The Black Church of Brasov, Transylvania, Romania
> The most important Gothic piece of architecture in Romania and the largest Lutheran church in Transylvania.
> It is more than 6 centuries old.
> The 4.000 pipes organ.
> It is 66m tall and 89m long.
> The 6 tons bell, largest in Romania.
Black Church is a cathedral in Brasov, built by the German community of the city; it stands as the main Gothic style monument of Romania, and the largest Lutheran church in Transylvania. The Black Church (Biserica Neagra) 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 tons bell, the biggest in Romania, an impressive 4,000 pipe organ built in 1839 which is played during weekly concerts, as well as a rich collection of old Anatolian carpets. 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.
The originally-Roman Catholic structure was known as the Church of Saint Mary, replacing an older building used for the same purpose. Work on the fortifications in the surrounding area probably began at the same time as work on the church. Completed soon after 1476, the church belongs to the final stages of Gothic architecture. The result was a three-nave basilica, a design preferred in Germany, where most of the architects were coming from. It resembles the Lutheran Church of Sebes and St. Michael Catholic Church of Cluj. A flamboyant Gothic style was used in the outside sculptures — those probably depicting Biserica Neagra's supposed founder, Thomas, and the Catholic patron saint of Transylvania, Nicholas.
Construction began during around 1383 employing Bulgarian workers and craftsmen who proceeded to establish the Brasov Bulgarian colony. According to popular legend, a German child told the Bulgarian builders that one of the walls was leaning. An annoyed worker pushed the child off the church tower and then immured his corpse in the church to conceal his crime.
The Catholic services were replaced with Lutheran ones during the Protestant Reformation, coinciding with the influence exercised by Johannes Honter, the most proeminent figure of Transylvanian Reform. A statue in memory of Honter was later erected on one side of the building.
The structure was partially destroyed during a great fire set by invading Habsburg in 1689. Afterwards, it was known as the Black Church. Following the fire, the Black Church was repaired with the help of masons coming from Danzig, as local craftsmen had not master the craft of completing the enormous vaults; these were completed in Baroque style.