Neamt Fortress - The crown abandoned on the top of the mountain

Once, it was one of the mightiest fortifications of the Moldavian medieval state, and then it remained in ruins for hundreds of years. Since 2015, Neamt Citadel has been restored and included as a historical monument of Neamt County. The fortress located in the northeastern part of Romania sits on the Timus Rock of the Plesu Peak (also called the Fortress Hill), at an altitude of 480 m. Its purpose was to guard the valley of Moldova and Siret, and the road that crossed the mountains in Transylvania.

Once, it was one of the mightiest fortifications of the Moldavian medieval state, and then it remained in ruins for hundreds of years. Since 2015, Neamt Citadel has been restored and included as a historical monument of Neamt County.

The fortress located in the northeastern part of Romania sits on the Timus Rock of the Plesu Peak (also called the Fortress Hill), at an altitude of 480 m. Its purpose was to guard the valley of Moldova and Siret, and the road that crossed the mountains in Transylvania.

The Rise of Neamt Fortress The Fall of Neamt Citadel The Rehabilitation Description How to get to Neamt Citadel

The Rise of Neamt Fortress

Before the archeological researches made on the Neamt Citadel in the 20th century, it was commonly believed that the Teutonic Knights founded the fortress between 1211-1225. However, the study showed that the fortification was built in the 14th century Moldavia during the reign of Petru I Musat and was expanded in the 15th century.

The results of the archaeological research showed several stages of construction of the fortress. No previous fortifications have been identified, resulting in the first fortified construction dating from the time of the reign of Petru Mușat. The coins discovered on site, also showed that the Neamt Fortress was built during the second part of the reign of Peter I, in a period in which Moldova has undergone continuous economic and political development.

The fortress played a significant role in Stephen III of Moldavia's defense system, along with Suceava, Soroca, Tighina, Orhei, Hotin, Chilia, and Cetatea Alba. He understood best the need of building fortified buildings to defend the Principality of Moldavia from the attacks of the Turks, Tatars, Hungarians or Poles. 

The legendary prince built the first fortified monasteries (religious sites like Agapia Monastery) in Moldova and strengthened the existing fortresses.  Stephen III didn't consider that the Neamt Fortress is sufficiently strong to withstand the attacks of his enemies. So, he ordered the walls of the fortress to be raised by about 6-7 m and the construction of narrow skylights and windows, through which the defenders of the fort could watch and strike the enemies.

Neamt Fortress

On the northern side of the fortress was built a wall flanked by four semicircular bastions with thick and resistant walls, with variable heights, up to 30 meters, giving an outer courtyard to the citadel.

To prevent the enemy soldiers from getting closer to the walls, Stephen the Great ordered the digging of a defense ditch much deeper and broader than the previous one on the north and northeast sides of the fort.  The only access way to the fortress was by an arched bridge with a fixed part and movable part, supported on 11 stone pillars. The movable part was on the portion of the bridge between the last pillar and the wall of the bastion and could be raised in case of distress, by a system of pulleys. If the enemy would manage to get past the bridge, there were two traps, known as "mousetraps." 

Not long after Stephen III strengthened Neamt Citadel, it went through the trial of war being besieged by Mahomed II. Mahomed II besieged Neamt Fortress for eight days using 7 Turkish Great Bombards to bomb the walls. Even with their legendary firepower, the Turks couldn't manage to bring down the walls of the fortress. Te fire returned by the artillery from inside the fortress was too much of a hassle, so, after losing 2 bombards and his artillery commander, Mahomed had to abandon the siege.

Neamt Citadel

The Fall of Neamt Citadel

After the end of Stephen the Great, no significant improvement was brought to the citadel. For many years, the fortress had been abandoned until the prince Vasile Lupu repaired it in the 17th century. In wartime, prince Vasile used it as a place of refuge for his family and assets.

But in the 17th century, the Polish incursions in Moldavia increased as well, and it led to numerous conflicts between Moldavians and poles, and Turks and poles, which came to an end at the beginning of the 18th century.  Once the Poles stood out of the region, the Austrian started their incursions, and because the Austrian expeditionary forces kept taking cover in the fortified monasteries and citadels, the Ottomans demanded prince Mihai Racovita in 1718 to demolish Miera Monastery and Neamt Citadel.

After the prince ordered its destruction, the fortress lost its political and military importance and entered a state of decay emphasized in the years to come by the ignorance of Phanariot rulers and Targu Neamt dwellers taking stones to build houses and cellars.

Neamt Fortress Neamt County

The Rehabilitation

Fortunately, in the 19th century, Prince Mihail Sturdza issued several royal decrees by which he demanded the protection of the walls with a fence and the placement of a supervisor. Also during his reign, an access path to the fortress was arranged. 

