A vacation as cool as Piatra!

A vacation as cool as Piatra!


"This is a very beautiful location. I eat and drink, mother of fire, because the air is so healthy. The weather is very good..." are the words of a famous national writer Caragiale about Piatra-Neamț, from the time when he was a school auditor in Neamț.

Povestea de Piatra

Officially attested almost 600 years ago, Piatra-Neamț was an important commercial center since the Middle Ages, populated by Romanians, Saxons, Hungarians and Jews. Jewel of Moldavia during the reign of Stephen the Great who founded a Royal Court here – today the heart of the city, Piatra-Neamț became known in the interwar period as the Pearl of Moldavia, in 1924 being granted the title of tourist town. The city was already considered a climatic resort since the 1900s, when the mineral springs on the Cozla hill were exploited, healing the digestive diseases.
The Royal Court in Piatra Neamț

Digging deeper into the historical sources, the name "Piatra" can be traced back to the time of the Geto-Dacians when the current place was called Petrodava (petra = stone) and was a political, economic and spiritual center mentioned since the 2nd century by Ptolemy in the work "Geographica". Regarding the name "Neamț", there is no consensus among historians, but the name most likely comes from the Germanic groups that extended in the area.  

Ce este special la Piatra?

"The Aquarium of Piatra" - the largest and most complex fossil site in Romania

Located at the foot of the Eastern Carpathians, Piatra-Neamț is surrounded by protected areas of national interest. The fossiliferous places Cozla, Pietricica, Cernegura and Agârcia bear witness to the millions of years in which nature transformed from a former sea (Parathetys) into the mountainous area of today. Fossil deposits of lamellibranchs, gastropods, arachnids, crustaceans, fish and reptiles were discovered in the rock layers made up of marl and sandstone conglomerates. Piatra-Neamț was the first place in the country where Oligocene fossil fish were collected (more than 100 years ago). The fossils identified here can be viewed at the Museum of Natural Sciences in the city.

The Cozla hill can be reached with the cable car from Piatra-Neamț, the only one in the country that crosses a city, from where you can admire a spectacular landscape, which includes, on clear days, the Ceahlău mountain, known as the "Holy Mountain of Romania". From the top of Cozla hill, you can take an easy hike on the approved route to "Trei caldări" (Three buckets), a geological reserve of eolian marmites, and for the more adventurous, you can go down by bike on one of the oldest downhill routes in Romania, where, the national MTB downhill competition has been organized for 18 years. There are other cycling routes, of different levels of difficulty, which you can find in the Piatra Neamț City App.
Arrival of the cable car on the Cozla hill

The oldest European culture
Maybe the Greek or Roman cultures being over 2000 years old seem ancient and fascinating to you, but right on the territory of Romania, in the North-East, there are the vestiges of the oldest European culture (5500-3500 B.C.) – the Cucuteni culture. In Piatra-Neamț you can find the only museum in the country and even in Europe dedicated to this culture, which stood out especially for the very advanced techniques of modeling and decorating ceramics, with complex motifs, usually geometric, but also anthropomorphic or zoomorphic.
Clay figures 4900–4750 B.C., Museum of Eneolitic Art Cucuteni , Piatra-Neamţ

The oldest wooden synagogue in Romania

Maybe you didn't know, but in Piatra-Neamț there is the oldest wooden synagogue in Romania and the only one of its kind in Eastern Europe, proof of the large Jewish community that has existed in this city since the Middle Ages. Legend has it that the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the current of Hasidism in Mosaicism, used to retreat to Mount Ceahlău to meditate and return on Sabbath to the synagogue in Piatra. The current construction was built on the site of an older one, based on the charter of July 19, 1766 signed by voivode Grigore the 3rd Ghica. The old synagogue was made of stone, but from the beginning of the 18th century, only wooden synagogues were allowed.
The Bal Shem Tov Sinagogue

Centuries old churches in or around the city

Right in the heart of the city, on the plateau of the historical center, stands the "Birth of St. John the Baptist" Church, a masterpiece of Moldovan ecclesiastical architecture, with Gothic influences, built in the time of Stephen the Great as part of the Neamț Royal Court.

