Discover Iaşi

About Iaşi

“…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

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 Tăttărescu.
It was inaugurated on 23April 1887, at this event also taking part King Carol I and Bishop Iosif Naniescu.

In 1889 the relics of Saint Parascheva were brought from Three Hierarchs Church to the new cathedral.

More details about all the churches and monasteries in Iasi can be found here.

The Palace of Culture

The Palace of Culture, acknowledged as the effigy of the city of Iasi, was built in Neogothic style and as such was one of the last expressions of Romanticism in the official architecture.

Although it was not built on top of ancient foundations, as people thought at the beginning of the XX-th century, the Palace was partly built on top of ruins of the Medieval princely courts, mentioned in a document from 1434. The edifice was built between 1906 and 1925, and is the most outstanding work of Romanian architect I.D. Berindei, who was trained at the Parisian School.

In spite of its archaic-looking design, the Palace was designed to integrate modern materials and technologies. Thus, the stone blocks were replaced with lighter and much cheaper materials. Besides, some rooms were decorated using a special material licensed by Henri Coanda, under the name of bois-cement, oak wood. Decorative ironmongery elements are also remarkable and they can be admired for instance on the doors of Voivod Hall.

The building was also equipped with high-tech facilities during those times, such as electric lighting, (pneumatic) heating, a ventilation system, thermostat, vacuum cleaners, which were all directed from the machinery room, at the basement level.

The building, inaugurated on October 11, 1925, served as the Palace of Justice until 1955, when its destination was changed, being assigned to the museums nowadays united under the name of Moldova National Museum Complex of Iasi, which houses 4 museums:

– Moldova’s History Museum

– “Stefan Procopiu” Science and Technique Museum

– The Art Museum

– The Ethnographic Museum of Moldova

More details here.

"Vasile Alecsandri" National Theatre

It was built between 1894-1896, by the well-known Viennese architects, Fellner and Helmer.
In 1956, when celebrating 140 years since the first performance in Romanian language, 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 National Iasi Opera.

More details here.

"Moldova" State Philharmonic Iasi

“Moldova” State Philharmonic, an institution with permanent artistic activity, held its inaugural concert on October 9, 1942, conducted by George Enescu.

This building, which initially belonged to the treasurer Alecu Bals, was built around 1815, in neoclassic style, typical for the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Later, the building hosted the Sacré Coeur French Institute for nuns of the Notre Dame de Sion Congregation.

More details here.

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 on 23rd April 1832 and at that time it was considered the most beautiful building in Iasi.
The master of the palace had 3 wives. The last of them, Maria, was the one that opened the gates of the palace for musicians and literates.
Here George Enescu and Haricleea Darcle had concerts, also here Mihai Eminescu lectured his poems. The dance parties offered by lady Marghiolita were famous in the whole region.
In 1891, Vasile Pogor buys the palace from the Roznovanu family and establishes the headquarters of the City Hall.
During 1893-1894, the building undergoes several changes (an additional storey is built and the chapel is demolished) and it becomes for a short time the residence of the royal family (Prince Ferdinand and Princess Maria).
During World War I (1916 – 1918), the Roznovanu Palace hosted the headquarters of the ministries and the political leaders refugees from Bucharest. In 1918, the Romanian War Council met in the present Conference Hall of the Local Council.
The building was restored after the fire in 1958, which destroyed almost completely the second floor and most of the ornaments on the first floor.
The administrative leadership of the city moves to the present headquarters again in 1969.
Today, in the former dance room of the Roznovanu family, the meetings of the Local Council are held, as well as other events of the City Hall.

More details here.

"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.

Among the most famous graduates of the university, we can point out Grigore Cobalcescu, Petru Poni, Alexandru Philippide, Alexandru D.Xenopol, Dragomir Hurmuzescu, Alexandru Miller, Octav Mayer, Gheorghe Bratianu, Grigore T. Popa, Gheorghe Platon, Alexandru Zub.

More details here.

"GrigoreT. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy

The central building of the actual “Gr.T. Popa” University of Medicine and Pharmacy was the initial headquarters of the first university in Romania.

The history of the building: it was built in 1760, by Matei Cantacuzino; it was renovated later (the actual aspect dating since 1848); in 1960 became the headquarters of the Romanian Academy, Iasi subsidiary; near the palace, built in the 18-th century, it was constructed another building and near this one, there is the Anatomy Institute (built in 1894 – 1900, by the architect Emilian Stefan, of neo-Greek style, with a frontispiece representing an “anatomy lesson” – author W. Hegel). In addition to the Faculty of Medicine, founded in 1879, the area of medical studies expanded, by the Faculty of Stomatology and the Faculty of Pharmacy, in a modern building. In front of the university, there is a part of the old palace wall, with a vault door, called “the hope gate”.

In front of the ”Gr.T. Popa” Univ. of Medicine and Pharmacy one can admire the the Monument of the Great Union of 1918, which was inaugurated in 1999.

More details here.

The Central University Library "Mihai Eminescu"

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 1-st of September 1945 it became the Central University Library.

The interior of the building is made by Carrara marble and Venetian mosaic and the exterior is adorned with Ionic columns.

More details here.

Copou Park

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 organization in Iasi can be admired.

More details here.