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Iaşi ( ) (also historically referred to as Iassy in French, Jassy in German or Jászvásár in Hungarian), is a city and municipality in Moldavia, in north-eastern Romaniamarker. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859, the United Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia between 1859–1862 and Romania between 1916–1918.

Called “The city on seven hills” and "The city of great loves", Iaşi represents a symbol of Romanian history about which the greatest Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga said "There should be no Romanian who does not know it".

Nowadays, one of the largest Romanian cities, Iaşi is the social, economic, cultural and academic centre of the Romanian region of Moldavia.

The city is home to the oldest Romanian university and accommodates over 80,000 students in 5 public and 3 private universities. The social and cultural life gravitates around the National Theater (the oldest in Romania), the Opera House, the Iaşi State Philarmonic, the Tătăraşi Atheneum, a famous Botanical Garden (the oldest and largest in Romania), the Central University Library (the oldest in Romania), the high quality cultural centres and festivals, an array of museums, memorial houses and historical monuments.

Etymology and names

The city is historically referred to as Iaşi;

Scholars have different theories on the origin of the name "Iaşi". Some argue that the name originates with the Sarmatian tribe Iazyges (of Iranian origin), one mentioned by Ovid as "Ipse vides onerata ferox ut ducata 'Iasyx/ Per media Istri plaustra bubulcus aquas" and "Iazyges et Colchi Metereaque turba Getaque/ Danubii mediis vix prohibentur aquis".

A nowadays lost inscription on a Roman milestone found near Osijekmarker, Croatiamarker by Matija Petar Katančić in the 18th century, mentions the existence of a Jassiorum municipium, or Municipium Dacorum-Iassiorum from other sources.

Another explanation is that the name originated from the Iranian Alanic tribe of Jassi. The Hungarian name of the city (Jászvásár) literally means "Jassic Market"; the antiquated Romanian name, Târgul Ieşilor (and the once-favoured Iaşii), may indicate the same meaning.

Oral sources say that the name may come from an archaic form of the Romanian word "to exit" because the city was an important trade node in the region.


Golia Monastery

Ancient times

Archaeological investigations attest the presence of human communities on the present territory of the city and around it as far back as the prehistoric age. Later settlements included those of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, a late Neolithic archaeological culture.

Early development

The name of the city is first officially mentioned in a document about commercial privilege granted by the Moldavian Prince (Voivode) Alexandru cel Bun to the Polish merchants of Lvovmarker in 1408. However, as buildings older than 1408 existed and still exist (for example the Armenian Church originally believed to be built in 1395), it is believed that the city existed long before its first mentioning.

Capital of Moldavia

Around 1564, Prince Alexandru Lăpuşneanu moved the Moldavian capital from Suceavamarker to Iaşi. Between 1561 and 1563, a school and a Lutheran church were founded by the Greek adventurer Prince, Ioan Iacob Heraclid. In 1640, Vasile Lupu established the first school in which the mother-tongue replaced Greek, and set up a printing press in the Byzantine Trei Ierarhi Churchmarker (Church of the Three Hierarchs; built 1635–39). In 1643, the first volume ever printed in Moldavia was issued in Iaşi.

The city was burned down by the Tatars in 1513, by the Ottomans in 1538, by the Imperial Russianmarker troops in 1686. In 1734, it was hit by the plague.

Through the Peace of Iaşi, the sixth Russo-Turkish War was brought to a close in 1792. A Greek revolutionary maneuver and occupation under Alexander Ypsilanti (Αλέξανδρος Υψηλάντης) and the Filiki Eteria (Φιλική Εταιρία) (1821, at the beginning of the Greek War of Independence) led to the storming of the city by the Turks in 1822. In 1844 there was a severe conflagration.

Mid-19th to 20th century

The former Royal Court of Moldavia around 1885
Between 1564 and 1859, the city was the capital of Moldavia; then, between 1859 and 1862, both Iaşi and Bucharestmarker were de-facto capitals of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1862, when the union of the two principalities was recognized under the name of Romania, the national capital was established in Bucharest. For the loss caused to the city in 1861 by the removal of the seat of government to Bucharest the constituent assembly voted 148,150 lei to be paid in ten annual instalments, but no payment was ever made.

