If you’re on holiday in Iasi, read this article carefully and try to visit all the places I mention here; there are amazing places which will help you learn about the city’s history, culture and people. Iasi is the place where I was born and I wouldn’t trade it for other. It’s large enough to get access to pretty much anything you want, but still small enough to prevent you from being overwhelmed by traffic and cars.
This article perfectly describes the way I prepare my holidays: before going in a new place, I write down as many touristic attractions as possible – I don’t want to miss anything. Then I read articles to find out details about each attraction so that I’m armed with knowledge when I actually get to it. I like to know as many things about a building, a museum or a landmark instead of being a superficial tourist.
Let’s say that you plan to visit Iasi in the near future. I will briefly present you what can you visit so that you’ll make the most of your holiday. I will give you some details so that you’ll be informed and I’ll group the attractions by zones to prevent you from losing time wandering around the city.
1. Vasile Alecsandri National Theater. It doesn’t matter if you’re an art enthusiast, this building needs to be visited. It is the oldest theatre building in Romania and its construction plans were made by famous Wien architects Fellner and Helmer, who designed other buildings in Wien, Prague, Odessa and Zurich. In front of the theater there’s a nice garden, with green grass and benches where you can relax in the sun or read a good book.
2. “Stepfen the Great” boulevard. From the National Theater you get straight to this famous boulevard if you follow the alley in front of it. Cars don’t have access on it, as it’s opened just for pedestrians. On this boulevard you can find a lot of shops with shoes, sweets, clothes and also a few terraces where you can have a coffee or an icecream. During specific times of the year, you can find wooden sheds where you can buy romanian traditional products, including juices, honey and handmade clothing.
3. Roznovanu Palace. Walking on Stepfen the Great boulevard you will notice a massive building with an impressive architecture. It’s the Roznovanu Palace, the actual city hall. This building was one of the most important constructions in Iasi.
4. Metropolitan Cathedral. Just a few meters away across the Roznovanu Palace, you can find the Metropolitan Cathedral. It is one of the 6 Metropolitan Cathedrals in Romania and the idea of building a massive church in Iasi belonged to Mihail Sturdza. Inside its massive walls you will find your inner peace, clear your mind and feel welcomed.
5. The Palace of Culture. From anywhere the Stepfen the Great boulevard you can notice the Palace of Culture, a building that doesn’t need description. I can’t tell how impressive it is. It is the symbol of our city, a massive, amazing building. Around it the city of Iasi has been developed, and we, as people, once with it. Inside it there are several museums: the History museum, the Ethnography museum, the museum of Art and the Science and Technical museum. In the initial plan there were 365 rooms to be build in this palace; unfortunately there are just 298 across the floors and 36 at the mansard.
6. The monastery of the three hierarchs. This monastery is in the vecinity of the Palace of Culture and it has a great value for Romania. It is situated on the Stepfen the Great boulevard and it is over 350 years old. It has been constructed to pay tribute to the three hierarchs: Vasile cel Mare, Grigore Teologul and Ioan Gura de Aur.
7. Palas Mall. Behind the Palace of Culture you can find the famous shopping complex Palas Mall. You can find pretty much anything you want around here: a large food court, fine dining restaurants, fancy coffee shops, libraries where you can have a cup of tea and a book, dozens of clothing shops and a hypermarket. The outdoor space is also impressive: a lot of gardens with benches, green grass, fountains and even an open air theater.
8. Unirii Square. Just 15 minutes away from Palas Mall you can get to the Unirii Square. It is a wide plateau where you can rest on a bench while watching the pigeons. There are a lot of pigeons who come for a treat in this Square; it is somewhat similar to the plateau in Milan, in front of the Duomo. There are a lot of coffee shops and terraces around, and also a 13-story hotel. The Unirea Hotel has an amazing restaurant (Panoramic Restaurant) on the 13th floor from where you can see the entire city.
9. Lapusneanu Street. From the Unirii Square, your steps guide you through the Lapusneanu street. With the help of coffee shops and antique stores, this street encapsulates the essence of Iasi’s history.
10. The Yellow Ravine. At the end of the Lapusneanu street you can find the Yellow Ravine. It’s a complex structure in an area with high slope, at the bottom of the Copou Hill. The view is romantic and the area is perfect for a photo session.
11. Mihai Eminescu Central Universitary Library. While you’re at the yellow ravine, walk 5 minutes and you get to the Central Universitary Library. This is the oldest and one of the most important libraries in Romania. You’re in book heaven once you get in there :).
12. Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. While going up the Copou Hill you will come across an impressive building, the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. It is one the most prestigious universities in Romania.
13. Mihai Eminescu’s Linden. Copou Park is a peaceful area. You can walk amongst the trees for hours, enjoying the fresh air and listening to birds singing. In the heart of this park you will find a special tree: Eminescu’s Linden. Under this tree, the great Romanian poet has often been spotted writing poems and walking with Veronica Micle and his best friend, Ion Creanga. It is about 458 years old which makes it the oldest tree in Copou Park.
14. Anastasie Fatu Botanical Garden. Another perfect location for relaxation is the botanical garden. You can spend quality time by walking amongs various flowers and enjoying the nature. You will relax both your body and your soul. Furthermore, this location is perfect for photo sessions; I even had my engagement photo session there :).
15. Iasi Athenaeum. After I described the National Teather, I also want to point out the Athenaeum. It is a location that helped me to escape from the daily routine so many times. Tickets can be found online on their official website.
16. Cetatuia Monastery. This monastery is not just a place to find your inner peace, but also a monument. Surrounded by walls like a small fortress, Cetatuia Monastery is located on a hill in the southern area of Iasi, offering a panoramic view upon the city.
17. Golia Monastery. This monastery is located in the city center, an area called “Targul Cucului”. Like Cetatuia Monastery, it looks like a small fortress. Golia Monastery was a temporary house for Ion Creanga while he was deacon here.
These are the touristic attractions I recommend you to visit if you come to Iasi; hopefully I haven’t missed anything important. If I remember any other attraction, I will update this article.
In the second part of this article I will recommend you some restaurants where you can serve some delicious food, coffee shops where you’ll find amazing coffee and hotels where you can checkin.