Iasi Travel Guide
These days, Moldova is its own country. However, more than a century ago, it was part of a united Romania. At that time, Iasi was the capital of the region of Moldavia. Consequently, it is a centre of culture related to Moldova, despite still being part of modern-day Romania.
Our Iasi Travel Guide advises you to take plenty of time to enjoy Iasi’s cultural attractions – set aside a minimum of 3-4 days. Come check out our Iasi travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Iasi, Romania.
Devote your first day in Iasi towards seeing the Palace of Culture. Formerly home to the Administrative and Justice Palace, it now hosts four distinct museums. The first of these is the Art Museum – within this subsection, you’ll find Romania’s oldest visual art collection. It contains over 8,700 pieces, divided into three galleries – modern, contemporary, and universal.
After you get your fill of art, walk over to Moldavia’s History Museum. As the name suggests, this institution chronicles the history of the nearby country of Moldova. You’ll find 48,000 items that date all the way back to the Paleolithic Age. Of them, a 70,000-year-old mammoth skull is among its most prominent holdings.
Learn even more about the culture of Moldova by checking out the Ethnographic Museum of Moldavia. This institution uses its 13,000 items to weave a narrative about the Moldavian people. Agricultural implements, the typical peasant homes, and traditional costumes are just a few things you’ll encounter here.
Lastly, take a look at the Palace of Culture’s newest attraction – the Science and Technology Museum. Founded in 1955 as the Polytechnical Museum, curators changed the focus to science and technology in 1994. Here, you’ll learn about everything from mineralogy to computers – all with a Romanian bent.
With your appetite for museums satisfied, move on to the Trei Ierarhi Monastery. Authorities built this 17th-century Orthodox monastery to honour saints John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, and Gregory of Nazianzus.
As a significant city in Romania’s past, this monastery became the final resting place of numerous royals. This list includes Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the first ruler of the united Romanian state. The building’s design belies its importance, as it combines numerous architectural styles (Gothic, Renaissance, Persian, Ottoman, and more) in a way that works.
As of this writing, this monastery is on a tentative list for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, we strongly recommend checking this place out, even if you aren’t usually interested in religious monuments.
If you are interested in religious monuments, continue on to the Metropolitan Cathedral. Its highest spires are almost 53 metres high, making it the most significant Orthodox church in Romania. It dates from the early 19th century when Prince Ioan Sturdza ordered its building.
This cathedral’s builders crafted it in the Baroque style. Famed Romanian painter Gheorghe Tattarescu created the frescoes and other visual art pieces within. Enjoy your time here, but take care not to disturb worshippers. Dress respectfully and refrain from using flash photography.
Fans of the performing arts may want to take in a show at the Vasile Alecsandri National Theater. Also known as the Iasi National Theater, it takes its official name from the famed Romanian playwright. In this hall, the first play ever presented in the Romanian language took place.
Watching a show here is a special experience. The building, crafted in the Neoclassic, Baroque, and Rococo styles, creates an atmosphere that elevates any play held here. If you love opera houses and theatres, give it a look.
Familiar with one of Romania’s most celebrated writers? While in Iasi, check out the House Of Ion Creanga. It was here where he spent his childhood. He leveraged his memories here to write many of the stories that Romanians know him for.
The curators have done their best to preserve the yard and house as it was back in Ion’s time. To get in only costs 2 EUR, so if you love writers, check the place out.
Green thumbs will want to spend some time strolling through the Iasi Botanical Garden. It spans over 80 hectares, which gives you plenty of room to roam around. The groundskeepers have divided the complex into 12 sections. These gardens include sections on Romanian species, ornamental plants, and much more.
Of all the green spaces in Iasi, Copou Park is the best-loved of all. Founded in 1834, it was the preferred leisure place for Iasi’s elite. While access was open to all, many in lower-classes shunned the park to avoid judgment by influential people. Apart from being a much friendlier place to relax these days, it also hosts festivals and other public events.
If the weather is not cooperating during your visit, spend an afternoon at the Palas Iasi. This centrally-located shopping mall is massive, containing almost 200 shops. Its food court is also well-regarded, so take your time when choosing where to eat your lunch.