The Black Church from Brasov: Over 600 Years of History

Andra Tudor
Andra Tudor
Andra is passionate about art, filmmaking, photography, nature, hiking and, of course, traveling. You can find Andra Tudor on Twitter and Instagram

The Black Church from Brasov is included in our one day tours, our tours in Transylvania, and Brasov Walking Tour. 

Over 600 years old, the Black Church from Brasov is the most famous monument from this old Transylvanian town. This is the largest hall church east of Vienna and one of the biggest medieval churches from this part of Europe. Don’t miss a visit. It’s one of the best things to do in Brasov.

Black Church from Brasov

The Black Church

Attacks, fires, and religious change

The construction of the church started in the 14th century, in the place of an even older religious edifice. It received the name Saint Mary after the patron saint of Brasov, a usual practice of the time. Its monumental dimensions had to impress locals enough to gain new adepts for the Catholic Church. Its size is impressive even today. TheBlack Church from Brasov is 90 meters long, 25 to 37 meters wide, 65 meters tall, with a capacity of receiving up to 5,000 people.

However, the plans of the Catholic Church didn’t prove successful. The local Saxons of Transylvania chose the Reformation values and transformed the church into an Evangelical parish in 1542. Two years later, Johannes Honterus, the local promoter of the Reformation became the first Evangelical priest.

Black Church from Brasov

The Black Church

It took centuries for the construction that started in 1383 to be finally completed. The violent attacks of the Ottoman and Tatar armies delayed considerably the process. In the end, the final version from 1477 was on a smaller scale than the original plans because of the scarce resources and the constant threat of a new attack.

Still, the worst came in 1689 when a devastating fire destroyed the town. Only the walls, the font, and the treasury from the vestry survived from the building, known as the Black Church ever since. The monument was rebuilt in the 18th century, but its restoration continues until today.

Black Church Brasov

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.

One of its oldest pieces, the pulpit, dates from 1696. It’s decorated with the sculptures of Moses, the four Evangelists, and the representation of Agnus Dei. On the opposing wall, you will see the coat of arms of medieval Brasov.

In the northern choir side, you can admire one of the oldest altars in Transylvania. The valuable 15th-century piece was brought here from the church in Feldioara. From the same period dates the mural painting of the Virgin Mary with Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara from the southern hall.

Black Church from Brasov

The Black Church

The small exhibitions from the 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 who were once buried inside the church.

Visiting the Black Church is one of the best things to do in Brasov. Its history 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 German colonists and the impact of the Reformation on their society.

Where to stay

We do recommend you book in advance your stay in Brasov. If you’re looking for a lovely guest house located in the Old Town, we recommend Villa Katharina, Casa 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 you can also attend organ concerts.

For the visiting schedule, check www.honterusgemeinde.ro

The Black Church from Brasov is included in our one day tours, our tours in Transylvania, and Brasov Walking Tour

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