preparăm într-o bucătărie, ci în aer liber, vom folosi la prepararea cremei o gelatină naturală care rezistă la temperaturi mari. Nu vom folosi nici ou la preparare, tot așa, pentru că este cald afară și prăjitura nu poate fi realizată prin coacere”, a explicat Robert Vass, cel care va coordona realizarea cheese-cake-ului uriaș.

Clasicul topping care ar trebui să acopere prăjitura va fi servit de data aceasta separat, deoarece bucătarii consideră că, date fiind dimensiunile prăjiturii, ea nu va arăta bine dacă va fi acoperită cu ciocolată.

După toată strădania, va rezulta un cheese-cake înalt de vreo opt centimetri, care va avea aproximativ cinci metri pătrați ca suprafață.

Toate ingredientele necesare au fost donate de două firme partenere ale evenimentului “Zilele Clujului”. Copiii de la Centrul Educațional Raluca vor împărți cele două mii de porții trecătorilor, aceștia fiind rugați, dacă vor, să contribuie cu o mică donație la sprijinirea asociației.

Organizatorii speră să reușească să strângă în acest fel aproximativ 4.000-5.000 de lei, care vor fi oferiți centrului.

“Noi suntem convinși că locuitorii Clujului vor primi cu bucurie această inițiativă și că ne vor sprijini în această acțiune distractivă, dar și caritabilă”, a spus administratorul Restaurantului Memo 10, Gheorghe Vișan.

Restaurantul este practic o cantină foarte modernă și este singurul local din România administrat de o autoritate publică, respectiv Primăria Cluj-Napoca. Echipa cantinei participă în fiecare an la festivalul “Zilele Clujului” prin organizarea unor demonstrații culinare, preparatele fiind de fiecare dată oferite gratuit. “Zilele Clujului” se desfășoară între 22 și 29 mai.

AGERPRES/(A — autor: Elena Stanciu, editor: Cristian Anghelache)

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Unul dintre cele mai importante evenimente de tehnologie și inovație, Techsylvania, va avea loc la Cluj-Napoca, la începutul lunii iunie, fiind așteptați peste 130 de specialiști în domeniu, din țară și străinătate.

Foto: (c) www.techsylvania.co

‘Cluj-Napoca găzduiește între 6-9 iunie, la Casă de Cultură a Studenților, a doua ediție a Techsylvania, cel mai mare eveniment internațional pe zona de tehnologie și inovație din regiune. Techsylvania are drept scop promovarea comunităților din orașul Cluj-Napoca și din România ca și centre ale tehnologiei recunoscute și confirmate la nivel internațional, dar și stimularea dezvoltării de produse locale. Acesta oferă atât oportunitatea de interacțiune socială cu scopul stabilirii de parteneriate, găsirii de finanțări sau obținerii de mentorat din partea experților, cât și a promovării unor idei tehnice revoluționare din rândul programatorilor români’, se arată într-o informare a organizatorului evenimentului, OMNIEVENTS.

Participanților la eveniment le sunt pregătite premii importante.

‘Participanții își pot demonstra abilitățile într-un hackathon de 24 de ore, ce are loc în perioada 6-7 iunie, în urma căruia echipele câștigătoare vor primi 4 tastaturi Răzor pentru gaming de la Braintree, ceasuri Pebble, device-uri de la Garmin și gadget-uri precum Onyx Beacons, Leap Motion, Haloband, Metawear, dar și spațiu de birouri de la ClujHub sau o invitație exclusivă la programul de pre-accelerare găzduit de Young Leaders Club în Constanța, între 21 și 28 iunie’, mai arată organizatorii Techsylvania.

De asemenea, peste 130 de iubitori de tehnologie dornici să pună bazele unor aplicații inovative din domeniul dispozitivelor wearable (la purtător) și internet of things vor avea la îndemână cele mai noi apariții din domeniu, precum Apple Watch, Moto 360, Pebble, Jawbone UP, mini dronele Parrot, Oculus Rift DevKit 2, The Eyetribe Tracker, Sphero, Onyx Beacons, Leap Motion, Google Glass și platforma Metawear. Mai mult, hackathon-ul Techsylvania oferă oportunitatea de dezvoltare a primelor aplicații românești pe cel mai nou produs lansat de compania Apple.

