Iasi is the main urban center of the North-Eastern part of Romania, and was the capital of Moldova during 1564 – 1859. That’s why today it is considered to be the Moldovan part of Romania. It differs from the other parts of the country by the accent and manner the people speak here, but also the cuisine and traditions. It is also the city of youth, because during the academic year around 50,000 students come to study here. The first University in Romania, the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University was founded in Iasi. Today it is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in Romania. If you’re coming to Iasi for the first time, and asking yourself what’s interesting to see here, than let’s begin with exploring the center of the city. The city center of Iasi is mostly concentrated along Stefan cel Mare street, where most of the tourist attractions are located.
Admire the City Hall
The current headquarters of the City Hall is the former building of the Roznovanu Palace. It is located right in the city center, on Stefan cel Mare street. This imposing building was constructed in the 18th century, and then restored by the famous architect Johan Freywald during 1830 – 1833. The neoclassical styled palace was owned by the Rosetti-Roznovanu family, the most powerful and influential family of the Moldovan political arena during that period of time. Then it was the temporary residence of the royal family. This building played a very important role during the First World War, when it became the headquarters of the Cabinet of Ministers, and of political leadership, that had to escape from Bucharest and find a refuge here.
Enjoy a delightful evening at the National Theatre "Vasile Alecsandri"
Being constructed in place of the former City Hall building, the National Theater is considered to be the oldest and most beautiful edifice of this kind in the country. The design of the theatre belongs to the famous Viennese architects, Fellner and Helmer, who also took part in similar constructions in Vienna, Prague, Odessa, and Zurich. The most outstanding part of the theatre, is the curtain painted by the Viennese master M. Lenz in 1896. If you want to admire the curtain, and also some great plays, opera or ballet, then you definitely can opt for spending a delightful evening at the National Theatre “Vasile Alecsandri”.
Get amazed by the beautiful detailing of the Trei Ierarhi Monastery
One of the main attractions of Iasi, and I would even say it’s pure gem, located in the center of the city, is the Trei Ierarhi Monastery. It is the most beautiful building erected between 1637 – 1639 under the regency of Vasile Lupu, the ruler of Moldova. It embodies a true symphony of art and religion. The nowadays appearance of the monastery is the result of restoration works by the architect Andre Lecomte de Nouy. The exterior ornaments, which in the past were gilded, fully cover the edifice. These ornaments are the result of the combination of Turkish, Arabian, Georgian, Armenian, Persian styles, and Romanian architectural motifs. I am sure that you will gaze at this lacing, made in stone, for quite some time.
Near the Trei Ierarhi Monastery there’s the Gothic Hall, which houses a museum of religious art, including objects related to the church.
Discover the treasures of the Palace of Culture
The Palace of Culture was inaugurated in 1926 by Ferdinand de Hohenzollern. It was built by the architect I.D. Berindei, and the construction of the palace lasted two decades. Designed in a flamboyant Gothic style, with the fascinating detailing and heraldic elements in the exterior.
The main tourist attractions of this palace are: the Gothic Hall, where you can admire the mosaic which represents the medieval bestiary, the Hall of Rulers decorated, with the portraits of Moldavian rulers and Romanian kings, and the “Henri Coanda” Hall, the panels of which were made by a great scientist.
Today the Palace of Culture houses “Moldova” National Museum Complex and includes: the Museum of History of Moldova, the Ethnographic Museum of Moldova, and the Museum of Art and Technology “Stefan Procopiu”.
End your day with a shopping tour at Palas Mall
At the end of the day, after visiting all the sights of interest, you can make a well-deserved shopping tour through Palas Mall. This enormous shopping center is located near the Palace of Culture. You can find here almost all of your favorite brands, starting with the budget ones like: Zara, Bershka, H&M, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, and C&A. Then ending with the high fashion brands like: Massimo Dutti, Tommy Hilfiger, Stefanel, L'Occitane, and many others. If you feel tired, you can just rest in one of the cafes or restaurants of this mall, as you have a great variety to choose from!
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