Galaţi, the old port at the Danube, was considered in the early ‘30s the most European city in Romania. Today its fascinating urban architecture highlights the strong connection with the ancient Danube river.
Medieval elements, although not many, excel in beauty and balance (the Precista Fortified Church), and a stroll through the old city centre will transport you back to the noisy old trading days. Numerous historic buildings that are real architectural treasures, such as the impressive University building, Episcopal Palace on the Lower Danube or the Fluvial Train Station, alongside parks and gardens that complete the bohemian atmosphere, contribute to the dynamic of this metropolis on the Danube.
Owing to the fascinating history reflected in its many buildings, interesting museums and picturesque landscapes, Galaţi is a perfect destination for a city break.
Found in the southernmost corner of the Moldavia region, in the proximity to where the Prut and Siret rivers flow into the Danube, Galaţi has, since ancient times, had the advantage of its geographical positioning. First mentioned in the 15th century as the only port to the Danube in the Moldavia region, Galaţi had its true economic heyday in the 17th century sustained by its status as a porto-franco (free port). Today it has a population of approximately 300,000 and is one of the largest cities in Romania as well as an important economic and cultural centre in the south-east.
The economic boom of yesteryear has left its mark on the architecture of the city and it’s enough just to walk down the Domnească Street to admire the many old buildings of the historical centre. Newer buildings like the University building, Prefecture and County Council building, designed by the great Romanian architect Ion Mincu, are also impressive.
When taking a walk through the city centre don’t hesitate to relax in Enescu Park. Near it you can visit one of the cities symbolic buildings, the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Memorial House, the first ruler of the modern Romanian state. Walking down Domnească Street you’ll be impressed by the Dramatic Theater’s building and the Episcopal Catedral. A little further down the street you’ll find the Episcopal Palace “Dunărea de Jos” that today houses the Lower Danube Museum of History, Culture and Christianity. You can also take a walk and relax in the Public Garden opposite the building.
From the old centre you can easily guide yourself towards Danube’s Waterfront, but first we recommend you to visit the city’s oldest monument, the Fortified Church of Precista, over four centuries old and founded by the ruler Vasile Lupu. It would also be a pity to miss the Navigations Palace or the Fluvial Station, places that give you an idea of the importance of the fluvial transport and commerce the city identifies itself with.
One of the places most loved by locals is the Danube’s Waterfront. The park stretches over 30 hectares and is by far the most popular place for numerous recreational activities, a fact most evident on the weekends when the place is teeming with life. You can also have a cup of coffee or lunch at one of the many bridge-like restaurants specializing in fish based dishes. Apart from being a popular relaxation spot, the waterfront is also a place for shows and year round or temporary open air exhibitions. An example of this are the metal sculptures that were placed here over thirty years ago.
Heading in the direction of the crossing point of the Danube with the ferry dock towards Dobrogea and going up the first terrace of the Danube, you can discover the Natural Sciences Museum Complex that includes the Botanical Garden, Aquarium and the Observatory, the biggest and most modern public observatory in Romania. As a plus, a stroll along the lanes of the Botanical Garden offers a beautiful panorama over the old river, and in nice weather you can have a glimpse of the Măcin Mountains.
Another interesting place to visit is the Television Tower. Standing at an approximate height of 150 meters, it’s a perfect place for a birds-eye view of the entire city and its surroundings.
- Have your lunch at high altitude in the Television Tower, the highest restaurant in Romania and the 5th highest in the world.
- Try traditional fish dishes such as fish marinated in brine (“saramura”), grilled pontic shad (“scrumbia”) or fish borscht served in one of the Danube’s Waterfront restaurants.
- On the Danube’s Waterfront each spring in the month of April, the appetizing Festival of the Pontic Shad (Scrumbia) is held.
- Getting to Galaţi by car can be done on national routes DN24, DN 25, DN 26 şi DN 2B (Galaţi - Brăila - Buzău).
- Galaţi is connected by train to all the big cities in Moldavia, Muntenia and other regions.
- From Galaţi you can take the ferry to Dobrogea region to I.C. Brătianu locality in Tulcea county.
- Galaţi is also a frontier city with customs points at Giurgiuleşti and Oancea, where you can get to Bessarabia.
- The closest airport is in Bucharest.
- The central Post Office is located at 6 Lahovary I. Gen. Street. Schedule: Monday-Friday 8:00-19:00, Saturday 9:00-13:00.