‘A doua parte a evenimentului constă în conferința care va avea loc între 8-9 iunie și care se adresează unei audiențe internaționale, în cadrul ediției de anul acesta a ‘Techsylvania’ vorbind unii dintre cei mai de succes antreprenori români ai ultimilor ani, precum Andrei Dunca, co-fondator al LiveRail, compania clujeană achiziționată recent de Facebook pentru o sumă de peste 400 milioane de dolari. Acesta va susține prima lui conferință publică după achiziție’, se menționează în informarea organizatorilor.

De asemenea, vor fi prezenți Florin Talpeș, fondatorul Bitdefender, cea mai de succes companie românească de IT, Anda Gânscă, CEO Knotch, recent nominalizată în prestigioasa lista INC 30 under 30, și Flaviu Simihaian, fondator iMedicare, o platformă care oferă informații personalizate farmaciilor din SUA despre rețetele și condiția medicală a pacienților.

Lista confirmărilor continuă cu antreprenori de renume internațional precum Gentry Underwood, fondator Dropbox, David Bettner, creatorul Words with Friends, Christopher Osborne, din partea Booking.com, Steffi Czerny, fondator și Managing Director al DLD Media, cărora li se alătură reprezentanți ai unor giganți din domeniul IT deja confirmați, precum Google, Uber, Paypal, Techstars dar și jurnaliști de renume din partea Tech.eu.

‘Doritorii își pot achiziționa bilete cu prețuri începând de la 69 euro, iar înregistrările vor putea fi efectuate online pe site-ul Techsylvaniahttp://www.techsylvania.co. ‘Techsylvania’ este un proiect organizat cu sprijinul partenerilor: Accenture, Fortech, iMedicare, Telenav, GetYourGuide, Paypal, Laurențiu, Laurențiu și asociații, Garmin, Creatix Media, Squirrly, Eloquentix, Yopeso, Imprezzio, SDL, Life is Hard, Pitech+Plus, Macadamian, Avangate, Halcyon Mobile, Greppy Systems și Learning Connexions’, se mai arată în comunicatul citat.

AGERPRES/ (AS-autor: Marius Septimiu Avram, editor: Diana Dumitru)

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La 1 iunie 2009, reprezentanții World Records Academy au omologat recordul de “Cel mai lung concert live susținut de o trupă de copii” stabilit de grupul format din 15 interprete vocale de la Clubul Vedetelor.

Foto: (c) Marius POPESCU / Arhiva AGERPRES

Spectacolul a fost ținut la Cluj-Napoca, în Parcul Central. Elevele soliste au interpretat timp de 12 ore, de la ora 8,00 la ora 18,00 fără întrerupere, 200 de melodii de muzică ușoară, în limbile română, germană, franceză, spaniolă, italiană, engleză și turcă. Niciuna dintre piesele muzicale nu a fost repetată în primele 11 ore de concert.

Grupul format din interprete cu vârste între 6 și 16 ani a fost condus de profesorul Alexandru Filip.

Vechiul record mondial a fost de doar patru ore și jumătate și era deținut de un grup de copii și adolescenți suedezi.

Foto: (c) Marius POPESCU / Arhiva AGERPRES

AGERPRES (Documentare — Horia Plugaru, editor: Irina Andreea Cristea)

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Câteva zeci de persoane i-au comemorat, joi seară, în Piața Unirii din Cluj-Napoca, pe studenții creștini de la o universitate din Kenya, care au fost uciși de teroriști în urmă cu o săptămână.

Foto: (c) Radu TUTA / Arhiva AGERPRES

Participanții au aprins lumânări și au purtat afișe cu inscripțiile ‘Je suis Kenya’, ‘Nous sommes Kenya’, ‘Aprinde o lumânare pentru cei 148 de studenți uciși în Kenya’.

