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Cluj-Napoca (Klausenburg, Kolozsvár, Castrum Clus, Claudiopolis), commonly known as Cluj, is the second most populous city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest (324 km / 201 mi), Budapest (351 km / 218 mi) and Belgrade (322 km / 200 mi). Located in the Someşul Mic River valley, the city is considered the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. In 1790–1848 and 1861–1867, it was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania.
As of 2011, 309,136 inhabitants live within the city limits, marking a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census. The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area has a population of 392,562 people, while the population of the peri-urban area 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 20,000 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.
Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the country's largest university, Babeş-Bolyai University, with its famous botanical garden; nationally renowned cultural institutions; as well as the largest Romanian-owned commercial bank. According to the American magazine InformationWeek, Cluj-Napoca is quickly becoming Romania's technopolis.
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Additional Photos by Daniel Draghici (dkmurphys) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3872 W: 83 N: 5985] (48446)
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