"The hovel of house where I live.... prone to fall as days go by, would it not be for the 24 rotten oak beams it leans on. During winter I sleep in rundown room, and in summer in a verandah out in the back." In this way "Nică of Stefan a Petrei from Humulești" describes his house from "Țicău slums, also known as Valea Plângerii" (English: Wailing Valley), no 4.
Welcome to Creangă's hovel, the first memorial museum in Romania.
To get to the hovel, one needs to take several flights of stair down through green, shady trees. During the period Creangă lived, the yard was full of chicken, ducks, geese, dogs, and cats. Nowadays, an outdoor amphitheater with wooden benches for 250 persons takes its place.
The hovel has two rooms, one is the kitchen where Tinca used to cook for Creangă all kinds of goodies drowned in cream. You feel here like in Humulești, with the oven, the chimney with the hanging wool with which kittens used to play with, and the children like chairs and table.
The other room was the place where Creangă wrote its wonderful stories memories. This is where he passed on the night of 31st December 1889. This room also sheltered Eminescu for half a year. The two rooms are separated by a long narrow corridor which leads to the "verandah out in the back". Now the porch is closed but in the days of Creangă it was open.
From here one can have a broad view on Tătăraș, and the Hills Ciric and Șorogari. He used to wander on these hills along with Eminescu and other friends. Nowadays the image is slightly changed as new, modern, houses have appeared on the once naked hills. Back then on these hills there were sheepfolds and in the evening we could see the lights of the fire and hear the alphorn singing, like in the poem "Sara Seal".
Creangă chose to live here because it suited him spiritually after he is defrocked in 1872.
The house is well kept and is still keeping inside the presence of a tall man, about 1.85 meters, "broad-shouldered, sturdy, with a round and blond face, with big, blue eyes, with a clear and clever look". Its like you can see him welcoming you, surrounded by an army of cats saying:
"Here, I have been in this world a thing with eyes, o piece of clay turned to life from Humulești, one which has become neither beautiful up until twenty years old, nor wise by thirty, nor rich by forty".
The museum is open:
Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:00 Closed Mondays
The price of entry is 5 lei. Photo tax is 20 lei.
You can find it on Strada Simion Bărnuţiu nr. 4, Iaşi.