If you want to take advantage of the sunny autumn days and enjoy the small gifts of nature, but you don’t want to leave the city, you can always choose a walk in Copou.
Copou is one of the most charming places in Iasi, regardless of the season. It is part of the city’s identity, it’s mentioned in many works of art and, most importantly, it’s a part of people’s lives.
If city life feels overwhelming at any time, the parks on Copou Hill as well as the Botanical Garden are the perfect getaway.
Stop for a moment and enjoy the view
Copou has its own personality and gives you the opportunity to discover it in many ways.
No matter where you start your walk, you’ll most likely reach the Central University Library, where you can stop for a few minutes to admire the architecture of this impressive building or visit the inside. It is built in a Neoclassical style which is visible due to the façade made in Ruse stone. With its medallions representing important personalities of the national culture, its impressive Ionic columns and Neo-Doric pillars and small triangular gables, it makes you wonder how much history is hidden behind its walls.
If you look to your right, you’ll see Mihai Eminescu’s statue, Romania’s national poet.
Going uphill, you’ll notice chic places like TimeOut or Jassyro, where you can grab some tasty food and delicious drinks. You can stop here for some “fuel”, or you can continue your Sunday afternoon journey and take a bite when you get back.
Next stop, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, the oldest university in the country. Built between 1893 and 1896, the main building impresses through size and architecture. It was built after the plans of the Swiss architect Louis Blanc, in French eclectic style, combining Classic and Baroque styles.
Make sure you enter the ground floor of the University Palace so you can see the Hall of the Lost Steps, its name residing in the sound effect it creates. In this room there are 19 murals created by the painter Sabin Bălașa, a real ecstasy in blue that covers about 300 square meters.
Exploration mood: ON
If you’re in the mood to further explore some other gems that this neighborhood has to offer, you’re lucky. There’s more to see!
You must be thirsty by now, so while you’re heading to the Copou Park, you can stop at The Beginning to grab a warm coffee. After that, cross the street to take a walk through the park. This is where you’ll find one of the oldest monuments in Romania: the Obelisk with Lions. It is also known as the Monument of The Organic Regulation, because it celebrates the quasi-constitutional organic law promulgated in 1831-1832 by the Russian imperial authorities in Moldova and Wallachia.
In the center of the park, you’ll also get a chance to see Eminescu’s Linden Tree, a 500 year-old silver lime. It is an important part of Iași’s history and it is said that our national poet wrote some of his best works underneath this lime, thus rendering the tree one of Romania’s most important natural monuments and a Iași landmark.
Every year, cultural activities are organized here, including poetry festivals, photography exhibitions and craft fairs.
Time to visit the next gem: the Expozitiei Park (Exhibition Park). As you walk out of the Copou Park and head to the next, make sure you don’t miss the Palace of the Army. Its building remains one of the main architectural monuments of Iaşi designed in the mid-19th century, with four massive corner towers, battlements, turrets and many other decorative elements, mainly Gothic.
10 minutes later… Congrats! You made it to the largest park in Iași. This is one of the most peaceful and charming places to be in, and in terms of vegetation, there are many exotic or indigenous species you can find here.
By now, you’ve probably walked more than 3 km, so if you’re hungry from all the walking, we got you. You can stop at one of the kiosks located on the main alley and choose between donuts, sandwiches, crepes or even ice-cream.
The cherry on top
Looking for some peace and quiet? No worries, we got you covered again. Head to the back exit of the park only to enter the Botanical Garden. The entrance fee is 15 RON for adults and free for kids and students.
You’ll have the opportunity to explore the oldest and largest botanical garden in the country and enjoy the views it has to offer. If you’re gonna be lucky enough you’ll see the Autumn Flowers Exhibition, where you’ll find tens of thousands of colorful and fragrant flowers, arranged as an oasis of peace and beauty. Alongside the impressive collection of wild flowers from other continents, you’ll also find a wide range of Mediterranean, tropical, subtropical plants (cactus collections) or ornamental flowers.
Bonus: when wandering around the Botanical Garden, make sure you go by the lake as well. With a bit of luck, you’ll get to see some cute ducks having fun and some breathtaking colors that make a great sight for sore eyes.
If you’re not in the mood to do this alone, take your friends out for a walk on Sunday afternoon in Copou and you won’t regret it. We promise!