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Kolozsmonostor Castle

Kolozsmonostor castle now is part of Cluj Napoca (Kolozsvár) and its history is closely connected to the city. The Abbey of Kolozsmonostor used to be the second most important and the second earliest institution of the Roman Catholic Church in Transylvania. Kolozsvár was the historical center and the second most important town of Transylvania, the birthplace of the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus but Prince Bocskai István was also born here. The city can be found in Romania. Historically speaking, Kolozsvár used to be populated by Saxons and Hungarians alike but it has been heavily industrialized in the 20th century and now the Romanians are in majority that turned Kolozsvár into the second largest city of the country. There are three important fortifications that are situated in the city: the early medieval fort of Kolozsmonostor, the walls of Kolozsvár, and the impressive Upper Castle of Kolozsvár that was built in 1713. Now, we are talking about Kolozsmonostor castle.

History of Kolozsmonostor Castle

In the beginning, the settlement used to be a fortified Slavic place in the 8th-9th centuries, then it became the center of the Hungarian Kolozs County where the Comes of the county lived. Kolozsmonostor is now part of Kolozsvár but it used to be 2.5 km away from it in the 12th-13th century when the Comes of Kolozs moved there. Soon, it lost its importance because of the growing city of Kolozsvár.

After the Home-taking of the Magyar tribes, the Hungarians built an oval-shaped earth fort in the 9th century that was 220 x 98 meter large with an entrance at the south-eastern corner. However, Romanian and Hungarian historians have different opinions about the history of the place. Romanians say it had been founded by the Dacians long before the Hungarians appeared. On the other hand, the Hungarians reason that it must have been a Magyar settlement because there was a medieval cemetery excavated in it and the oldest coins they found were from the age of the Hungarian King András I (1046-1060). (more in the History section)

What can we see in the castle?

Presently, Kolozsmonostor homes the largest housing estate of the city. It is on the soth-western part of Kolozsvár. The plateau where the medieval fort was built with the church on it, can be easily found among the new houses, though. The remains of the Abbey are located on the right side of the road leading to Nagyvárad (Oradea). The hill is totally surrounded by high blocks of flats and an overhead crossing with heavy traffic on it. We can see a belfry at the southeastern entrance of the earthen castle, it is on the left side. The belfry was designed by the famous Hungarian architect Kós Károly. On the right side, there is a Calvary chapel built in 1831. The remains of the earthen castle can be best observed on the northwestern part of the plateau where archeological excavations had been carried out. Tombstones can be seen on the southern part of the complex, from the 19th century. There are 14 stations of the cross on the way to the church, built by the Greek Catholic Church. When we get to the Gothic church, let us take a look at its five huge windows and the old sun-clock. There is a vestry-room next to it, it is also from the 15th century.

Text by Gábor Szántai