Iasi General Information
Location: Eastern Romania (Iasi county)
Size: 37 sq. miles (96 sq. kilometers)
Elevation: 312 ft. (105 meters)
Inhabited since: 400 BC
First documented: 1387 AD
Iasi is the most important political, economic and cultural centre of the province of Moldavia as well as one of the oldest cities in Romania. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Iasi was for many centuries the crossing point of the most important commercial routes linking Poland, Hungary, Russia and Constantinople.
Deeply rooted in history, Iasi has been the main centre of Moldavian culture, since late 1300s. The city prides itself with being the place in which the first Romanian newspaper has been published. Iasi is also the home of the first Romanian university and is - during the present time - the second-largest university centre in Romania.
Over the past 600 years, history, culture and religious life have molded the city's unique character.
Iasi boasts an impressive number of Orthodox churches, over 100, many of them located in its central area called Golden Plateau (Platoul de Aur). The oldest, Saint Nicholas Princely Church, dates from the time of the region's greatest rulers, prince Stephen the Great (Ștefan cel Mare) who reigned from 1457 until 1504. The most spectacular churches, however, are the 17th century Saint Parascheva Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedrala Mitropolitană Sfânta Parascheva) and the Three Holy Hierarchs Church (Biserica Trei Ierarhi), both very fine examples of Byzantine art. The intricately carved outer walls of Three Hierarchs Church make many visitors think of a stone lace.
Iași is one of the very few cities in the Orthodox world which is home to more than 100 churches.
In 1565, Iași became the capital of the region of Moldavia (Eastern Romania)
and - for a short period of time (1859 – 1862) - the capital of Romania.
The Golden Plateau represents the nucleus of the city, around which the entire settlement developed over the centuries.
With the Palace of Culture (Palatul Culturii) at one end and the Union Square (Piata Unirii) at the other, the Golden Plateau features administrative buildings, historic churches, palaces and mansions.
Many other important sites and points of interest can be found in the immediate vicinity of the Golden Plateau.
Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt 1
This remarkable construction (1906-1925), built in flamboyant neogothic style, stands partly on the ruins of a medieval royal court mentioned in documents dating from 1434. Today, the 365-room palace houses the Gheorghe Asachi Library and four of the city's museums: the Region of Moldavian History Museum, the Iasi Ethnography Museum, Iasi Museum of Artand the Museum of Science and Technology.
Iasi Palace of Culture Museums Info
The main lobby of Iasi Palace of Culture, its lavish furnishings and magnificent staircase, can be admired free of charge; tickets are required to visit the museums.
Address: Blvd. Stefan cel Mare si Sfant 46
Open: Mon. - Sun.: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Built in Italian Renaissance style, the St. Paraschiva Metropolitan Cathedral is the largest Orthodox church in Romania. Construction began in 1833 and ended in 1839, but its cupolas fell and the church remained in ruins until 1880, when, with the help of the Foundation of King Carol I, work started again, lasting until 1888. The vast interior was painted in 1887 by Gheorghe Tattarescu and the stained glass windows were completed by a Bavarian factory in Munich.
In 1639, Prince Vasile Lupu spent the entire budget of the Principate of Moldova for the following year and a half to acquire the relics of St. Parascheva from Constantinopole. The relics have been moved to the Mitropolitan Cathedral in 1889 after a fire damaged the Trei Ierarchi Church where they had originally been placed.
The cathedral still uses one of the original bells in its northeast spire. Inside the bell, an inscription says it was made from four cannons captured from the Turkish army in the War of 1828-1829. Nearby stands the 18th century Old Mitropolitan Church of St. George (Biserica Sfantul Gheorghe).
Every October 14, pilgrims from all corners of Romania and neighboring countries flock to Iasi to kneel before the blue and gold bier containing the relics of Saint Paraschiva, the patron saint of the cathedral.
Address: Str. Stefan cel Mare 62
Open: Daily 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The Church of the Three Hierarchs (constructed 1637 - 1639) is highlighted
as a must-see in every guidebook.
Nothing can prepare you, though, for its stunning ornate decoration: the entire exterior of the church is covered in delicate and intricate patterns sculpted into the stone and spread over 30 friezes. This "stone embroidery" is a mixture of western gothic, Renaissance and Oriental motifs.
Legend has it that the exterior was covered in gold, silver and lapis lazuli but centuries ago, when the Ottoman Empire tried to conquer Moldavia, the invaders sat the church on fire and melted all the gold.
The original interior paintings were completed by Russian artists sent to Iasi by the Tsar. In 1882, the frescoes were removed when French architect Lecomte de Nouy set about redesigning the interior after several fires and six earthquakes damaged the structure. Original fragments of the frescoes are still preserved in the nearby Gothic Hall museum (Open: Tue.-Sun. 10am - 4pm. Admission charge).
