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Attacks, fires and religious change

The dimensions of the Black Church from Brasov are monumental, it’s 90 meters long, 25 to 37 meters wide, 65 meters tall, with a capacity of receiving up to 5,000 people and walls 21 meters high. Initially named Saint Mary’s Church after the patron saint of Brasov, the church was built starting with the 14th century on the location of an older and smaller religious edifice.

The magnitude of the church’s dimension was meant to impress worshipers and gain new adepts for the Catholic Church that reached in Transylvania its Eastern border.

It took centuries for the construction that started in 1383 to be finally completed, the violent attacks of the Ottoman and Tatar armies destroying or at least delaying substantially the process. In the end, the church was finalized in 1477, but at a smaller scale given the scarce resources and the constant threat of a new attack against Brasov.

Still, the worst came in 1689 when historical Brasov was destroyed by a devastating fire. Only the walls, the font and the treasury from the vestry survived from the edifice that is known as the Black Church ever since. The monument was rebuilt in the 18th century, but its restoration continued up to recent years.

The Black Church

The treasures of the Black Church from Brasov

The Black Church from Brasov is one of the most beautiful Gothic monuments in Romania. It also has the biggest mechanical organ in the country and the largest collection of Oriental carpets outside Turkey. Below the carpets, you’ll surely notice the gallery panels painted with the coats of arms of merchants, but also those with the symbols of the ten virtues.

The pulpit that dates from 1696 is decorated with the sculptures of Moses, the four Evangelists and the representation of Agnus Dei, plus two references to moralizing Bible passages. On the opposing wall, you will see the coat of arms of medieval Brasov.

The thematic exhibitions from the southern and northern towers will guide through the history of the church and the life of Johannes Honterus. Here, you will also find the beautiful old funeral stones of senators and judges that were once buried inside the church.

Visiting the Black Church is a must and a top thing to do in Brasov, one of the most beautiful cities in Romania. The history of the monument is a faithful image of the main events that shaped the past of Transylvania in times of peace and war, from enemy invasions to the fundamental role of Saxon colonists and the impact of the Reformation on their society.

Where to stay

We do recommend you book in time your stay in Brasov. If you’re looking for a lovely guest house located in the Old Town, we recommend Villa KatharinaCasa Rozelor and The Pines Boutique Villa, but also the boutique hotels Bella Muzica and Antler.

Travel tips

Visit the Black Church from Brasov during the summer when once or twice a week the church organizes organ concerts.

The church is closed for visitors on Monday.

Read an article about Biertan Fortified Church, other beautiful medieval church in Transylvania, Romania.

The organ
Inside Black Church
The Black Church in the winter
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