O privire aruncată în exteriorul Carpaților, în nord-estul României, dezvăluie orașul îmbrățișat de cele șapte coline. Iași, un cufăr al României, vine în întâmpinarea oaspeților săi cu „bijuterii” din diverse tărâmuri.
Pentru a descoperi toate secretele orașului, te invităm să o iei la pas pe străzile încărcate de istorie și farmec: Strada Lăpușneanu, Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare ori strada Cuza Vodă. Dacă ajungi în inima orașului, chiar unde se întâlnesc aceste artere, vei păși în Piața Unirii, pe locul unde s-a născut România în pași de Hora Unirii a lui Vasile Alecsandri. Zona centrală abundă de clădiri somptuoase, care atestă măreția orașului: Hotelul Traian, construit după planurile lui Eiffel, Palatul Braunstein, Muzeul Unirii, Teatrul Național cu suflu de peste două secole, Palatul Roznovanu, sediul actual al Primăriei Municipiului Iași, Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, prima instituție de învățământ superior din România, ori Casa Pătrată, sediul Prefecturii. Toate aceste bijuterii sunt încununate de splendoarea Palatului Culturii, care învăluie orașul într-o aură a misterului.
O supra-denumire a orașului Iași este cea a „orașului celor 100 de biserici”. Un periplu religios pentru o zi îți va dezvălui Catedrala Mitropolitană, cea mai mare biserică ortodoxă din România, Catedrala Romano-Catolică, Mănăstirea Golia, unde scriitorul Ion Creangă a fost diacon, Biserica Bărboi, Biserica Barnovschi, Sinagoga Mare, dar și mănăstirile din apropierea Iașului: Dobrovăț, Bârnova și Hadâmbu. În secolul trecut, Iași ajunsese să fie gazda a peste 120 de sinagogi. Toate acestea impresionează prin arhitectură, atmosferă și istorie și poate cea mai emoționantă poveste este cea a Mănăstirii „Trei Ierarhi”. Aceasta este o bijuterie arhitecturală, cu un aspect exterior croit sub forma unei dantele, cu simboluri gravate și care deține mormintele a trei personalități marcante ale istoriei românilor (Dimitrie Cantemir, Alexandru Ioan Cuza și Vasile Lupu).
Indiferent de ora la care alegi să te plimbi prin oraș, te vei convinge de faptul că Iași nu doarme. Nu are o predilecție pentru liniște profundă datorită miilor de studenți care au găsit în Iași a doua casă și țin treaz orașul. Spiritul activ al Iașului este stimulat și de găzduirea unor festivaluri pentru toate categoriile de public: iubitorii de teatru, de film, de muzică sau de carte: Festivalul Internațional de Teatru pentru Publicul Tânăr, Festivalul Serile Filmului Românesc, Festivalul Internațional de Literatură și Traducere Iași, Hangariada, Rocanotherworld, Festivalul Internațional al Educației. Diminețile pot începe fascinant la o cafea, iar seara, la etajul 13 al Hotelului Unirea, Restaurantul Panoramic îți oferă o priveliște inedită asupra orașului plin de lumini. După ce ai savurat delicioșii papanași de la înălțime, ești condus spre un pahar de vin roșu într-unul din barurile sau cafenelele nocturne ale orașului.
O sferă foarte valoroasă a orașului este și literatura, astfel că Iași a devenit, în timp, căminul multor case memoriale dedicate scriitorilor români. Prima casă memorială din țară a devenit Bojdeuca lui Ion Creangă, unde a fost primit și poetul național Mihai Eminescu, cel care prin versurile sale a încântat nu numai Iașul, ci tot poporul. Dacă ești o fire romantică, fă-ți curaj și îți poți cere partenerul în căsătorie chiar lângă celebrul tei al lui Eminescu din Parcul Copou.
O călătorie în timp îți va putea destăinui că spiritul perioadei comuniste mai trăiește încă prin intermediul unor clădiri ieșene cu un aspect deosebit: Academia Română, Casa de Cultură a Studenților, Hotel Unirea, Casa Pătrată sau Hotel Moldova. Chiar lângă convenționalul hotel Moldova, s-a ridicat, cu mult curaj, non-conformistul Palas Mall, un loc care invită la relaxare, fie prin shopping, fie cu iarba verde a Grădinii Palas, din spatele Palatului Culturii.
Tuturor le plac bijuteriile, indiferent de sfera din care acestea provin. Ia-ți acum un bilet spre Iași și convinge-te de varietatea podoabelor pe care orașul celor șapte coline le tăinuiește.