The interior boasts the tombs of a number of famous Romanians, including the founder of this church, Vasile Lupu, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, and Prince Dimitrie Cantemir. In 1994, the church reopened as a monastery. The three patron saints (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Crysostom) are celebrated here on January 30.
Roznoveanu Palace - Iași City Hall
Palatul Rozvoneanu - Primaria Municipiului Iasi
Address: Blvd. Stefan cel Mare si Sfant 45
This neoclassical Viennese-style palace was built in 1832 to the design of Gustav Frey Wald. Its façade was decorated with marble statues of mythological characters such as Diana and Apollo and it was said to be grander than all other mansions in Iasi. The palace burned down in 1844 and was rebuilt by judge Nicolae Rosetti Rozvaneanu, born in a very wealthy family. In 1891, the building became the City Hall but two years later, was transformed into a royal residence. Today, it once again serves as the City Hall.
Alexandru Balș House - "Moldova" Philharmonic (Casa Alexandru Balș - Filarmonica Moldova)
Address: Str. Arcu 13
Commisioned Moldavian boyar Alexandru Balș, this impressive structure was inaugurated in 1815 and became the venue of choice for theatre performances in the city of Iasi. On January 18, 1847, the famous composer, Franz Liszt, played here. In 1868, Monsignor Salandarie founded the Catholic Institute here, enlarging the building and adding a spacious extension, which today, is home of Moldova Philharmonic Orchestra. The old building houses now the George Enescu Conservatoire.
National Theatre (Teatrul Național Vasile Alecsandri)
Address: Str. Agatha Bârsescu 18
Built in the late 19th century on the site of the old City Hall, this is one of the most elegant buildings in Romania. The architects were the Viennese Feller and Helmer who later built theatres in Cernauti and Sofia. Richly decorated in French-eclectic style, the theatre has one of the most splendid auditoriums in the country. It can seat 1,000 people and the acoustics are excellent. The theatre bears the name of the company's founder, Vasile Alecsandri (1821-1890), a renowned Romanian poet, playwright, politician and diplomat.
Traian Hotel (Hotelul Traian - Iași)
Address: Piata Unirii 1
Built in neoclassical style in 1879 by an engineer, G. Fragneau, who worked with Gustave Eiffel & Co. in Paris (yes, the Eiffel who designed the Eiffel Tower), the hotel was one of the first in Europe to be molded on a metal frame. Throughout the years, many foreign diplomats and other personalities have stayed at the Traian hotel.
In 1934, Greta Garbo spent some time here in secret during her love affair with John Gilbert.
Location: Opposite to Copou Park and Alexandru Ioa Cuza University
Visitors interested in local architecture and quaint streets will enjoy a stroll in this old residential quarter spread out over the hilly side of Iasi, with vine-choked houses and sleepy roads. Stroll along the peaceful Dimitrie Ralet, Lascar Catargiu and Vasile Conta Streets to reach Piata Mihai Eminescu. From there, take the scenic route along Strada Lapusneanu, Piata Unirii and Strada Cuza Voda.
Banu Church (Biserica Banu)
Address: Str. Banu 9
Banu Church (built in 1705; rebuilt in 1799) is an interesting example of urban architecture that combines Baroque and Classicism.
Inspired after Palazzo Ducale in Venice (Italy),
Iași Train Station is the most representative Venetian-Gothic structure in Romania.
Iasi - cultural breeding ground
The beginnings of higher education in Iasi date from the reign of voivode Vasile Lupu (1634-1653) who, in 1634, founded an academy (Academia Vasiliana) at the Three Hierarchs Monastery.
In 1707, the Academy of the Principate of Moldova was established in one of the buildings attached to the Metropolitan Cathedral. The institution was closed down by the Ottomans after the Greek Revolution of 1821 and, reopened - seven years later - under the name of The Vasilian Gymnasium. In 1835, it was renamed the Mihailean Academy and had three sections: Philosophy, Law and Theology, as well as two special courses, Polytechnic Sciences and Economy.
In 1860, prince Alexander Ioan Cuza founded the University of Iasi. Today, The University of Iasi is comprised of 26 colleges and eight research institutes of the Romanian Academy.
The Old Iasi University (Vechea Universitate a Iașiului)
Address: Blvd. Independentei 35
Commissioned in 1760, by prince Ioan Cantacuzino, the Old University Palace was badly damaged during a fire in 1795. Renovated and converted into a royal residence. The stone arch in front of the palace dates from this period. The upper part of the arch features the coat of arms of the principate of Moldova and an inscription (in Cyrillic alphabet) spelling out the words Gate of Hope. In 1860, the building became home to the newly established University of Iasi and to the first public art collection in the country. Today, it houses the Medicine and Pharmacy College.
Iasi University - Copou Hill (Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza)
Address: Blvd. Carol I nr. 11
The main university building was built between 1893 and 1897 on the site of the Great Theatre which had burned down. The Hall of the University, known as The Hall of the Lost Footsteps, served as a parliamentary debating chamber between 1917 and 1918. In 1967, Romanian painter Sabin Balasa covered the arcades with a series of strongly romanticized frescoes.
