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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Travel Tuesday: Why You Should Visit Iasi

Dearest sweethearts,

Welcome to 2017! Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year next to the ones you truly love and care about. I hope you had time to relax and reflect on the year that passed - both the joys and troubles are part of our life's and they help us grow and develop. I know you probably already setup your New Year Resolutions... but to tell you the truth I have not been so specific this year. All I want is love, being next to the ones I care, good health and the possibility to travel once in a while, especially now that the Little LadyBug Baby Girl is getting bigger ;) and it's a bit easier to move her around without constantly thinking "I might break her!" ;) Anyway... if in your Resolutions you also listed travelling inside Europe, trying out different countries and not necessarily the hyper known locations... maybe you should try Romania! That's right... the land of Dracula! But I ain't saying you need to get to Transylvania... you can always try having a small city break in Iasi ;) (also known as Jassy) - that's my hometown! Here are a few reasons why:
Traditional Romanian Christmas dances
1. Iasi is the most important political, cultural, economical and historical center/city in the Moldavian region. It has been the capital of the country for a while and it has the oldest and the more renowned University in the country. It was historically very important due to its trading routes with Poland, Russia, Hungary and Constantinople.

2. It is considered the center of Moldavian culture since 1408! In Iasi the first Romanian newspaper was published and the first Romanian University was established! Today the city has 5 universities and comparing that to the world it may not be much now, but the students of these uni's are very much searched for by companies worldwide ;) should I mention that in Microsoft the second most used language - the official one! - is Romanian? 
Mitropolitain Church on Stefan cel Mare Street
3. Iasi is a city of churches - Orthodox Churches are very well represented here. As I was saying that in Krakow you can find a church at every corner, the same goes with Iasi.  Probably the most well known one is the Mitropolitain Church located on Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) Street. It boasts of holding the remains of the great saint Parascheva. In October people flock from all over the world to come and pray and touch her (for healing purposes). 

4. When it comes to churches, there is another "must see" beauty on Stefan cel Mare Street: Sfintii Trei Ierarhi (Church of the Three Hierarchs) - constructed 1637-1639. You will be amazed of its stunning decorations: the exterior is covered entirely in delicate and intricate patterns sculpted in stone (over 30 friezes!). The stone work is a mixture of western gothic, Renaissance and Oriental motifs. Legends say that the exterior was covered in hold and silver centuries ago, but when the Ottoman Empire tried to conquer Moldavia the invaders set the church on fire and melted all the gold.
National Theater in Iasi, Romania 
5. The Moldova Filharmonic House has been renovated and looks now as I remember it when I was a small child. It is indeed a lovely place to admire the old style architecture but also go inside and listen to a concert. It has pretty ok acoustics. I need to mention that on January 18th, 1847, that's almost 170 years ago! The famous composer, Franz Liszt played there! Also the National Theater is a "must see", being the very first to have played a play in Romanian language.
Traian Hotel and The LadyBug
6. The Hotel Traian, built in 1879 in neoclassical style. It's not well known buy the engineer that worked on its plans was none other than Mr. G. Eiffel - that's right! The one that designed the worldwide known symbol of Paris/France: the Eiffel Tower. The hotel was also one of the first in Europe to be molded on a metal frame! Talk about innovation! ;)
7. The Hall of Lost Footsteps (Sala Pasilor Pierduti) located at the University Al. I. Cuza, in the Copou campus, building A. Frescoes made by the local artist Sabin Balasa will make you dream and will melt your heart... it's one of the "must see" places. Don't forget to get your camera with you ;) the predominant color is blue and almost all the female characters have fiery red manes :)
8. The most beautiful parks where you can have some fresh air, have a stroll with your loved ones or just enjoy the chirping of the birds while you read a good book. A favourite of the locals in the Copou Park. In 1834 it became the city's first public garden and in 1860 the street lamps were installed here for the first time ;)

9. Romanians first, oldest and largest public botanical garden: Gradina Botanica Iasi - Iasi Botanical Garden. It has one of the prettiest pathways and it's very popular due to its awesome chrysanthemum displays during autumn time. It's very well maintained and totally worth your time ;)
Palace of Culture #nightlights 
10. If all the above fails to attract you... and you are a die hard shopping fan, you can mix that up with a bit of art and architecture and hit the Palas Mall, right next to the good old Palace of Culture (Palatul Culturii), right in the heart of the city.

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Discover New Places When Traveling