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Arhivele Nationale, Bucharest

Page history last edited by Paul Keenan 13 years, 8 months ago

Date of tip: August 2005

Source: Mark Laszlo-Herbert, mark.laszlo.herbert@utoronto.ca 


Archive: Arhivele Nationale (National Archives), Romania 

The following are regional (county) archives:


Directia Judeteana a Arhivelor Nationale Alba

Address: Alba Iulia: Strada Mihai Viteazul 29, 510010 Alba Iulia. 

Tel: +40-258-810996


Directia Judeteana a Arhivelor Nationale Cluj

Address: Cluj-Napoca: Strada M. Kogalniceanu 10, 400084 Cluj-Napoca.

Tel: +40-264-598979, 

Fax: same number

Email: arhivelenationalecluj@yahoo.com, djancluj@email.ro


Directia Judeteana a Arhivelor Nationale Hunedoara

Address: Deva: Strada Aurel Vlaicu 2, 330005 Deva. 

Tel: +40-254-213875, 

Fax: +40-254-214347


Directia Judeteana a Arhivelor Nationale Salaj

Address: Zalau: Strada Tudor Vladimirescu 26/A, 450067 Zalau. 

Tel: +40-260-611016


Directia Judeteana a Arhivelor Nationale Sibiu

Address: Sibiu: Strada Arhivelor 3, 550164 Sibiu. 

Tel: +40-269-431356.


For the addresses of all regional sections of the National Archives, download the following 3-page PDF document: 




How to get there:

In all five cities, the archives are located in or very close to the city centre. All these cities are in Transylvania, and all (except Zalau) can be reached by train. Check http://www.cfr.ro for train schedules. Zalau can be reached by bus from Cluj-Napoca (80km). Buses leave from the main railway station (“Gara”) regularly. 


Language: Romanian only. You may also try with English, German or French. Hungarian won’t help.   


Getting started: As a rule (well, not always applied), foreigners must get permission to conduct research from the Bucharest “headquarters” before they arrive to a regional (county) section of the National Archives. The same goes for those wishing to conduct research at the National Archives in Bucharest (see separate tip). 

Romanian citizens residing abroad may have to follow the same procedures as foreign researchers if they cannot produce a valid ID card, or, a Romanian passport that does not specify that the holder has his or her permanent residence abroad. 

Romanian citizens residing in Romania need to produce only a valid ID card or a valid passport and gain immediate access to the archives. 

Note:Driver’s licences are not accepted as valid photo IDs. 

Upon your arrival, you will be issued a researcher card (have an ID/passport-size photograph on you) which is usually valid for one year, or, if you are a foreigner, for the period of your stay in Romania. Then, you can consult the different reference information catalogues, with information in Romanian only. It is very important to have a translator with you if you do not speak Romanian. Most catalogues I encountered were handwritten. Once you have found what you were looking for (if you are really, really lucky…), you can fill out your slip and submit it. Then you will be asked to leave and return the following day. In the meantime, an archivist will pull the documents for you, and bind them neatly into a binder (this is how – they say – they prevent the theft of documents; most often, however, this procedure visibly damages the document). 

If you are a foreigner you will need a letter confirming that the Bucharest central office approved your visit. Approval may take between 1 to 30 days to get, so it is best if you contact someone in Bucharest before you travel to Romania: 

Address: Arhivele Nationale 

(Sediul Central)

Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta nr. 49, Sector 5,

050000 Bucuresti



Tel: +40-21-3126710, or +40-21-3126710 ext. 11029 

Fax: +40-21-3125841

Email: ArhNat@mai.gov.ro


I would contact them by fax (letterhead!). Although most archivists will have an email address by now, email is still not widely used among archivists for business purposes.  


Opening Hours: They vary from city to city. Usually 9am to 5pm, but different opening hours may apply to the reading room. Try to avoid arriving on Friday. All offices, reading rooms, etc. of the National Archives throughout Romania are closed between August 1 and August 31


General working conditions: Rather limited. No lamps for individual tables/researchers. Reading rooms usually seat up to 20 people (except in Bucharest; see separate tip). Forget about an Internet-connection; and bring a warm coat with you in winter – the reading room may or may not be heated. Some documents may be on microfilm - be prepared to use the now classic GDR-made microfilm-reader machines. No libraries on-site, few if any reference works (i.e. encyclopaedias, maps, dictionaries).  However, the reading room personnel are usually friendly and very helpful, although they rarely speak English. They seem to be rather suspicious of foreigners, however, and will make sure to keep an eye on you while you are there. 


Consultation: I am not aware of any limit to the number of works one can consult on one day.  


Policy on technology: The less technology you try to enter with, the better for you (the friendlier they will be). Arriving to a small regional archive with a laptop worth thousands of dollars won’t make you too popular. The same goes for digital cameras, although in one city (Deva) I was allowed to use my camera. I guess it looked rather unsophisticated (it was neither the tiny James Bond type, nor the one with the huge lens. The more it looks like a “real”, “old-fashioned” (film) camera, the more likely it is that you will actually be allowed to used it. There is, to my knowledge, no policy on photographing (or, not photographing) documents, but be aware that these archives live (barely survive…) from the photocopying fees that they collect from researchers. These fees may be higher for foreigners than for locals.   


Photocopy policy: I usually paid 6,000-10,000 ROL or 0.6-1 RON (newly introduced currency), that is, ca. 0.30 EUR/page, regardless of the size of the page (some copies were in A3 format and larger even). But prices (especially for foreigners) vary in the different archives. 


Particularities: My advice: if you thank them repeatedly for every little “gesture” they make (well, it’s their job to serve you, but let them know how grateful you are), it is more likely that they will find those documents for you. I did not find it necessary to hand out little presents; I think that those times are actually over in Romania. But I might be wrong here. 

Note that some archival collections have been partially or totally destroyed by wars (especially WWII) or other catastrophes (i.e. the floods in the 1970s destroyed many records in Alba Iulia). Some territories (i.e. parts of Transylvania) changed masters several times during the past century. For instance, you may have to look for your document in Budapest if it was produced before 1919 or between 1940 and 1944.   

Since these archives are most often located in the city centres, cafeterias, restaurants, motels, hotels, etc. are usually located in the vicinity of the archives.  


How to apply for classified files: For former Securitate dossiers you must file a request with the Consiliul National pentru Studierea Arhivelor fostei Securitati. Check their website for further information http://www.cnsas.ro, or contact them directly at office@cnsas.ro. The regional archives won’t hold such Securitate dossiers; they have all been transported to Bucharest after 1989. 

Classified documents (if there are any in these regional archives) are not listed in the reference information catalogues, so you will most probably not even be aware of them.

Some collections may not have been “processed” yet, and are therefore not accessible. For instance, the papers of the Sibiu prefect’s office produced between 1919 and 1946 have not yet been released for this reason. They are not classified, but they won’t release them until they catalogue them, etc. Considering the number of staff they have, I guess I will see those documents in a decade or two. At least, this is what I have been told by an archivist in the Sibiu archive.

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