Central University Library (Biblioteca Centrală Universitară Mihai Eminescu)
Address: Str. Pacurari 4
Located at the base of Copou Hill, this triangular building with Doric columns and a spectacular cupola was built between 1930 and 1935 to serve as the headquarters of King Ferdinand's Cultural Foundation. The building was decorated with Carrara marble and Venetian mosaics. By 1945, the library of King Ferdinand's Cultural Foundation had become one of the biggest in the country with more than 300,000 volumes. The library is still the largest in Moldavia and home to a great number of manuscripts and old books from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
Address: Str. Cuza Voda 51
Open: daily from sunrise to sunset
The unusual name of the monastery came from Moldavian Chancellor Ioan Golai who founded it in 1564. The church was rebuilt in 1650 by Vasile Lupu who employed Italian master craftsmen. The compound's walls and towers were added in 1667. While the exterior walls show Renaissance influence, mainly with their Corinthian pilasters, the interior features vibrant Byzantine frescoes and intricately carved doorways. The upper part of the church seems to belong to another edifice. It was built during the rein of Stefanita Lupu, son of Vasile Lupu, who found inspiration in Russian architecture. However, this section collapsed during a 1738 earthquake and was rebuilt in baroque style by the Phanariot ruler, Constantin Mavrocordat. The monastery was visited by Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, in 1711. It also served for a short period of time as the burial place for the viscera of Prince Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, Catherine the Great's favorite. Climbing the 102 steps to the monastery's "Golia Tower" offers visitors a magnificent bird's-eye view of the city.
The Princely Saint Nicholas Church (Biserica Sfântul Nicolae Domnesc)
Address: Str. Anastasie Panu 65, Iasi
Open: daily 8 a.m. to sunset
The oldest church in Iasi, Saint Nicholas Church was founded by Stefan cel Mare in 1492. Situated near the princely court, the church was for centuries the place where Moldavian rulers were anointed, therefore, gaining its "royal" status. Restored by Prince Antonie Roset in 1677, it was completely renovated by the French architect Andre Lecomte du Nouy between 1885 and 1897.
Jewish merchants from Poland settled in Iasi area beginning the 15th century and their numbers swelled with further waves of Russian-Jewish and Galician-Jewish immigration into Moldova. By 1930, there were over 30,000 Jews in Iasi and some 127 synagogues.
In the 19th century, Iasi was one of the great Eastern European centres of Jewish learning, famous for its scholarly rabbis, intellectuals and skilled craftsmen, as well as for its Jewish schools, hospitals and publications. In 1855, the city became the home of the first-ever Yiddish-language newspaper, Korot Haitim, and the birthplace of the Israeli national anthem. The world's first professional Yiddish-language theatre was opened here in 1876 by Avram Goldfaden, who later founded New York's first Jewish theatre. From 1949 to 1964, Iasi was also home to a second company of the State Jewish Theatre. During the early years of World War II, Iasi was the scene of a pogrom by the Iron Guard, a nationalist Fascist organization. Unfortunately many Jewis were killed or deported then. A monument to the victims of the 1941 pogrom was erected outside the Great Synagogue. Today, only two synagogues remain open.
Address: Str. Sinagogilor 7
The Great Synagogue of Iasi is the oldest surviving Jewish prayer house in Romania and the second oldest synagogue in Europe. It was founded in 1670, reportedly at the initiative of Rabbi Nathan (Nata) ben Moses Hannover, religious leader of Iasi's Jewish community in the 1660s and author of Yeven. Mezullah. Located on Synagogues Street (so dubbed because of the many synagogues once found here) in the old Jewish neighborhood of Targu Cucului, the synagogue was built in an eclectic style with strong late baroque influences. Since its foundation in the second half of the 17th century, the Great Synagogue has undergone a number of major renovations.
Although called "the great," the size of the synagogue is actually quite modest. The main floor is located below street level in keeping with a widespread tradition found in many Central and Eastern European synagogues. Jewish religious tradition requires that synagogues should be the highest buildings in their neighborhoods but because Jews were not permitted to build high structures for their prayer houses, lowering the floor of synagogues represented an ingenious compromise between the two demands by creating an interior that is higher than the exterior elevation of the building. It also serves as a reminder of Psalm 130 ("de profundis"): "Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, o Lord".
Recognized as a historic monument, today, the Great Synagogue continues to serve the Jewish community of Iasi.
Iasi Great Synagogue more info
Iasi Jewish Cemetery (Cimitirul Evreiesc Iași)
Address: Sos. Pacurari
(public transport: bus and trolleybus from Piata Eminescu)
Iasi Jewish Cemetery is located just outside the city, on Dealul Munteni (Munteni Hill). Over 100,000 graves, some dating from the early 1800s, stretch across the hillside;
burial records from 1915 to the present day and are kept at the Jewish Community Centre.
