The Fortress Of Neamtz
Among the most representative historical monuments from Romania we find the fortress of Neamtz, an objectiv situated in the city of Tg. Neamtz in the subcarpathian zone of Moldavia.
Issued from the local society’s necessities, the fortress of Neamtz was build in the period of consolidation of the romanian medieval state on the east side of Carpathians. Along the centuries, the history of the fortress has been tidely combined with the history of the whole Moldavia, for the fortress marked some important moments of this history, keeping on its walls the traces of the days of glory or those of sorrow of the past times.
Built from the order of Peter the 1st Musat (1375-1391) the same as the fortress from Suceava or that from Scheia and other churches or monasteries, the fortress of Neamtz was initialy composed by the central fort which was closing a court garded by four towers.
Situated to the crossing of the way which connects Suceava, through Baia, to Piatra and other cities of Moldavia, with the way coming over the Tulghes pas from Transylvania, the fortress on the Culmea Plesului is documentary attested for the first time on 2 february 1395. At that moment at the east of Carpathians, aiming to get Moldavia under the authority of Hungary, the mean King Sigismund de Luxemburg gave a chancellary act "ante castrum Nempch" shortly after the battle from Hindău (Ghindăoani) which ended with the victory of Steven the 1st Musat.
The commandant of the fortress – pârcălabul – had larger military and administrative attributions. Under his power there were the village, which formed the neighbouring area of the fortress (ocoale), named by the documents "right of the king". Certainely, the habitants of these villages had some obligations concerning the maintenance of the garnizone and the supply of guard contingents (the so-called "hunters") beside their obligations to pledge "the work at the fortress".
After the battle from Hindău, which enabled for a little while the hungarian tendencies to bring Moldavia under their suveranity, there are not known any notable military events concerning the fortress for many decenies.
Only after Steven’s the Great (1457-1504) coming, the fortress of Neamtz will be integrated to the effort made by the whole country to preserve the liberty. The great organisor and military commandant understood very well the role which was to be given to the fortifications system in order to reinforce the capacity of defence of the country and of the King’s power reason enough for him to dispose the reinforcement of the old fortress and the building of new one’s. Due to this constructiv programm, the fortress of Neamtz has been rebuildt (renovated) its look changing almost completely. The works done, according all probabilities between the spring of 1475 and the summer of 1476, contributed to the rising of the old walls and the construction of the exterior court with defence bastions and the suspended bridge on eleven stone piles.
Reinforced in this way, the fortress of Neamtz wrote in 1476 one of the most heroic pages from the history of Moldavia. Lead by Arbore, the garnizone of the fortress resisted to the siege of the turkish army which couldn’t krown this way the victory from Valea Albă (Războieni, 26 iulie). Concerning this event, the sultans writer Angiolello wrote:
but turning our camp in another side, we went to a powerfull castle situated in the mountains, in which there were prisoners caught one year before, in the winter, when Soliman Pacha was crushed. By atempting to conquer the fortress mentioned above, seven canons were set, and during eight days it was made the attempt to conquer this fortress, but two of these canons were broken and those who were in the fortress didn’t want to talk and they were all protecting themselves with artilery and they didn’t care at all about us.
Defeated, in fact, by the impossibility of conquering none of Moldavia’s fortress and to impose as a King his protected, harressed by the moldavian army, regrouped after the returning of the paysantry - gone to secure its families and goods - arround the King, with his army diminished by deseases, threatened by the aproach of the troups coming to help the moldavians, from Transylvania, the sultan was obliged to end the siege and to retreat himself and his army.
The ruling of Steven’s the Great descendants did nothing else but continuing, despite the troubles on the extern plan, the line opened by their great predecesor. This way, until the end of Peter’s Rares first ruling period, Moldavia has been kept away from the great military campaigns and consequently, the resistence of the walls of the Neamtz fortress was no longer tested.
As the turkish domination becomes rougher and their progress in the battle technics begins to increase, the role of the fortress diminishes. After the partial destruction of some interior constructions during the rule of Alexandru Lăpuşneanu (1564) and the renovations ordered by Ieremia Movilă in 1600, the fortress of Neamtz will open its doors in front of the armies of that who realised the first political union of the romanians: Michael the Brave.
Transformed in monastery by Vasile Lupu and than partialy destroyed by Dumitrasco Cantacuzino in 1675, the fortress of Neamtz will have the force to write one more heroic page in 1691, when, defenced by a small group of soldiers (plăiesi), will resist for a few days to the siege of the polish army lead by Ian Sobietski. After the destroy ordered by Michael Racovitza in 1717, the fortress of Neamtz will totally loose its political and military importance.
In the two following centuries the fortress of Neamtz knew a continue degradation due to the people and to the intemperies, which made the fortress at the midle of the XIXth century look pale, contrasting with the impresive image of the citadele it was once.
Consolidated and restored partially, nowadays, the fortress represents one of the most visited objectives of the region.