marți, 13 noiembrie 2012

A religious tour of Iasi

The city of Iasi, former Capital of Moldavia, starting from 1595, still keeps a certain pride, visible in the way and style of the inhabitants. Fact is, that Iasi gave to Romania so many culture treasures and so many prominent personalities, making it a real Romanian cultural capital.
The St Parascheva Metropolitan Cathedral is the biggest in Romania at the moment

There are many Culture Tours in Iasi, the possibilities are countless. But what I am going to suggest now matches with the city's hidden culture treasures. The Romanian are a deep religious people, and every important ruler build one or more churches, aiming to let something behind. A good tradition after all.

We start the tour in in the central Piata Unirii of Iasi. The best during  weekends, as the heavy circulation is closed and you can walk on your own. Otherwise, it could be too noisy, the trams are the angriest! You see here the renowned Hotel Traian, build by Gustave Eiffel, which is the city's biggest, oldest and best. A few steps further The Roznovan Palace, build at 1834, nowadays the city's mayoralty. Across the street the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral Sf. Parascheva, which is today the Romania's biggest cathedral. It hosts the remainings of the Saint Parascheva, the protector of Moldavia, which is very beloved here and in all Romania. The interior paintings by Gh. Tatarescu (1886) and the coloured glassworks remind the western churches. On 14th of October there is a huge pilgrimage here, with people coming from all over Romania, Moldova and other countries. It is the Calendar Day of Saint Parascheva, and the people come and pray for the most divers matters.
Grand hotel Traian from Iasi was build by Gustave Eiffel and is the city's oldest, biggest and best; also the starting point of our Iasi Spiritual Tour

The remainings of Saint Parascheva were bought and brought to Iasi by the ruler Vasile Lupu. He left them first in Biserica Trei Ierarhi, our next target!  First build by Vasile Lupu at 1639, was renovated by Lecomte de Nouy at the late XIXth century, as many fires and earthquakes destroyed its first image. You may still observe a mineral lace, similar to the Russian churches. When Vasile Lupu first build the church, it had a superb decoration of gold, silver and lapislazuli, which dissapeared meanwhile. But you can still observe the rich oriental motives ( from Turkey, Persia and Georgia) .
The Armenian Church from iasi is city's oldest

Not very far you will find the Central Market (Hala Centrala) where you can take a break, eating and drinking at full speed. You need only to take care at one single aspect: in Romania the public toilets are very disapointing!  Keep on walking, finding further the St Sava church, which is unique in Romania due to its domes, massive towers, and the general solid view. Only a few steps further, the Armenian church, actually the city's oldest. Remembering the rich cultural heritage of Iasi, and find the big Synagogue, the last one still to be used (100 years ago Iasi had 100 working synagogues).
St Sava church in Iasi

This tour is not very long, neither very difficult, but very intensiv. For special interests we can make it even in two days. So much better, there are still some churches to discover: galata, cetatuia, Golia etc. Next time, after wine tasting in Bucium.

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