During World War I, Iaşi was the capital of a severely reduced Romania for two years, following the Central Powers' occupation of Bucharest on December 6 1916. The capital was returned to Bucharest after the defeat of Imperial Germanymarker and its allies in November 1918.

Jewish community

Avram Goldfaden's statue near the Iaşi National Theatre
The Great Synagogue, built in 1670
Iaşi also figures prominently in Jewish history. Records of Jews exist from the 16th century, and by mid-19th century, owing to widespread Russian Jewish and Galician Jewish immigration into Moldavia, the city was at least one-third Jewish. In 1855, it was the home of the first-ever Yiddish-language newspaper, Korot Haitim, and, in 1876, the site of what was arguably the first-ever professional Yiddish theater performance (see Avraham Goldfaden).

The words of HaTikvah, the national anthem of Israelmarker, were written in Iasi by Naphtali Herz Imber.

According to the 1930 census, with a population of 34,662 (some 34%) out of the total of 102,872, Jews were the second largest ethnic group in Iaşi. There were over 127 synagogues.

After World War II, Iaşi played a prominent part in the revival of Yiddish culture in Romania, from 1949 to 1964, it was home to a second company of the State Jewish Theatermarker.

Today, Iaşi has a dwindling Jewish population of ca. 300 to 600 members, and one working synagogue which dates from the 1600s. There is also a Jewish community center serving kosher meals from a small cantina.

Outside of the city on top of a hill there is a large Jewish Cemetery which has graves dating from the late 1800s; burial records date from 1915 to the present day and are kept in the community center.

World War II

During the early part of World War II, Iaşi was the site of the largest massacre of Jews in Romania. During the war, while the full scale of the Holocaust remained generally unknown to the Allied Powers, the Iaşi pogrom stood as one of the known examples of Axis brutality toward the Jews.

The pogrom lasted from June 29 to July 6, 1941, and over 13,266 people, or one third of the Jewish population, was massacred in the pogrom itself or in its aftermath, and many were deported. The pogrom began as a diversionary tactic. Due to its proximity to the Soviet border, the city's Jewish population was accused of aiding the Bolsheviks, and promoted rumors among the general population that the Jews were anti-Romanian. The pretext for the pogrom included a minor Soviet air attack on the city on June 26, 1941, two days after Romanian and German forces attacked the Soviet Union. After a second air attack two days later, the 14th Infantry Division, led by General Stavrescu declared its mission of eradicating "those who are aiding the enemy". In a telegram, Stavrescu wrote that the Russian aviators "had accomplices among the Judeo-communist suspects of Iaşi." Under express orders from military dictator and German ally Ion Antonescu, the city was to be "cleansed" of its Jewish population. Orders also specified that Section Two of the General Headquarters of the Romanian Army and the Special Intelligence Service (SIS) of Romania were to spread rumors of Jewish treachery in the press, including ones that Jews were guiding Soviet military aircraft by placing lights in their houses' chimneys.

A systematic massacre by the Iaşi police, Romanian and German soldiers, and a portion of the citizens of Iaşi followed and at least 8,000 Jews were killed; more than 5,000 Jews were loaded onto overcrowded, sealed "death trains" that drove slowly back and forth across the country in the hot summer weather until most of their passengers were killed by hyperthermia, thirst, or infection and bleeding.

Six Romanians of Iaşi are credited with saving around one hundred Jews (see Righteous Among the Nations).

In May 1944, Iaşi became the scene of ferocious fighting between Romanian-Germanmarker forces and the advancing Sovietmarker Red Army and the city was partially destroyed. The elite German Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland won an impressive defensive victory at the Battle of Târgul Frumos, a location near Iaşi. The battle was the object of several NATOmarker studies during the Cold War. By July, Iaşi had been taken by Soviet forces.



The city of Iaşi lies on the Bahlui River, a tributary of the Jijia (tributary of the Prut). The surrounding country is one of uplands and woods, featuring the monasteries of Cetăţuia, Frumoasa, Galata (with nearby Nicolina mineral springs), and the dendrologic park of Repedea. Iaşi itself stands amid vineyards and gardens, partly on two hills, partly in the in-between valley.It is a common belief that Iaşi is built on seven hills (coline in Romanian): Cetăţuia, Galata, Copou-Aurora, Bucium-Păun, Şorogari, Repedea and Breazu, thus triggering comparisons with Romemarker.


