King Ferdinand Street (Híd utca, Wesselényi utca, Gheorghe Doja Street) is the first street in Cluj mentioned by name (Platea Pontis / Bridge Street) in a document from 1362.
The artery starts on the north-east side of Unirii Square, crosses the Morii Canal and reaches the big bridge over Someș. The western side of the street traces the line of the walls of the old fortress of Cluj, probably built between 1260 and 1270. After 1405, when Sigismund of Luxembourg conferred the title of royal free city, the inhabitants were given the right to expand their city and build new walls and bastions. Thus the military role of the old wall ceased, and houses were built next to it, with remains of the wall still standing in the courtyards of the houses at numbers 5 and 7.
The Renaissance plaque with the Báthory family coat of arms on the corner of the house near the Mill Canal was originally on the old bridge built in 1580 in the time of Christopher Báthory. The old Bridge Gate, defended by the locksmiths’ guild, was demolished in 1870, even though there were many protests from the people of Cluj.
The street has become one of the most important and most frequented roads in Cluj, being on the line between the centre and the railway station, so that on the ground floor of each building there is a commercial space. In the second half of the 19th century, there were three hotels here that received the numerous guests of the city, and one of them has survived until today (the current Hotel Transilvania).
The Post Office Palace built between 1896 and 1898 on the west side of the street is one of the administrative palaces (together with the Palace of Justice and the Palace of Finance) that has preserved its original purpose over time. Also, on its facade is still preserved the old / real coat of arms of Cluj with its crenellated wall, three cylindrical towers and a gate with a portcullis.
The Central Store, opened in 1977, was the only shopping center in Cluj, equipped with escalators, the novelty being the large number of shops and their diversity in one: food, clothing, electrical, industrial, and on the top floor was a bar-restaurant.
On this street there are also many precious artefacts hidden in the old houses (fragments of medieval walls, Renaissance frames or commemorative plaques) that turn the old Bridge Lane into an urban treasure.
Sources info + photo: Chiș, Ancuța-Lăcrimioara, Bodiceanu Ucu, Promenada prin Clujul de altădată / A Promenade through Old-Time Cluj, Ed. Școala Ardeleană, Cluj-Napoca, 2017 // Gaal, György, Cluj-Napoca, Tourist, historical, cultural guide, Ed. Tortoma, Baraolt, Cluj-Napoca, 2014 / Association Clujul de Altădată.