In the beginning the palace was surrounded by a wall which separated a big yard with tall trees, in the front, and in the back, there were the boyar court annexes.
Around 1855 the place was “marked” by a dramatic story which hurried the emancipation process of boyar gypsy slaves in Moldavia and afterwards, in Wallachia.
The chancellor’s house was famous in Iași through its imposing architecture, its position, but also through the parties and card games organised here. The Prince of Moldavia, Grigore Ghica was one of the usual guests of the house during his reign (1849-1856). After the chancellor’s death, the building passed in the property of the politician Dimitrie Cozadini, becoming a temporary royal residence after 1875, for King Charles I and his guests during the visits in Iași. In the first-floor hall, representatives of the city leadership have intensely debated in 1879 the elimination of social-political differences caused by religious reasons. The building was bought by the state in order to host the IV Army Corps, here being sheltered the Commandment, the Artillery Brigade, the Engineer Corps and other military units. During the First World War the building became the Residence of Queen Mary, following that in the interwar period the Institute for education of the military`s daughters would function here. During the Second World War, the former Cantacuzino house, surrounded by a tall stake fence, was transformed in a camp for Soviet war prisoners and later, after the Russian offensive, for the Romanian ones. At the end of the war the building became a students’ hostel for the one of the Polytechnic Institute, in 1966 turned into the Palace of Pioneers and after the fall of communism it received the name of “Children’s Palace”.
The stone and plastered bricks construction attracts the passer-by through the simplicity and proportions of the Neoclassical architecture. Like many other boyar houses from the same period, the main hallway is dominated by the monumental stairway which leads to the first floor with the ball hall, having a current role of festivity hall.
Nowadays, the “Children’s Palace” has the role of organizing non-formal activities for the free time and of involving children in educational projects. The activities are divided in over 100 groups, on the fields – visual arts, music and dance, civic culture, science and technique or sport and tourism.
The Palace of Emancipation – the end of boyar gypsy slavery
The chancellor Dumitrache Cantacuzino, the owner of palace, had an illegitimate child with Mary, the gypsy servant of his wife, Profira. After her husband`s death, Profira, having no heirs, starts loving Dincă, the boy who was very similar to his father. On a trip to Paris, the young man falls in love with a French woman, Clementine, who didn’t accept his social status. Profira didn’t agree to his emancipation, not even at the insistence of her nephew, the Prince of Moldavia, Grigore Al. Ghica. In 1855, in love and powerless, the young man shot Clementine, after which he killed himself. Full of guilt, Profira dedicated her life and fortune to Pașcanu hospital and the horrible story hurried the emancipation of all slaves.