14 June 2017

Meeting a Friend and a World Star in Cluj-Napoca (2.930 km)

(Cluj-Napoca, 09.06.2017 - 12.06.2017) The friend is Professor Ossi Horovitz, Professor of Chemical Thermodynamics, Materials Chemistry and Physical Chemistry at the Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. Living in Cluj-Napoca for decades, being deeply coupled with the Jewish Community, leading the services in the Ohel Mosche Synagogue, but above all being born in Czernowitz with the heart in the right place, I could not get a better tour guide.

We are starting in the Central Park, where the Holocaust memorial is located. The inscription reads as follows: "In memory of over 18,000 victims of racial hatred Jewish men, women and children, deported from Cluj and surroundings to Auschwitz, in May-June 1944."

On the plate mounted on this house in the historical city center of Cluj-Napoca we read as follows: "According to historical tradition, this is the house where Matthias Corvinus, the son of the Great Voivode of Transyvania and Governor of Hungary Iancu of Hunedoara was born. The Romanian Matthias Corvinus is considered the greatest of all Hungarian kings due to his achievements during his reign 1458-1490."
In passing Union Square we marvel at twin buildings at the corner Iuliu Maniu Street, but - wait a second - not only the corner buildings are identical, both the facing rows of houses on the left and on the right are mirror-inverted!
The Ohel Mosche Synagogue is Ossi Horovitz's domain, at least on Shabbat. Actually it's just a prayer house used during the cold season while the magnificent Moorish-style Neolog Synagogue remains dedicated to major community events.

By walking alongside the Jewish Community building, we get deeper and deeper into the former Jewish quarter and view two more former synagogues as well as the former Yiddish Theater, nowadays a railroader club.

The Babeș-Bolyai University, surrounded by its most hipster neighborhood, is the finishing line to our tour of exploration, made possible by the expertise of my friend Ossi Horovitz.

And the world star is ...? Now it's your turn to give proof of your powers of recollection and to identify this movie idol of our youth! He was the honorary guest of this year's Transilvania International Film Festival TIFF.16. Enjoy the riddle!

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