Starting from the middle of the 19th century, the Neamț Fortress becomes a symbol of the glorious history of the Romanian people. In 1866 the Neamț Fortress was declared a historical monument and during 1968-1972, were commissioned wall consolidation works. During 2007-2009, the Fortress of Neamt was rehabilitated with European funds and was placed back into the national and international tourist circuit on July 4, 2009. 

21 rooms were arranged, including the counseling and trial room, the weapons room, the prison, the provision room, the dining room, the chapel. In some rooms is recreated the atmosphere of the past, when the fortress was inhabited.

Neamt Citadel Neamt county

Description

Nowadays, after the renovation, Neamt Citadel looks mostly how it should have in the past and consists mainly of original materials (river stone, quarry stone, and green sandstone). Between the fortress and the rest of the plateau, there is great defense ditch, on the northern side, and the fort can be reached only through the 11 pillars bent bridge. 

The fortress is shaped like a quadrilateral with uneven sides; the north side is 38.50 m, the south side 37.50 m, the east side 47 m and the west side 40 m. The walls are about 3 m thick and initially had a height of about 12-15 m, being supported and reinforced on the outside by 18 strong prismatic shaped buttresses. The citadel has 4 defense towers on its corners and a large inner courtyard in the middle, courtyard, surrounded by rooms with different uses.

Neamt Fortress interior

If you want to visit Neamt Citadel, you should be landing on Iasi International Airport and have a drive of 112 km, which takes around 2 hours. However, if you get to go in the Targu Neamt Area, it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to visit Agapia Monastery and Bison Land . 

Take a look at our private day trip from Iasi to Neamt or, if you have something else in mind, we can arrange for a custom tour. 

Wish you a safe trip!

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In neamt county, hiking and climbing in ceahlău massif.

Ceahlău Massif, referred to as the Holy Mountain of the Romanians, is the second holy mountain of Orthodox Christianity after Mount Athos. Full of history, spirituality, legends and mystery, Ceahlău Massif impresses with its imposing, fortress-like appearance. The steep surrounding the mountain plateau, the picturesque beauty of landscapes and amazing views from each of the eight marked trails, and last, but not least, the uniqueness of its rocky cliffs shrouded in legend attract tourists from all over the world.

Hiking and climbing in Ceahlău Massif

Visiting Neamţ Fortress

Medieval monument of exceptional historical value, Neamţ Fortress dates back seven centuries. The fortress was built between 1374 and 1391, during the reign of Peter I Muşat, then extended and consolidated in the 15th century under the rule of Stephen the Great. The historical turmoil and the bravery of the soldiers defending the fortress were recorded in both chronicles and the writings of famous Romanian authors. Strolling through the 21 exhibition chambers, visitors can identify the trails that go beyond the physical space and lead to a history of the Middle Ages still reverberating with life.

Visiting Neamţ Fortress

Winding through Bicaz Gorges

Bicaz Gorges, which formed as the result of the continuous rock erosion by mountain streams, are undoubtedly one of the most spectacular and attractive tourist attractions in Romania. Stretching over a distance of nearly 8 km, Bicaz Gorges is actually a serpentine road of rare beauty that connects the eastern and western part of the country. The overwhelming charm of this route is given by the greatness of the stone giants which delineates the road from one side to the other, each of them having suggestive names, such as "Hell's Throat" or "the Altar Stone” and others, representing a natural temple where the ancestors used to practice their worship rituals, about 5000 years ago.

Winding through Bicaz Gorges

Visiting Cucuteni Neolithic Art Museum in Piatra Neamţ

Cucuteni Eneolithic Art Museum in Piatra Neamţ has on display the widest and richest collection  in Southeast Europe of artefacts (about 800 pieces) belonging to Precucuteni - Cucuteni Culture, developed between 3600-2600 BC. Of all exhibits, Cucuteni painted pottery is particularly of interest as one of the most brilliant artistic manifestations of the Eneolithic Age, comparable to various artistic achievements of all times.

Visiting Cucuteni Neolithic Art Museum in Piatra Neamţ

Discovering the traditional art at the ethnographic and folk art museums in Neamţ

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Visit Neamt 12+

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Visit Neamţ is a digital tour guide dedicated to promoting tourism on Neamţ County territory, Romania. The application includes easily accessible information about the natural, cultural and spiritual heritage of the area. By using this application, tourists have the possibility of planning personalized tours, accessing information about the tourist attractions in Neamţ County, about events and festivals, recreational and leisure activities, local culinary specialties of the area, tour packages, accommodation, food and related services, information of interest (transport options, shopping, medical services, etc.). Visit Neamţ is a multi-purpose app, with a user-friendly interface, available in three languages: Romanian, English and German. Each section contains relevant information (description, address, phone no., web page, photos and videos, and precise location using Google Maps). Visit Neamţ is provided and managed by Neamţ County Council.

