CITY OF IASI, ROMANIA
With a population of almost 400 000 inhabitants, the city of Iasi is the ancient capital of the Romanian historical province Moldavia, whose Eastern region is constituted by the Moldavian Republic, descending from the former Soviet Union. At the half of the XIXth century, the local elites played an essential part in the setting up of the Romanian modern state, achieved through the unification of the principalities Moldavia and Walachia in 1859, as well as in the gaining of Romania's independence from under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire in 1877. These elites have also been, during the same period, the main actors of the Romanian prevalently literary cultural stage.
After these historical moments, according as Bucharest, the new Romanian capital, was acquiring more and more economical, political and cultural importance, the city of Iasi lost the start of the industrial development and implicitly that of modernization, becoming marginal and submitted to an endless "haemorrhage" of values in favour of the capital, which allotted the resources and the opportunities.
Taking into consideration these historical facts, corroborated with the heritage of 50 years of communism, the situation of the local culture in the first years after the fall of communism was characterized by academic traditionalism, isolation and addiction to the past. Looked upon from another angle, the city of Iasi remains nevertheless an important centre of the Romanian orthodoxy, welcoming once a year almost one million pilgrims on the occasion of the celebration of Saint Parascheva; moreover, an unwritten law makes that the Metropolitan Bishop of Moldavia, who lives in Iasi, should be the one appointed to become the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The existence of so many layers of culture and history justifies that this city, Romania's second university centre, has an important cultural potential, which is, unfortunately, insufficiently used.