IASI – THE CITY OF THE SEVEN HILLS
IASI – THE CULTURAL CAPITAL OF ROMANIA
Iasi, located on Barlad Plateau in northeastern Romania, is one of the largest cities in the country. Despite the many military conflicts and post-war communist reconstruction, the historic quarter of the city retained the original character of its multi-cultural architecture, which illustrates its rich history.
THE ORIGINS OF THE CITY
Although the city of Iasi is not mentioned in historical sources before the 14th century, archaeological excavations suggest that there have been settlements since the 7th century.
In the Middle Ages, the city was already an important bastion, which received commercial privileges from voivode Alexandru cel Bun in 1408. Thirty years later, the city was inhabited by the ruler of the principality. The palace was later extended during the reign of Stephen the Great.
AT THE BORDER OF THE GREAT EMPIRES
The golden age of the city of Iasi ended in 1650, when the city was attacked by the Cossacks and Tatars. Over the next 100 years, the city also fell into the hands of Poles and Russian armies and local contenders at the throne.
The 18th century was a period of relative stability, after which the city was invaded by Greek aristocrats. In 1822, a turbulent fire burned much of Iasi, including the palace of the ruler.
- Romanian name: Iasi
- Country Romania
- Iasi district
- Surface: 119.5 sq. Km
- Population: 309,000 inhabitants
- Founded: the 14th century
A CULTURAL CENTER
These problems did not, however, lead to the city’s disappearance. „Albina Romaneasca”, the first newspaper in the country, was founded in Iasi in 1829, followed by Mihaileana Academy in 1835. The city’s growth was not hindered even by the move of the new Romanian capital to Bucharest.
It continued to function as the main political center during World War I. Iasi is the place where the first Romanian library (1839), the first Romanian theater (1840) and the first botanical garden in the country (1856) were founded.
Did you know?
In the event of war, the Moldovan rulers move their courtyards to the fortified monasteries that form a defensive circle around the city. The fortresses are Galata (XVII century), Cetatuia (XVII century) and Frumoasa (XVIII / XIX century).
Situated between seven hills on the banks of the Bahlui River, Iasi has been the home of Moldovan and Romanian leaders since the 16th century.
At the border of Russian and Ottoman empires, as well as near the borders of a powerful Polish, Kingdom of Hungary and the Habsburg monarchy, the city grew up combining Eastern opulence and European culture.
PLACES TO VISIT
- The Palace of Culture, built between 1906 and 1926 on the site of the old palace of the ruler. It contains a complex of national museums made up of four independent institutions: the Museum of Art, the Museum of Science and Technology and the History Museum of Moldova.
- Near the palace is the Dosoftei House, built in 1677. In the XVIIth century it hosted the printing house of Moldova and is the oldest lay building in the city. It currently houses a small Museum of Literature.
- The Museum of the Old Chapel near the Three Hierarchs Church boasts fragments of the original wall paintings of the church in 1642 and an icon created in Moscow in 1639.
- In addition to other interesting places of worship, tourists can admire the largest and oldest Botanical Garden in Romania and Copou Park, near the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University.