The Cozla Hill

The Cozla Hill


Piatra Neamț, Romania


Located in the northern part of the city of Piatra-Neamț, Cozla Hill is an extension of the Stânișoara Mountains, part of the last step of the Carpathians. Cozla reaches a height of 657 meters at the point called "Three Hills" and 670 meters at "Three Buckets". The area at the base of Cozla Mountain is considered to be the hearth of the old "Târgu Pietrei", here being the highest population density for centuries, a fact that made Stephen the Great himself choose the place for the construction of the Royal Court at Piatra Neamț.

On Cozla was the Cucutenian settlement located at the highest altitude known for this type of dwelling in the entire area of Moldova. At the end of the 19th century, mineral waters were discovered on this mountain, which represented, for a short time, an important attraction. This is also where paleontological discoveries were made for the first time in Romania. Today the mountain is known mainly for its hiking trails and tourist infrastructure: cable car, chairlift, ski slope.

Cozla was reforested at the beginning of the 20th century, a few years after a natural disaster that marked the history of this mountain, but also of the city.

"On the night of May 30-31, 1897, following heavy rains that lasted all that month, the mountain began to slide right from the top, slowly sliding downhill, covering all the people's homes under it, who, frightened, fled escaping only with his life, covering at the same time the largest part of the vacant place of the town hall, up to the street. When we saw this disaster the next morning, a pitiful spectacle presented itself to our eyes: the broken mountain formed huge cracks, ravines and deep chasms and an enormous mass of ground, mixed with rocks and uprooted trees" says Dimitrie Hogea, former mayor of the city (1914-1918) in the paper "From the past of the city of Piatra-Neamţ”.

In 1901, when Nicu Albu became mayor, he decided to afforest the mountain and to build a park in order to stem the fury of the waters. For 3 years, hundreds of people worked to reforest the mountain, with firs and pines brought from Sinaia, from the Royal Greenhouses. The effort was considerable both for the actual plantings and for the care of the saplings, because during periods of drought the locals would carry buckets of water up the mountain to water them. The park with promenade areas, pavilion and buffet casino was then built, the official inauguration taking place with great pomp on August 15, 1904. Then Nicu Albu made the memorable statement "It was hard, but we defeated nature". The wooden buildings were located on the place where the "Colibele Haiducilor" restaurant is now, the first ones burning completely two decades after the inauguration.


In 1882, springs of chloride-sodium and sulphurous mineral waters were discovered on Cozla, studied at the time by Petru Poni and recommended for the treatment of digestive and circulatory ailments.
The initial discovery was made by chance. Visiting a patient in the Bordeie slum, Dr. Ștefan Predescu receives water for tasting from a natural pool formed near the host's house. The Doctor realizes that a saline mineral deposit had formed on the mountain and begins to survey the area to find a spring. 5 springs are thus discovered. A committee is set up to study the healing properties of the waters, after which the help of the scientist Petru Poni is requested. The results of the studies on the curative effectiveness of the waters being positive increases the interest in their exploitation.
Thanks to them, in 1889 the city was recognized as a spa resort. The mineral waters of Cozla were also appreciated on the occasion of the universal exhibition in Paris, from 1900, when a bronze medal was obtained. Although these waters attracted thousands of tourists to Piatra Neamţ, over time, irrational exploitation and landslides led to their clogging.

The first Oligocene fossil fishes in Romania were discovered on Cozla and Pietricica in 1883-1885. Thus, the study of fossil fish on Cozla begins almost simultaneously with similar research in Western Europe.
In Piatra-Neamt and its surroundings, 4 fossiliferous areas have been identified: Cernegura, Pietricica, Cozla and Agârcia, for this reason the area is called the "Piatra Aquarium". On Cozla, in the rock layers made up of marl and sandstone conglomerates, fossil deposits of fish, with various species, were discovered.

Their presence is due to the existence here 35 million years ago of the Paratethys sea, in which fish and shells characteristic of subtropical areas lived. The discovered fossils can be seen at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Piatra Neamț, which still holds the most valuable Oligocene fish collection in the country and one of the richest in Europe.
Due to the richness of the Oligocene deposits, the Cozla, Pietricica and Cernegura Mountains were declared paleontological reserves in 1971. The interest of researchers in the study of fossiliferous areas in Piatra-Neamț is still growing, including foreigners getting involved in research campaigns in the region.


Another element of uniqueness on Mount Cozla is the geological reserve located at the point with the maximum height (approximately 670 meters) called "Three Buckets", or "The Buckets of the Giants ". These are aeolian marmites, excavations with dimensions of several dozen centimeters (about 60 cm) created by the long action of the wind, in the conditions of a harsh and cold climate.


  • Parks and natural Areas

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