The Square House – Iași County Council

The project for the “Square House” began in 1964 under the leadership of the architect Nicolae Vericeanu, and in 1969, was inaugurated.

On the place of the current building there was a cinema (Scala), a restaurant (The Danube), as well as other old merchants’ shops, demolished during the ‘60s systematisation. This is where the County Party Committee functioned, where the General Secretary of the RCP, Nicolae Ceaușescu, had his office during his visits to Iași. This office belonged to the County president and was the building’s political core. Between 1974 and 1979 this position was occupied by Ion Iliescu, who would later become President of Romania after the fall of the communist regime. It had a separate entrance from the Moldova shop towards the honour stairway. The windows and the balcony of the office were oriented towards the Palace Square, where the crowds gathered to listen to the Comrade’s speeches. The street portion between the Square House and the Dosoftei House was the only one from the area with cubic stone, the people of Iași inventing the legend that the vibration of the cars would have discouraged the possible attackers to shoot Ceaușescu. Nowadays the building hosts the headquarters of the County Council and the Prefecture.

The reason for the geometrical arrangement on four sides of the building is its location between the most important monuments of the city, as well as between four streets. The building’s architecture is in the spirit of socialist realism and was meant to look like a peasant house, with verandas. The façades are ornamented with face bricks and concrete decorations which imitate the pillars and the abutments of Stephan monasteries. On the side of the entrance from the Palace, and in the balcony, you can see mosaïcs which suggest the main themes of the regime: on one side, industry, agriculture and history, and on the other side, Eminescu’s art and creation. The building also has on interior yard arranged as a small green space.

The visits of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu to Iași

Nicolae Ceaușescu led the communist regime in Romania since 1965 to December 1989. His work visits covered the entire territory of the country, from rural areas to great city industrial platforms. The Iași county and city received the visit of the couple Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu several times. The first official visit as a state leader took place in 1966 and the last one in September 1989, just two months before the regime’s fall. Certain factories were intensively visited: for example, the CUG industrial platform (the current Fortus) was visited six times. The March 1977 moment was an outstanding one for the urban development of Iași, the devastating effects of the earthquake giving the dictator solid excuses to continue in a fast pace the centre’s systematisation. The work visits were real trials for the inhabitants, being forced by the chiefs of enterprises to participate. The propagandist component prevailed, some exaggerations in preparing the visits becoming part of urban folklore – painting the trees on Ceaușescu’s route in lighter shades of green, installing industrial cardboard equipment, etc. The last visit to Iași, in September 1989 was marked by tensions and the exacerbated discontentment of the inhabitants who tried to tell Ceaușescu their displeasures. Thus, the visit was shortened and some events were cancelled. Ceaușescu used to sleep in the protocol villa in Bucium, near “Plopii fără soț”.

Casa Pătrată, Strada Anastasie Panu 60, Iași 700075
Photo by Consiliul Judetean Iasi