SEVEN THEMATIC ROUTES
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 city’s oldest area should be visited through the places where Moldavia’s history was written for five centuries. The first attraction is the Iași Princely Court, which dates from the time of Voivode Alexander the Good (1400-1432), on the place of the current Palace of Culture. Alexander Lăpușneanu moved in 1564 the capital of Moldavia from Suceava to Iași and the Princely Court got stronger throughout time. On these places, in May 1600, Michael the Brave carried out the temporary union of Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia, which later strengthened on the union ideals of all Romanians. On the 5th January 1859, at the Palace, Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected Prince of Moldavia. Later on, through his election in Bucharest, he received the mission of achieving the Union of Principalities, which meant the birth certificate of modern Romania.
On the „Great Street”, nowadays called “Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt” Boulevard, the shape of the Three Hierarchs Church strikes right away. It is an architectural jewel and a Romanian pantheon, as here the princes of Moldavia – Vasile Lupu, Dimitrie Cantemir and Alexandru Ioan Cuza are buried. In the church yard, the Filiki Eteria organisation started in 1821 the Revolution for the liberation of Greece.
In the Nation Square, we shall discover the Union Monument in the middle of the Greater Romania map of 1918, drawn on the pavement. In the imposing building of the “Grigore T.Popa” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, the base of the first modern university in Romania was established in 1860. Across the boulevard there is the first Museum of Natural Sciences in the country, the place of Cuza’s nomination as candidate to the 1859 elections. The route continues with the boyar house where Mihail Kogălniceanu lived, the true artisan of the Union of Principalities. His house which reconstitutes the epoch atmosphere and impresses through elegance and luxury.
The University Museum highlights the birth of the first modern learning institution of the country and features one of the oldest civilisations in Europe which developed on these lands – the Cucuteni civilisation. The monumental building of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University (The Copou University Palace) invites us into an incursion through the universe of cosmic romanticism of the painter Sabin Bălașa, through the superb Library of the “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University and through the Old Hall and Magna Hall. Next, we move down the Copou hill, near the impressive Central University Library (former King Ferdinand I Foundation) and near the Children’s Palace, former residence of Queen Mary, around which fascinating legends and historical events are revolving.
Lower, on Lăpușneanu Street, a famous pedestrian street of Iași, we visit the Union Museum, residence of the first Prince of the Romanian United Principalities, Alexandru Ioan Cuza. This was also the residence of King Ferdinand I in 1916-1918 as long as Iași was capital of Romania. During those times, the stages of the 1918 Union were prepared here (Bessarabia on the 27th of March, Bukovina on the 28th of November and Transylvania on the 1st of December). Finally, we arrive in the Union Square, with a special significance to Romanians; it represents the place where “Hora Unirii” (the Union Round Dance) is danced each 24th of January, from 1859 until now.
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.
But the beginnings of Iași as city of culture are older. The national artistic premieres in Iași can be seen as pleadings for this status. Beginning with 1816, when the first theatre play in Romanian is presented with the support of Gheorghe Asachi, Iași becomes the core for the development of national dramatic art. In 1883, the first opera representation is held at the Théâtre de Variétés, on the current parking space behind the National Theatre. Vasile Alecsandri is considered to be the founder of Romanian dramatic art, being one of the main figures who determined the appearance and development of the first National Theatre in Romania, beginning with 1840. The monumental aspect of the building makes the “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre, built in 1897, remain in the visitors’ memory as “one of the breath-taking theatres”, as the recent BBC top is indicating.
The arts route in Iași is highlighted through music, painting, architecture and photography. The representations of the Moldavia Philharmonic began in 1942, under the baton of the great composer and conductor George Enescu. The Museum of Art from the Palace of Culture has a rich collection of works of painters formed at the National School of Fine Arts in Iași – Theodor Pallady, Emanoil Panaitescu-Bardasare, Octav Băncilă, Nicolae Tonitza, Ștefan Luchian or the sculptor Ion Irimescu. One of the most beautiful libraries in the world is found in the Copou University Palace in the “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University. The Art Galleries in Iași promote the contemporary works of the graduates of the “George Enescu” University of Art and the Post-Impressionist, Realist or Naïve works of local artists.
Iași itself becomes an artistic scene through tradition festivals and new initiatives, and three of them are part of a European circuit. The International Education Festival (FIE) is seen as “the festival of all festivals” which promotes music, literature, theatre and opera. It began in 2013, in the same year with the International Festival of Literature and Translations (FILIT), which recently received the title of the most important festival of this type in Eastern Europe. The International Theatre Festival for Young Public Iași (FITPTI) attracts hundreds of artists since 2007 and also takes pride in the recent accreditation of “European Festival”.
