Neamt Fortress (Cetatea Neamt)

Located in the north-eastern part of Neamt County, in close proximity of Targu Neamt, the fortress is listed among the most valuable medieval monuments located on the Romanian territory. The origin and existance of the fortress is tightly connected to the history of the region which dates back more than 7 milenia.

But unfortunately, there is no accurate account which clearly presents the moment when the fortress came into being. Because of this, many stories have emerged, each with the puspose of explaining the origin of the keep. But the truthfulness of these stories is questionable.

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There is documentary evidence according to which during the Teuton estblishment in Barsei County (1211-1225) a fortification was constructed on the eastern slope of the Carpathians. Numerous historians have concluded that this fortification had to refer to Neamt Fortress.

In fact this germanic origin has been adopted by many Romanian historians due to the fact that they had to provide an explanation concerning the construction of the edifice. In assuming the veridity of this hyphothesis, the historians also took into account the name that the fortress bore.

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But the historical accounts could not be sustained by the archeological discoveries. These diggings brought to light that the materials used in the construction of the inferior part of fortress dated from the second part of Petru I’s reign over the region, when Moldova underwnet an economic and political development. Thus, the theory which claimed that Teutons were responsible for the erection of the keep was no longer valid.

In fact, the theory of Transylvanian Saxons having built the fortress doesn’t have valid grounds because the small colony which dwelt in that region did not have the authority or the financial resources to realize such a collosal  military construction. More so, the archeological diggings did not validate this theory and there are no official documents which would sustain this theory either.

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The historian Radu Popa accurately emphasized that the Neamt Fortress is an ample construction which had to have requested important financial means and that such resources were not likely to be found anywhere else except in the feudal period.

Neamt Fortress is situated atop the highest peak of Plesu Mountain and it is one of the most well put together fortresses which was constructed during the medieval times on the Moldovian territory.

The location chosen for the fortress was perfect for defense purposes as the mountainous peak was shaped almost triangularly, measuring almost 480 m in height (above sea level) and 80 m above the water level of Neamt River.

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The fortress is shaped as an irregular rectangular, the structure having been adapted to the terrain. The structure of the construction is said to have been influenced by the Polish-Lithuanian architectural style.

The defense towers located in the four sides of the fortress have not been constructed at the exterior, but have been included directly in the frame of the walls.

Initially, the fortification measured 12-15 m in height and 3 m in thickness. But in time, the walls have been fortified so as to offer better protection against enemy attacks. Later on, further work was conducted to the walls in as much that these gained 6 or 7 m in height.

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Access to the fortress is done via an arched bridge sustained by 11 colums. The curved pathway was intended as a defense mechanism. It was assumed that the enemy soldies would have to shift their weapons from one hand to another in order to begin their attack, thus getting tired much easier.

Neamt Fortress has become a historical monument in 1866. In order to preserve the fortification as best as possible, several restoration works were initiated in the 20th century (1968-1972). At present, the mighty fortress is one of the most important tourist attractions in Neamt County. It is definitely worth visiting so if you are ever in the vicinity, do not miss your chance to gaze on one of the most imposing military constructions built in the medieval times.