Iaşi has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification "Dfb") with four distinct seasons. Summers are warm with temperatures sometimes exceeding 32 °C (90 °F) while winters are cold and windy with moderate snowfall and temperatures at night sometimes dropping below –10 °C (14 °F). Average monthly precipitation ranges from about 25 mm (1 in) in October to 100 mm (4 in) in June.



The Union Square around 1915
With historical monuments, 500-year-old churches and monasteries, contemporary architecture, many of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Iaşi is an outstanding educational center, and preserves some beautiful pieces of architecture, such as the Trei Ierarhi Monasterymarker and the neo-Gothic Palace of Culturemarker.

During World War II and the Communist regime some historical buildings in the old city center (around Union Square area) were destroyed or demolished, and replaced by International style buildings and also a new mainly Mid-Century modern style Civic Centre was built around the Old Market Square (The Central Market).

Other notable buildings:


Iaşi is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina, and of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Iaşi. There are currently almost 10,000 Roman Catholics living in Iaşi. There is a debate between historians as to whether the Catholics are originally of Romanian or Hungarian descent.

The city houses more than 100 historical churches. One of the oldest is Royal Saint Nicholas (1491), dating from the reign of Stephen the Great and the largest is the Metropolitan Cathedralmarker; perhaps the finest, however, is the 17th century older metropolitan church, Trei Ierarhimarker, an example of Byzantine art, erected in 1635–1639 by Vasile Lupu, and adorned with countless gilded carvings on its outer walls and twin towers. Other examples of beautiful churches and monasteries, some surrounded by big walls, are: Galata (1582), Saint Sava (1583), Hlincea (1587), Bârnova (1603), Barnovschi (1627), Golia (1650), Cetăţuia (1668), Frumoasa (1726), Saint Spiridon (1747), Old Metropolitan Cathedral (1761), Bărboi (1843 with 18th century bell tower), Bucium (1853).

Gardens and parks

Iaşi has a diverse array of public spaces, from city squares to public parks.

Begun in 1833, at the time when Iaşi was the capital of Moldavia, by Prince Mihail Sturdza and under the plans of Gheorghe Asachi and Mihail Singurov, Copou Park was integrated into the city and marks one of the first Romanian coordinated public parks. The oldest monument in Romania stands in the middle of the park, the Obelisk of Lions (1834), a 13.5 m (44-foot) tall obelisk, dedicated to the Law of Organic Rules, the first law on political, administrative and juridical organization in Romanian Principalities.

Founded in 1856, the Botanical Garden of Iaşimarker, the first botanical garden in Romania, has an area of over 100 hectares, and more than 10,000 species of plants.

Iaşi Exhibition Park was opened in 1923 and built under the coordination of the architect N. Ghica Budeşti.

The Ciric Park, located in the north-eastern part of Iaşi is another complex which consists into the park and four lakes.

Cultural life

Major events in the political and cultural history of Moldavia are connected with the name of the city of Iaşi. The great scholars of the 17th century Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin and later Ion Neculce, wrote most of their works in the city or not far from it and the famous scholar Dimitrie Cantemir known throughout all Europe also linked his name to the capital of Moldavia.

The first newspaper in Romanian language was published in 1829 in Iaşi and it is in Iasi where, in 1867, appeared under literary society Junimea, the Convorbiri literare review in which Ion Creangă’s Childhood Memories and the best poems by Mihai Eminescu were published. The reviews Contemporanul and Viaţa Românească appeared in 1871, respectively in 1906 with great contributions to promoting Romanian national cultural values.

Many great personalities of Romanian culture are connected to Iasi: the chronicler Nicolae Milescu, the historians and politics men Mihail Kogălniceanu or Simion Bărnuţiu, the poets Vasile Alecsandri or George Topârceanu, the writers Mihail Sadoveanu, Alecu Russo, or Ionel Teodoreanu, the literary critic Titu Maiorescu, the historian A.D. Xenopol, the philosophers Vasile Conta or Petre Andrei, the sociologist Dimitrie Gusti, the geographer Emil Racoviţă, the painter Octav Băncilă, only to name a few.

