Gherla (formerly Armenopolis)
Built in between 1723 and 1724, with the name Buna Vestire (Avedis – Armenian/ Holy The Annunciation), Solomon Church is one of the oldest and first stone built Armenian Catholic church in Transylvania. It is located on Cloșca Street, no 171. The church is positioned on the eastern side of a square which is positioned east of the central city square. For design inspirations, the Armenians who had settled in Transylvania just a few decades earlier took on the model of late Gothic churches.
The Armenian Catholic Cathedral of The Holy Trinity was built in 1776 and is located on Libertății Square, no 6. The Cathedral is on the south side of the central city square. The building consists of an extended nave, a semi-circular closing choir with a big tower and two smaller towers on each side. In contrast with the exterior, the interior is a unitary arrangement in mature Baroque style. The current mural paintings of the Cathedral were made during the restoration campaign in 1930, by the painter Ferenc Herczeg. This is one of the biggest Armenian cathedrals in the world. To find out more, click here.
The History Museum of Gherla city is located on Mihai Viteazu Street, no 6. It was originally the Armenian Museum and once the residence of an Armenian family (Karacsony). Its construction was completed at the end of the 18th century. The museum has a room called the Armenian Collection, where visitors can see many liturgical Armenian Catholic objects. To find out more, click here.
Dumbrăveni (formerly Elisabethopolis)
The Armenian Catholic Church of St. Elizabeth was built in 1850. It is located on Timotei Cipariu Square, no 1. The Church reminds us of the rich and sophisticated taste of the Armenian community. With such monumental grandeur and quality furniture, it is considered one of the most important edifices of Baroque religious architecture from Transylvania.
After 1670, some of the Armenians, who had come from Moldova to Transylvania, settled in Ibașfalău; the Estate of Prince Mihail Apafi I. The town rapidly developed,thanks to the arrival of new Armenians, and in 1733, during the reign of Carol III, it became a privileged town and received the name Elisabethopolis (Hungarian Erzsébetváros). Like the church of Holy Trinity in Gherla, this is one of the biggest Armenian churches in the world. To find out more, click here.
Here are some other churches built by Armenians in Dumbrăveni: Sf. Treime Church (The Holy Trinity) 1723; Sf. Petruși Pavel Church (Saint Peter and Paul) 1796, built by the Mkhitarian monks; Sf. Ioan Botezătorul (Saint John the Baptist) which was given to the Lutheran Church in 1920.
The Museum of Transylvanian Armenians opened in 2010, inside Apafi Castle in Dumbrăveni and is located on Cuza Vodă Street, no 4. A project of special importance due being the first such project in Romania: a public-private partnership for rehabilitation of a historical structure, with the aim of returning it to the community with the final objective to generate economic benefits and encourage social cohesion.
The St. Mary’s Armenian Catholic Church was built in 1733 on the same site of a smaller church inside the Foreigners’ Cemetery. The church is located on Biserica Armeană Street, no 1 and due to its splendor it is considered “the pearl of the city”.
Gheorgheni, a municipality near the commercial road that links Transylvania with Moldova, received its first Armenian citizens at the beginning of 17th century. This was followed by a mass Armenian colonization in 1672. The Armenians gathered in different private houses to practice religious services. In 1680, they rented the wooden chapel which was inside of the Foreigners’ Cemetery and in 1720 they bought the land and built their own church. Two relics from the old church are still preserved; they are the baptismal and holy water fonts. To find out more, click here.
The ensemble of the Armenian Church in Frumoasa is made up of the Holy Trinity Armenian Catholic Church, which dates back to 1785, the wall of the enclosure and the chapel attached to it, is associated with Armenian settlers who arrived in Transylvania during the second half of 17th century. In 1813, with the aid of donations gathered by the trustee Dávid Márton, a wooden fence supported on stone columns was erected around the church. By 1850, the fence had deteriorated as most of its material was used for wood fire. Therefore, in 1859, a new fence made entirely of stones was built to surround the church and the cemetery.
Prior to the church we see today, Armenians had been worshiping in a wooden church. Visitors will notice a cemetery containing tombstones of Armenian families that lived locally.