The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary, typically known as the Evangelical Cathedral, is the most famous church built in a gothic style. It is located in the Huet Square, the center of Sibiu, Transylvania.
Around the 13th century, there used to be a Romanesque basilica on the same spot. The community of Sibiu went into a significant expansion, from a small village to an important borough. Therefore, they felt the need for a bigger place of worship, under the promise of a sky-reaching tower.
The works for the much wanted cathedral started in 1380, but the people abandoned the construction for a while, fortifying it instead, due to frequent threats of attacks. With the erection of the steeple in 1520, the church was considered finished.
The immensity of the Evangelical Cathedral is the main charm of this gothic shrine, its tower measuring 74 meters. The seven level tower, considered the tallest in Transylvania, is surrounded by 4 other medium sized towers. There are two altars, one of which is probably from the old church. The church also used to have a cemetery, which lasted for three centuries. Here laid at rest important figures of Sibiu and not only, such as mayors and earls. This practice was forbidden in 1796, although a single time exception was made in 1803 with the passing of the renowned Samuel von Brukenthal. After fifty years, the gravestones, 67 in number, were moved from their place and were incorporated in the church’s walls, in a room called ferula. These same walls are ornamented with paintings of Johannes de Rosenow Georgamvon, which date from the middle 1600s.
The old organ of the Lutheran Cathedral, built in 1585, was substituted with a newer one, a Baroque style organ built by a Slovakian craftsman in 1671. It is now considered the largest organ from southeastern Europe. Two sculptors, namely Elias Nicolai and Sigismund Moss, contributed in the 16th century with carving marble stones of blood-red and grey color.
Although a series of artifacts are not shown to the public, such as a gilded silver cult pot made by Sebastian Hann, there are other treasured pieces left for the admiration of the public eye. Perhaps the most precious item in the Evangelical Cathedral is a calyx decorated with the most beautiful existent bronze gothic fonts in Romania. The font is a work of master Leonhardus and dates back from the 1400s.
The courtyard in front of the church is a bronze statue of the famous historian and bishop of Transylvania, George Daniel Teutsch. Besides its massive tower, probably the most striking exterior aspect is the colorful roof, which reminds of Vienna’s Stephansdom.
The main altar, the secondary altars, the paintings, the emblems, the bronze font, the organ and the architectural details fairly make the Evangelical Church of Sibiu it one of the most striking churches in Transylvania.
Besides these, during the summer, there are concerts every night. It also facilitates access for disabled persons, tourist information and it has its personal souvenir shop.