The Palace of Culture: The Unmistakable Symbol of Iasi
It’s hard to miss seeing the Palace of Culture if you’re visiting Iasi. A true symbol of the city’s past, this monumental edifice dominates the central part of Iasi, the most important urban center in Eastern Romania. Built in 19 years, delayed by the First World War, and closed again more recently for the most ample renovation works done for a historical monument in Romania, the Palace of Culture is finally open to the public.
One of the most remarkable monuments in the country, the Palace of Culture was built on the location of the former Princely Palace. The initiative belonged to Romania’s first king, Carol the 1st, and the construction works started during his lifetime, in 1906. Its building lasted, nonetheless, until 1925 when the palace was inaugurated in the presence of his heir, King Ferdinand and Queen Maria who lived in Iasi in the last two years of the First World War.
Its initial purpose, before being transformed into a museum in 1955, was to be the Palace of Justice and Administration, function served for three decades. The last administrative building of these imposing dimensions – almost 300 rooms and 36,000 square meters – done in Romania before the Second World War, the palace is based on the plans of renowned architect Ioan D. Berindei. It has an eclectic architectural style, mixing Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque elements, and, since the beginning, it had the most modern installations and the most elaborate decorations and furniture brought from major interior design companies from Western Europe.
The interior decorations match its dazzling exterior, in this case the dominant styles being the neoclassic one from the time of King Carol the 1st and a combination of Baroque and Art Nouveau, a style very much loved by Queen Maria. One of the most breathtaking rooms is the very first hall you’ll see, the Honor Hall with two large Carrara marble stairs, stained glass large windows and a fascinating marble floor with allegoric figures. The Voivodes Hall is, however, the best-known. Showcasing the largest gallery of Moldavian princes, plus the ancient King Decebal and the Roman Emperor Traian and the portraits of the royal family members, this hall is a veritable history lesson that extends on thousands of years.
For a complete experience, visit the four museums located inside the palace – the History Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Science Museum and the Art Museum – and go up to the clock tower, a symbol of the building. Since its first days, the large clock with carillon and hands over one meter long was activated through a complex mechanism that simultaneously announced the exact hour in 25 halls of the palace. The view from the small windows is panoramic, plus you get all the detailed explanations of the clock mechanism.
The Palace of Culture from Iasi may seem from a completely different world as few of the old monuments of the city still stand today. But, it’s for sure the long lasting proof of the most glorious period from the history of Iasi and the most important cultural and historical attraction of the city.
Iasi has a lot of history and many old churches worth a visit like Golia, Galata or Cetatuia.
Outside the city, you can visit one of the few fortified monasteries in this part of Romania, Barnova Monastery.
For visiting hours and prices, check http://palatulculturii.ro