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Piatra Neamt
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General informations - Piatra Neamt

General informations
Geographical position
North-eastern Romania, (central-western Moldavia), on the wide Bistriţa valley and on theMoldavian valley, at the confluence with the Siret, guarded by the Ceahlău Mountain.
Neighbours
On the North-west: Suceava County, on the east:Iaşi and Vaslui Counties, on the south: Bacău County,on the west: Harghita County.
Surface
5,836 sq. km (respectively 2,5% of the country’sterritory).
Population
584,000 inhabitants.
Towns
Piatra Neamţ, county capital, with 125,000inhabitants, one of the most beautiful towns in Moldavia displayed on terraces on the left bank of theBistriţa, at the confluence of two rivers, Cuejdi and Bistriţa, at an average altitude of 345 m, the town is surrounded by mountains: Cernegura, Cozla (850 m),Pietricica (532 m) and Cârloman (617 m). Piatra Neamţ enjoys a unique bbcolor , a temperate-continental climate, with short, chilly and pleasant summers, long, serene and romantic autumns, mild winters, without frosts, although with lots of snow,hence the name of „Moldavia’s Pearl”. Other towns:Bicaz, Roman, Târgu Neamţ.ReliefIs varied and uneven for the most part, structuredon levels from the west to the east with the mountainson the west (that cover more than half of the county’ssurface) with Stănişoara (1,531 m), Bistriţa (1,864 m),Ceahlău (with Ocolaşu Mare Peak, 1907 m) - „TheMoldavian Olympus”, Tarcău, Hăşmaş, divided by longitudinal valleys), the Sub-Carpathian hills(Moldavian Sub-Carpathians, in the centre, closingthe Sub-Carpathian Depressions of Neamţ and Cracău Bistriţa, as well as the 900 m high ridges of the Pleşului Hills, prolonged from the north to the south), that disappear in the wide corridor valley(widened by well developed terraces, especially at the confluence with the Moldova River) of the Siretacross of which raise the hills of the Bârlad Plateau.
Climate
Is continental, with important variations dependingon the relief with winds blowing predominantly from the north-west and the west, and on the Siret Valley from the north and the south; the average annual temperature is 8 - 90C, in January -6 - -100 when in July 10 - 200C.
Watercourses
Bistriţa crosses the county with its tributaries: Bistricioara,Bicaz, Tarcău, Cracău, the inferior courseof Moldavia and a part of the middle course of the Siret at the county border.The Fortress of Neamţ was built by Petru I Muşat(1374 - 1391) and couldn’t be destroyed by the siege of Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary (1395).Mehmed II tried to conquer (1476) it, but he failed. Intimes of Stephen the Great, the fortress resisted to the siege of the Polish King, Ioan Sobieski (1691), for fourdays.Piatra Neamţ town was documentarily attested in 1387 - 1392 under the name of „Piatra lui Crăciun”.The town developed especially after Stephen the Great built here a princely court. The region has been inhabited since ancient times. The valuable archaeological discoveries present the image of an intense Neolithical life, with high life standard and an exceptional artistic refinement that resulted in the Cucuteni Culture. In the 15th century, Stephen the Great built the Princely Court (the fortress and „Sfântu Ion”Cathedral with its famous Belfry, turned into Stephan’s Tower) - nowadays, historical centre of the own.
Touristic Sighths
 
Mountains
The Ceahlău Massif (40 km west of PiatraNeamţ), the most visited massif of the Eastern Carpathians, also named „the jewel of Moldavia”(D.Cantemir), „giant reaching for the sun”(G.Coşbuc), „the old king of the Moldavian Carpathians” (Al.Vlahuţă). The Ceahlău forms a distinct geographical unit, and although it has a moderate height (Ocolaşu Mare Peak, 1,907 m), when the sky is clear it can be seen from remote distance. Its form of huge castle ruined by the winds, the rains and the waters, atracts with an iresistible force. It is composed of pyramids and towers (Detunatele, TurnulSihastrului), gorges and waterfalls (Duruitoarea,Stânile, Bistra Mare). Each rock (interestingly shaped by the nature) has a beautiful legend: Dochia (the daughter of the Dacian King Decebalus), the Tower of Butu and Ana (Butu was a brave soldier of ruler Alexandru the Kind), Piatra Lăcrămată, Detunatele,Căciula Dorobanţului, Panaghia. Several climbing routes were opened towards these „extraordinary events geology”, as well as many accessible passes.Within the massif it was established the National Park of Ceahlău that includes a complex natural reservation with many rare species of plants „Poliţa cu crini”(„The Lily Shelf”), animals and geology.Other mountains: The Bistriţei Mountains, TheTarcău Mountains.
