Cluj region (Hungarian: Kalotaszeg)

The regions around the city of Cluj include a number of ethnographic zones representing a continuum in Transylvanian folk culture from the Sălăj and Codru areas across to the Transylvanian plain, and to the south west of the town an interference zone which stretches into the mountains occupied by the Moți cultures.

This region is bounded to the west by the narrow valley into Bihor, to the northwest by the Sălăj regions of Valea Agrijului and Valea Almașului, by Valea Someșului to the north, and the Someș Mic valley and the Transylvanian plain to the east, and Țara Moților to the south.

The lower lands have been populated from pre-history with significant numbers of sites from the Roman and age of migrations periods.

At the centre is the city of Cluj (German: Klausenburg; Hungarian: Kolozsvár, Latin: Castrum Clus), however, the majority of the surrounding villages are Romanian apart from the Kalotaszeg area of Hungarian villages between Cluj and Huedin.

Kalotaszeg (Hungarian ethnographic zone)

The Hungarian Kalotaszeg region is a compact area of Hungarian villages situated in the Huedin (Bánffyhunyad) basin and along the valleys towards the town of Cluj (Kolozsvár).

Hungarian settlement was relatively early with villages listed in documents from 13th century with the name Kalotaszeg being first documented in 1443. This region is part of the estate of the Bánffy family (one of the longest established noble families who owned a large estate from the 14th to 19th centuries).

Although Huedin is at the source of the river Criș which flows through the region of Bihor, but there is little connection between the folk culture of the Kalotaszeg region and that of Bihor. The road and rail link through this narrow valley is a recent route, as the former communication route was through Sălăj county.

Kalotaszeg (Hungarian) ethnographic zone

Kalotaszeg (Hungarian)

This small region has a relatively uniform folk culture, with strong similarities to the immediate neighbouring regions of Transylvania. Economic and seasonal working in Hungary have led to the adoption of 19th century Hungarian songs, dance melodies and the Csárdás, which is not the case in central Transylvania. The discovery and exhibiting of Kalotaszeg folk art in Budapest in the 19th century led to increased local interest in the production and sale of folk art pieces. The music, dance and costume has continued to absorb many influences and fashions through the 20th century giving a strong cultural identity which has been a focus for the Budapest Tanchaz revival and many TV documentaries.

Hungarian populations in the Cluj region

Hungarian populations in the Cluj region

These influences have led to the music and dances being less archaic than those found in the Transylvanian plain, with the newer Hungarian music dominating the song repertoire and much of the dance repertoire.

The peasant costume, which was previously similar to neighbouring peasant costumes, has absorbed modern urban influences in the 20th century and developed into the costume that is now considered characteristic of the Kalotaszeg region.

Romanian ethnographic zones


Călatelor ethnographic zone

Călatelor ethnographic zone

Dealurile Clujului ethnographic zone

Dealurile Clujului

This is the Romanian name for the zone situated in the Huedin basin, along the Căpușului valley up to the village of Aghireș. It includes predominantly Romanian villages which surround the Hungarian Kalotaszeg region. This zone appears to be a continuation ethnographically with the Almașului valley.

Dealurile Clujului

A mostly Romanian area between Kalotaszeg, Sălăj, Someș and Someș Mic.

Mocănimii Gilăului

Mocănimii Gilăului ethnographic zone

Mocănimii Gilăului ethnographic zone

Mocănimii Hășdatelor ethnographic sub-zone

Mocănimii Hășdatelor ethnographic sub-zone

This zone (also known as zone Măgurenilor) is situated in the high table lands (~1200m) along the Răcătău, Someșul Clad, and Someșul Rece rivers and mainly supports forestry with some agriculture. The villages are predominantly Romanian with a long and continuing immigration from the lower Huedin basin into these higher valleys.

Mocănimii Hășdatelor

This zone is situated in the river valleys south of Cluj which flow into the Arieș river to the west of Turda, and is primarily along the Agriș and Iara rivers. This is an interference zone between Țara Moților and Mocănimii Gilăului.

Published on 15th August 2018, last modified on 12th July 2022