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Iași, the Cultural and Historical Capital of Romania

Palace of Culture, Iași, Romania
Palace of Culture
We had a brief stopover in Iași (pronounced ee yash) on our way to Moldova and I was pleasantly surprised by everything that I saw. This second largest Romanian city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859 and of Moldavia and Wallachia from 1859-1862 and of Romania from 1916-1918. There are five public universities in Iași where bright young minds are educated to eventually lead the government and industries of the country. Iași has many nicknames: the Cultural Capital, the Historical Capital, the Moldavian capital, the City of Great Minds, the City of Three Unions.

Boulevard Stefan cel Mari și Sfânt
This pedestrian only boulevard is lined with outdoor cafés and restaurants. We sat down to lunch at one of these charming eateries before continuing our exploration of the city.

Church of Three Hierarchs, Iași, Romania
Church of the Three Hierarchs
This is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever visited. The façade is stunning with its stone lacery. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to painstakingly decorate every nook and cranny of this building. Construction of the Church began in 1635 and it was ready for service in 1639. This Church is a National Historical Monument and is on the “tentative list” for accreditation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Side of the Church

Entrance to the Church

Stone Lacery

Detail of stone lacery

Rosette design

Metal door with images of the saints



Dormition of Mary (center row) from side altar

Metropolitan Cathedral
The Metropolitan is the largest Orthodox cathedral in Romania. It was consecrated in 1887 and is dedicated to St. Paracheva, the Presentation of Jesus and St. George.

Iconostasis of the Metropolitan Cathedral

St. Paracheva (St. Paraskeva)
Relics of St. Paracheva (Saint Friday) are in the Metropolitan Cathedral. An annual pilgrimage celebration is held in October in Iași in honor of the Saint and it is one of the major religious events in Romania attended by thousands of pilgrims. St. Paracheva was born and raised in a wealthy household near Constantinople but she renounced her wealth and moved away from home to live a simple religious life in a convent. She experienced visions of the Virgin Mary and two years before she died at age 27, an Angel appeared to her and told her to move back home.

Old Metropolitan Cathedral

St. Nicolas Princely Church

City Hall
Rebuilt between 1830-1833, this former palace was the seat of the Romanian government during World War I.

How to get there: 
You can take the train or bus from Bucharest to Iași. It will take 6 hours by train or 7.5 hours by bus. Check for details. 
I went on a private tour with Nicolas Experience Tours and we toured Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. This is the best way to travel if you want to cover many different countries and sites. It’s more economical when you can share the cost with family or friends and you can also customize your itinerary. So don’t hesitate to inquire for rates. You can check out the tours here:

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Images by TravelswithCharie 

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