Jewish Community of Iasi (Comunitatea Evreiască din Iași)
1. Moldova Region Ethnography Museum (Muzeul Etnografic al Moldovei)
The Moldavian Ethnographic Museum is one of the oldest and largest in the country. Encompassing 16 rooms, the items displayed cover every aspect of traditional Moldavian life, featuring agricultural and hunting tools, woodwork, traditional pottery, painted eggs and a large collection of textiles and dyed carpets embroidered with traditional (birds and plants) motifs. One room exhibits winter customs items, including masks representing the bear, the goat and other characters of traditional New Year's festivities. The collection of wooden machinery is impressive with 19th century tree-size oil and wine presses.
2. Art Museum Iasi (Muzeul de Artă - Iași)
The art collection began with a set of oil paintings purchased at a Parisian auction in 1845. The official opening took place in 1860 at the Old University Palace and in 1955, the museum moved to its current location in the Palace of Culture. An excellent collection of Romanian paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries vividly illustrates Moldavian rural life and its landscape. Nicolae Grigorescu's Car cu Boi (Ox Cart), Theodor Amann's Hora de peste Olt (The Village Dance) and Octav Bancila's Batran Croitor (Old Jewish Tailor) are some of the collection's highlights.
In the rooms dedicated to European art, there are paintings by Murillo, Philippe de Champaigne, Paolo Veronese and a Rubens, Cezar Receiving Pompey's Head. Additionally, you'll find works by foreign artists who lived and worked in Iasi such as Schiavonim Livaditii and Stavscki. The sculpture collection includes pieces by national artists such as Oscar Han, Cornel Medrea, Ion Jalea and Ion Irimescu.
3. Region of Moldova History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie al Moldovei)
Opened in 1955, Region of Moldova History Museum exhibits over 35,000 objects spanning the centuries from 70,000 B.C. until 1946. Among the items on display are Cucuteni (a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture) ceramics. The museum also houses the vaulted King's Room (Sala Voievozilor), a gallery of medallion-shaped portraits depicting Moldavian sovereigns from 81 A.D. to the Hohenzollern kings.
4. Science and Technology Museum - "Stefan Procopiu" (Muzeul Științei și Tehnicii)
Radio, television, recording and broadcasting buffs will enjoy the exhibits displayed in this museum. The last section features a superb collection of musical instruments: unique Romanian music boxes, mechanical accordions and an automated orchestra with three violins and a piano.
Natural History Museum (Muzeul de Științe ale Naturii - Casa Roset)
Address: Blvd. Independentei 16
Tel: (+4) 0232 201.339
Open: Tue. - Sat. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Moldavian Society of Physics and Biology offeres access to their collections, to the public, since 1834. Today, the museum features 50,000 exhibits, illustrating fauna from around the world, and is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. A special section is dedicated to Moldavian geology. Apart from its minerals, the museum also has a collection of prehistoric fossils containing fragments of mammoth, cave bear and rhinoceros.
Iasi Natural History Museum - the first of its kind in Romania - is housed in the 18th-century Roset House, where - in 1859 - local politicians decided to support army colonel Alexandru Ioan Cuza to become the Prince of Moldova.
House of Museums (Casa Muzeelor Iași)
Address: Str. Vasile Alecsandri 6
Tel: (+4) 0747 499.400
Open: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Tue. - Sun.)
Casa Muzeelor is home to five museums including Museum of Romanian Literature (Muzeul Literaturii Romane) and Museum of the First Jewish Teathre in the World (Muzeul Teatrului Evreiesc).
Costumes worn by well-known actors of the time, original documents, playbills and posters, as well as personal artifacts and memorabilia donated by various artists document the rich history of theatre in Iasi.
Copou Park (Grădina Copou)
Location: two miles north of Palace of Culture
Open: Mon. - Sun.: 8 a.m. - sunset
In 1943, after a storm almost brought it down, the tree was encircled with metal bands. Ten years later, its hollow center was filled with cement. In 1991, when the bands were cut off and the heavy filling removed, people noticed that the tree had live roots growing inside the hollow centre.
Allegedly, it was here, under his favorite linden tree, that the Romanian National Poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), wrote some of his best work. The tree stands to this day and a bronze bust of the poet has been placed next to it.
Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică Anastasie Fătu)
Address: Str. Dumbrava Rosie 7 - 9
Tel: (+4) 0232 201.373
Open: Daily 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Dating from 1856 and covering some 250 acres, Iasi's Botanical Garden is the oldest and largest in Romania An educational and scientific laboratory, the garden houses a precious and rich collection of trees and plants. It also offers numerous shady lanes to explore, rose and orchid gardens, a collection of tropical plants, cacti, carnivorous plants, natural springs and a lake.
The Hillside Monasteries
Perched on the surrounding hilltops in the Niculina district are three of the city's most serene monasteries: Cetatuia, Frumoasa and Galata. Entry into Iasi, from the south, is through the valley guarded by these three monasteries.
