The Neamt fortress is one of the most important medieval monuments of Romania and the symbol of the most glorious period of its Eastern part, Moldova, under the rule of Stefan the Great. Located in the nearby of Targu Neamt, the 14th century fortress is today one of the highlights of the cultural and historical heritage of Eastern Romania.
The history of the fortress is closely related to the development of the Moldavian state in medieval times and witnessed during the centuries some crucial fights and survived harsh sieges like the one conducted in 1476 by the Ottoman Empire or the one in 1691 conducted by the Polish king Ioan Sobietski.
Built in the 14th century, the Neamt fortress is first mentioned in 1395, in a document issued by the Hungarian king Sigismund of Luxemburg, before a conflict with the Moldavian country. Located at 480 meters altitude, the fortress named after the Neamt River, had a strategic position for the defense of the Eastern territory of modern day Romania. The fortress is substantially reinforced during the rule of Stefan the Great (1457-1504), the legendary prince of Moldova, highly praised for its heroic victories and cultural constructions like the painted monasteries of Bucovina.
A brilliant military strategist, Stefan the Great will lift the Neamt fortress to its maximum glory. He reinforces the fortress in a short interval between two of his most important anti-Ottoman battles (Vaslui, 1475 and Valea Alba, 1476) by raising its walls with 6-7 meters, building the four bastions of the outer court and the arc-shaped bridge supported by 11 tall rock pillars, provided with traps and a mobile part that was elevated through a pulley system. The defensive planning of the bridge is remarkable as its arch form and its considerable length, 80 meters, prolonged the exposure of attackers in front of the fortress’ defendants.
In the next centuries, the Neamt fortress, like all the other fortresses of Moldova, will lose part of its importance as the Ottoman domination grows stronger. Several rulers, faithful to the Ottoman Empire, will try to destroy it, while others will attempt to save it. After 1717 it loses all military importance and more than one century later it was declared a historical monument.
The fortress was included in an ample process of restoration and is today one of the most important tourist attractions of Neamt County. The fortress is open for visitation every day from 9 a.m. and is a great weekend destination as many other attractions are found in its nearby.