”Am decis să organizăm acest moment comemorativ pentru victimele atentatului terorist dintr-o universitate din Kenya, când teroriștii au separat studenții musulmani de cei creștini, iar pe creștini i-au împușcat în cap. Reacțiile internaționale au fost slabe, în contrast cu cele care au urmat după uciderea jurnaliștilor de la Charlie Hebdo. Nu cred că dacă sunt din Kenya, dacă sunt mai săraci și mai departe de Europa trebuie dați la o parte și uitați’, a spus organizatorul acțiunii, Andrei Boilă.

AGERPRES/ (AS—autor: Marius Septimiu Avram)

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În 2009, un coș împletit, în România, din peste 12.000 de nuiele a fost omologat de specialiștii de la Academia Mondială a Recordurilor (World Records Academy).

Cel mai mare coș împletit din lume realizat în cadrul Festivalului Turda Fest de la Cluj Napoca, 2009
Foto: (c) Mircea ROSCA / Arhiva AGERPRES

Coșul, înalt de 9 metri și 48 de centimetri și cu o bază de 18.17 metri lungime și 10.2 metri lățime, a fost construit în nouă zile de o echipă formată din 16 meșteșugari din Turda, coordonați de Tudor Dragop și de Bazil Rezmiveș.

Meșteșugarii au realizat coșul la Turda Fest, manifestare organizată în septembrie 2009, la Expo Transilvania, în Cluj-Napoca.

”La Turda, împletirea coșurilor de nuiele este o tradiție. Dacă am fi avut nuielele pregătite, am fi terminat coșul în trei zile, dar așa ne-a luat mult timp până am strâns nuielele”, a spus Tudor Dragop.

Materialele de construcție, reprezentând 12 metri cubi de răchită și crengi de alun foarte elastice, au fost adunate din pădurea Petrești din județul Cluj.

Nici una dintre crengile folosite pentru crearea coșului nu a fost prinsă în cuie de traverse. Totul a fost împletit strâns și foarte rezistent. Meșterii au garantat că acest coș uriaș poate rezista zece ani.

Proiectul Turda Fest a fost demarat, în 2005, ca un târg anual de promovare a produselor agricole și meșteșugurilor. De-a lungul timpului, festivalul și-a schimbat structura și locația și s-a transformat dintr-un eveniment local într-unul derulat în diverse localități din Transilvania, sub numele de Transilvania Fest.

AGERPRES/(Documentare-Irina Andreea Cristea; editor: Horia Plugaru)

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Cel mai vechi ceas public care a funcționat în Cluj, încă de la jumătatea secolului ai XVIII-lea, a fost repus joi în funcțiune, după zeci de ani în care a fost stricat. Ceasul este acum amplasat pe turnul Muzeului Etnografic al Transilvaniei din Cluj-Napoca (clădirea Reduta), care este o clădire importantă din punct de vedere istoric, deoarece aici s-a ținut procesului Memorandiștilor din 1894.

Foto: (c) radiocluj.ro

Ceasul a fost montat, pe la jumătatea anilor 1700, pe turnul bisericii Sfântul Mihail din Cluj, care este cea mai mare catedrală din Transilvania. În 1863, ceasul a fost înlocuit cu unul nou, iar cel vechi a fost mutat pe poarta Cetății, (care ar da astăzi către cartierul Mănăștur, aflat înspre vestul orașului). Dar cum ulterior Turnul Porții Mănășturului (după numele unui sat aflat în acea zonă) a fost dărâmat pentru a se face loc construirii unui drum mai larg, ceasul a fost mutat și de aici, pe turnul clădirii Reduta. Ultima dată când se știe că a funcționat acest ceas, care are un singur arătător și două clopote — unul care bate orele și unul jumătățile de oră — a fost în 1950.

‘Am repus în funcțiune, de Ziua Culturii Naționale, după circa 75 de ani, ceasul de pe clădirea Reduta. Aceasta era, în secolul al XIX, sediul Dietei Transilvane, iar acum adăpostește Muzeului Etnografic al Transilvaniei din Cluj-Napoca. Este un ceas de turn din secolul al XVIII-lea, mai precis din anii 1730 — 1740, astfel încât l-am botezat ceasul istoric al Clujului. Este unul dintre cele mai vechi ceasuri de turn din România, cu un mecanism al cărui proveniență nu se cunoaște, pentru că nu au fost identificate niciun fel de inscripționări sau mărci pe piesele acestuia’, a spus Tudor Sălăgean, directorul Muzeului Etnografic al Transilvaniei.

