Iași, located in the historical region of Moldavia, is thelargest city in eastern Romania, with a population of approximately 360,000 people and a geographical area of around 94 km2. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859, then of the United Principalities from 1859 to 1862, and the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918.
Also known as The Cultural Capital of Romania, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life – a symbol in Romanian history.
The capital of Moldavia has clearly benefitted from being the biggest city in this part of the country. Once dubbed the “city of the hundred churches”, Iaşi is indeed bursting with centuries of architectural creations. Not only is it graced by monasteries, theatres and other historical buildings, but this eclectic place features botanical parks, big squares and both communist-era concrete structures and gleaming modern shopping malls, bringing together the past and the present in this unique and picturesque ensemble.
Deeply rooted in history, Iași has been the main centre of Moldavian culture since 1408. The city prides itself with publishing the first Romanian newspaper and establishing the first Romanian University in 1860, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, named after the first ruler of the Romanian Principalities. Demonstrating a tradition of excellence and innovation throughout the years, “A. I. Cuza” University has reached the impressive capacity of 23,000 students and 750 teaching staff, enabling it to uphold a notable prestige both within Romania and outside its borders. Thus, it is currently collaborating with 403 foreign universities.
Moreover, Iasi is home to another four universities (Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ion Ionescu de la Brad University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, George Enescu University of Arts, Gheorghe Asachi Technical University).
Iași is also the birthplace of many worldwide acclaimed personalities such as: SpiruHaret (mathematician, astronomer and politician), Prince Radu of Romania, Cristian Mungiu (film director), Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (political scientist, journalist & writer), Iacob Negruzzi (ex president of the Romanian Academy), Mihail Sturdza (prince of Moldavia from 1834 to 1849), Ionel Teodoreanu (novelist), Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu (politician and former Prime Minister of Romania) and many others.
As with its shopping scene, Iaşi’s countless restaurants, drinking holes and lively clubs, varying in terms of theme, costs and level of sophistication, attributable to the robust university population, appeal to each and every visitor. You will find international students from all over the world here – making this little corner of Romania unexpectedly cosmopolitan.