Full of history and spirituality due to the presence of the well-known monastic complexes Secu, Agapia, Văratec or Neamţ and, at the same time, of the legendary bison and the secular forests of the Vânători-Neamţ Nature Park, the ecotourism destination of Bison Land will irreplaceably fascinate the traveler in this fairytale land.
Bison Land, which overlaps with the Vânători-Neamţ Natural Park and surrounding communities, is one of the few certified ecotourism destinations in Romania. Vânători-Neamţ Nature Park is the natural component of the destination and is located in the Subcarpathian area of Moldova. Within its territory you can discover the Nature Reserve Codrii de Aramă, the Silver Forest Reserve, but also the emblem of the Bison and Carpathian Fauna Reserve "Dragoş Voda". The latter hosts a few dozen specimens of bison that live either in an acclimatization area of the park or directly in the wild.
Nine low and medium difficulty trails can be accessed in the nature park. Apart from these, the park administration offers three themed tourist programs such as "On the Bison Road", "Nature and Sacrament" or "Tour of the Monasteries".
Bison Land is full of history and culture, so you can easily combine a visit to the Bison Reserve with visits to the many monasteries in the area. The monasteries of Neamţ, Agapia, Văratec, Secu or Sihăstria are true islands of Christianity in Moldova, to which many pilgrims are heading, as well as many tourists who are looking for something outstanding. Besides the oasis of tranquility hidden in the Subcarpathian hills, these places of worship, of exceptional beauty and architectural value, embody true museums of history and art of great value for the Moldavian culture. A deep experience can be an overnight stay at these monasteries, giving you the opportunity to be a discreet witness to the monastic life.
Another emblematic monument of the Bison Land destination, near the town of Târgu Neamţ, is, undoubtedly, the Neamţ Fortress, which guarded its surroundings for more than six centuries. The old and eroded walls of the fortress tell about its great past and are a symbol of fighting and resistance against invaders.
Your cultural tour can then continue with a visit to Humuleşti, the memorial house of Ion Creangă, the storyteller so dear to all Romanians. You will find here the home, now a museum, with traditional wooden beams and a shingle roof. You can visit the permanent exhibition that documents the writer's life, and then take a stroll through the theme park next to the house, where you’ll find reproductions of scenes and characters from his famous stories.
Bison Land is a land full of legends and ancient traditions that can be admired at different times of the year. The parade of New Year's customs and traditions, a centuries-old tradition, which takes place on January 2 in Târgu Neamţ, is truly impressive. This traditional folk carnival includes a parade of masks, goats, bears, balls, and popular theater performances.
Another important event of this destination is the medieval festival "Days of the Neamţ Fortress" that annually takes place at the base of the Neamţ Fortress. Also what might arouse your interest are the numerous cultural events such as medieval concerts and dances, along with authentic pottery and weaving workshops, as well as the long-awaited tasting of traditional cuisine.
And what would Bison's Land be without the "Bison Day" feast? The Administration of Vânători Neamţ Nature Park organizes this long-awaited event every year.
Visit the Agapia Monastery's Vivant Museum, a unique museum where you can admire old exhibits (fabrics, pottery workshop or bakery) and have the nuns as a guide in the monastery. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday between 8:00 and 19:00 and Sunday between 11:00 and 19:00.
Good to know
- The Bison Land was certified as an ecotourism destination by the competent authorities in the autumn of 2016.
- Site: www.tinutulzimbrului.ro
- The Visitor Center of Vânători Neamţ Nature Park is located 14 kilometers from Târgu Neamţ, near Neamţ Monastery, on Str. Zimbru nr. 2, Vânători-Neamţ, Romania.
- If you want to buy authentic souvenirs, then you may want to pay a visit to Ionela Lungu's shop and workshop at the base of Neamţ Fortress. You will find Creangă's characters in clay, traditional masks and costumes and many other traditional items.