Biserica Neagră or Black Church (German: Schwarze Kirche; Romanian: Biserica Neagră; is a church in Brașov, a city in south-eastern Transylvania, Romania. It was built by the German community of the city and stands as the main Gothic style monument in the country, as well as being the largest and one of the most important Lutheran (Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession in Romania) places of worship in the region.
Biserica Neagră 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-ton bell, the biggest in Romania, an impressive 4,000 pipe organ built in 1839 by Carl August Buchholz (1796–1884) which is played during weekly concerts, as well as a rich collection of “Transylvanian” rugs donated from the 15th to 17th centuries by Transylvanian Saxon merchants, some of which have been used to decorate walls as well as floors after the Reformation.
Much of the outside structure was built in friable grit, which caused outer sculptures and masonry elements to deteriorate with time. The oldest features surviving include several sculptures, arches, simpler masonry patterns such as trilobes, as well as numerous portals, while the crowning is imitation Gothic dating from the 18th century.
The oldest sculpture appears to be the almost completely deteriorated bust of John the Baptist, located in the choir section, reflects the Bohemian Gothic art as seen in the works of Johann and Peter Parler. A more flamboyant Gothic style was used in the outside sculptures — those probably depicting Biserica Neagră’s supposed founder, Thomas, and the Catholic patron saint of Transylvania, Nicholas. Other pieces in that style include the Nativity, Salvator Mundi, an archangel, as well as depictions of saints believed to be the Four Evangelists (probably completed in various stages between 1430 and 1450). Newer medieval sculptures, created after 1450 and showing some Renaissance influences, feature the northward bas-relief depicting Jesus Christ in the Second Temple of Jerusalem, as well as various figures on the same facade. The statue of Mary and Jesus features the coat of arms of Brașov beneath and stands towards the old mayory building, as she is the patron of the city.
A partly destroyed mural, which appears to have been completed around 1477, is situated near the southeastern portal, and features the crests of Matthias Corvinus and his wife Beatrice. It shows the Nativity, together with depictions of Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara. Unlike the inner Annunciation mural, which is late Gothic, the outside painting is heavily influenced by the Renaissance. Biserica Neagră also features a cast iron tabernacle in Gothic style, a baptismal font (completed in 1472 and donated by a merchant named Johannes Rewdel), two large chalices (both dated around 1504) and several brocade chasubles (created between in the late 15th and mid-16th centuries).
The cathedral is a major symbol of Brașov, and a museum is open to visitors. A Lutheran service is held each Sunday for the small German community in the city.