După amplasarea sa pe locul pe care se află și în prezent, respectiv clădirea Reduta, ceasul a funcționat aproape un secol întreg, dar cum nu s-au mai găsit meșteri ca să îl repare, de mai mult o jumătate de veac mecanismul nu i s-a mai învârtit.

Ceasul a fost reparat de curând de un meșter maghiar din Cluj, care a confecționat manual, chiar dacă cu ajutorul unor ustensile moderne, o serie de șase piese principale. Jakabhazi Alexandru a explicat că întregul ceas cântărește 300 de kilograme, dar nu are niciun șurub.
‘Cele mai importante piese au fost distruse sau nu au mai fost la locul lor. Anumite piese au fost refăcute de la zero. Ele au fost refăcute cu tehnologia de acum, dar ca și cum ar fi vechi, pentru că nu mai sunt acum stasurile de altădată. Mă refer la roți zimțate. Toate sunt făcute manual, la pilă’, a explicat meșterul.

Ceasul are și o piesă foarte interesantă, un cap de lup, care declanșează bătăile de la fix și de la și jumătate. Este un element decorativ, însă constructorii orologiului i-au dat și o funcționalitate precisă acum mai mult de 300 de ani, când l-au făcut.

Meșterul a mai dat asigurări că pe perioada următorilor zeci de ani, până la sfârșitul vieții lui, ceasul va funcționa, pentru că acum are cine să îl repare. Cum ceasul trebuie tras manual, este necesar ca în perioada următoare câteva persoane să fie instruite să facă acest lucrul.

Costurile de reparație s-au ridicat la 37.000 de lei.

Clădirea Reduta este una dintre construcțiile istorice ale Clujului. Ea a adăpostit organizarea câtorva diete, în secolul al XIX-lea fiind principala clădire publică a orașului. Numele său este legat și de organizarea unor concerte susținute Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Bela Bartok și George Enescu.

AGERPRES/(A — autor: Elena Stanciu, editor:Diana Dumitru)

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The commune of Mociu is the place where the largest meteorite ever found in Romania has fallen, which largest slice after disintegration has been kept at the Museum of Mineralogy of Cluj-Napoca, together with fragments of meteorites from around the world.

Photo credit: (c) Marius AVRAM / AGERPRES PHOTO

The Mociu meteorite, which is also the best known in Romania, fell from the sky more than 130 years ago, on February 3, 1882, with pieces resulting after its entry into the Earth’s atmosphere having scattered over 15 km. The largest piece, which weighs 35.7 kilograms, is now on display at the Museum of Mineralogy of Cluj-Napoca, while smaller pieces were sent to more than 100 museums worldwide.

It is estimated that the Mociu meteorite debris weighed more than 300 kilograms, of which several pieces weighing about 42 kilograms in total are on display at the museum in Cluj-Napoca.

But according to specialists, the Mociu meteorite should have weighed at least 30,000 kilograms before entering the atmosphere, but, as happens in almost all cases, air friction makes meteorites lose most of their mass and arrive on Earth at only about 8-10% of their original weight.

Geology Ph.D and meteorite specialist Razvan Andrei told Agerpres that the Mociu meteorite had exploded two or three times after it entered the atmosphere and that only a small part of it reached Earth. ‘When it entered the atmosphere, its mass was much higher, at least 30 tonnes. It lost 90-92% of its mass,’ said Razvan Andrei.

He added that the largest known meteorite fell at Hoba in Namibia. It weighs about 60 tonnes, it is metallic and it punched a crater that is 50 metres in diameter and 10 metres deep.

It is said that the Mociu meteorite generated some panic among the population, but no human casualties were reported.

Curator of the Museum of Mineralogy of Cluj-Napoca Luminita Zaharia told Agerpres that there are testimonies according to which the noise made by the Mociu meteorite was heard as far away as Budapest.

