Black Church in Brasov (Romania)

Over 500 years old, the Black Church is the most representative historic monument in Brasov, the greatest Gothic church in Transylvania and the greatest religious edifice from Vienna to Istanbul.

The construction began around 1380 (between 1383 and 1385) and initially it was named Saint Mary’s Church. In 1421 an important part of the construction was destroyed during the turkish invasion, and that is why the church was completely built only in 1477.

The dimension of the cathedral are: 90 meters in length, between 25 and 37 meters wide, 65 meters from the floor level to the highest point of its tower. Inside is the biggest bell in the country, weighting 6.3 tones, is to be found in its tower as well.

A fire destroyed a part of it in 21 april 1689, and the smoke blackened the walls (Die Schwarze Kirche in German and Fekete Templom in Hungarian). The Great Fier was set by Habsburg invaders, leveled most of the town (during the Great Turkish War). Following the fire of 1689, Black Church was repaired with the help of masons coming from Danzig. Local craftsmen did not master the craft of completing the enormous vaults; these were to be completed in Baroque style.

Much of the outside structure was built in friable grit, which caused outer sculptures and masonry elements to deteriorate with time.

The Black Church’s organ, with 4000 pipes is considered one of the biggest in Europe. The organ was built between 1836 and 1839 by the Berlin organ maker Buchholz. The collection of old carpets from Brussa, Usak and Ghiordes regions in Asia Minor, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries represent an invaluable thesaurus of the Black Church.

The cathedral is a major symbol of Brasov, and a museum open to visitors of the city center. A Lutheran service is held each Sunday for the small German community in the city.

Photo credits: Emicristea.

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June 12, 2008

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