Architecture / Museums

“Mihail Kogălniceanu” Memorial Museum

The “Mihail Kogălniceanu” Memorial Museum illustrates a fragment of the glorious past of the Romanian people.

In this house, the politician Mihail Kogălniceanu (1817-1891) was born and lived along with his family. The building was constructed in 1807 and rebuilt in 1888 by the architect Carol von Kugler. The house hosted important people such as Costache Negri, Vasile Alecsandri, Alecu Russo, but also the Princes of Moldavia, Mihail Sturdza and Grigore Alexandru Ghica. This is also the place where prince Charles I was hosted in April 1869, on his fifth visit to Iași. During the First World War, it was the headquarters of the Martial Court and after that, of the Society for Protection of War Orphans. It suffered great damages during the bombings in 1944 and was rehabilitated after the war through the efforts of professor Gheorghe Băileanu, becoming a students’ hostel of the Faculty of Medicine. In 1970, the building becomes part of the patrimony of the Museum of Moldavian History and turns into a memorial museum.

A remarkable historian, journalist, writer, lawyer, diplomat and politician, Mihail Kogălniceanu was born in Iași in 1817, being educated at the Three Hierarchs School, at Cuénim`s boarding school in Miroslava and at Lunéville, France. He had university studies in Berlin, where he promoted Romanian identity (instead of Moldavian or Muntenian identity), playing an important role in popularizing this name before the Union. When he returned to Iași, Kogălniceanu founded the “Dacia literară” magazine and was director of the National Theatre (1840). During the 1848 Revolution he manifested for civil and political rights and for the abolition of boyar privileges. He was the most important supporter of the Union and collaborator of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza. He became prime-minister of Romania during the Union period, when he sustained the secularization measures of monastery wealth and the agrarian reform. On the 9th of May 1877, during the reign of Charles I, Kogălniceanu read in Parliament the “Proclamation of Independence of Romania” towards the Ottoman Empire.

The Neoclassical architecture of the building is emphasized through the entrance porch with four Tuscan columns. The coquettish rooms reconstitute the elegant air of boyar houses from the half of the 19th century, with Oriental furniture or specific to the styles Louis XV and Louis XVI, Sèvres porcelain, silver objects with monograms and Biedermeier furniture. In the museum, there is the first holographic projection in a Romanian memorial museum, through which Mihail Kogălniceanu, interpreted by the actor Nicolae Ursu, welcomes his guests.

Visiting hours:
TUESDAY – SATURDAY, 10:00-17:00

Kogălniceanu and Cuza – Artisans of the Union and Romania

Mihail Kogălniceanu has unceasingly sustained the ideal of a Union between the two Romanian Principalities from 1837, when he wrote “The History of Romanian Countries”. As member of the Ad hoc Divan of Moldavia, he firmly promoted the unionist cause, stating that “the greatest desire […], that will be the happiness of future generations is the Union of Principalities into one state”. The election of Cuza was made in extremis, after ruining the plans of the anti-unionist party, very powerful in Iași. The agrarian reform, radical for those times, refers to abolition of chores, elimination of boyar privileges and the allotment of peasants. This was adopted in 1864, but was paid with the price Cuza`s reign.

Strada Mihail Kogălniceanu nr. 11, Iași 700454
Photo by Muzeul Memorial “Mihail Kogălniceanu” – Facebook

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