A major symbol of Brasov and an open museum for visitors, the Black Church represents one of the biggest historic monuments of Transylvania. A grand religious edifice, this is the place for worship of the Lutheran (Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession) in Romania.
According to the Brasov‘s Black Church history, the monument was built during 14th to 15th century. The works begin in 1383 based on a project in Gothic style with impressive sizes: 89 m length, 38 m width and 42 m height. In 1421 when the work is almost completed the Turks invade and cause serious damage to the construction.
After the danger passes, the project is continued and the building is finished and consecrated in 1477. Over 500 years old, it can house 5000 people. And more than that it has the biggest bell in the country, weighing over 6.3 tones, in its tower.
The Black Church history facts confirm that the current name of the church comes after, in 1689, the fire that covered the whole city, turned it into a ruin. The smoke blackened the walls so the facade couldn’t be renovated for a long period. Because of its black walls the place of worship was called the Black Church and the restoration took 100 years.
Initially, the original structure was known as Saint Mary Church, and it was Roman Catholic. During the Protestantism Reformation the Catholic services were replaced with Lutheran ones. The Black Church’s organ, Buchholz, built in the early Romantic period, is considered one the biggest in Europe. With 4000 pipes, famous for its sonority, is played during weekly concerts.
Except Turkey, the Black Church possesses the biggest collection of oriental rugs in Europe, dating from the 15th and 17th centuries. They were donated by Transylvanian Saxon merchants, craftsmen and citizens of the city. With its imposing exterior, in the inside the tourists can discover countless art objects like the bronze font donated in 1472 by Vicar Johannes Reudel, made by the local craftsmen.
In the South part there is a mural painting of Virgin Mary with Child Jesus made after 1476. Filled with old furniture objects, worship items, the Black Church has remarkable values. Pews belonging to 18th and 19th centuries certify the intense activity of Brasov’s guilds. Also the neogothic altar (1866) alongside many other pieces made of gold and tombstones of personalities of the city.
In the back, two expositions are permanently open, they tell the history of the church and of reformer Johannes Honterus. On the frontal wall in the North naos, an oil painting on canvas called “The Wedding from Cana” is exposed. The interior suffered many restorations across the time, leaving a strong baroque influence. The sculptures from the exterior were replaced with copies and brought inside.
The originals found in the church are very impressive and some very old, like the bust of Saint John the Baptist. The others represent Virgin Mary, Saints Luke, Sebastian and Pavel, Saint Thomas and Saint Jacob the Pilgrim.
Enduring several renovation and maintenance work in the course of time, The Black Church never lost its sacral importance in Romania. The cathedral is a major symbol in Transylvanian history, and the greatest religious monument from Istanbul to Vienna, as some historians are saying.