Răpa Galbenă from Iai, the city’s water source. From disaster to historical monument, in a century of trials

Răpa Galbenă or Esplanada Elisabeta has always been an important area for the Iași people, initially as the place where they could buy the water they lived in on a daily basis.

Rapa Jalpini Yash. Photo by Andre Luca

The history of Râpa Galbene in Iași begins at the end of the nineteenth century, when the mayor Nikolai Jean decided to rehabilitate the area, at a time when he wanted to completely modernize the city. Thus the mayor contracted a company from London specializing in asphalt, but even with specialists brought in from the West, the construction of the courtyard faced many difficulties, especially because of the underground springs that came down from Kobo and headed to Gara Mare and from there, towards the Pahlavi River.

Although Mayor Jan said that the idea of ​​modernizing the area belonged entirely to him, historians, over time, have said that the overall picture belonged to the poet Mihai Eminescu, who often sat and looked at the whole area, admiring it and wishing for a bridge of several kilometers stretching to the area mistake.

In honor of the royal house

Prior to development, with the works ending in 1902, the area was quite unstable, due to springs, and landslides were the dominant system today, due to moisture. The potters of the surrounding area also got their supplies from this place, who found yellow clay, perfect for their small business. It is precisely because of this clay that the area was popularly called “Raba Jalpini”, and the name has passed to this day.

The area also had the name “Esplanada Elisabeta” and, in the early 20th century, many streets and spaces bearing the names of princes. The street that Rappa Galbini passed by was called Regina Elisabetta, the street to Gara Mari was called King Ferdinand, and this is the way of the Iashi people to give thanks to the royal house.


Rapa Jalpini Yash. Pictures Archive Facebook Page Yash

Răpa Galbenă was the usual place where the well-known “appari” that supplies water to the city can also be found. These were the very poor who made their living by selling water, which they carried in their sack, something like a barrel set on a platform with two or more wheels.

Picnic area like west

About 400,000 lei were needed to build the park, and after all the local council members agreed to start the works, the city council representatives left for the capital, where the interior minister and the Supreme Technical Council gave their approval for the implementation. Engineer Chinyu drew up the plans for the sewage works, and Engineer A. Vignali plans for a plaza that will replace the valley.

The project was very important, as the entire area was in danger of collapsing due to the fact that the bank of the valley was constantly degraded by water, and some residents saw the end of the city at the edge of the area.

Mayor Jean, during which work began, did not receive the inauguration of the park, after Alexandro Boduro took over the city administration in 1898, who did not fully approve of the works. The new mayor and his advisors considered the project too costly and electoral propaganda. Despite this, the works continued, and in March 1901 the temporary reception of the field took place.

Remained intact to this day, the promenade extends for several hundred metres, with balconies from where you can enjoy a view of the train station or the Galata area, and side staircases that lead to the motif of kings, lamps, statues, and similar artesian fountains from Western Europe.


Rapa Jalpini Yash. Photo by Andre Luca

The park, in danger due to landslides

Despite the project undertaken by the city’s great professionals, with the help of foreign experts, the plaza was still in danger and could collapse. Several reports from engineers indicated that both the ground and the Yellow Canyon Wall were moving and that the entire work was threatened by a powerful landslide that could lead to collapse. Specialists suggested multiple drainage and the addition of concrete structures to strengthen the area.

The complete rescue came just two decades later, when CFR Iași Regional acquired an abandoned park that was at the foot of the park, in order to build a modern neighborhood, where schools, libraries, and conference rooms can also be found. Massive construction completed in 1925 helped strengthen the area, as the Yellow Valley later withstood all the earthquakes and floods that have experienced the city over the years.

A place for tourists and brides

Râpa Galbenă or Esplanada Elisabeta until today has remained a park and meeting place for residents and students of Iași, but it is also a tourist attraction for those who visit Iași. Răpa Galbenă was included in the List of Historic Monuments in 2004, during that period several renovations began, which continued until 2007, and the works ended two weeks before the deadline set by the municipality.

After the completion of the modernization and renovation work, several cafes were opened in the area, taking advantage of the central location, with the Râpa Galben located a few meters from the central university library and the student house of culture.

Also, crossing the street to the University of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, tourists arrive at Alexandru Lăpuneanu Boulevard, a narrow street full of historical monuments, but also cafes and terraces that extend to Unirii Square and beyond, towards Braunstein Palace, Ștefan Sel Mare Street and the Palace of Culture , form the axis linking Kobo Park with the old center and the civic center of Iai.

The area is very sought after by both amateur and professional photographers, from the terraces of the park you can admire the sunset every evening. The patio staircase is also one of the favorite places for Iasi brides, who want a princely look.

Râpa Galbenă is currently short for those who want to go from the station area to Copou, Bulevardul Independenții or Bulevardul Alexandru Lăpuneanu, and on the street at the foot of the park, one of the most exciting tests of the Iași Rally, the event that takes place every autumn in the capital of Moldova, takes place.

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