The purpose of this project is to show to the contemporaries the contribution of all the national communities, which lived in the region, and of all the people, whose ancestors made together a very fertile soil where there was once a swamp and barren land. The possibility to obtain the information on the multicultural life is offered in the well preserved local newspapers in German, Hungarian and Serbian which were published in the second half of the 19th century. The multinational region of Veliki Beckerek kept its identity and national traits regardless the different political influence. In the course of history people mutually accepted new aspirations, technological and economical demands as well as the new customs of modern life.

The town with the name in three languages, Gross-Nagy-Veliki (big) Beckerek has the characteristics of "ethnic society", sometimes with an imposed ethnic rivarly, sometimes with a tolerance, as a result of nearly the same proportion of the three most numerous national communities at the end of the 19th century. Work and gain suppressed serious national conflicts which have been a common trait of the region ever since.
Inter-ethnic marriages were not rare here and speaking more languages was usual. Some national customs slowly disappeared under the influence of the urban culture, which tried to equalize everybody.

Beside Serbian, German and Hungarian national communities, numerous other communities settled down, with their lives and cultures overlapping, which provoked the competition in many spheres of life. The competition was in everything, even in construction, so the buildings put up at that time are still attractive by their beauty.


The project "Banat Studies" represents the research, gathering of materials and translating historical materials in order to promote local culture and historical legacy. Additional, it familiarizes contemporaries with the contribution of all communities that lived in this area, people whose ancestors created very fertile land out of swamps, thanks to count F.C. Mercy. A city with three names Gross-Nagy- Veliki Be?kerek, that lasts for 600 years, owns the characteristics of "ethnic societies", occasionally with forced ethnic rivalry, occasionally with the tolerance due to almost equal relations of three majority national societies at the end of XIX century. In addition, the project represents preservation from the oblivion which perhaps makes the character of the Banat region in European area, it recognizes his historical heritage (the architecture of the language, ethnology..) and non material heritage.
Mixed marriages were not rare in this area, and knowledge of several languages was implied. Certain folklore we disappearing under the influence of the urban culture that wanted to make everything equal. Multinational environment of Veliki Beckerek was nurtured during many years its identity and it succeeded in preserving its national characteristics regardless different political influences. During this development, people coexisted accepting new aspirations, requests of technology and economy development, as well as new customs of the contemporary life. Among Serbian, German and Hungarian national communities, many other nationalities inhabited this area, whose destinies crosscut and which contributed to development of competitive spirit in many aspects of life. They competed in everything including buildings in the centre of the City that even today attract the attention with their beauty.
Considering that our City has very small number of historical monographs, printed in 1933, 1936 and 1966, we don't count large number of photo monographs that do not have historical value, and comparing it with other Cities, for example our neighbouring city in Banat Timisoara, that has 28 historical monographs, majority on several languages, and considering that Zrenjanin is competing for European capital of culture, it is necessary to print this kind of document.
European Movement Zrenjanin since 1999 conducts research of the City history. This research is being conducted in three ways: 1. research of historical documents, 2. Translation of old monographs from German and Hungarian, 3. tracking events through local press starting from 1851. Little is known that in 1807. city was caught in a large fire that coverd the whale city and destroyed all archives, so we have to in a indirect way, through research of events in other municipalities in Banat, create a maze of missing parts of the City history. We also present three monographs that were never translated into Serbian - Mileker, Borovski and monograph through press (Torontal).
All important events that are relevant for understanding of what makes the City today, through a unique access i.e. tracking and enlightening of events from city administration, education, health, crafts, industry, trade, cultural and sports events, all the way to the traffic opportunities (one of the biggest water hubs in Europe was in this area ) are joined in the monograph. This monograph represents the original and up to now, in this shape, unseen observation and presentation of things and events that shaped the city through history that was in many areas leading city in different times and different countries.
Besides the original texts, translations, extracts from local newspaper, the monograph has other details, mostly unknown, about 200 biographies of well known citizens, with different nationalities who contributed to the development of this area.
The monograph that is ready for printing covers period of 600 years, and the other part in in the research phase that will cover new history of the City. Besides the history of the City and Banat region, European Movement in Zrenjanin has in the previous period working on the promotion of cultural heritage through regional projects:
- Regional cultural-historical initiatives - that represents a unique education of the history of the region. On this seminar attended following organizations from Zrenjanin: Tourist organization, Rusanda Spa, Tourism workers from Zrenjanin, Carska Bara. From the representatives of Banat there were: Kanjiza Spa, Bela Crkva, Pancevo, Uzice, Krusevac, Leskovac and Belgrade institution for cultural research. Mr Aleksandar Stanojlovic from publishing house ZIZA from Pancevo presented the Cultural, historical and tourist maps of Banat, and the maps of the cities from Serbia.
- Development of cultural tourism in Banat - a cross border challenge, this project was conducted in partnership with Intercultural Institute from Timisoara. Its main goal was to develop a Cultural tourism strategy of Banat region. Within this project "A cultural map of Banat" was created on which 48 experts worked from different areas of expertise. These experts visited Serbian part of Banat in order to get familiar with the road route and with conjunction with the Romanian road route. Experts visited Kikinda, Zrenjanin, Pancevo and Vrsac. The majority of time, experts spent in Zrenjanin, where beside the city tour, they've visited the oldest theatre in Serbia, The Museum, City hall, Gallery of contemporary arts and the Castle Ecka.

