About the Banat Czechs

The villages depicted in this work were settled in the early 1800's by Czech natives who were lured into this region by a rich and unscrupulous Romanian lumber merchant named Mad'arli.

In search for cheap labourers to clear the large pristine forests of the Banat, Mad'arli sent recruiting agents to Bohemia and Moravia. Poor Czech peasants were approached and promised, among other things, land and wages in exchange for their work.

Upon their arrival, after a two-month journey, they discovered that their homeland was a rocky terrain high in the Carpathian mountains completely untouched by civilization, and very unfavorable to human habitation.

Stranded in the hills, the labourers and their families built log cabins and set to work. Several years later when the forests had been cleared, Mad'arli disappeared and was never heard from again. Having overcome the extremely difficult beginings by this time, the immigrants were settled and decided to stay on in these villages, many of which exist today.

To navigate around this story, follow the "next" and "back" to navigate within the sections, and click on the thumbnails on the bottom to go to different sections. The colored borders around the thumbnails refer to the different sections. Enjoy exploring this story and its experimental navigation!

Photos © 1996 Iva Zimova

cover page | story list | thumbnails | comments