History of National Minorities in the Municipality of Prnjavor
At the end of the 19th century, the area of Prnjavor Municipality was rarely populated, inhabited by residents from Eastern and Central Europe. Through mass migrations, and thanks to Austro-Hungarian policy, the Municipality of Prnjavor takes on the physiognomy of multicultural space. According to some data, about 20 different ethnic groups were settled in the territory of Prnjavor Municipality at the end of the 20th century, and Prnjavor was rightly called the “Little Europe” or “Europe in Small”. In 1881 Italians settled the municipal village of Stivor. In autumn 1894, Czechs arrived to Macino Brdo and, according to some testimonials, they brought for the first time potatoes and certain fruit varieties to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The area of the former Prnjavor region was inhabited by the Poles in 1892. After the end of the Second World War, the Government of Poland invited the Poles who migrated from the country to return. Leaving Prnjavor, they said, “We are people with two harts, one is in Poland and the other in songful Bosnia.” The first German families of the Prnjavor Municipality settled in 1888, and ten years later came the Ukrainians. The settlement of the Hungarians lasted from 1900 to 1910. There is no accurate data on the time of Roma immigration, but there is evidence that Roma came to the Balkans more than 700 years ago. The area of the Prnjavor Municipality was also inhabited by the Slovaks, Slovenes, the Russians, and members of other peoples. The peoples came in horse rails bringing different ethnology and ethnography , leaving the foremost imprint of their customs, language and culture. The common life in these areas, often marked by turbulent events, still preserves the atmosphere of respect and tolerance, which for decades has been Prnjavor’s characteristic. That is why we are proudly still bearing the nickname “Little Europe”.
National Minorities Today
According to the census conducted in 2003, 1,452 members of national minorities live in Prnjavor, which constitutes 10% of the total number of national minorities in the Republic of Srpska. National Minorities in Prnjavor enjoy the support of Prnjavor Municipality in the form of financing events and projects that are organized through their associations.
The National Minority Festival of the Municipality of Prnjavor “Little Europe” is an international manifestation featuring cultural and artistic societies from all over the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, countries of the region, national minority countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Ukraine), European Union. The festival is attended by at least 2000 visitors from the country and abroad, famous people from the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina and countries of the region, ambassadors of the national minority members living in the Municipality of Prnjavor, representatives and members associations of national minorities from the country and abroad, as well as representatives of the Council of Europe.
The main goal of the National Minority Festival of the Municipality of Prnjavor “Little Europe” is promotion and preservation of the tradition, culture, languages and customs of national minorities from the area of the Municipality of Prnjavor, promotion of the differences, as well as the establishment of new and strengthening of existing connections with home countries belonging to municipal national minorities.
An important aspect of the festival is the promotion touristic, cultural and business potentials of the Municipality of Prnjavor. The festival includes old crafts and gastronomic specialties of the traditional cuisines of the countries mentioned above. As part of the festival, visits to well-known tourist destinations in the municipality of Prnjavor and neighboring municipalities are organized, and this event has a positive impact on the promotion and development of tourism in the whole region.