Gorges, passes and waterfalls
The Pass of Golden Bistriţa cut into the hard rocks of the Bistriţa Mountains by its furious water scalmed in the storage reservoir of Izvorul Muntelui.The Bicaz Gorges (20 km far from Bicaz), one of the most impressive natural monuments in Romania.The Duruitoarea Gorges (in the Ceahlău Massif atan 1,021 m altitude) formed on the Rift Creek at 25m height, whose thrilling roar announces its presence long before being seen.
Lakes
The „Izvorul Muntelui” Lake in Bicaz (35 km farfrom Piatra Neamţ), storage reservoir formed on the Bistriţa, behind a 120 m-height dam, a real artificial mountain. Approximately 35 km long, „the sea beneath the Ceahlău”, is an attractive leisure area excellent for sailing by small boats.Reservations and natural monuments„Codrii de aram㔠(Brass Forest), 30 km far from Piatra Neamţ, 1 km north of the Văratec Monastery,forest reservation of secular oaks. Together with„Silver Forest” of secular birch trees, they were asource of inspiration for the great poet Mihai Eminescu.Piatra Teiului, geological reservation (near Poiana Teiului, 65 km far from Piatra Neamţ), a huge limestone structure formed through erosion.The Vânătorii Neamţului Forest, forest reservation(3 km north-west of Vânători Village), oak secular forest offering a beautiful landscape.The Goşmanu Forest, forest reservation in theTarcău Mountains with secular spruce firs, firs and beech trees of impressive heights.Other private reservations and natural monuments:Cernegura, Pietricica, Cozla Geological Reservations.
Resorts and spas
Durău (60 km north-west of Piatra Neamţ, 6 km far from the Izvorul Muntelui Lake), spa and resort situated at the foot of the Ceahlău Massif in a sunny glade (at an altitude of 780 - 800 m). The climate is mild sub-alpine, tonic and stimulating, with ozone rich fresh air. In the winter, snows are heavy, in December - April the layer of snow is 50 cm thick.There are a lot of winter sports facilities. An Ayurvedic health centre using naturist techniques was opened In the spa. Promenade to (the Ceahlău Massif and the Izvorul Muntelui Lake may be started from here. The access ways are: by train - Piatra Neamţ and Bicaz railway stations, then by road to the spa, by road - DN 15 from Bacău or from TârguMureş, with deviation at Bistricioara. Bicaz (28 km west of Piatra Neamţ), tourist centre situated in a picturesque position at the foot of the Ceahlău Massif (at an altitude of 430 m). It may also be named „the Bicaz harbour” due to its location on the shore of the Izvorul Muntelui Lake („the Bicaz Sea”) where the leisure cruises on lake (little ships,motorboats, boats) start. The beauty of the lake and ofthe mountain join alpine climate to create a place of major tourist attraction.
Historical vestiges
The Neamţ Fortress in Târgu Neamţ, was built by Petru Muşat (at the end of the 14th century) on a plateau that allowed the watching of the entire Moldavian Valley. For those times this was an undefeated fortress. The impressive fortress entered the chronicles and legends, being documentarily attested in documents since 1395. The age of Stephen theGreat represented the period glory of the fortress considered an actual hawks’ nest. The huge walls maintain the echo of a dramatic past: they suffered difficult sieges led by Sultan Mehmed II (1476), the Polish King Ioan Sobieski (1691). Nowadays, one of its hall shosts a small museum.The Ruins of the Princely Court in Piatra Neamţ,was built by Stephen the Great in 1491. Today we can be noticed the traces of the walls and cellars, the church, as well as Stephen’s Tower (built in 1499 and higher than 20 m).The Vestiges of the Dacian Fortress in BâtcaDoamnei, near Piatra Neamţ, with massive walls(about 3 m), resembles the Dacian Fortresses in the Orăştiei Mountains. The sanctuary, the dwellings illustrate the high civilisation of the Dacians. It was identified with the great Geto-Dacian settlement of Petodava mentioned by Ptolemeus in 106 B.C.Palace of the Knez, near Ceahlău Village (76 km far from Piatra Neamţ), 17th century, today only ruins.The Ruins of the Fortress in Roman, was built byRoman Vodă Muşat (1391 - 1394).
