Vanatori Neamt Nature Park - Romania
Situated in the North-Eastern side of Romania, in a mountain and hilly region, Vanatori Neamt Nature Park covers 30,818 ha, from which over 26,000 ha are forests of coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests. Since 1475, the area was well known as a hunting reserve (vanatori means hunters). The Nature Park was establish in 1999 and since then it is managed by the National Forest Administration. The Park was designated as a Nature Park due to the sustainable management of its forests, the conservation of the landscape and local traditions, the reintroduction of European Bison in its natural habitat and the encouragement of tourism activities based on these values ( IUCN Vth category). Flora and fauna (including bear, wolf, lynx etc and of course, European Bison) are well represented, so all the Park area has been proposed as Natura 2000 site (SCI and SPA).
In the XIIIth century the Neamt fortress was built and since then many monasteries and churches were constructed in the area. Because invasions (Turks, Tartars) and riots were frequent, some of the monasteries were strongly fortified. Nowadays, 16 monasteries and many small hermitages are scattered in an area that represents less than half of the Park area. The famous Neamt Monastery, which holds more than 10,000 old medieval books, is not only an important religious centre, but a cultural one, as well. Varatec and Agapia are the two biggest nunneries in the Orthodox world (300-400 nuns each). Sihla Monastery and Saint Teodora’s Cave are also very well known. The entire area is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists, especially during Orthodox feasts and summer holidays.
There are only two small villages inside the Park area, but at its border there are four communes and one town, which is known as the town with the largest number of Orthodox churches in Romania. Children learn at school about the Vanatori Neamt area, because a lot of important artists (including the most famous Romanian poet, the most famous novelist and the most famous painter) lived and thrived in this splendid region. Nature, religious faith, culture, history, traditions and handicrafts intermingle in an unique way in Vanatori Neamt Nature Park. Vanatori Neamt was one of the case studies presented in the workshop of Montserrat.
Responsible: Sebastian Catanoiu