Two weeks ago, we made a spontaneous decision to take a three-day trip to explore the charm of the city of Iași, cultural capital of Romania. The idea had been brewing in our minds for some time, and we were eager to escape the routine of our everyday lives in Bucharest and embark on an adventure in a new and exciting destination.
As the days drew nearer to our departure, we eagerly planned our itinerary, poring over maps, reading about the city’s rich history, and making a list of must-visit places. Iași, often referred to as the cultural capital of Romania, held a special allure for us. Its centuries-old history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene promised an unforgettable experience.
The day of our departure finally arrived, and we set off early in the morning, our hearts filled with anticipation. The road from Bucharest to Iași was a picturesque journey through the Romanian countryside, with rolling hills, quaint villages, and the occasional castle looming in the distance.
Upon our arrival in Iași, we immediately felt the city’s welcoming atmosphere. We checked into our charming accommodation, located not far from the heart of the city, and wasted no time before heading out to explore.
Iași, known as the “City of the Seven Hills,” holds significant religious and spiritual importance for Romanians. It is home to some of the country’s most historic and revered religious institutions, including the stunning Metropolitan Cathedral and numerous Orthodox monasteries, both in the city and its surrounding (Hadambu Monastery being one of the most beautiful). Iași has been a center of religious scholarship and cultural heritage, fostering a deep connection between its people and their spiritual roots. The city’s rich religious history and vibrant cultural traditions make it a spiritual hub, where faith and heritage are celebrated and cherished by generations of Romanians
Iași is particularly renowned for its devotion to Saint Parascheva, also known as Cuvioasa Parascheva. The annual pilgrimage to her relics at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Iași is a deeply spiritual and cultural event, drawing thousands of believers from across Romania. Saint Parascheva’s intercession is believed to bring miracles and blessings, making her a symbol of faith and unity for the people of Iași and beyond.
Day 1: Exploring Iași
Our first stop was the magnificent Palace of Culture. This iconic building was a true gem of Romanian architecture, and it was surrounded by a lush green park, perfect for a leisurely stroll. We were awestruck by the beautifully decorated rooms, stunning frescoes, and the remarkable art exhibitions that showcased the city’s history.
After touring the palace, we headed to Union Square, the heart of Iași, where we found an abundance of charming cafes and restaurants. We decided to have a delicious traditional Romanian lunch at a cozy cafe, enjoying mămăligă, sarmale, and a sweet treat of mămăligă cu brânză.
Our next stop was the Moldavian Metropolitan Cathedral, a breathtaking masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. The interior was adorned with stunning frescoes, and we lit a candle and said a silent prayer, taking in the peaceful atmosphere.
In the afternoon, we explored the streets of Iași, admiring the 19th-century buildings, cobblestone pathways, and the city’s vibrant atmosphere. We visited the Palace of Justice, walked along Ștefan cel Mare Boulevard, and couldn’t resist indulging in some shopping at the local boutiques.
As the sun began to set, we made our way to Copou Park, the oldest public garden in Romania. The park was a tranquil oasis with beautiful fountains, winding pathways, and a serene lake. We sat on a bench, watching the swans gracefully gliding across the water and the sun casting a warm golden hue over the trees.
For dinner, we dined at a charming restaurant known for its Moldovan cuisine. We feasted on mămăligă, mititei, and enjoyed some local wine while a live band played traditional Romanian music. The evening was a perfect blend of great food and romantic ambiance.
Day 2: Exploring the Surroundings
On the second day of our weekend adventure, we decided to venture out of the city to explore the natural beauty and history of the surrounding area.
Our first stop was at Castle and Palace of Ruginoasa, a historic gem situated just a short drive from the city. The Castle was built in the 19th century and boasted impressive Gothic and Neo-Gothic architecture, while the Palace was a fine example of Neoclassical design. We explored the interiors with fascination, marveling at the historical grandeur.
After that, we had one more special destination to visit. We set off for the Palace of Miclăușeni, another architectural gem located in the rolling hills of Moldova. The palace was an elegant example of the Romanian Revival style, with its stunning gardens and a rich history. We explored the palace’s grand rooms, learning about the illustrious past of the Miclăușeni estate.
In the evening, we returned to Iași and decided to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife. We strolled along Lapușneanu Street, known for its lively atmosphere and diverse entertainment options. We found a cozy music club, where we enjoyed live music and some traditional drinks, including țuică and palincă.
Day 3: A Farewell to Iași
On our last day in Iași, we decided to explore the city’s parks and natural beauty. We visited the Botanical Garden, a green oasis in the heart of the city, where we admired a wide variety of plants and flowers from all over the world.
As we bid farewell to Iași, we knew that our weekend adventure had been an unforgettable memory. We had fallen in love with the city’s rich history, warm culture, and the welcoming smiles of its people. Iași had become a place that held a special spot in our hearts, and we promised to return one day to create more beautiful memories in this enchanting city.
And so, our weekend adventure in Iași concluded, but the love for the city and the surrounding landmarks would remain in our hearts forever, a testament to the magic of exploration and the wonders of new experiences.