2010 is the year in which the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Royal Palace at Ruginoasa has reentered in the tourist circuit of Iasi County, after more than two years of restoration. It can be said that this very circuit has suffered given that this landmark is visited by hundreds, in their majority students and pupils. Moreover, it is an important place which talks about the personality that profoundly marked the national history of Romania and is a symbol for Moldavia and especially for the city of Iasi, where in 1860 the first institution of higher education of Romania was founded.
The Alexandru Ioan Cuza Royal Palace of Ruginoasa was built in 1811, and served for a long period as a residence, the one in which the ruler established his throne in Iasi. It is situated in fact at a distance of approximately 60 km from Iasi in a picturesque village. The architectural style in which it was built has changed through time. In the beginning it was constructed in the neoclassical one, after which it was remade in neogothic style, apparently on the wish of Elena, the ruler’s wife.
Of course today the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Royal Palace at Ruginoasa is a museum. It is, as it was mentioned before, an attraction for those that are still in school, for which it is an opportunity to learn more inventively and attractively a history lesson about the one who unified the Romanian Principalities under his unique governing in 1859.
This place is all the more important as in the church which was built in the courtyard of the palace the ruler himself was buried in 1873. This, even named the Royal Church, was constructed as well as the palace by Sandulache Sturdza, the one who held the function of treasurer. He is the owner of another castle, built near Ruginoasa and Iasi at Miclauseni.
The period in which these two were constructed was a prosperous one for the court’s servants, as well as for Sandulache Sturdza. How does it end up belonging to the ruler? It seems that Sturdza had accumulated many debts and being unable to pay them, this palace was put up for sale for the recovery of these, this being the moment in which it passed in the property of Cuza, becoming the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Royal Palace at Ruginoasa.
The Cuza’s family move to this place was marked by an event in 1864, when important people, such as Cantacuzino, were invited to visit the palace. The guests were amazed by the wealth and pomp in which it is redecorated, many of the valuable objects or the canvases that adorned the rooms (as is the silk tapestry that dresses the walls) were brought from France. Today in the museum opened in this palace there are very few of the objects that belonged to the family. Many of the furniture pieces were destroyed during the Second World War. Actually in the same period the remains of the prince were unearthed and put in the Three Holy Hierarchs Church in Iasi where they still lie today.
To transform the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Royal Palace of Ruginoasa into a museum furniture pieces were reconstructed according to the existent models from other museums, models that belonged to the same period. Nowadays the ones that visit the palace will see the office in which the prince worked, a library, the living room, decorated in gothic style, a reception room, the lounge of lady Elena but also the bedroom and last but not least, the children’s room. In these chambers dinner sets can be admired for example, with glasses and plates engraved with emblem of United Romania. The initial architecture of the palace was made by Johan Freiwald, an important and well-known Viennese architect. The one who had the honour to redesign the building and to give it the gothic appearance was Johan Brandel.
The beauty of this place was never only due to the building, but the garden and the pond that were landscaped nearby also held an important role. Besides surrounding the building there were approximately 27 hectares that could be used at will. In the summer open air strolls were organized, but as time passed, Cuza ended up leasing a part of the estate. Of the initial surface only 14 hectares were recovered to this day.
This palace was left by Mrs. Cuza after the death of her husband, in 1883. She would only come back to bury one of her sons, who commited suicide because of unrequited love, next to his father. Eventually the palace would end up the propert of the only daughter in law of Elena Cuza, who was named Maria Moruzzi. Elena would become just a tolerated person here, which made her retire to Iasi and then Piatra Neamt, where she would live until her death.
This is how the vast amount of history and memories from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Royal Palace at Rugionasa make it a magnificent place that is worth visiting.