Photo credit: (c) Marius AVRAM / AGERPRES PHOTO

‘It was fantastic, from what I understand, especially as it happened somewhere in the evening and the meteorite left those burning paths in the atmosphere. There are testimonials, from what I read, that the noise was heard as far away as Budapest and the light was seen even farther. It must have been something of a doomsday for those people,’ says Zaharia. It is also said that the meteorite was shining very brightly in the night skies, like a big ball of purple fire that left behind a greyish—white trail after the fall.

It is also said that the noblemen of the area would send peasants to look for pieces of the meteorite in the fields, for money, and that the largest of them were found, especially because it was winter and the traces left in the snow were evident.

Razvan Andrei says the Mociu meteorite is a primitive piece from the protosolar nebula, which has remained relatively unchanged since the birth of the solar system and which can be up to five billion years older than the Sun.

He also tells about the meteorite market where such heavenly pieces can be more expensive than any precious metal, even up to 5,000 US dollars a gram.

‘The market for meteorites is a very big market. It depends on type and analysis. One gram can reach up to several thousand dollars, like 5.000. The market was very high until about 2000, prices were very high. But discoveries began in Sahara, the place where very many meteorites originate, and prices dropped. Meteorites are very rich in iron that in a climate like that in Romania can waste away, whereas in Sahara, with a very arid climate, they can be preserved much longer,’ explains Razvan Andrei.

Eight meteorites have so far been officially registered in Romania, with the last of them being the meteorite of Plescoi, Buzau County. It weighs 6.9 kg and it fell into the courtyard of a local.

Razvan Andrei told Agerpres that a new meteorite was found in Romania currently undergoing scientific certification. The meteorite had lain for decades in the courtyard of a villager from Gresia, Teleorman County.

Along with pieces of the Mociu and Plescoi meteorites, there are more than 220 other samples of meteorites having fallen all over the world on display at the Museum of Mineralogy of the Babes-Bolyai University. In fact, the museum houses the only collection of meteorites in Romania. AGERPRES

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The Banffy Castle at Bontida, Cluj county, whose foundation stone was laid about 600 years ago, in 1437, according to historic documents, had a troubled history, being used for various purposes and events throughout its existence.

Photo credit: (c) Marius POPESCU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Considered Transylvania’s Versailles, the Banffy Castle turned from a venue hosting glamorous balls and dinner parties, attended by high-ranking figures of those times from the Imperial Court in Vienna, into the perfect place for holding music concerts attracting the interest of more people than ever.

The event with the largest influx of participants was Electric Castle, on its second edition this year at end-June, which brought together nearly 80,000 people, a record for the relevant concerts in Romania.

“For the second time electronic music was played at the Banffy Castle, on occasion of the Electric Castle Festival 2014, breaking all records ever registered in Romania in similar events. Over 79,000 participants from Romania and abroad made the castle vibrate for four days (…) and 50,000 unique visitors accessed the website of the festival,” the organizers informed in a release after this year’s edition.

Performing this year were Die Antwoords, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, Suie Paparude.

“All the over 130 artists gave birth to a unique experience the audience felt the need to share via social networks. The festival’s Facebook account reached 41,000 fans, and the Instagram network #electriccastle gathered 50,000 photos. The mobile application especially designed to help the audience follow the schedule and all novelties was downloaded by 7,500 people. The website www.electriccastle.ro recorded a peak of 50,000 unique visitors. (…) Electric Castle Festival 2014 became a reality thanks to the effort of the entire team that numbered about 800 people. They were joined by 200 national and foreign volunteers,” the release reads.

The Festival took place over June 19-22; the camping area arranged for the participants was filled to the brim by over 11,000 national and foreign youth. As for the garbage left behind by participants, the organizers collected over 12,500 plastic cups under a recycling program.

The first edition held last year brought together a record number of participants for a debut, about 32,000 people. Among the performers were Morcheeba, Telepopmusik, Stanton Warriors, Feed Me and Dope D.O.D.

Historian Lucian Nastasa Kovacs told AGERPRES that the gatherings held nowadays are much different compared to those once hosted by the castle. According to Kovacs, cultural meetings, official dinner parties and formal dress code parties, attended by high-ranking figures, were nothing out of the ordinary for the Banffy family.

