The 90m-long (295 ft.) and 21m-high (69-ft.) "Black Church" is the biggest Gothic cathedral between Istanbul and Vienna. Work started in 1383, but the building was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion of 1421 before it could be completed. It was finally finished in 1480, although there was more destruction between 1530 and 1630, when a total of 40 earthquakes hit the region. Originally a Catholic church, it became Lutheran during the Reformation. When a tragic fire swept through Brasov on April 21, 1689, the charred remains of the church (the baptismal font at the front of the church is one of the few thing that survived) afforded it its ghoulish name; today there is nothing dark about it, although the exterior is slightly ominous, even haunting. Inside, however, the church is overwhelmingly white and now horribly illuminated by awful modern light fittings. The 180 rugs you see hanging from the balconies -- given to the church by merchants who returned after successful trade missions in the Middle East -- make up the second-largest collection of its kind in the world; the bell in the clock tower is also the largest in Romania, weighing in at 6 tons. If you are a fan of church or choral music, look out for summer concerts (select evenings mid-June through Aug); this will be the best opportunity to hear the colossal 4,000-pipe organ and much-vaunted acoustics in action.