-photos and quotations by Valentin Grigore
text by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design by Florin Alexandru Stancu-

“I had about 50 flights,
including about 8 transcontinental/overseas,
but this was my first domestic flight in Romania.”
(Valentin Grigore)

In fact, in September 2016
the president of SARM, Valentin Grigore,
had two double flights on the same route,
Bucharest-Cluj and retour,
and for the first of them the city of Cluj-Napoca was only a halt,
Valentin participating at a national astronomical event in other town,
for which he continued his road by train,

However, in the Cluj railway station
he tried an atemporal photo-joke:

“The engine today and about 125 years ago.
What is your favourite?”
(Valentin Grigore)

Returning to Bucharest in his first double flight,
a celestial surprise!

“Although the flight from Cluj-Napoca to Bucharest was short,
it was enough for me to catch the Glory phenomenon.”
(Valentin Grigore)

To produce glory through artificial lights
Sometimes various people try,
But they should not forget that the real Glory
Floats in the sky.

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-

Two weeks after, Valentin Grigore
passed again over the Carpathian Mountains from Bucharest to Cluj,
this time during the sunrise,
to participate at an international event and…

“After a short flight with beautiful sceneries over the mountains,
landing in Cluj.
Temperature of 3 degrees,
fog on the airstrip,
and the memory of the Glory phenomenon again,
this time hardly visible on the limit of the clouds.”
(Valentin Grigore)

Cluj-Napoca is the largest city in Transylvania (about 325,000 inhabitants) which,
after the Roman conquest of a part of Dacia (2nd century),
firstly appeared as a municipium and a colonia (Napoca).

Eight centuries later
the Magyars began the conquest of Transylvania,
defeating the resistance of the local “voievod” Gelu.

In the 12th century this city became Castrum Clus
and then, inhabited especially by Hungarians and German colonists,
it became Kolozsvar or Klausenberg.

In the 17th century
the city became part of the Habsburg Empire
and the Capital of the Transylvania province,
and after World War I
it became part of Romania.

Today Cluj-Napoca fully keeps, through its buildings and spirituality,
the memory of an extraordinary
Roman-Romanian-Hungarian-German-Slavic-Jewish-Armenian multiculturalism.

In 26-28 September 2016
Cluj-Napoca and Romania organized (after Germany, Canada and England)
the 4th edition of the Artificial Light At Night Conference
at the Polytechnic University,
where Valentin Grigore brought an impressive Romanian contribution
through a variant of his famous exhibition of astrophotography
Light From Universe.

An ALAN reception in the old casino…

Conference participants before lectures…

A short nocturnal walk (with musical valences)
through the centre of the city…

“ALAN Conference 2016.
Quality people rising over petty interests of life,
for whom all of its components
(nature, ecosystem, sky, people and education)
mean more than money and material gain at any compromise.”
(Valentin Grigore)

Walks through Cluj-Napoca…

“ALAN Conference 2016.
Very good lectures of the participants from
North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Ocean
on the effects of light pollution on the human health,
ecosystem, astronomy, economics, etc.”
(Valentin Grigore)

The most famous historical monument in Cluj-Napoca is
the Roman-Catholic (Saint Michael) Cathedral,
founded in 1316 and finalized with the clock-tower in 1860.

It is a church unique in the world just because
it was initially Roman-Catholic,
and then, in the 16th-17th centuries, it became Lutheran, Calvinist and Unitarian,
re-becoming Roman-Catholic in the 18th century.

Near this cathedral,
the statue of Matthias Corvinus (or Matei Corvin in Romanian),
one of the greatest kings of Hungary and defenders of Catholic Christianity
against the Ottoman invasion in the 15th century,
whose origin was half-Romanian,
appears as a symbol of reconciliation between
Romanians and Hungarians in Transylvania.

Posters at ALAN 2016…

Another very interesting building in Cluj-Napoca is a church
made by the Franciscan Catholics in the 1790s,
which became Greek-Catholic in 1924
as a recognition for a Romanian community who strongly fought
for Romanian rights in the Habsburg Empire
and for the union of Transylvania with Romania.

This church became Orthodox Christian under communists
(who interdicted the Greek-Catholic Church after 1948)
and re-became Greek-Catholic in 1998,
being placed in a zone dedicated to the Romanian-Transylvanian heroes.

Other sequences from ALAN 2016…

Since today about 65% from the population of Cluj-Napoca is Orthodox Christian,
the main religious centre of the city has become the Orthodox Cathedral,
made in the 1920s.

Near this cathedral, the statue of
the great Romanian revolutionary and patriot Avram Iancu from the 19th century
appears as a symbol of the Transylvanian Romanians
who fought for recognition and freedom in the Habsburg Empire.

The last sequences from ALAN 2016…

“Good bye, Cluj-Napoca,
along with the hope that, after ALAN 2016,
you will become a model in Romania
for efficient lighting and the protection of the sky!”
(Valentin Grigore)

This story was not only about night illumination
But generally about the sky.
Respect it and protect it, people of any belief,
That is your glorious earthly try.

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-


© 2017 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)