Mystique of the Black Church Romania


The Mystique of the Black Church of Braşov has enchanted traveler for centuries.

Braşov is one of the charming cities in Romania and averages over 900,000 visitors a year. It is a mountain resort city within Transylvania, Romania. With its tangle of narrow streets, the Baroque squares, and its fairytale castles the town sits at the base of the Tampa mountain, a mountain mostly made up of limestone formations and declared a natural reserve.

The Biserica Neagra,̆ or Black Church, of Braşov is one of the most beautiful Gothic monuments in Romania.  It is the largest holy place in Gothic style in southeastern Europe and has a capacity of 5,000 people. It also has the largest mechanical organ in the country as well has the largest collection of Oriental carpets outside of Turkey.   This church took almost 100 years to build, between 1383 and 1480, and was a Roman Catholic Church, known as St. Mary’s Church. The Catholic services were replaced with Lutheran ones during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500’s.

After the 1689 fire that almost destroyed St. Mary’s Church, the building has been called the Black Church due to the black walls left behind during the great fire. In 1689 a great fire erupted damaging the interior to the church as well as damaging the exterior walls and the roof.   Much of the damage has been repaired thus the church is now more of a gray color. Renovation of the church was done in Baroque style, due to workers coming in from Danzig, while the exterior remained Gothic.

Inside the Church one will find a sculpture in the choir section of John the Baptist. This is the oldest sculpture in the building. One will also find a partially destroyed mural, believed to be complete in 1944, featuring the crests of Matthias Corvinus and his wife, Beatrice. The resting place of the first priest in the church, Thomas Sander, who died in 1410, is also found in the choir area. The largest bell in the country, 6.3 tons, can be found in its tower. Biserica Neagră also features a cast iron tabernacle, in Gothic style, a baptismal font, completed in 1472, two large chalices, dated around 1504 and several brocade chasubles, created between in the late 15th and mid-16th centuries).

Notice on one corner of the roof is a statue of a small boy squatting and leaning forward. Mysteries surround this statue and three legends try to tell the significance of the boy. Was he the son of the of the priest and was sent to the attic for punishment then stuck trying to escape the 1689 flames? Was he the son of a construction worker of the church and he fell, the statue erected as a memorial? Or maybe something more sinister. Was he so good at his job during construction that a fellow worker pushed him off the roof then later confessed, and the builders made the statue in his memory? We’ll never know.

Another point of interest is on the church wall. December 1989 the country was in a war against communism. The 23rd of that month chaos prevailed and shoots rang out within the city. This wall inside the church contains several bullet holes from that time; no one knows who pulled the trigger marking the building.

The Black Church is now a historical attraction as well as remaining an active location of religious devotion. A Lutheran service is held each Sunday for the small German community in the city. One can even experience summer concerts if you’re lucky to be around at the time.


Editor’s note: Join Original World for a sensational journey through medieval Transylvania, Romania with it’s magical palaces, bold fortifications, and mysterious churches.  Tours to this remarkable place occur between April and October.  Check the website for specific travel days.

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