Neamt Fortress, Romania
400AD-1400AD-Middle Ages Romania

Extraordinary legends of Neamt Fortress

February 7, 2020
FounderPetru I Musat
LocationStrada Cetatii, Targu Neamt 615200, Romania
Getting there Car, bus (55 km away from the city of Suceava)
Nearest train stations: Targu Neamt
The closest airport is located in Suceava (SCV) –
Visiting Hours / TicketsMonday – closed
Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 (April – September)
Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 (October – March)
The last ticket – half an hour before closing
Adults – 24 lei
Children – 6 lei
Groups (minimum 5 people), students – 12 lei
Getting to the FortessThe road to Neamt Fortress is closed for public traffic.
It takes about 1 Hour to walk from the street to the fortress (around 2 km on a steep uphill road).

The Neamt Fortress and the fortification system built in Moldova

The Neamt Fortress was part of the fortification system built in Moldova at the end of the 14th century when the Ottoman danger appeared.

The fortress was built at the end of the 14th century by Peter I, was fortified in the 15th century by Stephen the Great and destroyed in the 18th century (1718) by the order of ruler Mihai Racovita.

The only access to the fortress is done via an arched bridge supported on stone pillars. The fortress was renovated recently.

Located near the highest peak of Culmii Plesului, the fortress is part of the category of medieval monuments of exceptional value in Romania. The strategic position from which it benefited and the presence in the important events that this part of the country knew, shows that the Fortress of Neamt was one of the best-fortified cities of the medieval Moldavian state.

The Neamt Fortress is built of river stone (used both as an elevation and as a filling of the walls), of the quarry stone (used in arches, windows, pillars, and abutments) and green sandstone stone. Between the fortress and the rest of the plateau, there is a defense ditch. In the fortress, there is a gate (“Musatin gate”) located in the middle of the northern wall.

The legends of Neamt fortress:

The fountain in the center of the fortress
Legend has it that the fountain was dug by Turkish prisoners. Stephen the Great told them that if they dig and find the water it will save their life and release them. The Ottoman prisoners dug and found the water of the Ozana River. They were released.

The mountain tunnels
Legend has it that from the fountain there are tunnels that come out at the base of the mountain, in the Oglinzi village. These were used by those in the fortress when the fortress was conquered.

Stephen the Great’s mother
The moment of Stephen the Great’s arrival in the fortress after the Battle of the White Valley (1476) is presented by the poet Dimitrie Bolintineanu in the poem “Stephen’s Great Mum” (1857). The poem begins with the following verses: “On a dark old mountain, in an ancient keep
Where a brook flows rushing in the valley deep,
The young princess, sighing, weeping in her splendour
Sweet and oh-so-precious, like a flower, tender;
Because in the battle, her beloved prince
Went to lead his army, and he vanished since

( THE MOTHER OF STEPHEN THE GREAT – Dimitrie Bolintineanu – translated by Daniel Ionita )

One night the ruler knocks on the gate of the city, asking to be welcomed in because he is wounded and followed by the Turks who crushed his army. The ruler’s mother, in the fortress, refuses to open by telling the stranger the following:

“Who are you, o stranger? Stephen is away;
His strong arm is hurling his rivals to dismay.
Surely I’m his mother, and he is my son;
But I’m not your mother, if you are this one!
Still, if God in Heaven – wishing me to mourn
And my days be saddened and my years so torn –
Had your soul, so noble, in this manner changed,
If indeed you’re Stephen and are thus deranged,
Know that without triumph and the foes repressing –
Here you cannot enter; not without my blessing.
Go back to your army! For your lands to die
And your tomb be crowned with flowers to the sky!”

( THE MOTHER OF STEPHEN THE GREAT – Dimitrie Bolintineanu – translated by Daniel Ionita )

All these legends contribute fully to enhancing the mystery that surrounds the Neamt Fortress.