Culture can be found in Iași even on the streets, and the Union Square is often the scene of flash mobs, of the resurrection of “Hora Unirii” and Argentinian tango soirées. On “Ștefan cel Mare” Boulevard people playing the guitar, the violin or the keyboard can often be seen, animating the city with their songs, and in summer, “Weekends at Roznovanu Palace” is organized, with rock and folk music local artists. During the last years, activities outside the centre have begun to develop (Tătărași Athenaeum, Borderline Art Space), spreading all the way to the industrial area (Hubrica). The arguments of creating a thematic art route in Iași do not end here. But these 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 Romanian Communist Party (RCP) was founded in 1921 after the division of a Bolshevik branch of extreme-left from the socialist Party in Romania, branch declared illegal between 1924 and 1944. Political prisoners and cell mates were also the state rules in the communist period: Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Ceaușescu. 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. This would be considered the “Freeing from the fascist yoke” and was celebrated during the communist period as the National Day of Romania. The gradual entrance of communists in the leading structures of the country, forced King Michael I to abdicate in 1947. 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. The huge war damages claimed by the USSR have impoverished the country and the permanent occupation of some Romanian territories by the soviets(Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina) have determined a gradual estrangement towards Moscow. The peak of Romania’s emancipation was in 1968, when Nicolae Ceaușescu delivered a famous speech through which be condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the USSR. Romania entered a period of prosperity by creating some alliances with capitalist countries, pacifist speeches in the Cold War context and an impressive enthusiasm in building communism through the exacerbation of patriotism and nationalism of working-class type. After the visits to North Korea, the Ceaușescu couple began to develop a strong personality cult, unique in Europe, naming the period of its leadership, “The Golden Age”. In 1982, the dictator decided to pay all external debts of the country, which led to a more acute lack of food and other products, utility interruptions and oppression growth. The collapse of the system took place in December 1989. During the Revolution, thousands of people were shot in confrontations between the protesters and the army, and the presidential couple was sentenced to death and executed.
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. Symbol buildings were demolished and, instead, concrete edifices were built to satisfy the requirements of communist propaganda (the Students’ Culture House, the Square House, etc.), and the small merchant streets were destroyed in order to make room for some large boulevards (Independence, Anastasie Panu, etc.). The romantic historical centre loses its importance through the nationalisation and occupancy of the buildings by vulnerable social groups, or their demolition. But new working-class neighbourhoods, dormitory type, develop. The earthquake of 1977 was used as an excuse for demolishing entire central areas. Some architects have introduced in the concrete dictatorship, traditional or artistic elements, using mosaics and decorations. Some have managed to save important archaeological vestiges or have brought innovative elements, such as balcony disposing on some blocs of flats, in order to be read the word “INDEPENDENȚA”. The Union Square, an example of design during the communist period, is sprinkled with mosaïcs with themes favourite for socialist propaganda: agriculture, forests, industry, arts, peace and history, the piece de resistance being the legend of the founding of Moldavia.
The discontent of the last years of communism was expressed in Iași through the protest of the Nicolina Factory workers and the students protest 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.
In the past, it was said that in Iași you could see a church tower from any point in the city, but nowadays, the blocks of flats built after the 1970s sometimes obstruct the traveller’s view. Iași is also called “The city of 100 churches”. Actually, there are 109 Christian religious places of worship: 84 Orthodox buildings and 25 non-Orthodox Christian (Catholics or Neo-Protestants), and this makes it the city with the most churches in Romania. There are also three non-Christian buildings (two synagogues and a Muslim praying house).
Churches are some of the few buildings which managed to resist throughout the ages, through their solid construction. Entire generations of princes, boyars and simple city dwellers were blessed, married or buried in the churches which were placed in the old fortress or in the ones which guarded the city from the surrounding hills. 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.
The religious buildings in Iași present numerous architectural styles, showing the cultural open-mindedness of the former capital. The Moldavian style is the most prominent one, consolidated in the medieval period, a true synthesis between Orient and Occident. This style was inspired by the Byzantine style on which some Gothic elements were superposed. After 1600, influences of the Renaissance appear, through the central European Neoclassic style and the Baroque style of Viennese or Russian origin, which are harmoniously inserted on the religious buildings. Iași was also diverse from an ethnic and confessional point of view, thus we can see true architectural jewels belonging to the Orthodox, Armenian, Lippovan or Roman-Catholic religion.