Cetatuia Monastery (Mănăstirea Cetățuia)
Address: Str. Cetatuia 2
Open: daily 8 a.m. - sunset
Located on a vast plateau, accessible from the city by road or a brave foot climb through the forest, Cetatuia Monastery (cetatuia means small fortress) conceals within its walls an ensemble of white stone buildings with black tops. Construction of the monastery was commisioned by Prince Gheorghe Duca in 1669. The church was laid out to the same plan as the Trei Ierarhi Church; thanks to the many restorations, it has kept its original form. In addition to the church, the monastery has preserved a gothic hall, a museum of medieval art and its wine cellars with wine obtained from its own vineyards.
Galata Monastery (Mănăstirea Galata)
Address: Str. Manastirii 4
Open: daily 8 a.m. - sunset
Erected in the 16th century by Prince Petru Schiopul, Galata Monastery was named after the quarter in Constantinople where Moldavian princes resided while waiting for confirmation of their reign from Ottoman headquarters.
The only building preserved here in its original form is the church of the Resurrection of the Lord, built in 1594. Combining both traditional Moldavian and Walachian Byzantine architectural elements, Galata's church served as a model for the churches of Trei Ierarhi Monastery and Dragomirna Monastery (1608-1609). The latter is located a few miles north of the Moldavian city of Suceava.
Galata is a Turkish name and its English equivalent is "gateway."
With fortification walls and an impressive entrance tower, Galata has the complex plan of medieval Moldavian churches, comprised of a porch and a tomb room along with the usual pronaos, naos and altar. It also has a special vaulting system for the towers consisting of one square placed diagonally over another. The church's original paintings have not been preserved, having been destroyed by a fire in 1762. Only a few fragments of fresco remain.
Frumoasa Monastery (Mănăstirea Frumoasa)
Address: Str. Radu Voda 1
Open: Daily 8 a.m. - sunset
Founded in 1726-33 by the ill-fated Grigore II Ghica (a Moldavian prince who ruled at four different intervals and was even exiled for a time), this monastery was left in ruin for decades. Restoration began in the 19th century, when neoclassical elements were added to its architectural style. Its name means "beautiful."
Location: 40 miles west of Iasi
Address: DN28A / Str. Unirii 34, Ruginoasa
Telephone: (+4) 0232 734.087
Open: Tue. - Sun.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Ruginoasa Palace, white with gothic windows and lines, impresses its visitors today with the stories hidden within its walls, stories that point to Ruginoasa as a cursed palace in popular belief. The superstition arose following the deaths, including a suicide, in the palace of several young people. Built in neoclassic style at the beginning of the 19th century by a Moldavian treasurer, Costache Sturdza, to the design of Viennese architect Johan Freiwald, it was later rebuilt in neogothic style. The palace was best known as the summer residence of Prince, and ruler of the United Principalities, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who bought it in 1862. His wife, Elena Cuza, made Rugionoasa Palace her permanent home and the original furniture ordered from her sketches at the renowned furniture company, Mazaroz, in Paris has been preserved and is on display in the museum. In 1982, the Palace became the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Memorial Museum in commemoration of the first ruling prince of modern Romania.
Although Alexandru Ioan Cuza died in exile, his remains were brought back to Ruginoasa and buried in the chapel. They were held here until the beginning of World War II, when the coffin was moved first to Curtea de Arges, and then to the Trei Ierarhi Church in Iasi.
The museum reconstructs the atmosphere of life on the Ruginoasa estate as it was in the 19th century: the family library with books brought from Paris; the oak desk, the gothic dining room with Sevres china and Baccarat crystal, all bearing the arms of the United Principalities, and the bedroom of Princess Elena Cuza. Amidst the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace sits a neoclassical chapel built by Sandulache Sturdza in 1811.
Sturdza Mansion - Miclauseni (Palatul Miclăușeni)
Location: 42 miles west of Iasi
Address: Sat Miclăușeni, Comuna Butea
Erected in late 19th century, in Gothic Revival style, Sturdza Mansion features an interesting mix of architectural elements found in medieval castles, Palace of Culture Iasi and the nearby Ruginoasa palace.
Sturdza is the name of an old Romanian aristocratic family, whose origins can be traced back to the early 1500s.
The interior features a spectacular marble staircase, elaborately carved rosewood furniture, terracotta fireplaces, maple, mahogany, oak and ebony floors as well as painted ceilings and interior walls. Many of the original decorative objects in the mansion, the collection of medieval weapons, jewelries of Sturdza family, oil paintings and marble sculpures and more than three quarters of the 60,000 books once part of the mansion's library have not survied looting by the Soviet army at the end of WWII and neglect during the first years of Communist regime.
The mansion is set in the middle of an 100-acres park with ornamental trees, alleys and flower beds. A small church erected in 1823, home to a beautiful baroque iconostasis and valuable religious objects, can be found on the grounds of Sturdza Mansion.
Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat. - Sun.: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Telephone: (+4) 0728 880.575
Cotnari Vineyards / Cotnari Wine Cellars (Podgorile Iași / Crama Cotnari)
Located in the small village of Cotnari, the Cotnari winery is well-known for its delicious sweet white wines made of grapes rich in sugar and harvested in late autumn following the first frost. The quality of these wines relies on a combination of rich soil, the late harvest and the presence of mold Botritis Cinerea. The winery's most popular wines are obtaine from native varieties of grape and include Francusa (dry), Catalina (semisweet) and the sweet, golden Grasa and Tamaioasa. The best known is "Grasa de Cotnari", an excellent white wine often referred to as the "golden nectar." At the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris Grasa de Cotnari was awarded the gold medal.
Moldova is the leading wine-producing region in Romania.
Over 6 million liters of wine are being aged, in oak barrels, at Cotnary cellars which are also home to a collection of more than 800,000 bottles of old wine.
Cucuteni Archeological Site
Location: 10 miles southwest of Cotnari.
In 1884, Neolithic artifacts were unearthed near the small village of Cucuteni. Archaeologists named this ancient culture, which flourished ca. 4500 B.C..- 3000 B.C., after the nearby village. The Cucuteni culture is famous for its colored white, red and black ceramics which were discovered here. A collection is on display at the Moldavian History Museum in Iasi.
Location: 60 miles west of Iasi
Open: Tue. - Sun.: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
How to get here: bus from Iasi
Perched high on a rocky hill, overlooking the market town of Targu Neamt for almost six centuries, Neamt Fortress has played a vital role in the defense of the region against predatory raids. Built in the 14th century by Petru I Musat (1374-1391), it was later reinforced by Stephan the Great (1457-1504) who added another precinct with four circular towers and dug a defensive ditch which helped the fortress resist the attack of a Turkish army of 200,000 in 1476. For almost 200 years, the fortress remained invincible, until 1691 when it was besieged by the army of Ian Sobieski, King of Poland.
Location: 70 miles west of Iasi (9 miles west of Targu Neamt)
How to get here: Bus from Targu Neamt
Founded by Petru Musat in the 12th century, Neamt Monastery stands as one of Romania's oldest and most important religious settlements. Tucked away at the foot of the Ceahlau Mountains and surrounded by old forests, the monastery resembles a fortress with its high walls and one remaining tower (there originally were four).
The church inside the monastic complex was founded by Stephen the Great in 1497 to celebrate a victory over the Poles and represents the pinnacle of Moldavian architecture. The façade features classic Moldavian elements of the time such as gothic windows and friezes with enameled disks, colored in green, yellow and brown.
Thousands of pilgrims gather here every year to worship a 600-year-old icon of the Virgin Mary, believed to have miraculous powers.
The monastery is home to one of the oldest libraries in the country (more then 600 years old) as well as a museum illustrating the vivid cultural life that lasted here for centuries. A school of miniature painting and calligraphy was set up by monk Gavril Uric. One of the most famous manuscripts created by Uric's pupils is a 1429 parchment copy of the Four Gospels, now located in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.
Agapia Monastery (Mănăstirea Agapia)
Location: 65 miles west of Iasi (2 ½ miles south of Targu Neamt)
Hot to get here: Bus from Targu Neamt and Piatra Neamt
Located in a lovely setting at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, this picturesque nuns' monastery (also known as Agapia in the Valley or Agapia din Vale in Romanian) was built by Hatman Gavril Coci between 1642 and 1644. However, its current neoclassical facade dates from the reconstruction period at the turn of the 19th century. The church's interior, featuring stunningly vivid portraits with eyes that seem to follow the viewer, was painted between 1858 and 1861 by the famous Romanian artist, Nicolae Grigorescu, when he was just 18.
The name of the monastery comes from the Greek word agape, meaning "love." Christian scholars argue that the use of the word agapo in the New Testament refers to God's love for humanity.
Agapia Monastery is renowned for its carpet and embroidery workshops. To forego closure during the communist period, Agapia's nuns wove carpets for the dictatorship's mega-structure (now the Palace of Parliament) in Bucharest. Today, the textile workshops mainly produce carpets, wall hangings and rugs for religious purposes, but they do have commercial sales and visitors are welcome.
The small museum at Agapia Monastery displays 16th, 17th and 18th century painted icons, gold and silver embroidered garments, cedar and ebony crosses and old manuscripts (the library boasts some 12,000 volumes), as well as traditional motifs carpets woven - over the centuries - by the small community of nuns in the monastery. Visitors can also admire fragments of the original 17th century iconostasis and frescoes by Romanian painter Nicolae Grigorescu, whose self-portrait can be seen in the upper left-hand side of the iconostasis - the face one of the saints (Daniel) depicted.
