Black Church Brasov
Biserica Neagră or Black Church (German: Schwarze Kirche; Romanian: Biserica Neagră; Hungarian: Fekete templom) is a church in Brașov, a city in south-eastern Transylvania, Romania.
Biserica Neagră or Black Church (German: Schwarze Kirche; Romanian: Biserica Neagră; Hungarian: Fekete templom) is a church in Brașov, a city in south-eastern Transylvania, Romania. It was built by the German community of the city and stands as the main Gothic style monument in the country, as well as being the largest and one of the most important Lutheran (Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession in Romania) places of worship in the region.
Biserica Neagră is 89 meters in length and 38 meters wide. It measures 65 meters from the floor level to the highest point of its only bell tower. The Black Church has a six-ton bell, the biggest in Romania, an impressive 4,000 pipe organ built in 1839 by Carl August Buchholz (1796–1884) which is played during weekly concerts, as well as a rich collection of “Transylvanian” rugs donated from the 15th to 17th centuries by Transylvanian Saxon merchants, some of which are said to have been used to decorate walls as well as floors after the Reformation.
Much of the outside structure was built in friable grit, which caused outer sculptures and masonry elements to deteriorate with time. The oldest features surviving include several sculptures, arches, simpler masonry patterns such as trilobes, as well as numerous portals, while the crowning is imitation Gothic dating from the 18th century.
The originally-Roman Catholic structure was known as the Church of Saint Mary, replacing an older building used for the same purpose. Construction on it began during the late 14th century, at an unknown date — analysis of related evidence has led several researchers to conclude that work began between 1383 and 1385, employing Bulgarian workers and craftsmen who proceeded to establish the Brașov Bulgarian colony in Șcheii Brașovului. According to popular legend, a German child was disturbing the Bulgarian builders or told them that one of the walls was leaning. An annoyed Bulgarian pushed the child off the church tower and then immured his corpse in the church to conceal his crime.
It is known that, in its first stages, the building was serviced by a priest named Thomas (died 1410), whose grave is located in the choir area. Work on the fortifications in the surrounding area probably began at the same time as work on the church, leading in time to the completion of Brașov’s third citadel.
Its altar originally featured a single column, but its role in supporting the entire central structure — on the model of German cathedrals built by Hans Stettheimer (a view expressed by researchers such as Ernst Kühlbrandt and Antal Hekler) is under dispute. The naves took longer to complete, and construction was interrupted for various intervals: in 1423, Pope Martin V issued an indulgence for people involved in construction, as a means to reactivate the site; in 1474, a document issued by Sixtus IV acknowledged that work was still lagging.