The Palace of Culture (Romanian: Palatul Culturii) is an edifice located in Iaşi, Romania. The building served as Palace of Justice until 1955, when its destination was changed, being assigned to the four museums nowadays united under the name of Moldova National Museum Complex. Also, the building houses the Cultural Heritage Conservation-Restoration Centre, the main branch of the Gheorghe Asachi Iaşi County Library and hosts various exhibitions and other events.
The construction, started in 1906, was partly built on the old ruins of the mediaeval Royal Court of Moldavia (1434), and partly on top of the foundations of the former neoclassical style palace, dated to the time of Prince Alexandru Moruzi, rebuilt by Prince Mihail Sturdza and demolished in 1904. It was from this latter building that the Palace inherited the legend of the 365 rooms, as many as the days within one year.
The Romanian architect I.D. Berindei was assigned to plan the building and he designed it in flamboyant neo-Gothic style. During World War I, the construction halted due to the limitation of resources. The monument was inaugurated on 11 October 1925 by King Ferdinand of Romania.
The Palace has 298 large rooms with a total area of 36,000 m² (387,500 ft²), 92 windows in the front part of the building and another 36 inside the building.
Decoratively, the central hall shows a figurative mosaic including various representations of a gothic bestiary, concentrically arranged: two-headed eagles, dragons, griffons, lions. The hall is superposed by a glass ceiling room, where initially a greenhouse was arranged.
Moldova National Museum Complex of Iaşi hosts four museums located in the Palace of Culture: The Museum of Art, The Museum of History, The Museum of Ethnography, and The Museum of Science and Technology. The Museums also comprise their own stores and libraries, as well as halls for temporary exhibitions.
The Art Museum has the largest art collection in Romania, with more than 8,000 paintings, out of which 1,000 belong to the national and universal patrimony. The gallery contains works by artists such as Caravaggio, Paolo Veronese, Pietro Liberi, Carlo Dolci, Salvator Rosa, Francesco Solimena, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Both, Bartholomeus van der Helst, Egbert van Heemskerk II, Nicolas Poussin, Philippe de Champaigne, Eustache Le Sueur, Guillaume Coustou, François Boucher, and many others.
The Ethnographic Museum of Moldavia owns more than 11,000 objects depicting the Romanian advance through the ages. The museum, also, coordinates the Wine and Vineyard Museum in Hârlău.
The Moldavia's History Museum offers more than 35,000 objects from various fields: archaeology, numismatics, decorative art, ancient books, documents, etc. One of the oldest items, a 70,000-year-old mammoth skull, is from the Middle Palaeolithic Era. Among other items of significance are pottery from the Cucuteni culture, Dacian, Sarmatian, Gothic, and Roman artifacts, and armory and other items of the Middle Ages. Mihail Kogălniceanu Memorial Museum and Museum of the Union, in Iaşi, Al. I. Cuza Memorial Palace in Ruginoasa and the Archaeological Reserve of Cucuteni, are coordinated by Moldavia's History Museum.
Ştefan Procopiu Science and Technology Museum (former The Polytechnical Museum) is home to "Energetics, “Sound Recording and Playback” (unique within Romania), "Telecommunications", "Mineralogy-Cristalography", "Computers" sections as well as "Poni-Cernătescu” Memorial Museum.
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