The Marianum – the school with owls never ceases to reveal further secrets

Situated in the Horea Street and called The Marianum – the present-day Faculty of Letters – the former girls’ school is still enclosed with the cast iron fence, decorated with representations of the crucifix and the crown of thorns. A Catholic institution of learning, duly managed by the Sisters of Mother of God between 1911-1948, the history of The Marianum has been revealed today via a guided tour provided by Zsófia Gál and organized by the A-PRO-K Association and the Korzó Association. The guide relates to its public that she has been doing research within the walls of The Marianum, which, however, still has secrets to reveal. Furthermore, she says that she has never managed to count either the owls inhabiting the interiour facade of the building or the monsters on the window frames, and that she knows that there are interiour courtyards and lots of terraces in the most unexpected corners – as it is the one in the attic, far from the students’ curious eyes.

There are several myths connected to the building, which she has successfully dismantled. One of the myths is related to the present Eminescu Hall, which holds that it used to be a diner – however, the guide tells us that it was a sports hall, also used for festivities and prayer. Regarding the Popovici Hall, there is a belief that it used to be a bathroom – due to the dark green tiles covering its walls, yet the photos and the building plan are showing that it, actually, was a chapel. The guide has another information for the visitors: The Marianum is not the first building in Cluj/Kolozsvár using reinforced concrete, however, being yet among the very first ones, following the building of the National Theatre and The Hungarian Opera House. Ms. Zsófia Gál has also shown to the curious visitors where the school skating rink was and she has talked about the central heating in The Marianum. The rules were very strict and the school claimed full conformity, requiring the girls to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and turn off the lights at 20:30. Wearing uniforms was mandatory and the taxes were just as high as they are today at the so-called good schools.