Religious buildings
The Neamţ Monastery in Vânători Neamţ (16 km far from Târgu Neamţ), one of the most valuable architecture sites in Romania, the most important centre of culture and art of the Medieval Moldavia. It was documentarily mentioned the first time in 1407.The church of the monastery is the most impressive construction of Stephen the Great (1497). Here exists of the oldest libraries in the country (more then 600 years old) as well as a museum illustrating the intense cultural life lived here for centuries.Bistriţa Monastery (10 km far from Piatra Neamţ),was built by Alexandru the Kind (his grave rests here)in 1402 and repaired by Stephen the Great who built the tower in 1498. The original building does not exist any longer, just the one replaced by Al.Lăpuşneanu in 1554 (he brought skilled painters fromVenice). The monastery played and important cultural role, here being written the first chronicle of Moldavia. The monastery hosts a valuable museum of Medieval art.Agapia Monastery (32 km far from Piatra Neamţ),was built between 1642 - 1647 at the initiative of hetman Gavril (brother of the ruler Vasile Lupu). The subsequent changes altered the original structure of the monastery. It was painted in 1858 by the great artist Nicolae Grigorescu when he was only 20. M.Kogălniceanu said: „... the paintings of Agapia are for Moldavia a real art gallery that will always be admired by Romanians and praised by connoisseurs foreigners”.Secu Monastery (75 km far from Piatra Neamţ),was built by the great chancellor Nestor Ureche in1602. Adorned inside with remarkable art, the facades’ decorations bear the mark of the Wallachian architecture. The museum of the monastery exhibits embroideries, manuscripts, tapestries, carpets.„Saint John” Church in Piatra Neamţ (1497 -1498), one of the few churches built under Stephenthe Great that preserves its original form.Bishopric Church in Roman, whose construction started in 1542 under Petru Rareş and was ended in1550 under his son, Iliaş Vodă. It has preserved the frescoes from the 16th century.Pângăraţi Monastery (15 km far from Piatra Neamţ), was founded under Stephen the Great andrebuilt by Alexandru Lăpuşneanu in 1560.Bisericani Monastery (15 km far from PiatraNeamţ), was founded by Stephen the Great in 1498 and ended by Ştefăniţă in 1517.Other private religious buildings: Tazlău Monastery was built by Stephen the Great (1496 -1497), Durău Monastery was built in the 17th century by one of the daughters of ruler Vasile Lupu and its paintings were executed by N. Tonitza, „Precista” Church in Roman, was built between 1568 - 1569 by Ruxandra, Alex. Lăpuşneanu’s wife, Horaiţa Monastery (1725), 12 km far from Piatra Neamţ.
Cultural buildings
„Ion Creang㔠Memorial House in Humuleşti, (2km far from Târgu Neamţ), home and places so beautifully depicted by the great storyteller (1837 - 1889)in his immortal „Memories of Childhood”.„Calistrat Hogaş” Memorial House in Piatra Neamţ, keeps the memory of the writer who was also a famous traveller. He left us wonderful pages about the beauties of this land.„Mihail Sadoveanu” Memorial House in Vânători- Neamţ, near the Neamţ Monastery where the great writer wrote many of his historical stories.„Al. Vlahuţ㔠Memorial House, near AgapiaMonastery (1859 - 1919).The County Museum in Piatra Neamţ with valuable exhibits that visitors can admire, such as„Romanian Ring Dance of Frumuşica”, „The Thinkerof Târpeşti”, „The Goddesses Flight”.
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