Throughout time, many churches were destroyed by weather or tragic events, and others were transformed into prisons, storehouses or just closed and abandoned. Instead, lately, a growth of the interest of preserving religious historic monuments and building new religious dwellings is noticed.
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. But thousands of pilgrims and believers enter daily the Metropolitan Cathedral, a true core of Orthodox life in Romania. Along the canopy of Saint Parascheva, the visitors can discover the miracle icons in the Metropolitan Cathedral and in the Barnovschi Church, the tombs of the founders and the hierarchs in the Old Cathedral and a rich iconography at Golia Monastery and Banu Church.
The secular Romanian visitor of the religious buildings can admire the view from the Golia Tower and the stories with deacon Ion Creangă at Golia Monastery, the painting of the Royal family at Saint Nicolae Domnesc Church and the Metropolitan Cathedral or the tombs of the Princes at Three Hierarchs Church. The western guest is 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 Armenian visitor discovers the testimonies of his/her people’s civilization at the Armenian Church. Instead, the Greek guest appreciates the Greek spirit of the Byzantine arches of the marble columns at Bărboi Church and the places marked by the beginnings of the Freeing of Greece movement under Eteria’s flags, more precisely Cuza-Vodă Street, Three Hierarchs Monastery, Ștefan cel Mare Street and Cetățuia Monastery.
The Jews were present in Iași since the Middle Ages. Some of them managed to reach high positions, such as chancellor or doctor at the princes of Moldavian Court. In the middle of the 17th century, an important wave of Jews fled in Moldavia, from the north. They had been sent away from Poland and Ukraine or invited by princes to settle in Moldavia, where the population was decimated by diseases or in battles. The good will of Moldavian princes offered a free life to the Jews, who began to sell food, clothing or delicacies. In 1671, they built the Grand Synagogue, the oldest standing one in Romania. The Jewish people was beginning its life in three neighbourhoods of Iași: Păcurari, Podu Roș and Târgu Cucului. The Târgu Cucului neighbourhood, at the periphery in those days, became the centre of the Iași Jewish community, an extremely dynamic, spiritual place, but dominated by poverty. Some Jews have built imposing edifices on the trade streets, others have been extremely good tradesmen or philanthropists.
At the beginning of the 19th century, massive immigrations are registered from Russia and Galicia (Ukraine) caused by persecutions. 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, but also the first Yiddish newspaper in the world “Korot Haitim” (The Time Chronicle). The lines of the future state of Israel hymn were also written In Iași, by the poet Naftali Hertz Imber.
The 1900s are marked by a first wave of massive emigration of Jews, along with other Europeans, towards the USA. Besides the economic difficulties, there were also the draught of 1905, the appearance of the phylloxera which decimated the vineyards, as well as the 1907 Rebellion of the peasants against the landowners who often leased wide agricultural fields to Jews. Multiculturalism wasn’t always appreciated by some locals. The different concepts of the mosaic religion towards Christianity, culminated with the collective accusation of the Jewish people of deicide (killing Jesus Christ), began to create tensions between the inhabitants. On the base of a growing anti-Semitism throughout the entire Europe, some newspapers and filo-Nazi or legionary organisations started to find Jews to be responsible of any problem of the country. Since 1938, during anti-Semite governments and the military dictatorship of the marshal Ion Antonescu, racial laws were applied, which led to the expropriation of Jews, job firings or the racial stigma, as measures of solving “the Jewish matter”. Thus, the “field cleaning” was desired, especially through the deportation of Jews into camps.
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 which few managed to survive. After the massacre, the deportations and the exodus to Israel, the community in Iași reached less than 300 persons nowadays. The violent systematisation during the communist period destroyed most of the memory of this dynamic community. A few buildings, along with the documents and written stories, partially show the significance of the Jewish community in the city of Iași. Nowadays, the Jewish community organizes cultural activities, conferences, debates and festivals.
Romanticism was a European intellectual and artistic movement which reached its peak around 1800. Appeared as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, Romanticism bloomed in visual arts, literature and later on, in music. The fundamental themes approached by romantics were the ideal, the impetuous desire of freedom, expression of dramatic feelings, the attraction towards exoticism and rediscovering the Orient, the titanic aspirations of man or the mystery of nature. Romanticism became known in the Romanian area through the political and cultural activity of the young generation of Moldavian and Muntenian elite, educated in France or Germany. In Iași, the stream was also felt through the forty-eight writers Costache Negruzzi, Alecu Russo, Vasile Alecsandri, Mihail Kogălniceanu, and lasted long before its decline in western Europe, reaching its peak in Mihai Eminescu’s work, considered to be the last greatest Romantic poet.