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  • Neamt Monasteries Tour

Neamt-Agapia-Monastery

Neamt Monastery Tour

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Availability - All year round

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Time - 8 hours

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Distance - 190 km (round trip)

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Group size - from 1 to 7 or private

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Price range - 45 - 80 Euro/ person

Tour description:

The Neamt - Monasteries Tour is a day tour recommended for those who want to explore not only the beauty and the spirituality of Bucovina but olso the fascinating county of Neamt. In Neamt we have the highest density of monasteries in Romania and the highest number of nuns living behind the monasteries walls, almost 300 nuns in Agapia monastery and more than 300 in Varatec monastery, creating entire monastic villages around the main church. In the Neamt tour we will also discover fine art, several works of Nicolae Grigorescu, the most faimos romanian painter and the medieval fortress of Neamt, which played a key role in the medieval defense sistem of Moldavia.

The Neamt - Monasteries Tour is not only about the monasteries and the spirituality but it will also introduce you in the bucolic atmosphere of the romanian countryside with its charming traditional villages, dense forests, spectacular mountain roads and local craftsmen who preserves ancient traditions.

All this in one single day, 200 km and approximately 8 hours.

What's included:

- Licensed english speaking tour guide; - Private transportation with modern vehicle (AC); - Pick up and drop off from your hotel.

Not included:

- Lunch; - Entrance fees; - Personal expenses.

Remember all our tour can be customized. At this tour you can add other tourist attractions like:

Is this a private or a group tour?

Usually this is a private tour. However if we have specific requests from our guests we can provide a small group tour or a shared tour.

What time do tours start?

The best time to start this tour is 09.00 am, but we can also start at a mutually agreeded time.

Which are the pick-up and drop-off places?

We can pick-up/dop-off you at your hotel or any other point in Suceava city and not only.

How long does the tour take?

The tour takes approximately 8 hours but we can adapt to fit 100% your individual requirments from 7 to 10 hours.

How should I dress?

There is no formal dress code but try to be respectfully and try to cover your knees and shoulders during the visit at the monasteries.

When do I have to pay?

If you book a day tour you don't have to pay in advance. You just have to inform us about the pick-up place and time and you will pay only when you will start the tour.

What currency can we use?

For our tours we accept both Euro and the local currency known as Leu or Ron, but for all the other expences we recommend to use the local currency.

When is the best time of the year to visit Romania and Neamt county?

We recommend taking advantage of any chance to visit us, since each season is great in its own way to visit Romania and Neamt county.

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Ceahlau Mountain: Legends from the Romanian Olympus

Home » Attractions » Attractions Nature » Ceahlau Mountain: Legends from the Romanian Olympus

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Ceahlau Mountain

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Discover Ceahlau Mountain with our adventure tours  

Ceahlau Massif is the oldest and perhaps the biggest tourist attraction in Eastern Romania . Bordered by large valleys, Ceahlau is easy to spot from the neighboring Bicaz Lake and the scenic Bicaz Gorges .

Its impressive panoramas and moderate difficulty turn it into a great hiking destination even for kids.

Read also  Family Hikes in the Carpathians: 10 Easy Routes

Hiking towards Toaca Peak

Iconic wildlife and rare plants in Ceahlau National Park

Included in Ceahlau National Park, the mountain has the highest altitudes at Ocolosul Mare Peak (1,907 meters) and Toaca (1,904 meters). It’s almost like an open-air exhibition of bizarre and interesting rock formations —  Panaghia, Dochia, Cusma Dorobantului — shaped over thousands of years by strong winds and precipitations.

The mountain has several protected areas: the Scientific Area Ocolasul Mare, the Natural Botany Reservation Polita cu Crini, Duruitoarea Waterfall (25 meters), and Avenul Mare. Over 1,100 species of flowers and 90 protected species of birds and animals exist in these areas.

Many are rare or endangered, plants such as the Lady’s Slipper and the Edelweiss, mammal species like the chamois, and the top of the chain big carnivores.

Photo credits: Visit Neamt

Easy and scenic hikes to the top of Ceahlau Mountain

Ceahlau is the best choice if you like to take your time and plenty of photos during hikes. You can choose from seven well-marked routes departing from Durau, Izvorul Muntelui, Bicazul Ardelean, and Neagra. The trails vary in length and difficulty, but you can be sure you’ll find one fit even for beginners.

