Târnăvioara is the modern name of the old village Proștea Mică (Proștița), Kleinprobstdorf in German or Kispreposfalva in Hungarian.
The first documentary proof dates from 1358 and reveals the name of the settlement as Kysekemezen. But it became known as Villa Praprositi Minor, during the Middle Ages and afterwards, during the Renaissance.
The historical and archeological researches of the area came to proove forms of living even from the Neolithic, during the Hallstatt period and the Iron Age.
In the mid-twentieth century, at the place called „Schannenweg”, here was discovered a grave with an inventory of a Scythian woman. The objects found – fibula, bracelet, button, top of an arrow – date the discovery about 2500 years ago.
Târnăvioara, as well as the entire area known as Târnave, belonged to the Roman province of Dacia. During the Roman period, here 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 “Burg” Hill, there was a fortified settlement that belonged to one of the migratory populations who dwelled here in the early Middle Ages.
The nowadays village was settled 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 all southern Transylvania, were German settlers who came here from Flanders or Saxon regions.
The community grew around the core formed from the creek that empties in the Târnava Mare and the fortified church. The church was built in the Gothic style, in the mid-XIV-th century and then fortified, two centuries later. Until the XVIIIth century, the church also had a wood 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.
The economic and social development of the village was influenced by the constant trades and travellers transit, back from the XIVth century. This is to emphasize the multicultural and multi-ethnical character of this community and also the cultural diversity of the area.
Three hundred years ago, here settled the first Romanian families, who developed right from the beginning a solid community, along with the Germans. At the end of the XVIIIth century, helped by the Germans, the Romanians built their own stone church, which remains to this day the parochial church of this community.
Once the methane gas was discovered here, in 1913 and due to its massive exploitation, the cultural life developed to a form that is characteristic for the industrial communities. Therefore, the multicultural links became blurring.
Between the two world wars, the village was connected to Copșa Mică with a modern iron and wood bridge, which hangs on to this day. Târnăvioara is now listed as a commune and is administrated from Copșa Mică. In the mid-XX-th century, here settled the first Roma families, who were immediatly “adopted” by the community and live here harmonically even today.
Târnăvioara is a typical village for the Târnava Valley. Its traditions characterize best the cultural heritage of this area and, why not, of the entire Transylvania. We can understand Târnăvioara as a typical Transylvanian village whose main feature is the cultural solidarity of the different ethnical groups that lived or still live here. The Romanian, Germans and Roma traditions, their food, architecture and storries, all of these make of Târnăvioara an excellent ambassador for Transylvania.
Even from a few centuries ago, Târnăvioara was an important meeting point for different European cultures, due to its place right in the middle of the Transylvanian trade routes. A census from 1726 certifies the presence, in Târnăvioara, of a population of 810 Hungarians, 480 Romanians, 425 Germans and 120 dwellers of other nationalities (Turks, Jews, Italians, Austrians, Greeks etc.)