A Romantic route can begin at the Registrar Palace (near Union Square) which reminds us of the dramatic story of the famous princess Ruxandra, daughter of Voivode Vasile Lupu. The ancient Traian Hotel, made after Gustave Eiffel’s design invites you to art exhibitions in its majestic lobbies. Don’t forget to make reservations for a dinner on the 13th floor of Unirea Hotel, in the Panoramic Restaurant. It will be an unforgettable romantic experience!
Nearby, Lăpușneanu Street still evokes the tumult of confectioner’s shop, breweries and cinemas from long ago. The Yellow Precipice is a romantic place sought by young newlyweds for romantic photographs. Walking on Copou Hill, the ancient “Green Bridge”, you arrive the Pogor House, the headquarters of Junimea, where the most important writers of the 19th century who marked Romania’s culture, got together: Ion Creangă, Mihai Eminescu, Iacob Negruzzi, Vasile Alecsandri, Titu Maiorescu and many others.
It is worth stopping at the first modern University in Romania in order to admire the gorgeous Library of the “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University and the Hall of Lost Steps, with the wall painting gallery of Sabin Bălașa. Trafali Caffé from the cool semi-basement of the university reminds us of the arched cellars of the long-ago cafés. A bit higher, Ristretto and Green Bridge Restaurants invite you to enjoy fine foods in an elegant space. Copou Alley (former princess Mary), with its interwar Neo-Romanian palaces, invites you to discover Copou Park, the favourite walking place of the locals. At the entrance, you shall cross a bridge over Eminescu’s Lake, a miniature of the lake from Ipotești (Botoșani), the poet’s childhood place. The main objective in the park is Eminescu’s Linden Tree, over 450 years old, which was witness to the most known love story in the Romanian literature, between Mihai Eminescu and Veronica Micle. The tour passes to Mihai Eminescu Museum, the Lion Obelisk, the long-ago brass band pavilion and the Writers’ Alley.
The aristocracy mansion on L. Catargi or Sărărie Streets send you in the past atmosphere. Along with the memorial houses of the great Romanians George Topârceanu, Poni-Cernătescu, Mihail Kogălniceanu, Mihai Codreanu, Ion Creangă (the Țicău Hovel). The charming National Theatre with the gorgeous hall decorated in Baroque and Rococo style is a real must-see. The passionate love story from Roznovanu Palace, the current City Hall, will charm the visitors. Finally, Dosoftei House reminds us of the medieval architecture of the former Princely Palace Court of Moldavia, with its imposing Princely Palace, nowadays called the “Palace of Culture”, rebuilt in 1925 in Romantic style.
The seven hills on which the city of Iaşi was built, like Rome or Constantinople, are perfect for discovering nature, history and culture in an active and relaxing way. Each of these hills is a benchmark of the history and evolution of the city and are marked by religious buildings, panoramic city views, forest landscapes or vineyards.
Lately, a number of bicycle tracks have been set up in town. These share the same space as the sidewalks and are not continuous. At the same time, the number of cyclists has increased, and running and cycling competitions annually gather hundreds of sports enthusiasts.
The location of the city of Iași at the contact between the Moldavian Plain and the Central Moldavian Plateau offers a diverse natural setting, where many leisure activities can be practiced. Repedea-Bârnova area offers the most varied possibilities of leisure, picnic, wine tasting, walks, physical activities such as mountain biking, downhill, trail running, paintball, airsoft, rock climbing, adventure, archery and more.
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. Hill altitudes range from 100 to 400 meters. The most famous panorama of the city is seen from Repedea Plateau. From here, in the clear days, the emblematic Ceahlău Mountain, 1907 m high, 130 km away, can be seen to the west. Much of the route bypasses the main paved roads, so that you can quietly experience the forests, vineyards and fields. The profound rural world can still be seen in some localities, although the suburban is gaining more and more territory. The rural life style, with a much quieter rhythm than the city’s fuzz, reminds us of the importance of clean air, nature and staying fit. Choosing the exact route may depend on the season, the weather conditions or the physical training of cyclists.
For those wishing to walk on foot (6-10 km), the hills can be grouped by two for a one-day tour: Galata with Cetăţuia, Bârnova village with Repedea and Bucium, Copou Hill with Breazu, most of them accessible by public transport. Şorogari Hill is the only one isolated, but it can be approached together with the Ciric entertainment area and the Aroneanu commune.
Difficulty level: medium-difficult
Kilometers of pedalling: 60 km
Level difference: 800 m
Estimated time: 7-8 hours
Type of road: unpaved roads or paths (70%), bicycle track (10%), road (20%).