Cloudy weather followed us to Iași – the second largest city in Romania. It is situated on the Bahlui River near its confluence with the Prut River in the Moldavian plain, just 13 km west of the border with Moldova. In 1565, Iasi became the capital of Moldavia and for a short period of time, from 1859 until 1862, the capital of Romania. Iași was sacked several times by Turks, Tatars, and Poles, was burned to the ground on one occasion, and suffered a plague in 1734, but it endured as a cultural and economic center. In 1640 Prince Vasile Lupu established a school and set up a printing press in the Byzantine church of the Three Hierarchs (built 1635–39), from which the first book printed in Moldavia was issued. Once dubbed the ‘city of the hundred churches’, Iaşi is indeed bursting with centuries of architectural creations. Yet besides the monasteries, theatres, and other historic buildings, this eclectic place has botanical parks, big squares, and (for better or for worse) both communist-era concrete structures and gleaming modern shopping malls. As with its shopping scene, Iaşi’s innumerable eateries, drinking holes, and lively clubs depend on the robust university population. You’ll find students from all over the world here – making this little corner of Romania unexpectedly cosmopolitan. But due to covid and various travel restrictions, the city is dead in the evening.

Parking location – Iași: 47.187680N 27.561217E (🚻)