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...Forever the traveller and the wanderer, I always found Iaşi to be a restful place to stop by (...). I remember its cheerfulness as being entirely intellectual, presided over by the icon of my literary friends, gathered in debates and readings (...). A day spent in Iaşi was for me a discreet and finely nuanced celebration. In Iaşi I felt closer than elsewhere to the ideal place where everyone would like to spend their life. There was, in this royal city, enveloped in the melancholy of unbearably grand memories, more wit and more worship of all things intellectual than in any other Romanian centre..." (Gala Galaction – "Iasii-as they were")
Iasi is the most important political, economic and cultural centre of Moldavia and one of the oldest cities in Romania. Situated in the North-East of Romania, between the Moldavian Plateau and the Jijia Plain, on the River Bahlui, it used to be the crossroads place of the commercial routes that passed through Moldavia coming from Poland, Hungary, Russia and Constantinopole.
Iasi - Cultural Capital of Romania
"Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University
It is the first university in Romania and it was founded by Al.I.Cuza with the help of Mihail Kogalniceanu, in 1860. The today’s headquarters of the university was inaugurated on 21 October 1897 in the presence of King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth. The building, a mixture of the Classical and Baroque styles, houses the famous “Hall of the Lost Footsteps” where one can admire the works of the painter Sabin Balasa.
The Palace of Culture
The Palace of Culture was built during 1906-1925 and it is the most important creation of the Romanian architect I. D. Berindei. It was inaugurated in 1926 in the presence of King Ferdinand Hohenzollern. The central tower has a clock with three frames, each one of 3,25 m diameter and a carillon that plays the “Hora Unirii”. The building served as headquarters of the Administrative and Justice Palace until 1955. Today it houses four museums: the Moldavian History Museum, the Science and Technology Museum, the Art Museum, the Moldavian Ethnography Museum.
“Mihai Eminescu” Museum
“Mihai Eminescu” Museum is situated in Copou Park and it is dedicated to the great poet’s life and creation. The building has three rooms: the Room of destiny, the Art room and the Friendship’s room. The book collection includes editions of Eminescu’s work from the first editions since recent ones, monographic studies concerning the poet’s life, critical exegesis and translations of Eminescu’s poems in foreign languages. The “Mihai Eminescu”photos collection includes original samples and photocopies of all the photos regarding the life and activity of Eminescu. The museum’s art collection includes paintings, graphics and sculpture referring to Eminescu and his works.
Dosoftei House is a building from the second half of the 17th century in which in 1679, the metropolitan bishop Dosoftei settled the second typography in Moldavia. With three facades, arched and right-angled windows, the edifice was restored between 1966-1969. Here the department of old literature of the Romanian Literature Museum was opened in 1970. Among the important pieces of the museum, we can count: a Slavonian manuscript from the 14th century (1350-1380), a Missal printed by Macarie in 1508 (the first Romanian printing), the oldest copies of the Moldavia’s Chronicles written by Grigore Ureche and Miron Costin, the Homily of the metropolitan bishop Varlaam (the first printing in Moldavia), the Psalter (1673) of the metropolitan bishop Dosoftei and a 1682 Gospel of the same bishop.
The Union Musem
It houses the Romanian Literature Museum in Iasi. The edifice was built in 1850 by the High Steward Vasile Pogor and his wife, Zoe.
Ion Creanga ”Cottage”
It is the first memorial literature museum in Romania, inaugurated in April 1918. Here the great writer Ion Creanga lived between 1872-1889 and here he wrote his entire work. It has two rooms and a vestibule and contains Creanga’s writing materials and personal effects. Between 1984-1989, in the garden, a small amphitheatre was built for the celebration of traditional customs.
”Mihail Sadoveanu” Memorial House
Churches & Monasteries
The Metropolitan Cathedral
Bishop Veniamin Costache is the one who had the idea of building in Iasi a monumental church. The plan for this church was designed by the architects Johann Freywald and Bucher. The works took place first between 1833-1839 and then between 1880-1887, this time following the plans of the Romanian architect, Alexandru Orascu. The painting of the cathedral was done by Gheorghe Tattarescu.
