Tranzit House

On the Nameless street, between the river and the city centre History.
The Poale Tzedek craftsmen association was established in 1914. Being one of the most dynamic and active Jewish institutions of the epoch, it was founded by Iacov Klein (tinsmith) and Ignác Schwartz (printer). The association´s prayer house, the fourth and latest synagogue of Cluj, named Poale Tzedek was built in 1921, on the southern bank of the river Someş, opposite to the stairs leading to the City Citadel (Cetăţuie). The building was destroyed by the flood in 1922 but was rebuilt by the association with the leading effort of Janowitz Géza, an important textile factory owner. The anti-Semitic students´ movements in 1927 also damaged the building. The movement was part of a more extended anti-Jewish campaign: the students traveled by a special train all around Transylvania and destroyed the synagogues of many cities and plundered the Jewish stores. The Poale Tzedek synagogue was renovated every time. The synagogue restarted its activities after World War II when the president of the community became Pollack Ignác. The building functioned as a religious place until 1974. After most of the members of the community emigrated and the synagogue remained empty, the Hungarian State Theatre and the Hungarian Opera rented the building, which was used then as a warehouse. The building decayed more than ever in these years mostly because the inadequate use and negligence. Only the menorah above the entrance on the western side of the building and the windows in the form of the Star of David reminded about the initial function of the building. The building of the synagogue from the Nameless Street has belonged, without any breaks and contrary to the practice characteristic to Hungary, to the Jewish community. After 1989 the building was emptied once again and remained so until the year of 1997, when the Federation of Jewish Community from Romania organized an auction for lending the building. Péter Eckstein-Kovács, lawyer and Csilla Könczei, assistant professor, participated at this auction and won it against a workshop that worked in iron. The new tenants submitted a project for establishing a contemporary art center, being the first such initiative in the country. Since 1998, the tenant of the synagogue is Tranzit Foundation which has been founded by the initiators with the purpose of restoring the building, and transforming it into a cultural center. Ever since Tranzit Foundation has been fundraising the costs for renovation, organizing architectural projects for reconversion as well as running a permanent cultural activity.

The Tranzit House is a massive two-storey brick building with three open tracts, once having cultic functions. The building has a closed roof structure with princess posts. This transparent timber structure was designed to support through steel posts the ceiling of the second floor as well. Because of the great span of the roof and the weight of the ceiling, a primary consideration when designing the roof structure was choosing a light roofing material. The roof is covered with coated tin plates laid on discontinuous plank sheeting.

The building is situated in the downtown of Cluj, ten minutes by foot from the Main Square, at the bottom of the citadel, at the periphery of the old fortification´s protected area, right on the bank of the Some? River, in the vicinity of the Hungarian State Theatre and Opera and the buildings of the Technical University. The near-by sorroundings of the building constitute the most dynamic part of Cluj. Although during the last decade the city´s population has completely forgotten the building, the Nameless street leading to it and the once existing Germans´s bridge accross the Some? has a great potential regarding the architectural formation of the city. This part of the town could become, if provided with a good concept and adequate resources, the most important link between the historical center of the city and the City Citadel, one of the most beautiful tourist attraction of Cluj. Was the Nameless street reinserted in the city circuit, the bridge restored and the vecinity of the synagogue proprely re-constructed, the site could become one of the most popular spaces of the city if the near future.

The Tranzit Space
Becoming one of the most important hosts on the cultural landscape of Cluj in the last 11 years, the space of Tranzit overtook functions of the public space, attracting in its courtyard and inner site different events. Its role of an urban attractor became the distinguished mark of Tranzit Space, continuing to offer a specificity that any other space in Cluj can´t: the freedom of an independent cultural open space. The Tranzit Space has been continuously changing its outer and inner shape, along various events and intends to further do so, pushed forward by the energy of the staff and the drive sustained by the guests.

Tranzit House
400027 Cluj - Romania
Str. Baritiu Nr. 16.
Tel/Fax: +40 364 101705
Mobile: +40 724 209604