Arcalia is one of the oldest settlements of Bistriţa-Năsăud county; it was first mentioned in a document during the first half of the 14th century. It is situated approximately 15 km west from Bistrița and 110 km north-east from Cluj-Napoca, where the Transilvanian Plateau and the hill region that makes the transition towards the Eastern Carpathians mountain range meet. One reaches Arcalia by the Cluj-Napoca – Dej – Bistrita Road and also by the Arcalia train stop.
In 1673 Arcalia was acquired by the noble family Bánffy, and in the next two centuries it was inherited by members of the Bethlen family. At the beginning of 19th century, through the efforts of Count János Bethlen, the Arcalia domain underwent a process of modernization, housing one of the first parks in the English style in Transylvania. A horse breeding farm is set up at this time featuring most famous horse breeds. Around 1880, Béla Bethlen, a descendant of Count János Bethlen, restored the old park, turning it into the dendrological park existing today with a variety of over 150 species of trees and shrubs. The same nobleman also built a castle in the Moorish-Byzantine style, the only one of its kind in Transylvania. The castle and its annexes are located in the eastern part of the park, with a north east-south west orientation. The domain was nationalized in 1949 and turned into a village shop, an agricultural machinery station, then into a camp for pioneers.
Since 1963, the Arcalia domain was taken over by Babeș-Bolyai University. For three decades the Biological and Geological Research Centre functioned here, providing a basis for the summer practice of students. In October 1998, by order of the Minister of National Education, the Regional Centre of the Francophonie was established in Arcalia, under the aegis of Babeș-Bolyai University.
Today the total surface of the property covers 16,5 hectares and consists of a dendrological park and three building complexes:
Two of the rooms can simultaneously use the projection devices: overhead projector and slide projector