Barboi Church was built between 1841-1844 on the foundation of an old church dating from 1615. The Byzantine interior was built from rock and brick. The portico, held by Doric columns, is created in Classical style, while the spire presents neo-Gothic Roman elements. Because of its form and dimensions, Barboi Church is the Moldavian replica of some similar buildings on Mount Athos.
Old foundation from the 16 century of chancellor Ioan Golia, the church was restored at other dimensions by sovereign Vasile Lupu between 1650-1653 and finished by his son, Stefanita Voda.
Cetatuia Monastery was built by sovereign Gheorghe Duca between 1669-1672. At the beginning, the church was surrounded by high rock walls, with bulwarks and a guard road, entrance and corner towers.
"Three Hierarchs" Monastery
“Three Hierarchs” Monastery is the most beautiful foundation of sovereign of Vasile Lupu, prince of Moldavia, built between 1637-1639.
The church was built between 1579-1584 by prince Petre Schiopul. The first church of the monastery was ruined after a short time, this fact determining the founder to build a second church on the hill dominating Nicolina river valley, in 1583. As regards the name of the monastery, some historians believe that it comes from the name of Galata neighbourhood in Constantinople. The interior painting was destroyed in 1762 during a blaze and it was repainted in 1811 by Vasile Dubrovski. The palace founded by Petru Schiopu was kept in the monastery’s precinct in a good form after the restoration.
The Great Synagogue
It was built between 1659-1670, is the oldest of Jewish praying houses in Romania. If in exterior it is very simple, without any decorations, the interior is as sophisticated as possible, decorated and gifted with valuable objects: chandeliers, candlesticks.
The Catholic Cathedral
The building of the old cathedral was first built from wood in 1753, on the place of an older church. Between 1782-1789, the church was rebuilt from brick and it remained so until these days. By the time, it suffered some restoration works, especially after the 1802’s earthquake and the blaze in 1827. In 1861, at the initiative of bishop Iosif Salandri, some new works of restoration and extension were made and the interior of the church was painted by Giuseppe Carta from Palermo. White marble altars and via cruces icons were also brought. Today, near the old cathedral, one can see a new church, a very modern building, circular and which has in its central part an oblong spire finished by a cross.
The Armenian Church
A true historical monument, this church testifies the existence of an important Armenian community in these parts of Romania. Restored in 1803, this halidom lodges an array of rocks with inscriptions, one of them certifying the beginnings of the building in 1385 by Macar. In 1451 the church was endowed with a Gospel written and illustrated in Caffa from Crimeea, 100 years before.
"Vasile Alecsandri" National Theatre
It was built between 1894-1896 by the well-known Viennese architects, Fellner and Helmer. In 1956 when they celebrated 140 years since the first performance in Romanian, the theatre in Iasi received the name of the great poet, playwright and man of culture Vasile Alecsandri (1821-1890). Today, this architectural jewel houses also the Romanian Iasi Opera.
The edifice was built between 1930-1934 by the architect Constantin Jotzu. Initially the building had to be the headquarters of the University Foundation Ferdinand I Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King of Romania between 1914-1927. On of September 1945 it became the Central The interior of the building is made by Carrara marble and Venetian mosaic and the exterior is adorned with Ionic columns.
Parks and gardens
Founded in 1856 by the doctor and naturalist Anastasie Fatu, great patriot man of culture, it is the first botanical gardens in Romania. During that time it had several locations, but in 1963 was moved to its present headquarters, on Copou Hill.
In 1834 Prince Mihail Sturdza decided to build the first public garden in Iasi, permitting access of all the inhabitants of the city. The garden was enlarged in 1849 and then in 1852, and in 1860 street lamps were installed here for the first time. The oldest monument in Romania, the Obelisk of the Lions, stands in the middle of the park. It was created by Mihail Singurov in 1834. On “Junimea” alley, bronze busts of the members of this well-known cultural organisation in Iasi can be admired.
Roznovanu Palace (The City Hall)
Roznovanu Palace is the former residence of the Rosetti-Roznovanu family, built at the initiative of Iordache Neculai Roznovanu. It was inaugurated cu mare fast on 23rd April 1832 and at that time it was considered the most beautiful building in Iasi.
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi