The Princely Palace of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Ruginoasa is a Neo-Gothic palace built in 1804 by the Sturdza family, now housing a museum dedicated to the Romanian ruler. It is included on the list of the list of the historical monuments in Moldavia, together with a church, a park, enclosure walls, towers and the prince’s tomb.
In 1804, the great treasurer Săndulache Sturdza hired a Viennese architect and a German gardener to build him a luxurious residence surrounded by a park with statues, labyrinths and a pond. Freiwald, the architect, erected a Neo-Classic palace, but this was rebuilt later in 1847 in Neo-Gothic style, becoming similar to other architectural civil works in Moldavia at that time, such as the Sturdza Castle in Miclăuşeni.
Prince A. I. Cuza bought the palace in 1862 in order to transform it in his summer residence, and completely renovated it. Although the ruler did not spend too much time in Ruginoasa, his wife Elena took care of furnishing and decorating the castle and restoring the park. The central stair was made of marble, the walls were decorated with silk from Paris and expensive fireplaces and chandeliers were brought from abroad. The palace was officially inaugurated in 1864 by Prince Cuza, who was subsequently forced to go into exile two years later. After his death in Germany in 1873, Cuza’s remains were brought to Ruginoasa and buried in a necropolis near the church. However, they were moved several times, first to Curtea de Argeş Monastery and then to the Church of the Three Hierarchs in Iaşi.
In 1921, the castle was transformed into a hospital and a part of the furniture was donated to the Military Museum. In turns, the palace also served as town hall, APC headquarters (Agricultural Production Cooperative) and library. Severely damaged during World War II, the princely palace was rebuilt in 1968-1978 and half of the initial domain (13 out of 27 hectares) was retrieved.
In 1982, the “A. I. Cuza” Memorial Museum was inaugurated, including a history section and an ethnography one. The ground floor contains exhibits that retrace the life and activity of the ruler, while the first floor was arranged in the époque’s style. Here you can visit the library, the prince’s work cabinet, a Gothic living room, a guest room, Elena Cuza’s salon and bedroom, the children’s room and A. I. Cuza’s bedroom.
Ruginoasa is situated 62 km west of Iaşi.
How to get there:
By car: From Iaşi, take DN28 in the direction of Paşcani.
By train: There are 10 daily regional trains linking Iaşi to Ruginoasa. Approximate travel time: 1h 7’.
Tel: +40 232 734 087
Fax: +40 232 218 383