Churches

The big fire in the end of the 17th century caused much damage to the cathedral in the centre of the town. Blackened with smoke, it was thenceforth called "The Black Church". This name would be for it even if it had not fallen prey to the flames, for the stone of which it is built, sandy and easy to carve, is of a rather dark colour. It is different from the white marble of the Milan Dome or the rosy stone of the fair cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau. One year after the printing of Serban Voda's Bible, the fire consumed most of Brasov in four hours and forever destroyed the initial vision of the architect of this Gothic monument. For almost one century Saint Mary's church remained in ruins, with its roof crumbled, mended only with planks to stop rain getting into our Lord's house. The new tiled roof was built in the late 18th century, but it did not equal the old one, which left the later galleries open, showing the latticework of the carved stone. This new one covered the whole church with huge rafters. With a length of 89 meters and a width of 38 meters, the roof is 42 meters high on top of 21 meters of wall; the tower, at 65 meters is scarcely higher than the wall and the roof. These figures show us clearly that the proportions of this building are far from being perfect.
Sextil Puscariu ,"Brasov of Long Ago",1977


The Black Church in 1891

This church houses a big organ, the second biggest in the whole Austro-Hungarian empire. It has four keyboards with 56 keys each, 76 stops and 4000 pipes. The church also has a very beautiful altar in Gothic style (carved wood, made by Prof. Fr. Schonthaler of Vienna in 1866), as well as priestly attire and chalices, which are both worth seeing. Inside the church there are also very interesting ancient tombstones of the famous judges, vicars and patricians of yore. In the bulky but simple tower, 44 metres high, there is one of the heaviest bells in the whole country. It bells in the whole country. It weighs about 7 tons.
The official committee for foreigner's information, "Traveller's Guide", 1891.

The church can be visited every day from noon until one o'clock in the afternoon; the only thing that the foreigners have to do is ask the sexton to show them the way; the sexton can be found at no.8 Honterus Square, and his services will be rewarded with 40 kreuzers for 1 and 2 persons and with 1 florin for 3 or more persons. It is always through the agency of the sexton that organ concerts can be organized; these are performed in July and August only on Saturdays and Sundays at noon; in as far the other months are concerned, concerts can be organized on any day at any hour (although noon and 6 o'clock in the afternoon are preferable (- with the permission of the parish priest.
The official committee for foreigner's information, "Traveller's Guide", 1891


The Romanians' Churches

The Romanians of Schei have two churches: one in Tocile Street, built in 1813 out of wood and later, in 1825 of stone, and the second, older, is the well-known church which has St. Nicholas as its patron saint. The latter is one of the most prominent Romanian churches of Transylvania, both in its age and for other reasons. It lies in the middle of yard, planted with trees like a park. On its both walls there are many painted icons of the saints and local worthies, among which there is also Saint Nicholas. Inside, the building is beautifully adorned with gilded decorative patterns. This church was built in 1392 of wood, and one century later, in 1495 rebuilt using stone, with the support of Wallachia's voivode, Negoe Basarab, who along with other Wallachian princes always supported the cultural endeavours of Brasov's Romanians, who had direct commercial and cultural relations with the Romanian Principalities. As time went by, the church was several times renewed and embellished. The most important change happened last century, in 1730 and in 1739, when it was enlarged, repainted and decked inside with gilded ornaments.
Silvestru Moldovan, "Our Country", 1894.

Saint Nicholas' church is one of the oldest churches in Transylvania and even in the country, and it stands for the history of this region as the triumph of the opposition against Catholicism.
This church is also from an architecture point of view a masterpiece of hybridisation. However, these mixed styles produced a particular style of their own. It is not advisable to copy this style because it could not be formuled nor could it resist any repeating. Nevertheless, in the special case of this one church, the queer alliance epochs proves to be quite charming; for it did not remain as it had been built in the beginning on the contrary, it has been over and over rebuilt throughout the centuries.
Today, looked at from the front, it presents a gently tapering pyramid. The marginal walls, parapets, chapels, all these are added as if aiming only at supporting the towers, the bigger in the front rank, both of them rounded with four other toy-like turrets. This profusion of steeples gives it an unrestrained flight, raising it towards the canopy of heaven.
Octav Sulutiu, "Brasov", 1937.


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