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The city of contrasts, being in the same time a traditional city, but also a modern one, Iasi is the second university center in Romania with over 40.000 students. Iasi is an outstanding educational center, and preserves some beautiful pieces of architecture, such as the Trei Ierarhi Church and the neo-Gothic Palace of Culture (the site of four museums - of History, of Technology, of Ethnography, and of Art). Many buildings in the old city center were demolished during the Communist regime, with a few Soviet-style blocks of flats built instead.

Iasi (specifically the Metropolitan Cathedral) is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of Moldavia, and of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Iasi. There are currently almost 10,000 Roman Catholics living in Iasi. There is a debate between historians as to whether or not the Catholics are originally of Romanian or Hungarian descent. The city houses more than 40 churches. The oldest one is Saint Nicholas, dating from the reign of Stephen the Great (14571504); perhaps the finest, however, are the 17th century older metropolitan church, Saint Spiridion and Trei Ierarhi, the last a curious example of Byzantine art, erected in 16351639 by Vasile Lupu, and adorned with countless gilded carvings on its outer walls and twin towers. Other beautiful churches, some surrounded by big walls, are: Galata (1581), Golia, St. Sava, Barnovschi (17th century), Cetatuia (the end of the 17th century), Frumoasa (18th century), Barboi (19th century, with 18th century bell tower).

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