Theatres and orchestras

The "Vasile Alecsandri" National Theatre [30445], opened in 1837 is the oldest National Theatre in Romania. The building, designed according to the plans of the Viennese architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner was built between 1894–1896, and also hosts starting 1956 the Iaşi Romanian Opera National Romanian Opera Iaşi.

Iaşi is also home to


Iaşi is home to many museums, memorial houses, art galleries.

First Memorial House from Romania opened in Iaşi in 1918 as Ion Creangă Memorial House, and today the Iaşi Romanian Literature Museum owns twelve memorial houses.The Mihai Eminescu Museum is situated in Copou Park and it is dedicated to the great poet’s life and creation.

The Theatre Museum, opened in 1976, at the celebration of 160 years since the first theatrical performance in Romanian, illustrates the development of the theatrical phenomenon since the beginning, important moments of the history of Iaşi National Theatre, the foundation, in 1840, of the Philharmonic-dramatic Conservatoire, prestigious figures that have contributed to the development of the Romanian theatre.

The Union Museum, includes original pieces and documents which belonged to prince Al. I. Cuza and his family.

The Natural History Museum, founded on 4 February 1834, is the first museum of this kind in Romania with over 300,000 items, the most valuable being the collections of insects, mollusk, amphibians, reptiles, birds, plants and minerals.

Four other museums are located in the Palace of Culturemarker, The Art Museum has the largest art collection in Romania, with more than 8,000 paintings, out of which 1,000 belong to the national and universal patrimony, The Moldavia's History Museum, offers more than 35,000 objects from various fields, archaeology, numismatics, decorative art, ancient books, documents, The Ethnographic Museum of Moldavia owns more than 11,000 objects depicting the Romanian advance through the ages and The Science and Technology Museum with five distinct sections and one memorial house.

Foreign culture centres

Iaşi hosts five cultural centres: Frenchmarker, Germanmarker, Britishmarker, Latin American & Caribbeanmarker and Hellenicmarker.

Periferic Biennial

Periferic is an international biennial of contemporary art organized in Iaşi, Romania by the Vector Association. Eight editions have taken place thus far.



Iaşi is an important economic centre in Romania. The local and regional economy relies on public sector institutions and establishments.

The most important sectors are related to health care, education, research, culture, government, tourism and manufacturing. It is active in metallurgical production, pharmaceutical industry, textiles and clothing, constructions, banking, wine, preserved meat.

The city is an important IT sector centre, with software companies and two universities that provide high quality graduate engineers.

Iaşi is also a well developed commercial city with many shopping malls and commercial centres.

Largest employers

Top 10 Employers in Iasi - 2009
Company Industry Employees
"St. Spiridon" University Hospital Health Care 2,140
"Al. I. Cuza" University High Education 2,040
"Gh. Asachi" Technical University High Education 1,800
RATP Public Transport 1,536
"St. Maria" Clinic Children Hospital Health Care 1,514
Fortus SA Heavy Industry 1,473
Antibiotice SA Pharmaceutical Industry 1,414
CET Energy & Heating Industry 1,400
"Gr. T. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy High Education 1,344
ApaVital SA Water Industry 1,044


Historical population of Iasi
Year Population
18th century ~30,000
1831 59,880
1859 65,745
1912 75,229
1930 census 102,872
1948 census 96,075
1966 census 161,023
1977 census 265,002
1992 census 344,425
2002 census 320,888
2007 estimate 315,214
Roznovanu Palace (1823) today Iaşi City Hall

According to the last Romanian census from 2002 there were 109,357 housing units and 320,888 people living within the city of Iaşi, making it the second largest city in Romania. Additionally there are 60,000 more residents (mostly students) and thousands of daily commuters.

Of this population, 98.1% are ethnic Romanians, while 1.2 % are ethnic Roma and 0.7% others.

In terms of religion, 92.5% of the population are Christian Orthodox, 4.9% Roman Catholic, other religious groups 2.6%.

As of January 1, 2009, 308,843 inhabitants live within the city limits, a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census.

