Running through the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park, Cluj Napoca, Romania

Text & photos © Estrella Azul

The Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park, opened in 1929 as an outdoor museum, is beautiful. I recall going there on a class trip somewhere around 3rd grade. As opposed to many of my classmates, I didn’t have grandparents or other relatives living on farms in the Romanian countryside, so the park was nothing short of fascinating to me, even at that early age.

Traditional Romanian gate at the park entrance

Traditional hand-carved Maramureș gate at the park entrance

Founded in 1922, the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania is, according to Wikipedia, “one of the first and greatest of its kind in Romania.”

The museum houses over 50,000 objects used in the rural everyday life—some items dating as far back as 1678—and has two locations: Reduta Palace in old downtown Cluj-Napoca, and the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park in Hoia Forest.

Traditional machinery

Oil mill from the village of Sartăş

At the beginning of July, I had the pleasure of running through the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park as a participant of the “Crosul Hoia Fortech 2017” (or Hoia Cross, for short) running event organized in my city of Cluj-Napoca.

Hoia Cross 2017

Hoia Cross 2017

As part of the Hoia Cross there were three races, the 5 km, 10 km and Family (2 km), with the latter taking place exclusively on the park grounds, for children’s safety reasons. The route for the adult races was partly along the paths of the park, and mostly through the forest.

Hoia Woods

Hoia Forest

I participated in the 5 km race. It started out near the middle of the park, followed the main paths to form a couple of loops and then led to the forest through the secondary entrance for some difficult trails before reaching the entrance again to finish the race.

Old village houses used to have straw roofs

Stone carver’s house

I’m not ashamed to admit I found the race tough. Of the 5 km, I only managed to run 4.5 km and walked 500 meters where the trails were too steep. However, considering the trail’s difficulty, and that I haven’t been running for a full year yet, I managed to reach 39th place out of 115 in the women’s classification.

Traditional (cute) houses

Glazier’s house

After I reached the finish line, got a banana and drank some water to re-hydrate, I went for a walk through the museum as I haven’t been since that long-ago class trip.

One of the wooden churches

The Petrindu Wooden Church

With an adult’s eyes, the park is still interesting.

On 16 hectares of its 75 hectares one can see several traditional farms, buildings, workshops, wooden churches, mills and other machinery—all donated and/or collected from several Transylvanian ethnographic regions and structured as a traditional dispersed village.

Wood carver's house with traditional blue-painted walls below the porch

Wood carver’s house with traditional blue-painted walls below the porch

The museum and park are open Wednesday through Sunday. Visiting hours vary during summer (March–October) and winter (October–March), with last admission being one hour before each closing time, but they’re generally open 10AM–4PM throughout the year.

Scenes of village living

Scenes of village living

I love the fact that events such as art exhibitions are held in the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, and that it has a tactile exhibition section in the Reduta Palace. However, I also think it would be wonderful to have more open-air events in the Romulus Vuia Etnographic Park.

The Hoia Cross this year was the perfect reason for me to re-visit the outdoor museum.


Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins, Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

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