St. Michael’s Church

St. Michael’s Church in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, embarked on an extensive restoration journey from 2016 to 2022. Beyond mere structural reinforcements and façade revivals, the project also encompassed the refurbishment of the interiors and modern enhancements. The project was made possible with financial support from the European Regional Development Funds, the Romanian Ministry for Development, Public Works and Administration, the Government of Hungary, Bethlen Gábor Fund Management, the State Secretariat for Cults, the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca, the Treasured Cluj Association, and many private donors.

St. Michael’s Church, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Nestled in the city’s vibrant centre, St. Michael’s Church is a gem of European Gothic architecture. It has immense significance on local, regional, and national scales, and is recognised as a national landmark and an icon of Transylvania’s rich heritage. Its deep-rooted connections to royalty and pivotal historical figures highlight Cluj’s evolution over the centuries.

The passage of time and several natural disasters took a toll on its grandeur. This comprehensive project was initiated to halt this decline and reestablish St. Michael’s Church as a key tourist destination.

The restoration’s most innovative aspect is its structural reinforcement methods, utilising a steel truss structures to enhance earthquake safety. The use of locally-made new elements and the insertion of stainless steel reinforcements demonstrated a balance of tradition and modernity. Archaeological explorations during the renovation unveiled treasures like original architectural fragments and invaluable mediaeval art, enriching the church’s narrative.

St. Michael’s Church, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

A significant milestone was the opening of the church’s tower to the public. This new feature includes an exhibition area, providing visitors with insights into the church’s rich history and the restoration journey, and allowing for beautiful views of Cluj-Napoca.

The project engaged local youth and community members through educational programmes and guided tours, while workshops and events provided opportunities for hands-on learning about restoration techniques and the church’s historical significance.

The COVID-19 lockdown imposed unexpected difficulties, ranging from logistical disruptions to labour shortages. The revitalised church therefore stands not only as a beacon of Cluj-Napoca’s rich heritage, but also as a testament to Europe’s commitment to preserving its illustrious history, even in the face of modern-day challenges like the COVID pandemic.


The restoration of St. Michael’s Church in Cluj-Napoca embodies a remarkably sensitive structural intervention for a heritage site grappling with complex challenges, notably those posed by its location in an active earthquake zone. The solutions for restoring the rare Baroque roof are highly suitable, thanks to the cohesive, interdisciplinary team involved. This project serves as a prime example of EU-funded projects in the region, aligning well with Quality Principles for EU-funded Interventions with potential impact upon Cultural Heritage”, the Awards’ Jury commended.

The commitment to disseminating the project’s findings and engaging with the community is laudable. This dedication, coupled with the church’s significance to the local community, is exemplified by their co-funding of the project”, the Jury added.

Contact: Ádám Maksay, M&M DESIGN LTD | |