Varatec Monastery (Mănăstirea Văratec)
Location: 68 miles west of Iasi (6 ½ miles south of Targu Neamt)
How to get Varated: car or bus from Targu Neamt
Monastery Varatec dates from 1785, when a nun, Olimpiada, laid the foundations of this monastic establishment. Set amid a lovely garden shaded by cedars, the whitewashed monastery is home to some 600 nuns today. Throughout the years, many writers, poets and scholars came here to take in the beauty of the environment, the hospitality of the nuns and villagers alike and the propitious atmosphere for rest, meditation and creative work.
Many of the nuns who,in the past, entered Varatec came from noble families, bringing with them valuable art and religious objects, some of which are on display in the monastery's museum. Varatec has active carpet weaving, embroidery and icon painting workshops.
Town of Piatra Neamt
Location: 78 miles southwest of Iasi (25 miles south of Targu Neamt)
How to get here: Train or bus from Iasi
Situated in the forested foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, Piatra Neamt is another historic town in the region of Moldova and one of the oldest settlements in Romania, inhabited since Neolithic times.
For a brief period of time, in the 15th century, Piatra Neamt was the home of Moldova's princely court. Although many of the old sections of this picturesque town are long gone, several interesting attractions still stand. Among them are St. John the Baptist Church (dating from 1497) and Stephen's Tower (Turnul lui Stefan) built in 1499. Piatra Neamt History Museum is home to the largest collection of Neolithic artifacts in southeastern Europe (Cucuteni ceramics).
Visitors interested in hiking, rock climbing and wildlife watching can make Piatra Neamt their base for exploring the Ceahlau Mountains National Park.
Town of Suceava
Location: 85 miles northwest of Iasi
Capital of the region of Moldova from late 1300s until mid 1500s, Suceava is best-known for its impressive fortifications and for being a great gateway to the region of Bucovina the Painted Monasteries (UNESCO).
Ceahlau Mts. National Park (Parcul Național Ceahlău)
120 miles west of iasi and 45 miles west of Piatra Neamt
How to get here: car or bus from Iasi and Piatra Neamt
Surrounded by rivers and lakes, Ceahlau Mountain was long considered the Olympus of Romania, the sacred mountain of Zalmoxis, the god venerated by the Dacians. An incredible concentration of rare species and wildlife call Ceahlau National Park home. Over 2,000 species of wild flowers, fossil limestone, the rock formations Dochia and Cusma Dorobantului, and the Duruitoarea Falls are some of the highlights of the park.
Bicaz Gorges - Hasmas National Park (Parcul Național Cheile Bicazului - Hășmaș)
The road that slices through the Bicaz Gorges (Cheile Bicazului) is among Romania's most staggering and spectacular. The gorge twists and turns steeply uphill for three miles, cutting through sheer 1,000-foot limestone cliffs on its journey through the mountains.
For hikers, kayakers and fly-fishing enthusiasts, the Hasmas - Bicaz National Park's main attraction is the Red Lake (Lacul Rosu), created in 1837 after a major natural landslide. Short and long walks provide access to the lake's spectacular scenery and many fishing spots as well as to unique views of Ceahlau Massif.
Bicaz Gorges - Hasmas National Park more info and photos
Address: Str. Cuza Voda 29
Tel: (+4) 0232 212.509
Opera & Ballet
Iasi Opera and Ballet Theatre
Opera Romana - Iasi
Address: Str. Agata Barsescu 18
Tel: (+4) 0232 211.144
Iasi National Theatre (Teatrul National "Vasile Alecsandri")
Address: Str. Agata Barsescu 18
Tel: (+4) 0232 316.778
A compilation of Romania’s main events is available at
Romania Tourism Festivals and Events section
Below is a selection of events that take place, every year in Iasi
April - Iași 6 Mile (10 km) and Quarter-Marathon Challenge
May - Hangariada AirShow & Non-Conformist Art Exhibition
International Fanfare Music Festival
Iași Color Run
RocanoTherWorld - music, contemporary art and gastronomy festival
National Pottery Fair “Cucuteni - 5000”
Wolves’ Racecourse - Enduro Ranch, Bârnova
July - International Music and Traditions Festival “Catalina”
September - International Mechanical Music Festival, Iași
International Byzantine Music Festival
International Theatre for Young Audiences Festival
Festival of Folklore “Rose from Moldova”
Festival of Autumn Flowers
Festival of Crafts and Artisans of Moldova region (eastern Romania)
Festival of Traditional Songs and Music
November – January - Iași Winter Fair
December - Iași Festival of Winter Traditions
Iasi is easily accessible from Bucharest (Bucuresti) by plane (50 minutes),
train (approximately 6 hours) and car (approximately 6 ½ hours).
Airlines with service to Iasi include:
Iasi Train Station
Gara de Nord Iasi
Address: Str. Garii 1
Tel: (+4) 0232 215.600
Direct train service to/from Chisinau, Republic of Moldova (journey time - 7 hours).
and to/from Bucharest, Oradea, Piatra Neamt, Suceava, and Timisoara as well as several other cities in Romania.
