European Year for Innovation and Creativity

Community: Semlac

County: Arad
250px-Semlac_jud_Arad.png semlac.jpg

Located on the right bank of the River Mures, in the Western part of Romania, 38 km from Arad, Semlac represents the image of a rich village.

According to the first historical archives, the village was in the property of the Hungarian King Andrew II, who donated it to the Roman-Catholics from Csanad.

In 1320 Semlac belonged to the Hungarian King Carol Robert I of Anjou, who gave it as a gift to one of his soldiers, count Ion Zemleky.

It is not known whether the name of Semlac comes from the name of count Zemleky or it was the other way around. When the daughter of count Zemleky married with the son of count Joksy from Nadlac, Semlac became the property of the latter. After the death of Joksy, the village becomes the property of king Wladislaw. King Wladislaw gives it away as a present to Ioan de Hunedoara, who also gives it to his mother. She gave ¾ of the surface to the villagers and the rest of it was transformed into private property.  

The establishment of Romanians in this village dates back from the 11th century. In the 15th century the Serbians arrive and built the first Greek-Catholic Chrurch.

Between 1564-1697 Semlac was part of the Otoman Empire and became a fortified settlement. The ruins that remind us of the fortress have been visible until recently and were close to the Orthodox Church, which was transformed into a mosque in that period.

Between 1841-1848 count Gustav Hadik was the owner of Semlac. Beginning with the revolution of 1848 and after that, 3/4 of Semlac was given back to the locals and 1/4 became the property of the Hungarian Crown.

The colonization of Semlac with germans started with their migration within the Hungarian territories. Their ancestors came from Hungary, after the war against the Turks and were called by the new landlords to get established on their vast properties.

This represents the difference from the colonization in Banat. The Germans from Semlac have their own history, which has nothing in common with that of the Swabs from Banat.  Villagers of Semlac do not consider themselves Swabs and Banat is for them the land from the other side of the Mures river. Only after the unification with Romania (1919) and the things that took place in the 1930s, the Germans from Semlac and the Swabs from Banat were united by a common destiny.

Semlac was also the place in which a great number of nationalities have lived and still live together.  The Germans who were Germani Luterans built their own school in 1822. School which worked until 1948. In 1829 the congregation had its own priest only in 1845. In 1838 they built up their own school in which, until 1885 the religious service was held. The school functioned until 1948. As a result of their Evangelic belief, the Germans from Semlac got culturally closer to Hungary than to Banat. This happened until the end of the First World War. Only in 1932 the Luteran congregation joined the Saxons Synod of Transylvania.

The Germans' community from Semlac was always the biggest after that of Romanians. A statistics from 1848 shows that in that period in Semlac 2630 Romanians, 1883 Germans and 987 of members  of other nationalities (Hungarians, Slovakians, Serbians, Jewish, Gypsies) lived there.   In 1890 the number of Germans was of 2419 from the total number of 6321 of settlers. By the end of the 19th century the number decreased due to migration to USA or Serbia and Bulgaria. After the 2 World Wars and the Communist regime, their number decreased so much that in 1977 there were only 1067 and in 1994, there were only 200 Germans in Semlac.

The Germans who settled in Semlac were farmers and the great majority kept the same activity until their expropriation in 1945.

The cultural activity developed until 1941 around the church. In 1931 the Evangelic male quire "Brudertreu" was founded.

In the political life, Germans from Semlac always played a minor role because they were just the second community after that of Romanians. From all the mayors in the community, only Friedrich Schilling from the 19th century and Georg Wagner from the 1970s were part of the German community.

The beginning of an economic boom of the settlement was stopped by the Second World War. After the expropriation from 1945, the Germans from Semlac became daily workers on the state's lands who owned in that period their former lands as well.  The younger population chose other occupations and others went to study to high-schools nearby. After the railroad that ties Semlac to Arad was constructed a lot of settlers used to move to the city to work and still do it now.Beginning with the1970s the wave of emigration of German ethnics who touched the peak in 1990 also affected Semlac. The few Germans who remained in Semlac created a local branch of the German Democratic Forum. Under the rule of father Walter Sinn they tried to maintain the traditions. The 175th anniversary of the Germans from Semlac was celebrated in 1994 through a big festival.From 1980 the reunion of the formers settlers of Semlac take place in Germany. On the 22nd of May 1983 Heimatortsgemeinschaft Association was founded.  It has as main aim the guarding and gathering of Semlac villagers and their descendants from all over the place.

On the ruins of the village, in the place called Bisericuta, there was an old church “glued and white-painted” and was under the patronage of “Saint Nicholas”. In 1771 it was replaced by the actual church made of stone which is under the patronage of “Saint John Golden Mouth. Initially it was smaller, but in 1896 it became bigger adding among others the tower.

In the place called Hada we can remember of the anti-Hapsburg riot of Romanian and Serbians state line guardians from the Mures Valley, from 1703.

Around1848, at Semlac took place significant anti-feudal fights against the landlord Hadik whoo took the land of the peasants.

In front of the popular council (no. 656) from May 1848 the peasants gathered to fight for their rights in front of the commissions.

They re-occupied the lands quickly and sent away the new notary who was working for the state.In 1903, 1904 and 1906 Semlac is the place where some harvest riots happened.

Along with the Romanian traditional costumes, this village is also know for the specific traditional costume of the German population.

People involved in Semlac (5)


Articles written in Semlac (14)


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Mihai Eminescu, 160 years

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Cimitirul in Semlac

This morning when I woke up I have finally decided to visit the Cemetry of Semlac. The Cemetry in Semlac is close to the train station, so many times before ...

International Evening



Romanian Orthodox Church in Semlac is dedicated to St. John Chrysostom and was built in 1771 to replace an old wooden churches. The place, which is located the church,  corresponds ...


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Dobasii in Ziua de Craciun

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                                                                                                                            DOBAŞII In this article, i will speak about the Dobaşii; every crismas, a group of more or less seven boys make a show between 24th-25th of December. The ...

Meeting the neighbors

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Photo Galleries in Semlac (35)

Videos in Semlac (3)