luni, 25 aprilie 2011


In the theart of our country, in an environment of a rare beauty Brasov - capital of the region with the same name - regards a history of nearly 800 years; nowadays it is trobbing of modern life. At the foot of the Carpathians on the old highways of migrations between the Lower Danube and the Carpathian basin her site decided her roll as a centre of industry, commerce and culture not only for Transylvania but also for Moldovia and Valahia. Amongst the cultural monuments of our country the "Black Church" - has a predominent position; it dominates the medieval building in the centre of Brasov - got this name ofter the great fire in 1689. It was then that the old walls got their tint by smoke and fire, which could not destroy the magnificence of the old building. The "Black Church" with a lenght of 89 m is the largest church between Viena and Constantinople.

The Gothic bulding began in 1383 under the vicar Thomas Sander on the place of an elder romanic church dating from the first half of the 13th century. In 1421 it was nearly finished but almost destroyed by the 1st Turkish invasion. The building was essentially completed in 1477. Out of 2 towers projected only one of the south was constructed.

The Black Church belongs to the so-called "Hallenkirchen" having naves of equal height thus differing from the "Basilicas" with naves of various heights. The choir also - a work of the mature phase of the Gothic style - has 3 naves as un uprising hall. The rich architectural forms and sculptural decorations on its outer buttresses remind of those of the choir of the lutheran church in Sebes. They show the influence of the famous architectural school of the Parler family - whose culmination were St. Sebald in Nurnberg and St. Vit in Prague. This influence is stronger in Brasov than in Sebes. The high and well shaped windows give way to the full day light which renders the choir large and bright. The 6 portals - beautyfully and originally shaped - are characteristic for the outer image of the Black Church.

Special attention should be given to the western and northern portals. The wooden oak door of the southern portal bears the date 1477. In 1542 under the reformer Jahannes Honterus the service in German was introduced in this church. A painting of Fritz Schullerus (1866-1898) on the towns councel the new constitution *(1543).

In 1689 the church was nearly destroyed by the great fire. The restoration took about 100 years. It was then that the Black Church received his appearance with his characteristic roof of 20 m height. The roof covers also the gallery of tracery that formerly went around the church at the height where the roof begins. By the restaration the interior lost a good deal of his Gothic character.

The original Gothic vault was replaced by a simple semi-cylindrical one. Baroque lofts were built (1710-1720) in the lateral naves to increase the capacity of the church. They are incorporated with great tact in the architectural structure. The actual equipment of the church shows some particular and cult-objects. The font of bronze - given by the town's vicar Johannes Reudel in 1472 - which overcame the great fire in 1689 - is one of the most precious works of the native medieval bronze foundings. The art-smith Mesen Hannes made in 1716 the wonderful lattice. The precious wall painting in the southern entrocehall - created in 1476 - represents the Holy Virgin between the Holy Katherine (with a wheel and a sword) and the Holy Barbara (with a tower).

This painting is still in Gothic style, but it shows already the influence of the italian renaissance. In 1970 the UNESCO effectuated a restoration by specialists form abroad 5 images on 3 panels came from one of the most precious altares of Transylvania the so-called "Marienburger Altar" end of the 15th century. The great altare new-gothic style dates from 1866. On the front of the northern sidenave is an image of the Brasovean painter Hans Eder representing the wedding in Kana (1932). The baroque pulpit goes well with the whole church nonwithstanding his provincial character. On the opposite side on a pillar of the middle-nave may be seen the arms of the town - a crown on a stamp - and those of the king Matei Corvin. The old pews in the side-naves dating from the 1st half of the 18th tentury are outstanding samples of baroque wood carving.

The painted guild-panels on the pews show folkloristic intersting motives. These pews date from the 2nd half of the 19th century; the oak-benches in the middle-nave date from 1937. The rooms on both sides of the entrance-hall have old sepulchral monuments of leading personalities of Brasov from the '6th to the 18th century. They were removed out of the choir during the restoration in 1866 and the installation of a heating plant in 1932.

The organ with about 4000 pipes bult in 1836-1839 by master Buchholz (Berlin) is among the greatest in south-eastern Europe and renown for its wonderful sound.
Nowadays it is played also for records. Concerts with great works of ecclesiastic music by the "Bach-Chor" imposed an enlargement of this organ in 1924. The most precious treasures of art in the Black Church are the anatolian carpets of the 17th and 18th century. They come from Brussa, Uschak and Ghiordes, Anatolia famous names for carpet weavers. They form the richest collection of this kind in all Europe. These carpets were given to the church from native gulds, merchants and citizens. The diversity of motives and the rich colours give a particular charm to the interior. Some earthquakes and the loose sandstone impose continually restorations on the church. Already in 1654-1656 the triumph-arch was supported by 2 enormous buttresses; other restorations were executed during the 19th and 20th century. The restoration on the Black Church from 1937-1944 gave safety to the choir. On the outside the decaying sculptures of the buttresses - dating from the 15th century - were replaced by imitations (the originals are in the interior) and the fiales with their finials were restored. From 1969 to 1977 with state-fund were executed large and expensive restorations on the roof, the southern facade and the interior of the church. After the earthquake in 1977 the restoration was continued with donations and ecclesiastical means: e.g. the stabilisation of the vaults. The church was painted; all windows got a glass that filters ultraviolet rays thus protecting the carpts and paraments.
Inside being completely restored, on may 27th 1984 took place the reinauguration of the church with great assistence of representants form our country and from abroad. Outside the restoration still continues.
The monument of the reformer and humanist Johannes Honterus (1498-1549) was erected in 1898 out of the church on the southern side by voluntary contributions.

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