Iasi is the largest city in eastern Romania, located near the border with Moldova. It has long been known as a leader of cultural, academic and artistic life in Romania and even served as the capital of the country from 1916 to 1918. Settlements in the area date back to the prehistoric age and the name of the town was first seen in records in the early 15th century, although many buildings still stand in the city that pre-date that. Iasi is home to the oldest Romanian university, the oldest and largest botanical garden in the country and the Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre, the oldest theater in Romania.
Iasi also has a strong religious heritage, with nearly a dozen monasteries and 100 historical churches in the city and the surrounding area. Iasi was once home to more than 127 synagogues and its Great Synagogue dates back to the 17th century, making it one of the oldest in Europe. Iasi’s Armenian Church was built in 1395 and its Metropolitan Cathedral is the largest orthodox cathedral in Romania.
Also of interest to visitors are the Natural History Museum and four museums housed within the Palace of Culture: Moldavia’s History Museum, the Ethnographic Museum of Moldavia, the Science and Technology Museum and an art museum. The Moldova State Philharmonic and the Opera House are sure to be draws for music-lovers.
Iasi is best reached by plane or train. The Iasi airport is just five miles east of the city center and the Great Railway Station is less than a mile from the center. The train station offers direct connections to most major Romanian cities and is well connected to the rest of Iasi by trams and buses.