Cluj Napoca (pronunciation in Romanian: /’kluʒ na’poka/; German: Klausenburg; Hungarian : Kolozsvár; Latin : Napoca, Castrum Clus, Claudiopolis; Yiddish : קלויזנבורג, Kloiznburg), until 1974 Cluj, is the fourth largest city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in north-western Transylvania. Geographically, it is roughly equally distant from Bucharest (323 km / 201 mi), Budapest (354 km / 220 mi) and Belgrade (327 km / 203 mi). The city lies in the valley of the Somesul Mic River and is the capital of the historical province of Transylvania.
As of January 1, 2009, 306,474 inhabitants live within the city limits, a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census. The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area has a population of 379,705 people, while the population of the peri-urban area (Romanian: zona periurbană) exceeds 400,000 residents. The new metropolitan government of Cluj-Napoca became operational in December 2008. Lastly, according to the 2007 data provided by the County Population Register Service, the total population of the city is as high as 392,276 people. However, this number does not include the floating population of students and other non-residents—an average of over 20 thousand people each year during 2004-2007, according to the same source.
The city spreads out from St.Michael’s Church in Unirii Square, built in the 14th century and named after the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Cluj-Napoca. The boundaries of the municipality contain an area of 179.52 square kilometres (69.31 sq mi). An analysis undertaken by the real estate agency Profesional Casa indicates that, because of infrastructure development, communes such as Feleacu, Vâlcele, Mărtineşti, Jucu and Baciu will eventually become neighbourhoods of the city, thereby enlarging its area.
Cluj-Napoca experienced a decade of decline during the 1990s, its international reputation suffering from the policies of its mayor of the time, Gheorghe Funar. His acts of ethnic provocation against the Hungarian minority did much to deter investors; however, the situation changed dramatically after his ouster, with the city entering a period of rapid growth in terms of economics and demographics—the city’s population is projected, according to Sorin Apostu, a manager at City Hall, to more than double by the late 2010s .Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the largest university in the country, Babes-Boylai University, with its famous botanical garden; nationally renowned cultural institutions; as well as the largest Romanian-owned commercial bank. Monocle magazine identified Cluj-Napoca as one of the top five places worldwide that are due their turn in the international spotlight during 2008. According to the American magazine InformationWeek, Cluj-Napoca is quickly becoming Romania’s technopolis.