Dochia Chalet

Check the hiking routes on Muntii Nostri

The mountain huts Fantanele (1,200 meters) and Dochia (1,790 meters) are the only accommodation options, but camping, especially at Dochia, is also a great choice. Be sure to book your room well in advance at Dochia as Ceahlau is a very popular destination.

Legends and religion at high altitude

Don’t be surprised if you’ll hear a legend for every bizarre rock formation, waterfall, or peak you’ll see. This is why the Ceahlau Massif is ‘the Romanian Olympus’. Its fame made it, in fact, the first mountain mentioned in a Romanian novel and the first official mountain tourist destination since 1809.

Sunrise view from Ceahlau Mountain

Even more, Ceahlau is considered the second holy mountain of the Orthodoxy after Athos because of its religious edifices built right on the top plateau. Plus, it’s the only mountain in Romania that has its own religious holiday.

The perfect destination for an active weekend in the Eastern Carpathians, this mountain has it all, from easy hikes to longer and more difficult trails, a diversity of landscapes, and some of the best views in the entire Carpathian chain.

Travel tips

If you’re not a big fan of crowds, avoid summer weekends.

Bicaz Gorges and Bicaz Lake are a short drive away on two of the most beautiful roads in Romania .

Read more about the park on www.ceahlaupark.ro .

Discover the hiking routes from the Carpathians with this great guidebook The Mountains of Romania

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Location: Eastern Carpathians, Neamt County

Closest city: Piatra Neamt

Nearby attractions: Bicaz Lake, Bicaz Gorges National Park, the monasteries of Agapia, Neamt, Varatec

Access: DN17B Vatra Dornei-Poiana Teiului; DN15 and 155F Piatra Neamt-Durau; DN12C Gheorghieni-Bicaz; DN15B Targu Neamt-Poiana Largului

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Neamt Monastery – Neamt County

manastirea-neamt

Year of the Construction: Many rulers made their contributions to Neamt monastery: Petru Muşat, Alexandru cel Bun (Alexander the Good) and Ştefan cel Mare (Stefan the Great)

Address: village Vanatori, Neamt County

Tel: +(40) 233 25 15 80 and +(40) 745 82 31 79 Fax: +(40) 233 25 15 87

The Patron of the Monastery: “Inaltarea Domnului – The Rising of Jesus” celebrated at 40 days after Ester

Web: http://neamt.mmb.ro/

Short history of Neamt Monastery

Petru Musat was the one that built a stone church at Neamt Monastery to replace the old wooden one. In the year 1471 an earthquake damaged the church and for this reason Stefan cel Mare will build a new church near the old one. The first service was held after the great victory from Codrii Cosminului forest. In the year 1485 Neamt monastery receives a gift from ruler Stefan cel Mare under the form of a bell.

From all the old buildings that once were there, today we can only see the church of Stefan cel Mare and the lower part of the bell-tower built by Alexandru cel Bun. The buildings that can be seen today are from the XVIII – XIX century. Between 1958 and 1961 the church of St Gheorghe (this is the saint that battled the dragon) was rebuilt.

Neamt Monastery photos

Click here to see all the photo albums

Today, inside the walls of Neamt monastery there are two churches, two chapels, the bell-tower with 11 bells, the Theological Seminary Veniamin Costache and a museum with religious art and some old printing presses. Inside the church we can see the icon of Virgin Mary, painted in 665 in Israel – this icon was a gift to Alexandru cel Bun from the Byzantine Emperor Ioan the VIIth Paleologul.

Neamt monastery also holds the oldest library with 18,000 books. Here we can find the tombs of Prince Stefan (the son of Alexandru cel Bun and the uncle of Stefan cel Mare) and the famous abbot Paisie Velicicovschi.

I don’t think that there is anyone that can come to Neamt Monastery, witness the religious service and not to be deeply impressed. Any traveler will leave this place with a small memory – the result of a moment of peace and solitude felt in front of so much history and in front of God.

Read more information about Neamt Monastery (history, attraction points, images, video and its hermitages).

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2 Comments »

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Is it possible to stay in the monastery as a pilgrim?

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Dear Noel, thank you for your inquiry. We recommend that you contact the representatives of Neamţ Monastery by calling +40233.251.580 or +40745.212.708 or by sending an e-mail at “ [email protected] ”” with your request. Should you come in Neamţ County, make sure you don’t miss visiting other main tourist attraction in Târgu Neamţ area, such as: Neamţ Fortress,”Neculai Popa” Ethnography Museum in Târpeşti village, “Ion Creangă” Memorial House in Humuleşti, and also Agapia Nunnery and Văratic Monastery. May you have a wonderful time discovering the rich natural and cultural heritage of Neamţ Land!

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