The Gothic in Romania - The Black Church in Brașov

Eva Poteaca | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you love old buildings like me, or just want to see the medieval architecture at its finest, then this is an article for you. In Brașov, one can find a gem of architecture, the main Gothic style monument in Romania, the Black Church.


The Black Church,* **that one can visit today, was built on the site of an older Romanesque church from the 13th century. The construction began around the year 1383 but was interrupted in 1421 because of the Turkish invasion*, when the town concentrated its efforts on finishing its fortifications. After this, the construction resumed, but the plans were simplified because of the lack of funds. The earthquake in 1471 caused the southern tower to be finished earlier without reaching its destined height, and the church was completed in 1477. The organ of the church was added in 1499, and there were some modifications to the tower done in 1514, when a clock and bells were added. At this time the church was known as the Church of Saint Mary and its confession was Roman Catholic.

In the mid-16th century, the religious reform made it to Transylvania and was mainly spread due to the humanist and teacher Johannes Honterus. The first evangelical ministry was in 1542, when the secondary altars were removed.

The name

The name of the church came from the fire from 1689,** when the roof and the interior furniture were completely destroyed. The walls were darkened by the smoke of the fire, and people started calling it the Black Church**. The renovations started, and the interior was completely redone in the Baroque fashion. The galleries were also added to accommodate the large number of worshipers.

Church’s organ

The new organ made by the company Buchholz from Berlin was installed in 1839 and comprises almost 4000 tubes. The Neo-gothic altar was built in 1866 by the Viennese company Schönthaler using plans from the local engineer Peter Bartsch.

Legend of the statue

There is a unique sculpture on the north buttress of the Black Church. It’s a representation of a child, who seems about to fall. The legend state that during the construction of the church a worker became jealous of a very talented apprentice, so he asked him to lift something from the cornice and pushed him over the edge. The other workers made the sculpture to remind people of this incident.

During the restorations between 1937 and 1944, all the statues on top of the buttresses of the Black Church (including the falling child) were replacedby the replicas, while the originals were moved inside the church.

I definitely recommend one to take the time to visit the beautiful Black Church in Brașov, a place full of history and the main Gothic style monument in Romania.

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