Top Cathedral and Churches
Towering majestically over the Union Square of Cluj, the Saint Michael Church boasts the tallest bell tower in the country. Ground was broken for the construction of this imposing Catholic edifice in 1316, but it wasn’t until 1487 that the church was completed, and, to fund the construction, the Pope granted absolution of sins to anyone who donated to it.
Perhaps the best known of all cathedrals in Romania, the Black Church of Brasov is unique through its outstanding architectural and historical value. The church, located in the heart of Brasov’s old town, got its distinctive name from a fire the blackened its walls in 1689.
Perched on the highest point inside the magnificent citadel of Sighisoara, the Saint Nicholas Church has a series of traits that make it unique among Transylvania’s other Evangelical places of worship, such as the 42 meters leaning spire and the painting that illustrates the Holy Trinity as a person with three faces. To reach the imposing edifice, visitors have to climb the 175 steps of the Pupil’s Steps, but the beauty of the church and the amazing panorama are certainly worth the effort.
Considered the symbol of the city, the Evangelical Church of Sibiu is special through its rich frescos and bas-relief sculptures. At the same time, the cathedral boasts the highest medieval bell tower in Romania, of an impressive 73 meters. Its distinctive five towers roof symbolizes the special status that the prosperous city enjoyed in the Middle Ages. Another unique feature of the Sibiu cathedral is the separate narthex, where 67 of the city’s most important people are buried. The last person to be given this honor was Samuel von Brukenthal, whose art collection is the main attraction of the Brukenthal Museum.
One of the finest Orthodox Romanian cathedrals, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cluj shines both literally, through its white paint scheme and stonework, and figuratively, as a genuine Sion of Romania. One of the finest architectural traits of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cluj is its imposing dome, which resembles the dome of the famed Hagia Sophia of Istanbul.
The oldest Romania cathedral, the Saint Michael Cathedral in Alba Iulia was built between 1247 and 1291 and is therefore contemporary to the famed Notre Dame of Paris. Located in the heart of historic Alba Iulia, in the Alba Carolina citadel, this Roman-Catholic edifice contains the tombs of several major figures in the history of Transylvania, including John Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara).
Standing tall over the city of Sibiu, the sober, yet elegant Metropolitan Cathedral of Sibiu is the Orthodox episcopal see of Transylvania. Built between 1902 and 1906, the church harmoniously combines Greek and Byzantine elements and incorporates elements from an earlier Greek church, most notably the silver plated wooden icons of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. The church is known for its intricate and beautiful interior, with valuable elements such as a golden chandelier and a golden ark.