Roşia Montană ethnographic diversity
As an industrial settlement, Roşia Montană has long been a “melting pot”, a meeting place for various populations within the Austrian Empire, combining with the local Romanian population. Germans, Italians, Hungarians have been present in this area at various times from the 13th to the 20th century. This phenomenon has generated a series of particular elements in terms of religion and architecture. We know for instance that various schools which taught in Hungarian and German existed in the 19th century in Roşia Montană.
Oral history and ethnography studies, through the interviews conducted directly with the inhabitants prove there was no division in the community based on ethnical criteria in neighborhoods or well shaped areas. The various ethnic groups have lived in harmony and common understanding, without any geographical delimitation within the structure of the settlement (Popoiu, Paula (ed.)., 2004).
Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Slovaks, Jews have co-habited for centuries in a community with no less than five religious denominations (Orthodox, Roman-Catholic, Greek-Catholic, Unitarians, Lutherans), without any significant problems, which can be explained by the fact that, beyond the ethnic and religious belonging, they were part of a professional category characterized by a higher degree of solidarity. The high number of inter-ethnic and inter-communion marriages is an argument to support this statement. However, in more complex historical circumstances, such as the period of the Second World War, there were also moments of inter-ethnic tension (Popoiu, Paula (ed.)., 2004).
Another component of the program for research and preservation of the cultural heritage of Roşia Montană is represented by the ethnographic studies. A series of local traditions once practiced by this community of miners have been kept over time in Roşia Montană. Two of the research objectives within the Alburnus Maior National Research Program focused on the production of an ethnographic study of the area of Roşia Montană-Abrud–Corna, as well as production of an oral history study of the area. Thus, in the period 2001-2004, under the coordination of several specialists from “Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum, an ample ethnographic research was conducted in the area of Roşia Montană – Abrud – Corna, doubled in 2001-2002 by an ample series of interviews of oral history carried out by the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Society through “Gheorghe Brătianu” Oral History Centre of Bucharest (SRR - CIO).
Thus, the main components of these research sections are:
- Development of an oral history archive of the locality – over 100 hours of records and interviews with local residents
- Production of an ample comparative ethnographic study for the area of Roşia Montană - Corna - Bucium – first research of this type in this area
- Production of a comparative contemporary history study for Roşia Montană area and Bucium area – first research of this type in this area