Iași is the second largest city in Romania and the seat of Iași County.
Located in the northeastern part of Romania, in the historical region of Moldavia, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life and the crossing point of the most important commercial routes linking Poland, Hungary, and Russia.
Over the past 500 years, history, culture and religious life have molded the city's unique character. Iasi boasts an impressive number of Orthodox churches, most of them located in the so-called Golden Plateau. The oldest, the Princely Saint Nicholas Church, dates from the reign of Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare, 1457-1504). The finest, however, are the 17th century St. Paraschiva Metropolitan Cathedral and Trei Ierarhi Church, the last a curious example of Byzantine art, erected in 1635-1639 by Vasile Lupu. Its outer walls and twin towers are intricately carved in what many think of as stone lace.
The Golden Plateau represents the nucleus of the city, around which the entire settlement developed over the centuries. With the Palace of Culture at one end and the Union Square (Piata Unirii) at the other, the Golden Plateau features churches and palaces on both sides of Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard, which runs right through its centre. Many other important sites can be found on nearby streets.
Known as The Cultural Capital of Romania, the city prides itself with publishing the first Romanian newspaper and is home of the oldest Romanian university and the first engineering school.
Today, Iasi is one of the most important education and research centres of the country, and accommodates over 60,000 students in five public universities.