|• Mayor||Călin Marius Sabo (National Liberal Party)|
|• Total||36.3 km2 (14.0 sq mi)|
|Population (October 20, 2011)|
|• Density||560/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Gherla (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡerla]; Hungarian: Szamosújvár; German: Neuschloss) is a city in Cluj County, Romania (in the historical region of Transylvania). It is located 45 km from Cluj-Napoca on the Someşul Mic River, and has a population of 20,203. Three villages are administered by the city: Băiţa (formerly Chirău, and Kérő in Hungarian), Hăşdate (Szamoshesdát) and Silivaş (Vizszilvás).
|Source: Census data|
The locality was first recorded in 1291, as a village named Gherlahida (probably derived from the Slavic word grle, meaning "ford"). The second name was Armenian, Հայաքաղաք Hayakaghak, meaning "Armenian city"; it gave the Medieval Latin and Greek official name Armenopolis, as well as the German alternative name Armenierstadt. Later, the name of Szamosújvár was used in official Hungarian records, meaning "the new town on the Someş". Before 1918, Gherla was part of the Kingdom of Hungary comitatus of Szolnok-Doboka. It was again part of Hungary between 1940-1944.
The modern city was built in the early 18th century by Armenians, successors of the Cilician Armenian diaspora, who had originally settled in Crimea and Moldavia, and moved to Transylvania sometime after 1650. After a two years' campaign by the Armenian-Catholic Bishop Oxendius Vărzărescu, they converted from the Armenian Apostolic Church to the Armenian Catholic Church.
Gherla is the seat of the Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Romania as well as that of a Greek-Catholic diocese – the Cluj-Gherla Diocese (suffragan to the Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Alba Iulia and Făgăraş-Blaj, who resided in Blaj). In the center of the city lie the Saint Gregory the Illuminator and the Holy Trinity Armenian Cathedral. The main Armenian-Catholic church was built in 1792. The Greek Catholic diocese was created through the Papal Bull Ad Apostolicam Sedem of November 26, 1853, and the first bishop was Ioan Alexi.
A Habsburg fortress was built here, and in 1785 converted to a prison which, during the Communist regime, was used for political detainees (see Gherla prison). Today it is a Romanian high-security prison.
According to the 2011 Romanian census, there were 20,203 people living within the city, as follows:
- 15,994 (79.2%) Romanians
- 3,419 (16.9%) Hungarians
- 718 (3.6%) Roma
- 72 (0.4%) others, including 16 Germans
- "Comunicat de presă privind rezultatele provizorii ale Recensământului Populaţiei şi Locuinţelor – 2011". Cluj County Regional Statistics Directorate. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- Mallows, Lucy (2008). Transylvania. Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 256. ISBN 9781841622309.
- Steve Kokker, Cathryn Kemp (2004). Romania & Moldova. Footscray, Victoria: Lonely Planet. p. 159. ISBN 9781741041491. "Gherla Once a predominantly Armenian settlement called Armenopolis in the 17th century..."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gherla.|
- Armenierstadt This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- Armenians in Romania at the Central European University site