Listed in Historical Buildings, Sights in Romania

Overview

Ruginoasa Palace is located 62 km from Iasi and owes its fame to ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the founder of modern Romanian state. After the unification of the Romanian Principalities in 1859, he established his seat here, close to the heart of Moldova.

The palace, which today houses the memorial museum “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, was built in the first decade of the nineteenth century after the plans of ┬áViennese architect Johan Freiwald. Initial construction was ordered by the treasurer Sandulache Sturdza and initial style was the neoclassical, which is still kept in the chapel of the residence. In 1847, Costache Sturdza modified the house in Ruginoasa, bringing architectural elements from the Gothic style. For this, he employed the architect Johan Brandel and the works were completed in 1855. The building, which still preserves the characteristics of Gothic style, inspired by German romanticism, is square and each of the four facades has the same elements: broad platform and balconies supported on stone slabs. Striking resemblance to the palace of Miclauseni, Iasi County, is not accidental – it was built by another branch of the Sturdza family.

The Church near the castle and the enclosure wall with gothic towers were built also by Sturdza family representatives. In keeping with the western fashion was brought to Ruginoasa a German gardener, Mehler, who handled the construction of a beautiful park with large walkways and exotic vegetation. In April 1857 the palace, abandoned and threatened by ruin , but also the palace estate (8,000 ha) were mortgaged by Alexandru Sturdza at the National Bank of Moldova, for the sum of 60,000 ducats. The installments were not paid on time so that the property was auctioned and purchased in 1862 by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, ruler of the United Principalities.

Destroyed during the Second World War, the palace regained its architectural brilliance and charm after 1978, when it was restored. In 1982, here was opened the memorial museum “Al. I. Cuza”.

Behind the palace, in a secluded, treasurer Sandu Sturdza built in 1811, in neoclassical style, the church which served as the chapel of the court. The original interior painting was not preserved – the only ones preserved are the four evangelists on the pendentives painted at the base of the tower. In the nave, on the right side is located the crypt of Sturdza family.

Prince Al. I. Cuza died in exile in Heidelberg, Germany , whilst staying at the hotel Europa (1873). According to witnesses , his last wish was to be buried in Ruginoasa where he found, for a short time, peace of mind, with Mrs. Elena. The ruler’s lifeless body was brought and buried in Ruginoasa, near the church. In 1907, during her last visit to Ruginoasa, Mrs. Elena moved the remains of her husband into a specially designed crypt in the church. The original tombstone, made of white marble of Carrara, was also moved into the chapel. During the Second World War, Ruginoasa had the misfortune of being right on the front line and was exposed to great destruction. To avoid desecration of the tomb of Cuza Voda, his remains were moved to Curtea de Arges. After the war, as the Church from Ruginoasa was badly damaged, the remains of the ruler were deposited at the Three Hierarchs Monastery in Iasi, where it remained until today.

Rearranging the exhibition space was based on a number of original documents, which included detailed description of each piece of furniture ordered, accompanied by drawings on tracing paper and fabric samples for the curtains in some of the rooms.

Based on original documents used, and the drawings in their content, were reconstituted a number of furniture items: carved wooden galleries (essence of walnut or oak depending on the initial destination), library in gothic style of carved wood, wooden hanger, travel coffer, chairs for the reception hall and other pieces. All these reconstituted objects were placed in the museum according to the same original documents of the time. Walls and ceilings were decorated with stucco and handmade painting with specific elements of the period. Also, were restored and upholstered as described in the original documents, a large number of objects present in the previous exhibition.

The current arrangement aims, and manages, to reconstruct the original residence of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza and it is definitely a place worth visiting.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 17.00.

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