City name & location: Zalău, Sălaj (SJ) county, Romania.

Short presentation:
  • Zalău city, capital of the Sălaj County, is situated in the central area of the county, in the hydrographic basin of the Zalău River, at the meeting point with the depression with the same name and the Meseș Crest.
  • The Municipality of Zalău is one of the most ancient cities with a documentary attestation on the Romanian territory. There are archaeological proofs in the presence of human settlings on the territory of the city, from the Neolithic period, 6500 years ago. The origin of the name may be attributed to the Dacian word "brâu" (belt) (the Meseș Mountains surround the city like a semicircle) or to the Dacian word "zil", meaning wine. If we consider the hilly relief and the agricultural profile of the city, the Valley of the Wine may be the right interpretation of the name.
  • After the conquest of Dacia by the Roman emperor Traian (106 AD), the northern border of the Roman Empire crossed the Meseş Crest.
  • The first written evidence concerning Zalău can be found in ”Gesta Hungarorum”, also named the Chronicle of Anonymus – notary of the king Bela the Fourth of Hungary – from the 12th century. However, the first documentary attestation with a certain date is recorded in 1220 in the Oradea Court Registry.
  • On August 1st 1473, Matei Corvin, the king of Hungary and Bohemia, declared Zalău for the first time a town-fair, "Oppidum Zilah", a privilege that released the city from the shire’s domination, giving the right to free trade with the whole country.
  • In the 18-19th century, the city was a famous pottery centre, through the famous “Zalău pottery”. Ceramic pieces, which were discovered in 2011, prove that the potters from the old town fair had been here since the Early Middle Ages. The clay was extracted from small quarries, pits dug into the hill situated above the old centre, then it was worked in the workshops on the street that today is known as The Potters Street. The town’s potters were legally operating their activity since 1738, when the first guild received its authorization. Zalău pottery is considered an artistic example of decorative art. The white ceramic objects, decorated with green, brown, intense blue and dark purple, were glazed and beautifully ornamented with floral, zoomorphic and geometric designs. The fact that they remained intact until today shows that the potters took their work seriously. The most important pottery product in Zalău was the unglazed water jug, made in large quantities and sold in all fairs.
  • In the course of history, Zalău has known several names Zilah - Walthenberg - Zălau, and since 1900 Zalău. It became the urban center and administrative residence of Sălaj County in 1968, and in 1979 it was declared municipality.
  • Zalău offers you the possibility to get away from the city hubbub, to enjoy a clean and fresh air, thanks to the forests that surround us, but also to visit tourist sites or to discover tourist tracks on the Meseș Mountains and in Sălaj County.
ZalăuZalău city, Sălaj county, Romania (©

The source of the texts/images/photos: CNIPT Zalău. Copyright© CNIPT Zalău

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