Târnăvioara is the modern name of the old settlement Proștea Mică (Proștița), Kleinprobstdorf in German or Kispreposfalva in Hungarian.
The first documentary proof dates back to 1358 when the settlement was called Kysekemezen. Under this name it was known throughout the Middle Ages, afterwards during the Renaissance it became known as Villa Praprositi Minor.
The historical and archeological researches done on the area revealed evidence of forms of living from the Neolithic, the Hallstatt period and the Iron Age.
In the mid-twentieth century, at the place called „Schannenweg”, a grave with the inventory of a Scythian woman was discovered. The objects found – the fibula, the bracelet, the button, the top of an arrow – date the discovery as being 2500 years old.
Târnăvioara, as well as the entire area known as Târnave, belonged to the Roman province of Dacia. During the Roman period, on the territory of the village there was a rural Latin settlement. After researching the graves found here, the toponyms, as well as other in situ researches, it was established that on this territory, as well as on the “Fortress” Hill (Burg), there was a fortified settlement that belonged to one of the migratory populations who dwelled here in the early Middle Ages.
The village as it is now was founded at the beginning of the XIVth century, close to the medieval “gate” of Copșa Mică, which then linked the two German districts Mediaș and Șeica Mare. The village founders, as it happened in the entire Southern Transylvanian region, were German settlers coming from Flanders or Saxon regions.
The community developed around the core formed by the small brook that flows into the Târnava Mare river and the fortified church. The church was built in the Gothic style, in the mid-XIV-th century and was fortified two centuries later. Until the XVIII-th century, the church also had a wooden belfry. One century later, the community built the nowadays bell tower in the Neo-Romanesque style. It became the symbol of the village, its most famous image.
From the XIVth century on, the economic and social development of the village was influenced by the constant transit of merchandises and travellers. This fact stands proof to the multicultural and multi-ethnic character of the community and also to the cultural diversity of the area.
Three hundred years ago, the first Romanian families settled here, who developed from the beginning a strong community, which lived in harmony with the German one. At the end of the XVIIIth century, helped by the Germans, the Romanians built their own stone church, which remains up to this day the parish church of this community.
Once methane gas was discovered here in 1913 and due to its massive exploitation, the cultural life changed into one characteristic to industrial communities. Therefore the multicultural traits became neglected.
Between the two World Wars, the village was connected to Copșa Mică by a modern iron and wooden bridge, which exists up to the present day. Târnăvioara is now administrated from Copșa Mică. In the mid-XX-th century, the first Roma families started to settle here, which were immediatly “adopted” by the community and live here in harmony with the other communities ever since.
Târnăvioara is a typical village for the Târnava Valley. Its traditions characterize the cultural heritage of this area and the entire Transylvanian region extremely well. We can preceive Târnăvioara as a typical Transylvanian village where a main feature is the cultural co‑existence of the different ethnic groups which have lived or still live here in harmony. The traditions of the Transylvanian Saxon, the Romanian and the Roma population, their food, architecture and stories, all of these make of Târnăvioara an excellent ambassador for Transylvania.
Even a few centuries ago, Târnăvioara was already an important melting pot of different European cultures, as it was part of the Transylvanian trade routes. The multicultural diversity has shaped the history of a multiethnic community. A census from 1726 certifies in Târnăvioara the presence of a population of 810 Hungarians, 480 Romanians, 425 Germans and 120 persons of other nationalities (Turks, Jews, Italians, Austrians, Greeks etc.)