Iaşi (Iassy) the cradle of Romanian civilization in the heart of the historical region of Moldova, is like a true open-air museum placed in a special natural decor. The remarkable buildings (such as the Palace of Culture or the National Theater) along with the religious heritage (of over 50 churches), museums and spectacular old houses, give a peaceful feeling harmoniously combined with the modernism of the city.
The vibrant nightlife confirms the prestige of a university city. The restaurants and cafes here live up to the highest of expectations and you can also enjoy a taste of the local food.
Iaşi can be visited all year round. You can start with a city break but you will definitely want to come back and discover more of this welcoming city.
Set over ancient vestiges that date back to the Cucuteni culture (c. 5 200 to 3 500 BC), Iaşi was actually first mentioned in documents a little over 600 years ago. Capital of the historical region of Moldova for three centuries (1564-1859), its name is connected with the names of great rulers such as Stephen the Great and Alexandru Ioan Cuza.
Iaşi is also the place where many great personalities of Romanian culture have lived and formed such as Mihai Eminescu, Ion Creangă, Mihail Sadoveanu and Mihail Kogălniceanu. Presently, Iaşi is the biggest cultural, academic and economical centre of Moldova and the second largest city in Romania with a population of over 360,000 people. It has over 80,000 students yearly making Iaşi a university centre of excellence.
If this is your first time in Iaşi you could start your visit at the Golden Plateau, the city centre. Here you’ll find many churches such as St. Nicholas Church (1491) and the impressive Trei Ierarhi church, erected by Vasile Lupu (1637-1639) or the Cathedral St. Parascheva.
One of the undisputed landmarks of Iaşi is without a doubt the Palace of Culture. The remarkable building erected in 1926 in the Neoclassical style was built on top of the old Princely Court ruins and is now the main attraction of the historical centre.
After years of renovation several of its halls (the Gothic Hall, the Voivodes Hall or the Henri Coandă Hall) can once again be admired in all their splendor. What is even better, is that the Palace of Culture is home to many museums such as Moldova’s Ethnographic Museum, the History Museum, the Art Museum and the Science and Technical Museum.
In the city centre on Lăpuşneanu street you can visit the Unirii (Union) Museum hosted by a remarkable historical building, a former residence of ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza. Another great building that will definitely catch your eye and that can be visited on request is the Roznovanu Palace, the City Hall residence.
On Simion Bărnuţiu street you’ll discover a little old traditional house which was the home of one of the greatest Romanian writers, Ion Creangă which is now a museum.
Another great experience in Iaşi would be to climb the 120 steps of the 30 m high Golia Tower and admire the stunning view of the city.
Iaşi is a city full of culture and the place to enjoy a play at the National Theater or a great spectacle at the Opera.
The city’s green spaces are not to be ignored either. Don’t miss the romantic Copou Park, the oldest park in the city especially known for its famous 500 year old linden tree called the Linden Tree of Eminescu (Mihai Eminescu was one of Romania’s greatest poets and this was where he wrote some of his best works). And if you enjoy plants and roses you have to visit the Botanical Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the Romania housing over 800 species of roses.
Don’t leave the city without tasting some of its famous dishes such as “poale în brâu” - cheese pies, mamaliga (polenta) and sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls with minced meat).
Iaşi also has a great night life with many night clubs and bars with live music.
If you have time to spare you might want to visit two great attractions located near the city: Cuza Palace in Ruginoasa and Sturdza Castle in Miclăuşeni.
- Visit Lăpușneanu street and its antique shops.
- The National Ceramic Fair “Cucuteni 5000” that takes place each June in Copou Park.
- The St. Parascheva celebrations that happen in October.
- Iaşi is easy to get to by train (Gara Iaşi and Iaşi Nord), airplane (Aeroportul Internaţional Iaşi ) and by car on E85 road (Uckraine- Iaşi - Bacău - Bucharest- Bulgaria).
- You can find a tourist info centre in Unirii Square at no. 12. Opening hours: Monday-Friday between 8:00-17:00.
- The central post office is on Cuza Vodă street. Opening hours: Monday-Friday between 8:00-19:00; Saturday between 9:00 - 13:00.
- You can find various accommodation offers in the city for every budget.