The Neamţ Fortress (or Neamţului Fortress) is a medieval fortress in the Moldova region, located on the North-Western limit of the city of Targu Neamţ. It is raised on a rock, 80 m above the level of the Neamţ river. From here, it guards the valley of the river and the road that crosses the mountains into Transylvania.
The Neamț Fortress was part of the fortification system built in Moldova at the end of the 14th century, when the Ottoman threat appeared. The medieval fortification system consisted of fortified settlements (royal courtyards, fortified monasteries as well as strategically important citadels) for defence purposes, reinforced with stone walls, earth waves or deep moats.
The fortress was built during the reign of Peter II Muşat (1374-1391) and was fortified in the fifteenth century by Ștefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) and destroyed in the eighteenth century (1718) by the order of prince Mihai Racoviță.
The first construction period, in Petru Muşat’s time, resulted in the building of a central, almost square-shaped fort, with a foundation shaped like large steps, on which walls of about 2-3 m thick with a height of 12 m were built. It was equipped with four defensive towers in the corners, supported on the outside by 15 strong and imposing buttresses. Interior walls have been built to increase the resistance of exterior walls, which have been well preserved to date.
Stephen the Great consolidated the fortress furthermore, an exterior courtyard of about 800 m2 was designed and built, and a new belt of walls, with 4 semi-circular bastions was raised, to provide a higher resistance against an artillery siege. Also during this period, the old walls were raised up to a height of 20 meters, and around them a new defensive moat was dug, 10m deep and 25m long, over which an arched bridge was built, supported on 11 pillars of stone. Access to the main gate was secured by a lifting bridge, held up with the help of chains. At the same time, the buildings of the inner courtyard, the royal building and the ruler’s quarters on the sides, the church, the food and ammunition warehouses, and the craft workshops were also built.
In 1395, under the reign of Stefan Muşat, the fortress resisted the attack of the troops of the Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxembourg, and again in 1476, during the reign of Stephen the Great (1457-1504), the 8-day siege by the 200,000-men army of Mahomet II, Conqueror of Constantinople.
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