It was 1573 when the first pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca was opened in this house, and it has been an almost uninterrupted apothecary’s haven for close to 450 years now (with a regrettable stint as a communist pastry shop).
For the last sixty years, the house has been a museum of pharmacy, holding within some of the most fascinating artifacts from a time when the lines between medicine and alchemy were still quite blurred.
This enthralling museum has one of the oldest, most unusual and intriguing collections of (al)chemical artifacts and tools in Transylvania, if not the whole of Eastern Europe, comprised of roughly 3,000 pieces.
Known as the Hintz House, due to the legendary family of apothecaries who took over the pharmacy in 1863 and ran it until the communist take-over of 1949, the museum has a large collection of preserved specimens of substances — both organic and mineral — which apothecaries would use to treat illnesses hundreds of years ago. The purposes of these substances (such as the famous “mummy dust” for example) are explained in little notes, and the tour guide is very knowledgeable in addition.
The museum also preserves the apothecary’s secret crucible room, a small underground space where most poultices and healing recipes were concocted by the head apothecary and his apprentice with utmost secrecy.
Not only does the museum provide a glimpse into the veiled world of medieval and renaissance era apothecaries, it also showcases tomes and ledgers that give the visitor a clearer picture of what everyday society was like during that time.