Iaşi Metropolitan Area has a combined estimated population of 400,347, an area of 787 km² and includes the municipality of Iaşi and 13 other nearby communities.


Cuza" University

The first institute of higher learning that functioned on the territory of Romania was Academia Vasiliană (1640) founded by Prince Vasile Lupu as a "higher school for Latin and Slavonic languages", followed by the Princely Academy in 1707.

The first Romanian high education structure was established in the autumn of 1813, when engineer Gheorghe Asachi laid the foundations of a class of engineers, its activities taking place within the Greek Princely Academy.

After 1813, other moments marked the development of higher education in Romanian language, regarding both humanities and the technical science. In 1835, Academia Mihăileană founded by Prince Prince Mihail Sturdza is considered first Romanian superior institute in the country.

In 1860, three faculties part of the Academia Mihăileană formed the nucleus for the newly-established University of Iaşi, the first Romanian university.

A society of physicians and natural historians has existed in Iaşi since the early part of the 19th century, and a number of periodicals are published. One of the oldest medical universities in Romania, founded in 1879, is in Iaşi. It is now known as the "Grigore T. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

In 1937, the two applied science sections of the university of Iaşi became departments of the newly created Gheorghe Asachi Polytechnic School; In the period before and after World War II, the later (renamed Polytechnic Institute in 1948) extended its domain of activity, especially in the field of engineering, and became adopted a Technical University in 1993.

Public Universities:
"Mihai Eminescu" Central University Library of Iaşi

Besides the universities, there are schools of art and music.

The Central University Library of Iaşi, where the chief records of Romanian history are preserved, is the oldest and the second largest in Romania.



Central Railroad Station (1870)
Two train stations, Central Rail Station and Nicolina International Rail Station serve the city and are operated by Romanian Railways (CFR). Moldovan railway also serves these stations for travel into Moldovamarker.

The Iaşi Central Rail Station, located about 1.5 km to the city centre, provides direct rail connections to all the major Romanian cities and to Chişinăumarker. The rail stations are very well connected to all the parts of the city by the trams, and buses of the local public transport company, RATP.


Iaşi Airport Terminal
Iasi is served by the Iaşi International Airportmarker (IAS) located 8 km east of the city centre. The airport has nonstop flights to and from Bucharest, Budapestmarker, Timisoaramarker and Viennamarker.


Iaşi is connected to European route E85/E583 with Bucharest through a four lane express road. It is also planned a East-West freeway connection Romanian Motorway A4 to Romanian Motorway A3 (also known as "Transylvania Motorway").The Iaşi Coach Station is used by several private transport companies to provide coach connections from Iaşi to a large number of locations from all over the country.

Public transport

RATP (the local public transport company) provides public transit within the Iasi city and operates an extensive network using 150 trams (electric trams began operating in Iasi in 1898) and 100 buses. In the first 3 months of 2007 the RATP carried 11,365,819 passengers, an average of 128,000 passengers per day.


File:Mitropolia Iasi.jpg|
The Metropolitan Cathedral
File:Univ Al I Cuza Iaşi at night.jpg|
Evening at the University
Golia Monastery Tower
File:Cetatuia Aerial.jpg|
Aerial view of Cetăţuia Monastery
Dobrovat Monastery
File:Manastirea Galata 0003.JPG|
Galata Monastery
File:Biserica Mănăstirii Frumoasa1.jpg|
Frumoasa Monastery
File:RO IS Stefan cel Mare statue 2.jpeg|
Stephen the Great Statue
File:Statuia lui Alexandru Ioan Cuza din Iaşi6.jpg|
Alexandru Ioan Cuza Statue
File:RO IS independence monument 1.jpeg|
Independence Monument
File:Statuia Cavaleristului în atac din Iaşi2.jpg|
Attacking Cavalryman Statue
File:RO IS Casa Dosoftei.jpeg|
Dosoftei House Museum
File:RO IS bojdeuca lui ion creanga.jpeg|
Ion Creangă Memorial House
File:Parcul Expoziţiei din Iaşi4.jpg|
Exhibition Park

Hotel Europa
Iulius Mall
Moldova Mall

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Iaşi is twinned with:


See: List of people from Iaşi



  • National Institute of Statistics:


External links

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