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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Small Stories From Iasi

Dear friends,

I know I have not been showing you a lot of pictures until now from my trip home, for Easter, but I have been waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over my head with paperwork/bureaucracy and meeting family and friends. Not to mention Easter celebration altogether. But fear not! Today is the day in which I will show you a little bit about my hometown - a little bit about Iasi. I will be abusing a bit of Wikipedia for exact info, but I am doing this for your benefit in case you ever drop by this lovely city.
Palas Mall
Palas is an urban complex situated in the Civic Center of Iasi, right next to the Palace of Culture. The project was developed in a combined partnership public-private by Iulius Group and The Local Council of Iasi. It has an area of approximately 270.000 square meters and it cost around 265 million euros, being until now the biggest investment of its domain outside Bucharest.
The Palas Mall assemble consists of:
  • Commercial center - around 54.200 square meters - Example of shops: Cărturești, H&M, Massimo Dutti, New Look, Tommy Hilfiger, Camaieu, LC Waikiki, Douglas, Humanic, Hervis Sports, L'Occitane, Subway, Gregory’s, Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull&Bear, Oysho, Hervis Sports, C&A, Sephora, Stefanel, Ecco, Motivi, Intersport, Levi’s, Colin’s, KFC Drive Thru, Librarium, etc.. You can also find there places to spend your free time, a food-court and a Auchan hypermarket
  • Palas Shopping Street - 6.300 square meters - commercial area stationed outside
  • Park - 50.000 square meters
  • Hotel;
  • Office Buildings - United Business Center (28.000 mp);
  • Underground parking lot - capacity of 2500 places to park;
  • Apartments;
  • Summer Theater.
Here you can see a view of the Palace of Culture taken from the Palas Park. Usually it is quite alive and kicking but the rain that was pouring for almost 3 days had everyone inside where it was dry and warm. But it is a lovely place in the summer and in the winter there was an ice-skating ring ;)
Hotel Unirea is one of the 2 oldest hotels here in Iasi - along with Grand Hotel Traian. It is located in the Union Square and it is very much preferred for parties/weddings. The hotel has 13 floors but the 13th is actually a birds-eye-view restaurant that is brilliantly positioned. With full windows you can have a 360 degrees view over Iasi. It is brilliant for dinners and watching the sun set :)
Back in 1882, Gustave Eiffel, the "master of engineering", was finishing the last details of an architectural masterpiece. Not in Paris or Vienna, nor Saigon or the United States, but here in Iasi, on Romanian land, one of centers that gathered the knowledge and forces of the whole country. Two years before Gustave Eiffel became famous for the Statue of Liberty, the American symbol, and seven years before erecting the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the master from Cote d’Or gave birth to a neoclassical masterpiece here in Iasi, Unirii Square: TRAÍAN Grand Hotel

The Union Statue
The Stefan Cel Mare Street
National Theater - Iasi
Trei Ierarhi - A unique monument of its kind, a repository of the cultural and spiritual life of Moldavia, the Monastery of the Three Holy Hierarchs is located in the old centre of Iasi, on Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard, formerly known as the Princely Street.
The "Trisfetite" Church, built during Prince Vasile Lupu’s reign (1637 -1639), was intended to be a royal burial ground; it reflects the founder’s aspiration to the Byzantine world as it combines traditional structures and shapes with precious materials and a sumptuous decoration. Metropolitan Varlaam consecrated this holy place on the 6th of May 1639, and two years later Saint Paraskeve’s relics were moved here. The monastery accommodated a printing house and the "Schola Basiliana", the future Princely Academy. In 1970 the monastery was closed and the only religious services to be officiated were the celebration of the feast day of the Three Hierarchs (30th January) and the Union Day on 24th of January. Following the 1989 events, the monastery was reopened at the initiative of His Beatitude Daniel, Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina.
The monument is renowned for its embroidery in stone (most of it preserved in its original form) that decorate the outer walls. Thirty different carved stone decoration bands cover the entire outside walls of the church from the base to the top of the steeples; they are inspired from the national old wood carvings and embroideries blended with Asian and Western elements. An impressive threefold twisted cord – a symbol of the Holy Trinity – makes the architectural complex of the church absolutely perfect.
The church is under the patronage of The Three Holy Hierarchs (St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom); they are celebrated on the 30th of January.
Here in the picture above you can see the first school established in Iasi -The Gheorghe Asachi School Number 1. Gheorghe Asachi was the one who started the schools/teaching in Romanian language in Moldavia and he is the one that started the written press in Romanian language.
Going further on from Union Square/Piata Unirii further on through the Stefan Cel Mare Street you will be able to see Trei Ierarhi and The Gheorghe Asachi School Nb. 1 but the grand prize will be at the end of the street where you will have the lovely Palace of Culture :)
The Palace of Culture (Romanian: Palatul Culturii) served as Administrative Palace and then Palace of Justice until 1955, when its destination was changed again, being assigned to the four museums nowadays united under the name of Moldova National Museum Complex. Also, the building houses the Cultural Heritage Conservation-Restoration Centre, the main branch of the Gheorghe Asachi Iași County Library and hosts various exhibitions and other events. The Palace of Culture is listed in the National Register of Historic Monuments.
The construction, started in 1906, was partly built on the old ruins of the mediaeval Royal Court of Moldavia (1434), and partly on top of the foundations of the former neoclassical style palace, dated to the time of Prince Alexandru Moruzi (1806), rebuilt by Prince Mihail Sturdza and dismantled in 1904. It was from this latter building that the Palace inherited the legend of the 365 rooms, as many as the days within one year.
 ***
The Romanian architect I.D. Berindei was assigned to plan the building and he designed it in flamboyant neo-Gothic style. During World War I, the construction halted due to the limitation of resources. The monument was inaugurated on 11 October 1925 by King Ferdinand of Romania. The Palace has 298 large rooms with a total area of over 36,000 m2 (390,000 sq ft), 92 windows in the front part of the building and another 36 inside the building. Decoratively, the central hall shows a figurative mosaic including various representations of a gothic bestiary, concentrically arranged: two-headed eagles, dragons, griffons, lions. The hall is superposed by a glass ceiling room, where initially a greenhouse was arranged. Currently is under reconstruction but it is worth looking at even from the outside ;)

** I made this post out of love for the city I was born in and where part of my heart resides. It ain't no Paris or London or Barcelona but it is worth a day or two. I recommend it with all my heart and if you ever get there, I would be more than happy to grant you tips and tricks ;) **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Hopes One Day You Will Visit Iasi :)