The House of Religious Freedom

14, 21 December 1989 Bd., Cluj-Napoca

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The first buildings of this space were raised on the site of the former episcopal residence at the end of the 14th century or at the beginning of the 15th century. One of them had two rooms on the basement, ground and floor levels, and the second, a room on each level. The second period of construction dates from the second half of the 15th century, when the two houses were unified. Since then, the three great gothic arches with the splay edges of the passage and the Gothic portal with coat of arms date.

The following significant changes of the house were made in 1736-1737, and can be attributed to the Wesselényi family. Then a new staircase and the porch from the yard were built. The main classicizing facade of today, the Empire-style carpentry and the painted floor of the large hall dates from after 1811. Today’s form of the house is due to the constructions of Dominic Biasini (1821-1895): he built the floor tract from the yard, in the place of the former kitchen and the stable.

Due to its special value, the Consistory of the Unitarian Church assigned a new function to the former episcopal residence, so that the building is publicly accessible. The new role of the building is built around a basic function, that of an ecclesiastical cultural center, called the House of Religious Freedom. The upstairs spaces allow the organization of conferences, interreligious research activities, as well as the organization of thematic exhibitions. The rest of the levels received complementary destinations, which facilitate the efficient operation of the building: basement protocol room, attic accommodation, bookstore and bistro on the ground floor. The space of the passage became the reception area of the house, by opening the side zones.

The concept of restoration was based on the principle of authenticity, that of minimal intervention and reversibility. The fashioned stone elements, the carpentry and the painted floor from the 19th century were restored. The original layer of mortar-plaster was restored with traces of smoke and rich in footprints of wooden encasing on the surfaces of the cellar vaults.

A part of the archaeological material discovered during the works is exposed on the first floor, in collaboration with the National Museum of History of Transylvania.