Following the Union route means to look through some important pages of the history of Iași and to discover some emblematic places which contributed to the consolidation of the Romanian nation. Throughout the route, certain tourist attractions are emphasized, hiding myths and legends behind their windows and keeping alive the memory of some remarkable events from the history of Moldavia. The itinerary follows the period of the Union of Principalities in 1859, a process with roots in Iași, and the role of Capital of Romanian Resistance in the First World War which foreshadowed the Great Union, which triggered the expression “Romania was born in Iași”. Thus, the visitors are invited into a beautiful journey throughout the tumultuous past of the former capital of Moldavia.
The Palace of Culture – The History Museum of Moldavia
“Three Hierarchs” Monastery – National Pantheon
The Museum of Natural History
“Grigore T. Popa” University of Medicine and Pharmacy – Nation Square
“Mihail Kogălniceanu” Memorial Museum
The Museum of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University
“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University – Building A
Cantacuzino-Paşcanu House – The Children’s Palace
“Mihai Eminescu” Central University Library
Museum of the Union – Residence of Alexandru Ioan Cuza
The Union Square
„Romanian Capital of Culture”
The city of Iași was promised to remain the Cultural Capital of Romania after the Union of 1859 and the moving of the capital to Bucharest (1862). This happened at the time through the essential role that Iași had in the founding of Romania culture and through the support of King Charles I, who offered monumental buildings to Iași, like the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Elisabeth Esplanade, the National Theatre, the Copou University Palace and the symbol building of the city – the Palace of Culture. The arts route in Iași is highlighted through music, painting, architecture and photography. The arguments of creating a thematic art route in Iași have to be discovered and experienced by the visitor on the streets, in the buildings, in the cafés and at the events which successfully define the artistic spirit of Iași.
The “History of Romanian Theatre” Collection and “Mihai Ursachi” Culture House
The University Palace in Copou
“Dumitru I. Grumăzescu” Antique Galleries
The Galleries of Fine Artists Association, Iași branch
The Former Chamber of Commerce
The Balș House (University of Arts) and Notre Dame Institute (Philharmonics)
The National Theatre and National Romanian Opera House of Iași
Iași City Art Galleries and Municipal Visual Memory Centre
“Luceafărul” Theatre for Children and Youth
The Palace of Culture – The Museum of Art, Ethnography, Science and Technique
The “Art Georgies” Galleries
„Tales from the Golden Age”
After the Soviet invasion in 1944 and the occupation of Iași, Romania decided to turn weapons against the Nazis and to ally with the Soviet Union on the 23rd of August 1944. In the first years of communist ruling a repressive politics was led: the suppression of political parties, the founding of the State Security and of some political prisons where the opponents were incarcerated, as well as the beginning of the collectivization process of agricultural properties. In Iași, the systematised planning of the years of socialism influenced not only the collective mentality, but also the city’s aspect. The transformation of the inherited built space was almost complete. The discontentment of the last year of communism was expressed in Iași through the rebellion from the Nicolina Factory and the students’ one in February 1987 and culminated with the planned, but failed manifestation on the 14th of December 1989, event which some consider to be the beginning of the Romanian Revolution.
Ghika (Roset) House – Former Headquarters of the Secret Police
Students’ Culture House
Independence Statue and Boulevard
Victims of Communism Memorial
“The Cube” Square
The Square House – Iași County Council
Memorial for the 1989 Revolution
The Civic Centre
„The City of a Hundred Churches”
In the past, it was said that in Iași you could see from anywhere a church’s tower. Fortified churches and monasteries served as shelters during the numerous invasions, epidemics or fires. They became the main centres of national culture, the courtyards of some monasteries sheltering printing presses, schools and the first university cores. Iași is the capital of the Romanian Orthodox pilgrimage. Each year, around the 14th of October, about half a million pilgrims arrive in Iași to pray to the relics of Saint Parascheva, Moldavia’s protector. The guests are impressed by the unique stone lace at Three Hierarchs Monastery, similar to the one of the painted churches in the north of Moldavia under guardianship of UNESCO, by the angelic choir of the Catholic Cathedral or by the Byzantine choir of the Saint Nicolae Domnesc Church.
The Jews were present in Iași since the Middle Ages. At the beginning of the 19th century, due to massive immigrations, jews became a majority in many cities, including Iași. The 1840-1940 period represented a blooming of Jewish culture, art and trade. Over 100 synagogues and houses of prayer, tens of schools, hospitals, factories and shops on the main trade streets of the city were built. The first Jewish theatre in Yiddish in the world, was founded in Iași, under the guidance of Avram Goldfaden. The lines of the future state of Israel hymn were also written In Iași. The tragic moment of the Jewish existence in Iași took place during the Pogrom of June 1941, when thousands of Jews were executed in the yard of the Police Station, as well as in houses or on the streets. Other thousands were packed in the “death trains”, out of who few managed to survive. After the massacre, the deportations and the exodus to Israel, the community reached today less 300 persons.
Former Jewish Hospital – “Princess Elena” Hospital
Former Bootmaker Synagogue and Dr. Leon Ghelerter Hospital
„Iași – the City of Great Loves”
Iași is a romantic city by excelence, one which lives in a sort of nostalgy for the past. Many generations of well educated youngsters that studied abroad in the XIXth century, amongst which the most famous one is Mihai Eminescu, gave a rich literary tradition to Iași that persists to this day. In the same period there was a movement regarding the rediscovering and reapreciating the nature, the folklore, the authentic life, and Copou Hill, with its parks, aleys and old style houses will make you walk extremely pleasant. The neogothic architecture, present in the beauty that is the Palace of Culture, suggests the glorious past of the Capital of Moldavia. Juliette's balcony from the Yellow Ravine, the Theatre steps or the Voievods Hall in the Palace of Culture are ideal for a picture-perfect souvenir.
Registry Office – The Old City Hall -Cantacuzino Pașcanu Palace
Grand Hotel Traian
Yellow Ravine (“Elisabeth Esplanade”)
“Vasile Pogor” Museum
Copou Park – ”Mihai Eminescu” Museum and Linden Tree, The Lion Obelisk
“Anastasie Fătu” Botanical Garden
Ion Creangă’s Hovel Museum
“Mihai Codreanu” Memorial House – “Sonnet” Villa
“Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre
Roznovanu Palace – Iasi City Hall
Museum of ”Metropolit Dosoftei”
„Seven Hills by Bike”
The active route is designed to be cycled at an average pace for a whole day, combining active relaxation with the discovery of historical heritage. In order to complete the tour, cyclists will have to make a circuit of nearly 60 kilometres, requiring adequate physical training for this distance. However, the route allows returns or shortcuts to the center almost anywhere we are. Most of the route (70%) takes place on cobbled or dirt roads, crossing attractive wooded areas or agricultural landscape. The level difference is average, with about 800 m of climbing, relative to the course made.The active route is designed to reach all the seven hills of Iaşi: Galata (southwest), Cetăţuia (south), Repedea and Bucium (southeast), Şorogari (Northeast), Breazu and Copou (northwest). The route is also a foray into the history of Iaşi. The nearby monasteries offer a mystical setting and the possibility of walking, pedalling or photographing cultural attractions and spectacular views.