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If you arrive in Cluj Napoca is almost unforgivable to not go and take a look at the Babos Palace, especially since it can be easily found and recognized, as it is a massive building, located on King Ferdinand Street, at number 38.
If the address does not ring a bell, well you should know that it is on the corner with Mihai Viteazu Square, the place that was once a real shopping centre and today a dating landmark for the Cluj locals.
The palace has a history of 120 years, having been built at the end of 19th century. The name is derived from the first landlord, Babos Sandor. Along the years, the palace had extremely different destinations. Thus, until the Second World War the second floor of the building was the head office of an artistic Transylvanian craft, while on the ground floor you could admire the windows of important shops of that time.
However, unfortunately the building was left at the mercy of fate by the authorities, only the ground floor being recently renovated due to the fact that a bank operates here.
The V-shaped building was raised in eclectic style; it has a tower in front similar to a church spire and is part of a complex that was completed in late nineteenth century. The Szeky Palace, Berde Palace and Elian Palace also belong to the same complex.
The story of how the Babos Palace appeared is nice in fact, as it was built as a replica to another building in Cluj, the Szeky Palace. The latter was realized in 1893 by a family of pharmacists in order to be a neo-Gothic edifice. Currently the building still houses one of the oldest pharmacies in town.
The inhabitants on the other side of Great Bridge (presently Ferdinand Street) felt that this building was an affront, and since they could not bear to be inferior, they raised the Babos Palace in the same period.
The building is very imposing and easily recognizable, considering that only small houses without storeys surround it.
Nowadays, unfortunately the palace has been invaded by high voltage wires and the telecommunication wires and it rather looks like an absolutely normal house, without drawing attention by its history. Only a trained eye can recognize the outstanding architecture of the Babos Palace struggling to resist the modernization of the city.
If you are passionate about architecture and you find yourself in Cluj, you can also admirethe Elian Palace, raised in the same period as Babos, but in Secession style.
Images from Babos Palace
- 1 “Mihai Viteazul” (Michael the Brave) – rural celebration
- 2 “La fântâna dorului” (At the Sorrow Fountain) – folk festival
- 3 The Onion Festival
- 4 Negreni Fair
- 5 The Grapes Ball
- 6 Folklore and folk art afferent to the tradition of Beius Fair
- 7 The Slovakian Potatoes Holiday
- 8 Aeternus Maramorosiensis – Medieval Festival of Sighetu Marmatiei
- 9 The “Salajean Village” Festival – Porolissum
- 10 Autumn on Ierului Valley