It’s hard to miss seeing the Palace of Culture if you’re visiting Iasi. A true historical symbol of the past, this monumental edifice dominates the central part of the city, the most important in Eastern Romania.
Built in 19 years, delayed by the First World War, and closed again many years for the most extensive renovation works done for a historical monument in Romania, the Palace of Culture from Iasi is finally open to the public.
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 of Culture from Iasi is located on the grounds of the former Princely Palace. The decision belonged to Romania’s first king, Carol the 1st, and the construction started in 1906, but lasted, nonetheless beyond his lifetime, until 1925. The palace was inaugurated in the presence of his heirs, King Ferdinand and Queen Maria who lived in Iasi in the dramatic years of the First World War.
The renowned architect Ioan D. Berindei was in charge and the result of the two separate construction phases is also visible in its eclectic style that displays Neo-Gothic, Neo-Baroque and even Art Nouveau elements. From the beginning, the palace had the most modern installations and the most elaborate decorations and furniture brought from Western Europe.
Its initial purpose, before being transformed into a museum in 1955, was to be the Palace of Justice and Administration, the function it served for three decades.
The monument hosts today four different museums – the History Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Science Museum and the Art Museum – accommodated in the vast rooms of the former Palace of Justice. Its glamour is visible from the first space you’ll see: the Honor Hall with two large Carrara marble stairs, stained glass large windows and a fascinating marble floor with allegoric figures.
Still, the Voivodes’ Hall is maybe the most impressive. It displays the largest gallery of paintings representing Moldavian princes, the ancient King Decebal and the Roman Emperor Traian, but also the portraits of the royal family. A veritable history lesson that covers thousands of years on the walls of a single room.
For the complete experience, go up to the clock tower, a symbol of the Palace of Culture from Iasi. 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 the 25 halls of the palace. The view from the small windows is panoramic, plus the guide will give you all the detailed explanations of the clock mechanism.
The Palace of Culture from Iasi looks like it belongs to a completely different world. Few of the old monuments still exist here as this was one of the most altered cities by urban communist planning. Still, the palace remains the long-lasting proof of the most glorious history of Iasi and the most important tourist attraction of the city.
Iasi has many old churches worth a visit: the Metropolitan Cathedral, Trei Ierarhi, Golia, Galata and Cetatuia.
For the visiting schedule, check http://palatulculturii.ro.