The Botanical Garden of Cluj Napoca is the place where aesthetics and science, relaxation and research combines harmoniously, forming an important resting spot for Cluj people, a major attraction on the tourist map of the city and a center of excellence in research for the students of the Babes -Bolyai University.
The botanical garden, founded in 1920 by Alexandru Borza, is located in the southern part of town, on an area of over 14 ha, having approximately 10,000 species both from the country and from the entire globe, organized thematically: the ornamental section, the phyto-geographical section, the systematically, the economic and medicinal plants sections.
The history of this impressive garden did not start in 1920; its history is older and wears the mark of great historical events, as well as of economic realities. The starting point in the history of this green paradise is the year 1872, when was founded the Franz Josef University. In this university, to the department of botany was anexed a vast botanical garden. Until 1920, when were layed the foundations of the Botanical Garden of Cluj, the current garden underwent several changes directly related to the visions and decisions of directors, especially because of the lack of financial funds. From 1872 to 1920, the most part of the garden remained undeveloped because of lack of money. During World War I (1916-1919), on this surface were cultivated vegetables and were sheltering the Hungarian refugees.
The Great Union Day determined the nationalization of the University and professors from other countries were brought to be in charge. This is the moment when the professor Alexandru Borza takes the biology department and starts working on the plan of realizing the Botanical Garden in Cluj. In this time are purchased several plots of land, including the one corresponding to the Gypsies' Creek.
Also the present wooden bridges and the big bridge crossing over the river were built. Extensive cleaning work was carried out over 35,000 square meters of land necessary to arrange the systematic sector, and was built a true system of pipes, aqueducts, water tower, water basins for ensuring the necessary water. This system exists also today. For example, the water tower is currently used for the panoramic view of the garden and of the city.
The plans of arranging the garden sections were made by a botanist, and not by a landscaper, which means that priority was given to scientific reasoning, the aesthetic aspects passing on a second level.
In 1923 have been completed the hydro investments in the garden: the darn on the Gypsy River, the water tower, basins, aqueducts, water collection basin, etc. In the same year were completed almost entirely the systematic arrangements of the garden department. In parallel, the Japanese Garden was arranged, with specific architectural elements, as well as vegetable formations, or ornaments specific to East Asia. The Japanese Garden follows a traditional structure with a curved stone bridge, with the sacred gate, stone fountain and the four stone lanterns.
On June 25, 1925, the Botanical Garden has opened its doors to the public. Important works havent been performed until 1960, when were given large greenhouses (with 6 compartments) to the public. Between 1963 and1964, several works of asphalting the main arteries and for the consolidation of the Japanese Garden have been performed. In 1986 began the restoration works of the lake units bottom of the Japanese Garden, works that are not completed not even in the present due to lack of funds. As a result, the lake is drained.
As we said at the beginning of the article, the Botanical Garden from Cluj-Napoca is divided into several sections: ornamental, phyto-geographic, systematic, economic and medical.
The ornamental section is distinguished by variety, color throughout the entire year and hundreds of species of wood and ornamental plants. In the springtime, the eye is delighted with over 120 tulips species, brands, daffodils or hyacinths. In the warm season are present over 350 varieties of roses and other ornamental plants specific to the entire world.
The phyto-geographical compartment contains the Japanese garden and the Romanian garden. The Japanese Garden, designed in the style of Gy-no-Niwa, contains specific elements: the sacred gate, the curved bridge, the stone fountain, etc.
The Romanian Garden, also known as Pliny's garden is dominated by the statue of the goddess Ceres, statue flanked on the right and left of two true coffins discovered in the archaeological sites of the Romanian city of Napoca.
The systematic section is the compartment that occupies most of the surface of the Botanical Garden of Cluj, about 4 ha. It is dominated by the presence of two large greenhouses. Plants were cultivated here from the equatorial, tropical and subtropical areas. The two greenhouses are arranged in six distinct sections: the greenhouse with water plants (Amazon lily, sugar cane, papyrus, mangrove plants), the greenhouse with palm trees (over 80 species of ornamental and industrial palms brought from Australia, Ile Canary, Asia and Japan), the greenhouse with plants from the Mediterranean are and Australia, the greenhouse with succulent plants, with bromaliacee and the greenhouse with ferns and orchids.
The economic section includes plants grown according to their use: food, technical, fodder, meliferous and tinctorial.
In the medicinal section are grown medicinal herbs contained in the Romanian Pharmacopoeia.
So if you are only in passing or you reside in Cluj, dont hesitate to enter in the green paradise of the Botanical Garden.