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Slide item 1

Modernist architecture of the Union Square (1959). The square changed radically during the Communist period.

Photo: Iasi County Council Archive

Slide item 2

Traian Hotel (Gustave Eiffel, 1882) in contrast with the new buildings

Photo: Iasi County Council Archive

Slide item 3

Students’ Culture House (1960-1962): an architectural novelty of the time

Photo: Iasi County Council Archive

Slide item 4

Prefacture (1964-1970): a perfectly square building

Photo: Iasi County Council Archive

Slide item 5

Luceafarul Theatre (1978-1987): a modern hexagonal theatre

Photo: Iasi County Council Archive

Iași, Romania

Modern and ancient, side by side

Iasi, one of the oldest cities in Romania, boasts a major architectural heritage from the totalitarian Communist regime, right next to Orthodox churches and synagogues.

Demolishing power

For the Romanian Communist regime (1948-1989), architecture was an important tool of propaganda. Nicolae Ceauşescu (1965-1989) carried out a vast program of urban planning. ‘New cities for new men’ was the idea behind the demolition and subsequent reconstruction of many urban central areas. Huge housing blocks characterised the new townscapes, providing modern living standards for the masses.

Inspired by modern European architecture

Iasi’s historic city centre totally changed appearance. Some historical buildings were demolished and replaced with new buildings. The new constructions were inspired by contemporary trends of modern European architecture, such as rationalism and functionalism. Within an area of only 200 m2, there is a major concentration of a large number of examples of modern architecture: the Prefecture, various large blocks of flats, particularly those of the Union Square Ensemble, the Student’s Culture House and the Luceafarul Theatre.