It doesn’t have the mystery of Sighisoara nor the cosmopolite air of Bucharest but, somehow, as soon as you get here, you can feel de good vibe of the city surrounding you immediately. The city claims to have been built on seven hills like the famous Rome and also, it is known as the city of the beginnings. So, visiting Iasi will mean, in fact, visiting the city where several Romanian historical events first happened, like the first published Romanian philosophical paper (1698) or where the first museum (1834), theatre (1840), Botanical Garden (1856), university (1860) and memorial house (1918) were opened to the public. And, as a bonus, you should also know that this is the place where Avram Goldfaden founded in 1876 the first Hebrew Theatre in the world.
With so many cultural institutions, it’s no wonder that Iasi is also called the cultural capital of Moldavia and I dare say, of the entire Romania. Many historians, novelists, poets, painters and other men of culture left their mark on the city. Apparently there is quite a strong nostalgic feeling about those old times. You will understand this better by visiting Iasi accompanied by a guide as it’s a bit difficult to understand the city otherwise. Unfortunately, the city’s look changed drastically over the last one hundred years, due to both World War bombardments and the communist regime, when several old buildings were destroyed to make room for flats, hotels and new streets. So don’t expect Iasi to impress you from the start and allow yourself at least a couple of hours to listen to the city’s stories and legends, and then, I guarantee you will forever fall in love with Iasi.
Important highlights from Iasi
1. Palace of Culture Iasi
Once you get here, you must absolutely visit the Palace of Culture, the landmark of the city and one of the most beautiful palace of Romania. With the renovations process that took place almost 8 years, the Palace looks spectacular now more than ever, on the inside and on the outside. It is an impressive museum complex, an architectural masterpiece and besides all that, one of the most important accomplishments of the Gothic style in Romania. Two minutes walk from here is the pedestrian boulevard Steven the Great, an important part of the historical center of Iasi. Here, in a rather small area, you can visit some of the most important tourist attractions of Iasi.
2. Three Hierarchs Church
Another famous tourist attractions of Iasi is Three Hierarchs Church. A unique medieval gem which is said to have been completely covered in gold. The value of worldwide singularity is given by the external decoration, an embroidery of rocks. The Church reflects the aspiration to the Byzantine world, combining traditional structures and forms with precious materials and sumptuous decoration. The ornamentations are varied: deep niches arched beams such as the Oriental models, columns like the ones from the Russian churches, geometric motifs like those from Georgia and Armenia and other decorative elements that combine the Renaissance and Baroque style.
After the 1882 restoration, the original fresco was de-rusted, some fragments are still being kept in the monastery’s museum. Near the Church, there is the Gothic Hall – a religious art museum.
3. Metropolitan Cathedral
On the pedestrian boulevard Steven the Great, you can also find, the Metropolitan Cathedral, place of the largest pilgrimage in Romania as it hosts the relics of Saint Parascheva, the Protector of Moldavia. It is the largest Orthodox Church in Romania built in the Italian Renaissance style. The decorative indoor and outdoor elements are dominated by the Baroque style.
4. Copou Park & Botanical Garden
Copou Park is the oldest public garden from Iasi. Located in an urban forestry named initially “Podu Verde”(Green Bridge) due to its position. It was a way to pass through vineyards, gardens, and orchards. One of the main attractions of the park is represented by 500 years silver linden called Eminescu’s linden tree. The Botanical Garden from Iasi is one of the oldest from Romania. It has an area of 5 hectares, which are cultivated approximately 2,000 species of plants, arranged according to their natural similarities in divisions, orders, and families.
5. The Union Museum
The building is a historical and architectural monument, built between 1800 – 1806 in the neoclassical style. Catargiu house, hosting today the Union Museum, was owned by several noble families over the years. Today the museum exhibits historic pieces from the Revolution of 1848 and the unification of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 (documents, furniture and interior decoration objects, objects that belonged to many personalities of that period)
In Iasi, you can also discover Cetatuia and Galata monasteries. This is just a few of the many other amazing attractions of Iasi, expecting to be visited and admired. So, all these being said, I hope that there is only a matter of time until you will also discover this wonderful city!
Full day tour in Iasi. We were picked up and dropped off at our hotel promptly and as scheduled. The guide, Anca, was knowledgeable and […]
I booked this tour with Rolandia in May 2015. Iasi is a small town, but in our time spent there we did saw the main […]