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Cut in two by the Someşul Mic River, Cluj-Napoca has long made it a crossroads, which explains its present role as an educational and industrial centre. Known as Klausenburg to the Germans and Kolozsvár to the Hungarians (ethnic Hungarians make up 20% of the population), Cluj has added the old Roman name of Napoca to its official title, in order to emphasise its Daco-Roman origin.

The history of Cluj-Napoca goes back to Dacian times. In AD 124, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, Napoca attained municipal status and Emperor Marcus Aurelius elevated it to a colony between AD 161 and 180. German merchants arrived in the 12th century and, after the Tartar invasion of 1241, the medieval earthen walls of ‘Castrenses de Clus’ were rebuilt in stone. From 1791 to 1848 and after the union with Hungary in 1867, Cluj-Napoca served as the capital of Transylvania.