To check train and bus schedules for domestic routes please visit
RomaniaTourism Domestic Transportation section
Note: For departures from /to Bucharest, please select Bucuresti Nord.
Iasi train ticket office
Agentia SNCFR Iasi
Address: Piata Uniri 9 - 11
Tel: (+4) 0232 410.024
Hours: Mon. - Fri.: 7:30 a.m. -- 8 p.m.
Iasi train ticket office - Iulius Mall
Agentia SNCFR Iasi - Iulius Mall
Address: Bd. Tudor Vladimirescu
Tel: (+4) 0725 504.435
Hours: 10 a.m. -- 10 p.m.
Iasi SNCFR ticket office offers train schedules information and advance ticket sales.
Tickets for same-day travel can only be purchased at the train station.
Iasi Bus Stations:
Autogara Iasi - Vest
Address: Soseaua Moara de Foc 15
Telephone: (+4) 0752 014.888
Autogara Transbus Codreanu
Address: Strada Gării 22
Telephone: (+4) 0232 250.985
Bus Companies that operate international routes:
Address: Str. 14 Decembrie 1989 nr.3 - 5
Tel: (+4) 0232 273.040
Daily bus service to main cities in Europe
The fastest route from Bucharest to Iasi is via E85- E 581:
Bucharest - Urziceni - Buzau - Tecuci - Vaslui - Iasi
|Travel distances from Iasi to:|
|City||Distance: Miles / Km|
|Bucharest||270 miles / 435 km|
|Arad||390 miles / 630 km|
|Brasov||210 miles / 320 km|
|Constanta||290 miles / 460 km|
|Cluj Napoca||250 miles / 395 km|
|Oradea||365 miles / 580 km|
|Sibiu||265 miles / 420 km|
|Sighisoara||215 miles / 340 km|
|Suceava||95 miles / 150 km|
|Timisoara||415 miles / 660 km|
|Tulcea||200 miles / 320 km|
Clasic Taxi - 949 or 0232 219.589
Delta Taxi - 0232 222.222
Euro Taxi - 0232 217.217
For You - 0232 222.444
Go Taxi - 944 or 0232 279.444
Lux Taxi - 0232 255.255
Parma Taxi - 941 or 0232 222.888
Pro Taxi - 0232 211.211
Taxicom - 953
Tico Taxi - 0232 272.222
Promotor Services Rent a Car Iasi
Address: Str. Cuza Voda 3
Tel: (+4) 0734 403.403
Accommodations in Iasi include:
|Pleiada||boutique||2 miles south of Iasi City Centre|
|Moldova||4 star / upper midscale||Iasi City Centre|
|Traian||4 star / upper midscale||Iasi City Centre|
|Unirea||4 star / upper midscale||Iasi City Centre|
|International||4 star / upper midscale||Iasi City Centre|
|Grand View||4 star / upscale||5 miles north of Iasi City Centre|
|Bellaria||4 star / upscale||2.2 miles south of Iasi City Centre|
|Select||4 star / upscale||0.5 miles south of Iasi City Centre|
|Ramada||3 star / midscale||Iasi City Centre|
|Arnia||3 star / midscale||one mile northwest of Iasi City Centre|
|Ildis||3 star / midscale||1.5 miles northwest of Iasi City Centre|
|Continental||2 star / economy||Iasi City Centre|
La Belle Epoque d’Antiquitees
Străpungerea Silvestru 13, Bl. E, Sc. A
Tel: 0740 803.663
Anticariat D. Grumăzescu
Address: Pietonalul Lăpușneanul 24
Tel: (+4) 0232 225 566
Antichitati si Consignatie
Address: Strada Cuza Vodă
Tel: (+4) 0232 256 276
Address: Bulevardul Carol I nr. 26 - 28
Tel: (+4) 0756 464.347
Postal services & Telephone
Post offices display a postal horn symbol and the word Posta.
Main Post Office
Address: Str. Cuza Voda 3
Tel: 0232 212.222
Mon. – Fri.: 8 a.m. -– 7 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Telephoning Iasi from Abroad
International Access Code + 4 (country code) + 0232 or 032 (area code) + six-digit telephone number
Pharmacies & Hospitals
Several pharmacies (farmacie) are open 24 hours a day in the city.
Emergency Clinic Hospital ;br /:
Spitalul Clinic de Urgente Iasi
Address: Str. General Berthelot 2
Tel: (+4) 0232 216.584
Iasi General Emergency Telephone NumberȘ 112
(Ambulance (Ambulanta) , Police (Politia), Fire Department (Pompieri))
Iasi City Hall
Primăria Municipiului Iasi
Address: Bd. Stefan cel Mare si Sfant 11
Telephone: (+4) 0232 267.582
Iasi Consumer Protection Agency
Oficiul pentru Protectia Consumatorilor – Iasi
Address: Str. Toma Cozma 11
Telephone: (+4) 0232 278.233