The most vastly documented explanation for the city’s name is that it originated in the Early Medieval Age, from the Alan people of Asi (also known as As or Os), but the protochronist historians have a different theory regarding the origin of the name “Iași”. They state that the name comes from a far older Sarmatian tribe: the Iazyges, mentioned by Latin poet Ovid.

Iași is known as The Cultural Capital of Romania.

Novelties on Iași

The oldest university in the country is in Iași. It was officially opened on November 7th 1860 by ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, and it was named after him.

Iași is the city where we can find an airport closest to Cucuteni. Cucuteni is a culture older than the oldest settlements in Sumer or Egypt. The ceramics found here resembles only the one unearthed in China. The China ceramics have been dated 1,000 years after the Cucuteni culture.

Traian Hotel in Iași, finished in 1882, with a unique and advanced architecture in its period, was built by the creator of Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (1832 – 1923).

The Theatre Museum, in Iași, establishment in 1976, is unique in the country and is located in a building erected in 1870 which belonged to poet Vasile Alecsandri, a few hundred meters far from the Union Square.

“Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre is built between 1894 and 1896 in Neoclassic style with Baroque and Rococo inspired painted and sculpted ornaments.

Iași was the capital of Moldavia during 1564 – 1859, one of the two capitals of the United Principalities between 1859 and 1862, and also the capital of Romania in 1916 – 1918, during the First World War.

The Botanical Garden in Iași covers 105 hectares and is the oldest and biggest in Europe, and one of the biggest and oldest in the world.

Palas Iași was awarded “The Certification for Excellency” in 2015 by TripAdvisor ®, the most important tourism website in the world. The PALAS urban complex includes a shopping mall, a shopping street, event halls, class A office buildings, a 4 star hotel, an underground parking lot with a capacity of approximately 2,500 spaces, a park and green spaces covering 270,000 m², all worth over 265 million euros.
The PALAS project received a prize, in 2007, at the MAPIC International Retail and Real Estate Fair in Cannes, in the “Best Retail Development over 20.000 sqm” category.


The Metropolis of Moldavia and Bukovina is located in the center of the city and is one its symbols, the cathedral shelters the holy relics of Saint Paraskeva of the Balkans, the patron saint of Moldavia. Each year, on October 14th Saint Paraskeva is celebrated, and the site of the building of the Metropolis becomes animated with various events celebrating the city anniversary.

The Palace of Culture is the creation of architect I.D. Berindei, assisted by A.D. Xenopol and Grigore Cerchez, and it was built during 1906 and October 1925, being opened in 1926 by King Ferdinand of Romania. The Palace was erected on the ruins of the medieval Lordly Court confirmed in documents in 1434, and its architectural style is neo-gothic.

Copou Park is the oldest park in Iași, where Eminescu’s linden tree is, the great poet’s source of inspiration, which became the vegetal symbol of Iași; it is a place frequented by romantic couples.

Tower of Golia is 30 meters high and is one of the city symbols, from atop you can admire the city, but only after you make a worthwhile effort – climbing 120 steps.

Alexandru Ioan Cuza University is the oldest university in Romania and it was established in on October 26th 1860.

The Botanical Garden in Iași has an area of 105 hectares, making it one of the largest gardens of its kind in the world.

The Moldavian cooking from Iași is a must. The good prices and wide range of restaurants – small and stylish or big and rackety – are a very good incentive for spending an evening with live music or tasting culinary delights.

Union Museum is situated in the city centre, on Lăpușneanu Street 14, and it has a valuable heritage of modern history. The building of the museum itself is the first and foremost exhibit. Even emptied of furniture, the edifice is still an attraction site.

Iași is home to the oldest Romanian university and to the first engineering school.

History, culture and architecture

The city of Iași was mentioned for the first time in a trade privilege issued in 1408 by Alexandru cel Bun, ruler of Moldavia. Still, because there were older buildings (for example the supposed Armenian church built in 1935), it is believed that the city is much older, at least a few decades prior to this date. In 1564, ruler Alexandru Lăpușeanu moved the capital of Moldavia to Suceava.

