General history

The beautiful regions in the North-West part of Transylvania have a past marked by numerous historical events. Matthias Corvinus, Menumorut, Michael the Brave are just some of the characters whose destinies are closely related to these places.


The first traces of human presence on these lands are lost somewhere in the Paleolithic era. The first documentary attestation of Maramures dates from 1199. In terms of political-administrative organization, Maramures was characterized by Romanian principalities, whose development was however stopped by the Hungarian conquest.

A great moment in the history is the Union achieved by Michael the Brave, when most of the area, including Chioarul Fortress, entered into his possession.

As part of the history of this county need to be mentioned the brave deeds of Grigore Pintea’s brave outlaws, the locals’ participation to the revolution from 1848 and to the national movement begun in the late nineteenth century and consolidated by the Union from 1918.


The oldest archaeological sources that relate to Bihor County area can be found in the Paleolithic era and are materialized in a few stone tools discovered in the sand dunes from the Sacuieni and Michael’s Valley area.

The Bihor lands went through a lot of ordeals, being invaded over and over again by hordes of migratory peoples. An important centre of resistance was the city of Bihor, turned into a royal residence during the Prince Menumorut reign.

In 1660, the city of Oradea, built on the Promotor hill was forced to accept Turkish rule and 32 years later, after the annexation of Transylvania to Austria, the city lost its strategic significance.

Nicolae Jiga, Iosif Vulcan, Emanuil Gojdu, Alexandru Roman, Partenie Cosma are some of the high representatives of nineteenth-century struggle for the Romanians’ rights in Bihor area.

Another page in the history of these lands is written on 30th August 1949, when, after the Dictate of Vienna, they witnessed a region broken in two, Oradea being annexed to Hungary.


On the Salaj County territory there were discovered 12,000 years old drawings, on the walls of a cave in Cuciulat (on the banks of Somes River).

A major archaeological discovery is also related to the name of this county: the biggest gold treasure in Romania (it dates from the Neolithic era and can be found in Moigrad).

On the same territory of Salaj the Battle of Guraslau took place (August 3, 1601), in which Michael the Brave defeated Sigismund Bathory, in honour of this victory a monument having been raised.

A few emblematic figures have appeared from this area and fought for Romanians’ independence and unity: Alexander Papiu Ilarian, Simion Barnutiu, Iuliu Coroian, Iuliu Maniu etc.

Bistrita Nasaud

Most of the current territory of Bistrita Nasaud was included in the period 106-271 B.C. in Dacia province. After the Roman army retreated, the Dacian-Roman population and then the Romanian one was organized in village communities and pre-state formations. Later on they will be part of the principality led by Gelu.

The Bistrita Nasaud County area is severely affected by the Tatar-Mongol invasions in 1241. The whole area will manage however to recover and even to grow in the following centuries. Two localities in particular will stand out: Bistrita (as administrative, commercial, handcraft centre) and Rodna (famous for its silver and gold mines). The first evidence of Bistrita town dates from 1264.

Satu Mare

The first traces of human civilization found in Satu Mare County are from the Stone Age and Bronze Age and have been discovered in the Oas County, Ardud, Medieş and Homorod, territories that were incorporated in the principality led by Menumorut in the tenth century.

One of the cities where Menumorut organized the anti-Hungarian resistance was Satu Mare (Castrum Zotmar).

In 1721 Satu Mare was granted free city status and became a centre of craft guilds. After the First World War, Satu Mare, just like many other Transylvanian settlements, knows a period of economic and social-cultural prosperity.


The name of Cluj County is linked to a major archaeological discovery. The excavations performed in Gura Baciului revealed the oldest Neolithic settlements in Romania.

The Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy is the one who wrote for the first time about a settlement on the nowadays territory of Cluj County, called Napuca, destroyed later on and rebuilt under the name of Napoca.

The nowadays Cluj-Napoca has been attested in documents since 1212, being mentioned as Castrenses of Clus. On February 23, 1440 Matthias Corvinus was born in Cluj, the figure who years later would become King of Hungary.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Cluj city became one of the most important economical, political and cultural centres in Transylvania. Moreover, for a while it was the capital of Transylvania.

In the same city, on 5th February 1601, Baba Novac, one of Michael the Brave’s best soldiers was judged and burned to death. In 1894 the Memorandum trial took place in Cluj, judging those who two years ago had handed Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, a petition requesting ethnic rights for the Romanian population equal with the Hungarians’ ones.