The little house from Țicău quarter or “the hovel” hosted Ion Creangă since the summer of 1872 until his death in 1889.
He had been unfrocked and then had to leave his dwelling inside Golia Monastery. The hovel had a porch towards west, where there was also the entrance door, and a veranda, that being a popular loggia, with a wide opening towards Ciric and Șorogari hills, towards the east. The writer moved here, in the room on the right, having as neighbour in the other room, Ecaterina (Tinca) Vartic, the one who was taking care of Creangă. As sign of gratitude for her dedication, Ion Creangă bought the dwelling on her name in 1879.
In 1876, for half a year, his good friend and literary brother, poet Mihai Eminescu, lived here, period reminded with pleasure by both writers. A few months after the death of Creangă, Tinca got married, abandoning the hovel. After her death, Constantin Creangă, the writer’s son, along with a group of friends and admirers, bought back the property in order to rehabilitate it and renovate it.
Ion Creangă arranged the place after the model of his parents’ house from Humulești, with rustic furniture, with wooden or ceramic vessels, realising an intended imitation of his childhood house. The stove fireplace, the oven, the sarmale pots, the round wooden table with three legs, the clay floor full of cats, represented familiar coordinates for the clever story teller in the not always friendly city. Creangă rather slept outside, in the hovel’s porch, from spring to autumn. The work room exhibits the desk, with manuscripts of writer, the lamp, the pen, the inkpot, the sand box, the chest of drawers which reminds of the one of Eminescu and many other original objects. All the stories and the renowned “Recollections from Childhood” were written at the hovel.
On the 15th of April 1918, the “Ion Creangă” Hovel in Țicău was placed on a public tour, thus becoming the first memorial museum in Romania. Throughout time, Ion Creangă’s hovel became the most visited museum in Iași, with over 100 000 visitors per year. This offers a live and fascinating incursion in the universe of life and work of the original Moldavian writer. In 1968, in the yard of the Hovel, the granite bust of Ion Creangă was installed, made by sculptor Iftimie Bârleanu. The building in the yard with the documentary exhibition “The Life and Work of Creangă”, the library and the documentary fund founded on the 15th of April 1918, as well as the open amphitheatre (project made by the Iași architect Virgiliu Onofrei) were built during 1984-1989 and inaugurated on the 11th of June 1989.
The friendship between Mihai Eminescu and Ion Creangă
The friendship between the poet Mihai Eminescu and the story teller Ion Creangă remained written in the history of Romanian literature. They have probably met at the end of 1874, and the two different temperaments completed in an ideal way, inaugurating a friendship which shall last until the end of their lives. Creangă, with his characteristic verve, unveiled to Eminescu the bohemian corners of Iași. Eminescu recognised the story telling genius of his friend and encouraged him to write. Also, Eminescu is the one who introduced him to Junimea and thus ensured his well-deserved recognition. In 1876, after being fired from the school inspector position, Eminescu lived for six months in Creangă’s hovel. The two remained close friends all their life and Creangă was deeply saddened when Eminescu moved to Bucharest.