“The owner was a family who lived in the 17th-18th century, with princely roots, the castle itself was considered the Versailles of Transylvania. There’s no doubt that receptions were organized, as revealed by memoires, other documents. Banffy Miklos has done a lot as far as culture is concerned, he is in fact the founder of Erdely Helikon newspaper, the castle was used as a venue for these meetings with writers, his friends at that time, from architect Kos Karoly and baron Kemeny Lajos to other founders and journalists writing for the Erdely Helikon. When the Nazis burned his library at Bontida in 1944, it numbered over 25,000 volumes, meaning at least two rooms packed with books. The library served as home to these meetings,’ the historian relates.

He also revealed that besides these cultural and literary meetings, high society guests were invited to attend balls, on various occasions.

“On the other hand, as any other family with princely roots, they also held balls. In those times, these events were very well organized, with all guests belonging to the high society. Various shows took place to mark certain moments of the year. We must not forget that the Banffy family was committed to the reformed faith, therefore there were very few restriction periods, only two per year in religious terms. For instance, during the winter holidays, Christmas was celebrated in big style. Or other occasions such as the birthday of a Banffy family member, for instance the father of Nicolae Banffy. All these events required receptions,” explains Kovacs.

Photo credit: (c) Marius POPESCU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

But glamorous formal parties were also held in honour of great figures of those times, especially the representatives of the Imperial Court in Vienna.

“Receptions were also held in honour of princely convoys, namely of Vienna envoys for example, who came to inspect, they were governors. If I’m not mistaken, a crown prince went to Gherla in the 19th century, and he stopped over at Bontida. When we received the visit of such people, a reception was automatically organized and attended by all aristocrats in the region,” the historian argues.

In his opinion, in the meantime, the meetings at the Banffy Castle have achieved a democratic nature, as anyone has access to the building.

“Nowadays, the music played at Bontida is too modern, everything is electronic, but music means more than synthesizers,” he reckons.

The last princely owner of the castle was Miklos Banffy, a culture figure and former foreign minister of Hungary. Miklos Banffy (1873-1950) was count of Losoncz, politician, writer, lawyer, graphic designer, screenwriter, a complex personality, who has advocated for the good relations between Romanians and Hungarians. He has served as Cluj prefect between 1906 and 1910, Liberal deputy, and between April 14, 1921 and Dec. 19, 1922 he has held the position of Hungary’s foreign affairs minister. He also worked as chief editor for two Cluj-based publications, Erdely Lapok and Erdely Helikon; between 1934 and 1940 he wrote his most famous work named the Transylvanian Trilogy, translated into several languages, a first part in Romanian included.

In 1943, being commissioned by Hungarian Prime Minister Istvan Bethlen, he attended secret talks with Iulia Maniu in Bucharest, with a view to forging a Romanian-Hungarian agreement. Miklos Banffy’s demarche to bring Romanian and Hungarian forces closer cost him dearly, because on Oct. 13, 1944, the SS Nazi troops burned the Bontida castle, with the flames destroying works of art and the library full of 26,000 volumes.

Historian Lucian Nastasa Kovacs also says that the relation between the Romanians and Hungarians meant everything to Miklos Banffy.

After ending his term as Hungarian foreign minister, Miklos Banffy moved to Transylvania in 1926; the condition for being given Romanian citizenship was not to engage in political activity for ten years. According to historic documents, right after the far-right parties seized power in October 1944, Banffy sent a letter to Governor Miklos Horthy, announcing his resignation as parliamentarian.

On the other hand, Miklos Banffy was in very good terms with Miklos Horthy, and it is said that thanks to this relationship, Cluj escaped the fighting in the autumn of 1944.

