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PIATRA NEAMT

Piatra Neamţ is one of the oldest cities in Moldavia, representing a page in the history of this region. Surrounded by mountains from all sides and traversed by the Bistriţa, the city attracts tourists because of its fresh air and the old buildings with the stories they preserve. The natural sceneries are alluring in any season and invite you to go on a hike or venture on the ski slopes on Mount Cozla. Furthermore, the view offered by a cable car ride and the moments when the sun hides behind the peaks, at sundown, will make you fall in love with this place.

Piatra Neamt

 

Piatra Neamt

The Chronicle from among the Mountains

The current territory of the city has been inhabited ever since the prehistoric, when one of the first European civilizations started to develop.  The vestiges of the Cucuteni culture demonstrate  an elevated esthetic sense and the ceramic stands out with its varied painting and rich ornamentation.  Until the 2nd century, the dwelling place belonged to the Geto-Dacians, and in this sense we should mention Petrodava, a fortress of great political and spiritual value. After the Roman conquest, the information on the area starts to disappear in time immemorial, but Piatra NeamÅ£ reappears in the historical documents of the 14th century, in the Russian chronicles and in the expedition journal of King Sigismund of Luxemburg in Moldavia.

In the Middle Ages, the locality became a fair, being an important commercial and handicraft center. The role of the city grew once Stephan the Great raised his Princely Court here.  After the first half of the 19th century, numerous factories, public schools, a theatre and a railway appeared in Piatra NeamÅ£, innovations which put the city on the map of the urban centers in NeamÅ£ County. Modernization and the proximity to the mountain gave the city the title of tourist resort of national interest.

Petrodava

 

Batca Doamnei

The Lordly Court and Church

In the old town in Piatra NeamÅ£ the architectural ensemble founded by Lord Stephen the Great is preserved. The Lordly Court was built between 1468 and 1475, and even though it was just a lordly residence, it had a strong political and administrative influence. Presently, one can still see portions of the inside wall and the cellars where the weapons and the food were stored.  In the close proximity there is the stone church, representative for the Moldavian style: it is sober but elegant, with a few colored decorations and arched windows. The medieval ensemble is completed by the belfry, which in time became the symbol of the city. It measured 20 meters in height and it served as an observation and refuge point in times of siege.  At some point, the tower was the most imposing building in the city; today it is a reference point and one of the tourists’ favorite places. A museum was set up between the old walls displaying artifacts in NeamÅ£ area and plastic arts collections signed by renowned Romanian artists.

The legends concerning the Lordly Court mention the existence of some underground galleries and passages which allowed the nobles to leave the city in secret.  The basements were discovered nearby, which startled even more the curiosity of visitors who were mystery seekers. In the evening, when the lampposts are lit, the streets are veiled in a romantic atmosphere, ideal for a peaceful walk. Don’t hesitate to go to Youth Park (Parcul Tineretului) for a few moments of complete relaxation, where the musical artesian well offers an outdoor concert. The colored water jets dance on the rhythm of the music, creating a harmonious and captivating show.

Lordly Church

 

Lordly Court

The Manors of the Old City

In Piatra NeamÅ£ there were many manors and boyars’ houses which embellished the cities with their architecture, but only three of them presently remind of the style of the past centuries. Lalu House for example belonged to an Italian entrepreneur and it stands out with its red brick façade and the scale-shaped shingle roof. In the old square of the city, the Cupbearer’s House stands among the newly built buildings. It was raised when commerce was the most popular occupation and it was destined for merchandise storage. Therefore, it stands out with its purely utilitarian aspect, massive, sober and with little ornamentation.  It stood the test of time extremely well and presently it houses a restaurant where you can enjoy the atmosphere of the middle ages. Also in the center, a red roof reveals a 19th century edifice; IvaÅŸcu House was built from wooden beams on a high stone foundation with the threshold above it. The building hardly suggests its original aspect, but it is a valuable memory of the past and a jewel of Romanian architecture.

Lalu House

An Expedition into the Heart of Local Culture

By visiting the museums in Piatra Neamţ you will know the local culture and history from its beginnings to present times. For a faithful image we suggest you start with the Cucuteni Neolithic Art Museum, dedicated to the most remarkable European civilization. Cucuteni culture has always fascinated the archeologists thanks to its spectacular aesthetics and the variety of art objects. The exhibits revealed by the diggings form an impressive neolithic collection of over 800 pieces. The figurative and decorative Cucuteni art is dominated by the theme of the mother-goddess, embellished with geometrical and spiral motifs. The painted dishes, the sculptures, the bone and copper jewels and tools are the testimonies of a unique culture, which has profoundly left its mark on the evolution of humanity.

The development of the civilizations in NeamÅ£ region is presented in the rooms of the History and Archeology Museum, where you will discover Geto-Dacian vestiges and habitation proofs from the medieval, modern and contemporary times. The Ethnographic Museum in Libertăţii Square recreates the interior of a traditional Moldavian household. The loom, the plough, the raft (the most popular means of transport on the BistriÅ£a), the musical instruments, the carpets, the traditional fabrics, the pieces of furniture and all the tools necessary to the peasant evoke the archaic atmosphere of the villages in the mountains. The rural universe, so spectacular in its simplicity, makes you want to forget about the everyday bustle and reunites you with life’s genuine values.

Cucuteni Museum

 

Art Museum

Calistrat HogaÅŸ Memorial House

Calistrat HogaÅŸ wrote mainly about nature, immortalizing Romania’s most beautiful landscapes. An indefatigable traveler, he always went on hikes on mountain tracks, crossing NeamÅ£ County from one end to the other. His books describe the beauties of this area, inviting the readers to discover the charm of the surrounding environment. The memorial house has an authentic rustic aspect and preserves the writer’s personal objects, including his hat and ink bottle. The personality of the author is evoked by every corner of his house, so by visiting it, you will have a clearer image of who Calistrat HogaÅŸ was.

Calistrat Hogas Memorial House

Entertainment in Piatra Neamţ

Tourists of all ages find numerous and diverse possibilities to have fun in Piatra NeamÅ£, according to each person’s preference. Massif Cozla is one of the most attractive places in town, with ski slopes and restaurants where you can savor traditional dishes, taking advantage of the fresh air and the amazing sceneries. Winter sports lovers can test their abilities on the two medium difficulty slopes, set up with cable car and night lighting. They start from Trei Coline Glade, a place from which one can see the mighty crests of the Ceahlău on sunny days. If you wonder how you can get here, at 650 meters altitude, you should know that the cable car leaves from in front of the train station. It will carry you above the city, allowing you to admire BistriÅ£a Valley, Batca Doamnei Lake and the ruins of Petrodava fortress. In the evening, the beautifully lit buildings create a fairytale-like scenery that the photographers hurry to capture.

In summer, you can spend a delightful weekend with your friends at the pool on the shore of the Bistriţa. Apart from the swimming pools, you also have sports fields here, playgrounds for children, restaurants, clubs and accommodation units which make you feel like you are at the seaside. Nearby there is the horseback riding center, where you can take horseback riding lessons, or go on carriage or recreation rides. Hot-blooded horses and ponies are much loved by both adults and children, who can hardly bring themselves to say goodbye to this place.

Pietricica

 

Cozla

In Piatra NeamÅ£ you discover the charm of a quiet and picturesque city, perfect for a few days of complete relaxation. The rich history, the mountain surrounding it and the tourist attractions make it even more attractive, so boredom will not intervene with your vacation plans. 

[An article written by Andreea Bertea]