The church in Văleni (one of the city's neighborhoods) is from an architectural point of view one of the most successful achievements of wooden architecture in Moldova. It was built around 1538 with a simple nave-shaped plan, with a pentagonal altar, and a separate belfry, located nearby, to the south.

If you want a combination of  mountain landscape and church, on the Cozla hill you can visit the "The Announciation" Church, also known as the "Draga Hermitage". It was built in the years 1779-1787 from wooden beams, arranged horizontally and "ended" in a dovetail, on a stone foundation and covered with thatch.

And if you feel even more adventurous, you can take a hike on the Cârloman hill on the marked route that connects Piatra-Neamț to the Bistrița Monastery, an Orthodox church of great historical and archaeological value, built in Byzantine style by Alexandru cel Bun in 1407.
The wooden church in Văleni

Equestrian, nautical, aeronautical sports in or around the city

You don't have to go out of town to ride a horse or a pony. Equestrian Base "Col. Virgil Bărbuceanu" is one of the most equipped equestrian bases in the country, being chosen as the host for several international competition. Here you can practice recreational riding on routes established by staff, horseback tourism for those who have knowledge and equestrian skills, one-day carriage trips on the Bâtca Doamnei - Bahrin route or a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh (in winter).
The Youth Beach

The equestrian base is conveniently located between two other major attractions of the city, namely the Youth Beach and the Bâtca Doamnei Lake Recreational Area. The beach, which is located between the Carpathian Mountains and the Bistrița River, offers not only a good possibility to cool off during the summer, but also the chance to practice various sports such as football, tennis, basketball or volleyball. You can also rent a cottage or camp here. At the Bâtca Doamnei Lake, as soon as you pass the dam, you can rent a kayak or a hydrobike or simply enjoy a drink.
The Bâtca Doamnei Lake

And if you are bored of the ground activities, in the immediate vicinity of the city you can practice recreational flights, having a complete picture of the city of Piatra-Neamț or even of the Ceahlău Massif.
Flying over Piatra Neamț

Gastronomia de Piatra

After so many walks and activities, you are definitely hungry. In Piatra, you will find all the Moldovan dishes you crave, but also specific to Neamț county: Moldavian stew, polenta with cheese, pork scraps, cabbage rolls, smoked trouts covered with fir branches, sour soups with Moldavian borscht, pie, tart to which you can add local drinks such as various type of brandies (blueberries, sour cherries) or with a plant that only grows on Ceahlău mountain (hemlock-parsley).

And if you want to get closer to the local producers, you can buy various products, from eggs, cheese and meat products to jams, honey, fruits and vegetables, which you can eat here or take back home. You can find all this, but also a variety of restaurants (with local or international cuisine) in the Piatra Neamț City App.

Acum ... hai la Piatra!

Pack your bags and come to Piatra - the heart of the Neamț county. There's no room for boredom here, and what we've outlined earlier are just some of the attractions and sights you can enjoy in the city and its surroundings.

And if you want to extend your stay, from here you can make various one-day itineraries to renowned destinations throughout the county. Among them we list the Bicaz Dam and Lake Izvorul Muntelui or the "Sea of the Mountains", the National Park Bicaz-Hășmaș Gorges and the Nature Reserve Șugăului Gorges where you can do rock climbing, Lake Cuejdel (one of the largest natural dam lakes in the country), Neamț Citadel, "Dragoș Vodă" Bison Reserve, Durău Resort, Ceahlău Mountain, Veronica Micle's house, Ion Creangă's house from Humulesti (currently under renovation until the end of summer 2023) and Ion Creangă Theme Park, Ancuței Inn , monasteries from the national heritage (Neamț, Agapia, Sihla, Secu, Sihăstria, Tazlău, Văratec) and many others.

You can find all the attractions and locations in Piatra and in Neamț in the Piatra Neamț City App. You can discover the city on your own (in the application you will also find walking routes through the city), you can call one of the local guides in Piatra or you can visit us at the information center in Piața Petrodava to personalize your experience even more.

Have a pleasant vacation!

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The mountain trails of the Ceahlău Massif
About Piatra-Neamț
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