best romania » big cities  » iasiIasi, The historic capital of Moldavia / POP.308,000 (metro: 400,000)


Iasi, Moldavia, Romania

> The Metropolitan Cathedral.
> One of the most beautiful park in Romania: Copou Park.
> Over 70.000 students are located in the city.
> Taste the best wines of Moldavia.
> The Palace of Culture, one of the largest buildings in Romania.

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Iasi is placed in the northern half of Moldavia, close to Prut river, the natural border with Moldova Republic (aka: Bessarebia region).

About Iasi, Moldavia

The economic, cultural and academic centre of Moldavia, Iasi is the capital of the region from 1565 and was the capital of Romania between 1916 and 1918. The city has the oldest Romanian university (over 70,000 students) and University Library, the oldest theatre and the oldest and most famous Botanical Garden in Romania. It is home to more than 50 churches and hosts 5 cultural centres. You can also find an Opera House, the Iasi State Philarmonic, the Tatarasi Atheneum, an array of museums and an independent theater.

The city is surrounded by uplands and woods, featuring beautiful monasteries, vineyards and gardens. In Iasi you will find both simplicity and sophistication; there are still peasants selling fresh produce in the markets, but their kids may have cell phones which cost hundreds of euro. Ancient churches, old European style houses and communist apartment buildings compete for space in this crowded city, which is constantly expanding into the surrounding villages

The city was partially destroyed during WWII, when it became the scene of violent fighting between Romanian-German forces and the advancing Soviet Red Army and. Other buildings in the old city center were demolished during the Communist regime, with Soviet-style blocks of flats built instead. Iasi also figures prominently in Jewish history. Records of Jews exist from the 16th century, and by mid-19th century, the city was at least one-third Jewish. It was the home of the first Sinagogue in Romania and the first-ever Yiddish-language newspaper and first Yidish theater performance in the world. The words of the national anthem of Israel, were written in Iasi.

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Places to visit in Iasi, Romania

Copou Park
...was begun in 1833 at the time when Iasi was actively the capital of Moldavia. It is the oldest and most famous park of Moldavia and a popular destination for youth in heat and the contemplative elderly. Don't put your feet on the benches, you might get a fine.

The Botanical Garden of Iasi
...founded in 1856, it is the first botanical garden in Romania and has an area of over 100 hectares, and more than 10,000 species of plants

The Ciric Park
...located in the north-eastern part of Iasi is another complex featuring the park itself as well as four lakes.

The Palace of Culture
...the 36.000m2 Palace hosts four museums ; it is one of the largest buildings of Romania, was built in 1906 on the old ruins of the Royal Court of Moldavia and was designed in flamboyant neo-Gothic style.

The Metropolitan Cathedral the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina. Locally, this church is called "Metropolia" and contains the remains of "Saint Paraschiva", an important local saint. Be careful not to wear short skirts in this church.

Saint Nicholas church
...the oldest one, built 1291, dating from the reign of Moldavia's most important leader, Stephen the Great (1457-1504)

Golia Monastery
...built in 1564, rebuilt in 1650, is a monumental construction, a monastery in the middle of the city, surrounded by tall walls, with corner turrets, and a 30 m height bell tower.

Trei Ierarhi
...erected in 1635 and adorned with countless gilded carvings on its outer walls and twin towers. The atmosphere inside is musky and friendly, typical of East Orthodox churches

Also see
Other remarkable churches: Galata (1581), St. Sava, Barnovschi (17th century), Cetatuia (the end of the 17th century), Frumoasa (18th century), Barboi (19th century).

The Art Museum
...has the largest art collection in Romania, with more than 8,000 paintings, out of which 1,000 belong to the national and universal patrimony.

The Moldavian History Museum
...offers more than 35,000 objects from various fields.

The Ethnographic Museum of Moldavia
...owns more than 11,000 objects.

The city center is beautiful. Start from Stefan Cel Mare Boulevard; along it you will find the Metropolitan Church, the Trei Ierarhi Church, the Palace of Culture and the National Theatre. During the weekends, the boulevard is closed to traffic and the locals flood the area.

Also, it is said that if you throw a rock in Iasi, you will break a church window. Despite the fact that Communism outlawed religion, Iasi is replete with beautiful examples of religious architecture. Some of them are located outside the city but you can easily find buses that can get you there.

Iasi is home to the oldest Romanian modern university, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, opened in 1860. The city is host to five public universities (the Medicine University is the first one in Romania), as well as seven private universities and is widely regarded as the cultural heart of Moldavia.

Iulius Mall and Moldova Mall

Concerts & Festivals in Moldavia

The "Vasile Alecsandri" National Theater
...opened in 1837 is the oldest National Theatre in Romania. The building also hosts the National Romanian Opera Iasi.

"Moldova" State Philharmonic Orchestra of the finest in the country.

St. Paraschiva's celebration
...from 12-16 of October of any year; the city floods with peasants and religious pilgrims from Romania and abroad. On 16th is the official celebration day dedicated to the city; traditional music and the best local wines are waiting for you.

Targul Mestesugarilor where the best craftsmen in the area gather every year. The date is not the same every year but if you're in Iasi when it happens, don't miss it.

Iasi International Film Festivals
...every year at the end of September

NewJazz Festival
...the only jazz festival in Romania focused on NuJazz genre

Romanian Fashion Week may, probably the most important fashion event in Romania

Romania tours

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