“Banffy Miklos took advantage of his relationship with Miklos Horthy, They were on friendly terms and Banffy’s friends asked him to get in contact with Horthy for Cluj to be declared a free city, precisely not to be bombed. No defence strategy was put in place for the city of Cluj. We found out that a couple of bombs fell in the area nearby the train station; but the bombs were launched before September by the British and US aviation. Because of the fact that Banffy curried favour with Miklos Horthy, the city was declared a free area and escaped bomb attacks. Then, in retaliation, when they had to withdraw, because the Banffy Palace was used for a while as military hospital by the retreating German troops, they dynamited a good part of the palace and they burned his entire library. In addition, they stole a lot of things. Banffy found some stolen paintings in a used bookstore in Budapest,” Kovacs relates.

In 1945, left without a bit of fortune, Miklos Banffy returned for the second time to Transylvania and took part actively in the cultural events in Cluj; in 1947 he asked to be repatriated to Hungary, being given green light two years later. Tholdalagi Korda, the palace of his family, located in Cluj-Napoca, was turned on the state’s hands; he decides to retire in one of the castle’s rooms. He died on June 5, 1950 in Budapest, after spending the last year of his life in poor health. In 1976, the remains of Miklos Banffy were brought to Transylvania, being placed, according to his last wish, in the family vault in the Cluj-based Hajongard cemetery.

The Banffy Castle is built in Baroque style, being the largest castle in Transylvania. Mentioned for the first time in documents in the 14th century, the domain was purchased by the Banffy family in 1387. Throughout all these years, the castle has undergone several changes and over the past decades, a part of the building was destroyed. The castle served as the headquarters of a C.A.P. unit (agricultural production cooperative during the Communist regime), driving school, as well as setting for the movie “Forest of the Hanged”.

Photo credit: (c) Endina ROATIS / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Photo credit: (c) Marius POPESCU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Photo credit: (c) Endina ROATIS / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The palace is undergoing a complex restoration process, under the aegis of Prince Charles, heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.AGERPRES

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From a simple cave, an old but unknown salt mine, Turda Salt Mine has become in a few years a reference point on the tourist map of Cluj County and of Romania, being ranked by CNN as the world’s second underground place in terms of attractiveness, and placed by several foreign publications among top destinations of this kind.

Photos taken by Marius POPESCU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Lately, the number of tourists who visit it has increased exponentially — some 370,000 annually — and, at least in the past year, the number of foreign visitors has exceeded that of Romanian tourists. Since its modernization, in 2010, and until today, Turda Salt Mine has been visited by almost two million tourists.

Turda’s Mayor Tudor Stefanie told AGERPRES that the success has been unexpected and now, thanks to Turda Salt Mine, the town is re-orienting economically, going from a bankrupt and polluting industry to a thriving tourist activity.

“The salt mine, as a tourist attraction, has existed since 1992, but back then it was visited by very few tourists. But it has become an attractive project because there were also sources of external funding, European funds. Also, after a study made by us and by specialists in tourism promotion, as well by our strategy promoted in 2004, the salt mine was the main objective to focus on in order to develop Turda from a tourism viewpoint. We aimed at a project to capitalize on the salt and all areas in Turda with spa potential, but we have never thought this project dear to our heart of a group of people, started in 2005 and completed in 2010, will get such a tourist importance,” Tudor Stefanie underscored.

The investment made so far in Turda Salt Mine amounts to six million euros. Of the six million euros, only one million euros was from the local budget, an amount recouped from the profit made in only the first two years of operation, 2010-2011. More important is the fact that the town and its economy have a successful development direction, after the big factories of yesteryear have left Turda with high unemployment.

“It is a project that has re-launched Turda among national towns—and, as you can see, also among international ones. It is a project around which many economic activities, tourist services, public food services are developing, which means that Turda has created its future on this objective, which was not even very expensive — only six million euros, through which we draw at least 370,000 visitors annually, with a year-on-year increase. One million euros was from the local budget and in 2010-2011 that one million euros was made from the profit. Before, Turda accounted for 30% of the GDP of the county, due to the industry developed here: chemical, glass, cement, Electroceramica etc. After the 1990s, the very high shrinkage of the industrial activity and because it was a polluting, inhospitable industry, prompted us to re-focus on other strategic elements to promote the town of Turda. God gave us this natural wealth at Turda. From a spa standpoint, the mud, the saline water and the air in the salt mine can be used. Forced also by the undeveloped industry, we have found other promotion sources, and we have managed to keep this town also from an economic and social standpoint,” explains Mayor Tudor Stefanie.

