The Black Church is one of the most impressive religious edifices in Romania. It is located in the center of Brasov City, Romania. Its construction began in the 14th century as a Roman Catholic structure and it was known as the Church of Saint Mary. It was built on the place of another older church. The first priest of this new church was a man named Thomas Sander. He died in 1410 and his grave can be found inside the church, in the choir area.
Completed by the end of the 15th century, the church belongs to the last stages of Gothic architecture. The result was a three-nave basilica, all the same height, as was preferred during the 15th and 16th centuries in the German lands, where most of the architects and masons originated. The Catholic services were replaced with Lutheran ones during the Protestant Reformation. You can read here some more historical facts about the Black Church.
The origins of the name of the Black Church
The church was originally named Saint Mary’s Church. But in 1689 a great fire destroyed the interior and damaged the walls and the roof. After the renovation, the edifice was named the Black Church, mostly because of the exterior walls and roof were blackened from the fire. Even today you can see the devastating consequences of the flames. The same tragedy can also explain why the interior is built in a Baroque style and the exterior in Gothic. The interior had to be renovated from scrap after the great fire.
The legend of the mysterious statue of a boy on the roof of The Black Church
The Black Church is not only an interesting religious and historical edifice but also a great place to visit for the legend of a boy who died tragically or for the bullets that can be seen in the walls of the church.
On one of the church’s exterior pillars, on the edge of the roof, there is an odd statue of a boy leaning forward as if he would have dropped something on the ground. No one knows for sure why that statue was there but there are three legends that try to explain its existence.
Some say that he was the son of a priest and that he was naughty. As a punishment, his father sent him in the church’s attic. But then the great fire started and so the boy got trapped in there. The statue was built depicting him trying to escape the flames.
Another legend, and a more popular one, is that the boy was helping with the construction of the church. At one moment, his boss told him to check if the wall is straight. He leaned over the walls and he fell. His boss felt guilty and ordered a statue.
Others say that it was murder. They say that this boy was so good working at the construction of the church that a fellow worker got envious. He sent the boy to check the walls and he pushed him. The boy died but the man couldn’t live with the guilt so he confessed shortly after. The other builders decided to make the statue in the boy’s memory.
The bullets in the walls of the Black Church
Walking inside of the church, along the walls, you can see bullet holes and even the bullets in the walls. The imprints are not old as you may tend to think. They are from the day of 23rd of December 1989 when the Revolution against communist age began in Romania. You can also see bullet holes on the buildings from the street that leads to the church. It is not known who pulled the trigger in the church but those days of fighting and shooting were chaotic.
When, where, how much?
The Black Church is in the center of Brasov City, at about 186 kilometers (2 hours, 34 min) from Bucharest, the Capital of Romania. Brasov is a beautiful touristic city surrounded by incredible mountains. Here you can find good accommodation in the area.
The Black Church can be visited in the summer, every day from Tuesday to Saturday, between 10 AM and 7 PM, and on Sundays, from 12 AM to 19 PM. Monday it is closed.
In the winter, the church does not close at 19 PM but at 15 PM, every day.
The fee for visiting is rather small: one and a half euro for adults, 0,75 euro for students, 0,40 euros for children and it is free for handicapped persons.
Those who want to have a truly religious experience, some days there are organ concerts (PHOTO ABOVE) in the church: Tuesdays, from 6 PM to 6.30 PM (June and September) and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 6 PM to 6.30 PM (July and August). The ticket for a concert is almost 2 euros.
This mechanical organ is the biggest, unique and still functioning organ in the south-eastern Europe.
There are not many parking places in the Church’s area so it would be better if you park on Iuliu Maniu boulevard (paid parking) and then walk to the church (10 minutes).