Iaşi is the most important economic, political and cultural centre of Moldova region and one of the oldest cities in Romania. Situated in the North-East of Romania, near the border with Moldova Republic, Iaşi County is the crossing point of the most important commercial roads that are passing through Moldova coming from Poland, Hungary, Russia and Turkey. The relief of the Iaşi county is hilly.
Starting with the 17th century, Iaşi has been recognized as being the most important cultural center of Romania due to existence here of the old Vasilian Academy, and the High School of Slavonic and Greek languages, the first printing press and many other vestiges.
Iaşi was the City of the first Romanian University (1860) and the first Engineering High School (1814). Thus, it holds the reputation of a "spiritual and cultural capital of Romania". The constant development of higher education system is making Iaşi as the most important Higher Education Centre, after Bucharest.
Brief History of Iaşi City
Thoroughly European, Romania has given the world cultural patrimony great personalities: the scholar Dimitrie Cantemir, the sculptor Constantin Brāncuşi, the musician George Enescu, the inventor Henri Coandă, the diplomat Nicolae Titulescu, the historian Nicolae lorga, the dramatist Eugen lonescu, the historian Mircea Eliade, the mathematician Grigore Moisil. Many of them have their lives strongly related to Iaşi City.
There are towns or cities which have a real vocation for history. Iaşi, the former capital of Moldavia, is one of them. Iaşi City was Romania's first capital (from 1859-1862). The county's history records periods of vicissitudes and times of glory recalled by many monuments and vestiges. Iaşi - "the town of the seven hills", is attested in the 15th century (October 6, 1408) act issued by Prince Alexandru cel Bun (1400 - 1432) granting it commercial privileges, but the history of Iaşi area goes back to the beginnings of this millennium. In 2008, Iaşi commemorates 600 years since it was attested.
Tourism and Culture
One of Iaşi's most recognizable and charming buildings is the Neo-Gothic Palace of Culture. It sits on a promontory above the river terrace and serves as a visual reference point for central Iaşi. It was completed in the 1920s as a government administration building, but it is now home to four museums: the Art Museum, History Museum, Moldova Ethnographic Museum and The Polytechnic Museum. Grand but not grandiose, the Palace of Culture is indeed a prime element of Iaşi's skyline, and its image as a city of culture.
Along Stephan the Greatest Boulevard is the Church of the Three Hierarchs, the most distinctive church in Iaşi. It was completed in the 1630s, and its exterior of patterned stone carving was once layered in gold. It now provides the resting place for the crypts of Alexandru Ioan Cuza and Dimitrie Cantemir, the last native Moldavian Prince before the period of Phanariot Greek rule under the Ottomans. Further up the street is the much larger but less distinctive Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the 1830s as the seat of the Orthodox clergy in Moldavia. As such, the Cathedral hosts the relics of St. Paraschiva, the patron saint of Moldavia.
Other museums are worth mentioning: The Union Museum -situated in the building of the last King residence, The Natural History Museum, The Theater Museum, The Romanian Literature Museum, The National Theater " Vasile Alecsandri".
The "Alexandru Ion Cuza" University of Iaşi was founded in 1860 and was Romania's first modern university. It is named after the prince who united Wallachia and Moldavia into the state of Romania in 1859. The university is situated on Copou, one of the most prominent of Iaşi's several hills. Copou is not as steep, but the nicest residential area is there. Also, there are parks, a botanical garden, and the city stadium. Tall trees line Copou Boulevard, creating a passage of green up and down the street (at least before the leaves fall).
With a patrimony comprising many archaeological sites, memorial houses remaining of Romanian great writers such as Eminescu, Creangă, Alecsandri, Sadoveanu, about 6900 historical and architectural monuments, precious vestiges of Romanian culture and civilization, the county of Iaşi is considered a "museum" county in Romania. The rich cultural and artistic patrimony of the Iaşi county, the large and diversified folklore and ethnographic treasure, natural reservation and resources (Repedea, Valea Lunga, mineral springs in Nicolina, Strunga etc.), the famous vineyards in Cotnari (the 14th century) have favored sustained tourist activity with many possibilities of optimization and diversification.