St. Nicholas Church, an important centre of spiritual union of the Romanians and a cradle of national culture and education, is considered to be the first Orthodox Church in Transylvania. Built over a wooden cross dating from 1292, this medieval church was first mentioned in 1399 in a Papal Bull emitted by the Pope Boniface IX, which attested the existence of an Orthodox church here.
In 1495 started the works for building a stone church, during the time of Vlad Călugarul, Prince of Wallachia. This process unfolded in several staged, each one contributing to the church’s actual shape. Great merits are attributed in the local chronics to the Wallachian Prince Neagoe Basarab for his contribution to the church at the beginning of the 16th century. Although initially it was built in Gothic style, the church was later added many Baroque elements, now being a combination of Byzantine, Baroque and Gothic styles.
Apart from the church, of high architectural and artistic value are the two chapels. The impressive northern chapel was built in 1733 with the help of princess Ancuța, daughter of Constantin Brâncoveanu. It maintains the valuable original paintings from 1735-1738, which include scenes such as the Council of Nicaea, the Wheel of the World, the Deisis and the Resurrection. In 1750 it was built the southern chapel, which impresses through the 18th century mural paintings, but also through the original iconostasis, decorated with Brâncovenesc motifs.
During the restoration works from 1936-1946, the church suffered a series of changes. The nave was lowered in order to increase the edifice’s acoustic and some of the stone plates were replaced. Oak-tree doors were made, as well as a new iconostasis, carved in linden-tree wood and gilded. The old imperial icons were put in a silver frame and the church was painted in Neo-byzantine style.
Under the guidance and care of the priests that served to St. Nicholas Church in Șchei – Brasov, the first Romanian school was founded here in the 16th century. The priests and scholars also made important contributions to the patrimony of Romanian culture and literature, materialised through the publication of the first Romanian books, the copies of manuscripts, the collection of books of culture, the writing of the first Romanian grammar book (1757) and the translation of many valuable worship and culture books. The church has a rich library and archive which include princely books, documents, letters and registers that represent a real treasure for the history of the Romanian people. Here were also printed many books in Romanian, under the guidance of dean Coresi. The church’s museum, created in 1961, displays these special archives, but also costumes used during the Pageant of the Juni festivals and patrimony objects.
Union Square, no 2-3, Tel: +40 268 511 411 / +40 722 435 134
How to get there:
St. Nicholas Church is situated very close of Brașov city centre, at 1km from the Council Square. From the Council Square take Gheorghe Dima St, continued with Constantin Brâncoveanu St., which leads directly to the Union Square.
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