Iași is the city of great ideas, of the first union, of the first theatre show in Romanian, of the first memorial literary museum (Bojdeuca din Țicău) and of the first Natural History Museum.

In the city, on Copou Hil, is located the oldest university in Romania, the University of Iași, today the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University. Established in 1860 by decree of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, succeeding the old Mihăileană Academy, the current university has 15 faculties with over 40,000 students. The main building, an architectural monument, was erected in 1896.

“Saint Lordly Nicholas” Church in Iași is and orthodox church, built by Ștefan cel Mare during 1491-1492 and was rebuilt in 1884-1904 by architect André Lecomte du Noüy, after it was demolished and reconstructed on the same foundation and approximately in its initial shape, but without the subsequent add-ons. Because it was located nearby the Lordly Court and because almost all rulers of Moldavia, from Despot Vodă to Grigore Alexandru Ghica, were anointed here, the church was named “Saint Lordly Nicholas”, unlike other constructions with the same patron saints. In the second half of the 17th century, for a few years (1677-1682), “Saint Lordly Nicholas” Church was a metropolis cathedral. “Saint Lordly Nicholas” Church in Iași was included on the list of historical monuments in Iași County in 2004.

“Saint Lordly Nicholas” Church is included on the list of historical monuments in Iași County.

The Palace of Culture in Iași is a symbolic building, built during 1906 and 1925 in the perimeter of the former medieval Moldavian Lordly Court, on the site of the former Lord’s Palace. The building is on the list of historical monuments. The edifice served initially as an Administrative and Justice Palace. In 1955, it was changed to serve a cultural purpose, becoming the residence of many important cultural institutions in Iași.

Today, the Palace of Culture is home to the “Moldavia”National Museum Complex, which comprises the Moldavia History Museum (1916), the Moldavia Ethnographic Museum (1943), The Art Museum (1860), “Ștefan Procopiu” Science and Technical Museum (1955), as well as the Center for Conservation-Restoration of the Cultural Heritage (1975). The north-east wing of the Palace shelters the “Gheorghe Asachi” County Library (1920).

The neo-Gothic Palace of Culture is built on the old ruins of the medieval Princely Court and on the foundations of the former neoclassical Princely Palace of Moldavia.

Golia Monastery is an important worship place in Iași and it was named after its builder, great chancellor Ioan Golia. It is situated in Târgul Cucu. The monastery’s dedication is to the Ascension of the Lord. The monastery is an important cultural center, sheltering the Doxologia Cultural Missionary Centre of the Metropolis of Moldavia and Bucovina. The clerical establishment of Golia is a typical medieval fortress. Much on the old church, to which the name of Golia family is closely connected to, is not known, and the only certainty about it is that it was built in the 16th century. The current church erected by the order of Vasile Lupu, rebuilt during 1650-1653 and finished in 1660 by his son Ștefăniță, is completely different from the typical Moldavian orthodox church, both in construction and architecture. The current church is a blend of styles, especially baroque and byzantine, as it was built when the Romanian Principalities were deeply enveloped in the Late Renaissance.

The Trei Ierarhi Monastery is part of the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cetățuia Monastery in Iași is an Orthodox monk monastery, built in the 17th century by Gheorghe Duca (1665-1666, 1668-1672 and 1678-1683). Located atop a high and gully hill in the south side of Iași, from where there’s a beautiful panorama of the city, Cetățuia Monastery oversees the landscape with its harmonious silhouette, guarded by an imposing tower and surrounded by a stone wall that time wore down.

In the start it was a medieval fortified complex capable of offering the ruler and the boyars a support for an armed resistance against invaders. A Greek letter printing press, brought in from Venice, functioned here. Reduced to ruins by the end of the 19th century, the monastery was restored in the period between the two World Wars at the initiative of historian Nicolae Iorga. The Cetățuia Monastery Ensemble was included on the List of historical monument in Iași County in 2004.

Worthy to mention about Iași are the memorial houses of some of the greatest Romanian writers like: Mihai Eminescu, Mihail Sadoveanu, George Topârceanu, Mihail Codreanu, and Otilia Cazimir.