Architecture

Yellow Ravine

The Elisabeth Esplanade is a public settlement situated on the area known as “Râpa Galbenă” (the Yellow Ravine), located at the base of Copou Hill.

Its building was a necessity because the land was unstable, and the landslides were frequent due to spring and rain waters which came down from Copou. For a while the area was known for the clay exploitations also called “yellow clay”, which was used for constructions or pottery. Thus the explanation for the popular name of the place.

The construction of the esplanade began at the end of the 19th century and was inaugurated in 1902. After finishing the esplanade, it was noticed that this resisted badly to the pressure of the hill, and the cracks were obvious. The appearance of the CFR buildings near the esplanade in 1925 managed to stabilize the land, thus avoiding the ruining of the edifice. Elisabeth Esplanade was important for the inhabitants because the circulation was much easier between the Train Station, finished in 1870 in the lower area of Bahlui waterside, and the uptown. Its building was also encouraged by the growing economic activity. From here you could easily get to the most important hotels in the area from the beginning of the 20th century: Binder Hotel, Bejan Hotel, D’Angleterre Hotel and Jockey Club. Actually, in a certain period a public garden was also settled in order to ensure a special view for the tourists staying in one of the three hotels.

From an architectural point of view, Elisabeth Esplanade is comprised of a semi-circular central body, with a terrace in the upper part, and on the façade, there is a mini cascade, not functional today. On each side of the central body we can see the two curved stairways, each with three balconies in the inside part, framing a small garden. The edifice attracts many visitors, impressed by the massiveness and the architecture of the edifice and newlyweds come here to take pictures in “Juliet’s Balcony”.

What attracts very much attention on this place is the love story between the famous Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu and his loved one, Veronica Micle. The Yellow Ravine was situated at half way between the dwellings of the two, and here they would meet in the hot summer evenings. Actually, the poet was inspired in some of his poems by the landscape of the Yellow Ravine from where, at that time, you could see Bahlui river. In one of his walks, Eminescu would have told a friend about an imaginary bridge between the Yellow Ravine and Galata, from where you could have admired much better the Bahlui valley on its spring splendour.

Strada Gheorghe Lascăr nr. 2, Iași 700128
Photo by Andrei Cucu

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