Neamt Monastery is located only 15 km from the Neamt Citadel, in the village of Vanatori-Neamt, Neamt County.
According to documents Neamt Monastery was founded by the the ruler of Moldavia, Petru Musat (1375-1391). He built the first church, around which the Moldovian monks lived guided by traditional Orthodox monastic rules.
Alexandru cel Bun – or Alexandru I Mușat – (1400 – 1432) built the bell tower at the entrance and part of the monastic cells.
Stephen III of Moldavia (Stephen the Great), in 1497, built the present church “Ascension of the Lord” which by plan, size and decoration of facades is one of the most precious monuments of the art of Romanian people.
Exterior decoration of the church consecrate Moldavian style, resulted by combining Byzantine elements (glazed ceramics) and Gothic (frames of doors and windows and buttresses) adapted to autochthonous. The facades are richly decorated with two rows of niches under droop, pigeonholes on apses side, rows of glazed brick and differently colored triangles.
Unfortunately, time, fires and the hard times that Neamt Monastery had to pass through, have caused damage to both interior and exterior paintings, requiring further intervention to restore forms and freshening colors. Such an action took place around 1830, when two painters from Suceava, renovated the altar, the porch of the church and the narthex, restoring some old paintings, enhancing and remaking others by adding a new layer of color over the first one. A new intervention took place after the fire in 1862, when it was tried the cleaning and restoring of the paintings from the altar and nave, heavily blackened by smoke.
However, there are still some compositions and portraits in their original form, which have not been affected by restorations. These are works of great historical and artistic value, fully representative of the era to which they belong. Though the colors do not have the same brightness and freshness from the beginnings and forms fade in time, these paintings manage to highlight the synthesis between Byzantine painting canons and imaginative freedom of popular spirit, which gives originality to all creations of this period.
Like all ancient and important monasteries in Romania, this one also retains a rich treasure of religious art objects crafted by monks as: icons, gospels, crosses, candlesticks, bowls, candles, shrines, embroidery, weaving and sculpture in wood or stone. The monastery houses a museum, founded in 1916, in which some of these objects are displayed and can be seen by the general public. A valuable piece exhibited here is the iconostasis from the chapel of Neamt Fortress (sculpture and painting from 1643), transferred here in 1962 from the parish church of Vanatori commune.
- AddressDJ155C, Parcul Natural Vânători Neamț, Neamț Monastery, Romania