Currently, Turda Salt Mine has become a model for other salt mines in the country and abroad, and it also collaborates with other salt mines in other countries. The main purpose of these collaborations is the drawing, through joint projects, of other European funds.

“There is a European association of salt mines in which we have a representative in the management of this associative form, with Turda being one of the main associated members. We have joined also to gain experience, but we also want to do joint projects on the new sources of EU funding in 2014-2020, so that we have greater opportunities to get funding and promote each other in terms of what we think it is necessary. We collaboration projects with salt mines in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, and even in Turkey. The salt mine is appreciated, given that, at least in the past year, the number of foreign visitors has exceeded that of Romanian ones. I recommend that all who have such natural riches given by God capitalise on them. Many salt mines have taken from our experience and currently also Praid has developed certain activities, Slanic Moldova as well,” says Tudor Stefanie.

But the efforts made by the municipality and the salt mine’s management do not stop strictly at the tourism and leisure tourism part, but target also another very important direction — spa tourism, because, in some respects, the air here has unique therapeutic qualities in Romania.

“We have had a project on which specialists from Poland collaborated. We have worked with several specialists from the field of salt mines in Europe, and that is why I think it is a well-promoted objective. You can see that, also in terms of the spa treatment, the salt mine can become a potential competitor on the market for spa treatment for respiratory ways. We have the results of the tests made by several specialists and, it seems that in terms of the wet air, the salt mine is unique in the country, and it will be promoted also in terms of balneology,” mentions Tudor Stefanie.

Under the 2014-2020 Regional Development Plan of Turda, the investments in the Turda Salt Mine area would continue in order to diversify services and increase economic activity.

According to the document, the plans so far include designing a spa complex in the area of Lake Durgau, designing Rudolf Mine, in which an amphitheater with 80 seats was built, installing some modern elevators for visitors, designing Terezia Mine, where boat rides can be taken on the underground salt lake. Also built have been a treatment room, a church, miniature golf and bowling courses, a sports ground and a large wheel that takes tourists to the ceiling of the salt mine. The same document around the salt mine there are development plans for a luxury spa resort, with 3-, 4—and 5-star hotels, but also with a skating rink, a horse track and a golf course. A hotel resort, called “Salt Flower” would be intended for the luxury category, and other accommodation units in the area would be for the general public.

Turda Salt Mine has been explicitly attested since 1271, in a document issued by the Hungarian Chancellery, although it seems that salt exploitation in the area had been done long before.

The salt mine is placed in a salt deposit covering an area of around 45 square kilometers, and the average thickness of the salt is some 250 metres. It is composed of several galleries.

The Franz Iozef Gallery, built between 1853 and 1870, is a horizontal gallery designed to ease and cheapen the cost of transporting the salt to the surface. At its end, it had 780 meters, but at the end of the 19th century it was extended by another 137 metres. From 1948 to 1992, it was used as a cheese storage place.

The Rudolf Mine is a trapezoidal extraction hall begun in 1867. On the north wall, stalactites of salt formed over the years, due to water infiltration, and when these reach a length of around three metres, they break because of their own the weight. On the walls of the mine one can see traces of manual cutting of salt, left by chisel, ax or pickaxe.

The Terezia Mine is a bell mine with a depth of 90 metres from the balcony and 112 metres from the surface. On its bed there is an underground lake of 4 to 8-metre deep and 70 meters in diameter, and a 5-metre tall salt island. Also, on the north wall there is a cascade of salt.

In 1857, a new mine was opened that was to be similar to the Rudolf Mine. The mine was named Ghizela. Until stopping the exploitation in Turda Salt Mine, only preparatory works were performed in Ghizela Mine and since 1932, when Turda Salt Mine was closed, Ghizela Mine has remained in the state it is today.

After salt extraction was stopped in 1932, Turda Salt Mine was aimed to various activities. Among other things, during the World War II, it was used by the population as a bomb shelter, and during 1948-1992, a part of it was used as a cheese storage place.AGERPRES

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