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The 14th century Evangelical Church or Lutheran cathedral, formerly a Roman Catholic one dedicated to St. Mary, is most striking from the exterior for its colourful roof, which reminded me of Stephansdom in Vienna. Unfortunately the exterior is all I saw of it, as the church was undergoing restoration at the time (June 2013) and was consequently closed. Nevertheless it made quite an impression on me – unsurprisingly perhaps, as its 73.34 metre tower is said to be the tallest in Transylvania.
The church was built in the 14th century on the location of another 12th century church. For three hundred years, from 1496 to 1796, it was the burial place of Sibiu’s great and good. Then burials here were prohibited, although an exception was made in 1803, when the body of Baron Samuel von Brukenthal was interred in a vault near the pulpit. The tombstones that covered the graves were removed from the church nave in 1853 and incorporated in the walls of the church, creating a gallery of 67 tombstones unique in Romania. These include one belonging to the son of Vlad the Impaler (the infamous Dracula), Mihnea the Bad, who was killed on the steps of the church.
Had we been able to go inside we would have seen not only these but the apparently exquisite fresco of the Crucifixion on the north wall of the choir dating from 1445 (attributed to an Austrian painter, Johannes de Rozenaw), the notable bronze font from 1438 (supposed to have been made out of canons that were captured from the Turks by the inhabitants of Sibiu in 1437) and the largest organ in south east Europe, dating from 1672, which is used for regular recitals.
In the churchyard in front of the church is a statue of Bishop Georg Daniel Teutsch in bronze (1899, in my third photo). Teutsch (1817-1893) was a famous historian and bishop of Transylvania.
Next tip: the Orthodox Cathedral
- Religious Travel
AN IMPRESSIVE CHURCH
The Lutheran church in Sibiu is dedicated to Saint Mary.
This beautiful church is situated in Huet Square. It was built in 1371 on the site of an earlier Romanic Basilica that was built in the 12th century.
The church has 3 naves (the main body of the church), a chapel and a transept (the part that crosses the nave ). There is also a 73.34 metres high bell tower. The four turrets at the top of the bell tower were indications that the town was allowed to sentence wrong doers to death. It was used as a burial place for the mayors and earls of Sibiu. Burials were banned in 1796 but an exception was made for Baron Samuel von Brukenthal in 1803. Samuel lived in the Brukenthal palace (now a museum) and he was personal advisor to Empress Maria Theresa, who was one of the Hapsburg rulers and mother of Marie Antoinette. Brukenthal’s body was laid to rest in the crypt.
The original organ (1585) was replaced in 1671.
Sibiu's Evangelical Cathedral (Biserica Evangelica) is a Wikipedia-worthy example of Gothic architecture, with five pointed towers rising high into the Transylvanian sky. It was constructed between 1300 and 1520. Home to Romania's largest organ and a number of beautiful frescoes, this church also serves as the community's only fully-German school. Oh, and one of Vlad Tepes' sons is buried inside (sadly, the area housing his tomb is usually closed to the public). Tourists can typically enter daily between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm. Be respectful.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Sibiu's Evangelical Church of Sf. Maria was built between 1320 and 1520. It has five pointed towers, the tallest of which is 74 metres high. The interior of the church has a choir loft on the south side with a beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling. There is a Baroque organ designed by a German master in 1671. Six thousands pipes were installed in 1914 making it the largest organ in Romania.
I was there for a Sunday service. The congregation were packed into the front of the church as there was major renovation work going on and planks and scaffolding everywhere else. From what I could see of it the interior looked much plainer than that of the Roman Catholic church, which I guess is what you'd expect from a Lutheran church.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
The Evangelical Cathedral in Sibiu is also one of the must see monuments in Sibiu. It is not just a nice big church, it is also the highest place from which you can see the old town, that is if you ask to be guided to the top of the roof. Here in this church beautiful concerts are being held. The evangelical church has the biggest organ in southeastern Europe - the baroque organ was designed by the a German master in 1671 - six thousand pipes were installed in1914. And as you can see from my picture, the inside of the church looks fantastic. The impressive cathedral was built in 1520 on the place of an old Romanic basilica from the 12th century. The church is also a burial place for many personalities of Sibiu. There are in total 67 gravestones. In front of the cathedral the statue of Georg Daniel Teutsch, Bishop of Sibiu, erected in 1899.
- Arts and Culture
Clock mechanism in the Evangelical Church
One of the things I recommend to do while at the Evangelical Church is to talk to the people there and to politely ask if you can attend the moment when the clock is winded up (like any mechanical watch).
You can climb into the tower and enter the place where is the mechanism of the clock, and you can see how it is "recharged".
- Arts and Culture
The Evangelical Church's organ dates back to 1772. It has 6002 pipes and is the largest church organ in Romania.
We did not get to hear it played, one guidebook says there are recitals on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm, the other says on Sunday in winter at 7 pm so as with all things in Romania (and tourism), you should check out the information with a more recent source.
We seemed to time our visits to the Evangelical Church badly, the first time we wandered in it was close to closing time and then when we went back it was shortly before services were to start.
We did get a good look around the church including the four baroque funerary monuments on the upper nave and the 6002 pipe organ (Romania's largest) but we missed out on visiting the cathedral tower for the view over the city and seeing the tomb of Mihnea the Bad, the son of Dracula, which is either in the crypt (Rough Guide) or in a closed off section behind the organ (Lonely Planet). He was stabbed to death outside the church in 1510 when it was still a Catholic church.
The church was built between 1320 and 1520.
The Evangelical Church
The Church, one of the most remarkable buildings from Sibiu, was built in the 14th century. The tower is measuring 73.34 meters and it is the highest in Transilvania.
Visiting hours: 10 am - 6 pm in summer
11 am - 4 pm in winter
Between June and September, every Wednesday, you can listen a great organ concert.
The Evangelic Cathedral is a prime example of German-Romanian architecture from the 16th century. This is a lutheran church, built in 1520. Typical of these German churches is the shingling, where each shingle is a different colour.
Evangelical Church-funerary monuments
As you walk into the church, find the main aisle and look up to the left side where the four baroque funerary monuments are
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