Excerpts from the newspapers

Killing brandy in Aradac, 7/03/1909 - in Aradac on Saturday night during a funeral feast where almost half of the village gathered to pay respect to the deceased, brandy poisoning was found out. 40 people were affected by it and 12 died already and more than 20 were hospitalized in serious condition among which are some who would not manage to pull it through.
1910 - A sensational thing happened in Big Beckerek's hospital, where, for the first time , the doctors experimenting with painless serum "Ehrlich" by which the syphilitics were treaded succeded in curing them. This is a sensational news because they are the first cured patients (a middle-aged man and an 18-year old girl ) suffering from syphilis in Hungary.
Wednesday , January 18th 1854 "Prince Marko the first time" - a romantic performance from the Serbian past by P. Stojanovic, given in three parts. Mr Horn ( Prince Marko) and Mrs Antoni ( Marija) gave brilliant performances of their roles as well as Mr Kasin. Mr Antoni and Mrs Beher played a Serbian peasant Steva and his wife Kata in a humorous and witty way. The audience gave them frequent rounds of applause.
September 23rd 1854 - local authorities of Big Beckerek decided to open another school for girls only. The school will have 2 classes. It will work during the morning from 10 a.m. till noon and in the afternoon , from 4 p.m. till 6 p.m. in the premises of the local comprehensive school. Two people will be hired to work there, a male teacher for science and a female teacher for skills.
August 24, 1867 - Julie Benedek Sigeti, a gymnastics teacher, informs the citizens of Big Beckerek, that he has opened a school of gymnastics in the Konjevic's house and that regular classes, both for boys and girls , will start on August 26th , three times a week. The tuitition will be 2 forints per month.
June 14th 1879 - higher comprehensive school in the town, opens the sixth form 1908 - a course and a final exam for disabled people . Fillip Mihels, a young teacher from the Institute for deaf, mute and blind people from Budapest, hold a two-month course for people with speaking problems. Many children took part in the course. The success was extraordinary and parents didn't know how to thank Mr Mihels.
February 4th 1854 - the organisation of Vojvodina - the administative one - the judical organisation of Serbian Vojvodina togather with The Tamish Banat was allowed by the highest decret of his Royal Majesty of June 8th, July 26th and October 2nd. Vojvodina is devided in five couties with the domicile in Temisuara , Lugosh, Big Beckerek, Sobmor and Novi Sad.
1886 - on 27th September, at 5 p.m. there was a celebration in the Regatta Club, many guests witnessed the first rowing boat being launched in the Begej.
September 24th 1892 - the Rowing Club received on 20th September a house for keeping boats and other equipment. This building is considered to be the oldest sports building in our region.
July 19th 1884 - the Archery Club held a competition from 6th till 13th July. The winner and the the archery king became our A.F.Kokic.
February 3rd 1876 - Ice skating - there are very lively activities going on, on the thick ice of the frozen Begej. At the wonderful skating rink which is kept brilliantly, a large number of skaters welcome the city beauties who use this place for randez-vous. And while skillful skaters skate, those begginer beauties lean on the strong arms of men in order to learn skating.
15th May 1858 - Rozenfeld Leopold opened a swimming school in Big Bechkerek, on the Begej.Monthly tuitition : men 3f., women 4f., and for free swimmers it's 1.30 f.

The famouse people from Beckerek

Dr Djordje Radic ( 1839-1922 ), born in Bechkerek, is considerd to be the biggest agricultural expert of the 19th century in the Balkans. He was the first Ph.D. of agriculture in Serbia, the member of the Serbian Science Academy as well as the member of 117 agricultural societies in Europe. He was the founder of many agricultural schools in Serbia and Monte Negro. He was the iniciator of many agricultural newspapers and a real dedicated educator.
Dr Rudolf Vegshaider (1859-1935), born and educated in Beckerek and Vienna. He became a famous chemist, professor at the Vienna University, one of the founders of physical chemistry, the member of the Austrian Science Academy. He developed the theory of the quickness of the chemical reactions.
Vilchgo Karolina ( 1820-1896) one of the pioneers in the whole region in the field of physical education for women, since she was the first qualified teacher that field. In Beckerek, together with her husband Rudolf, a teacher, she founded the first female educational institution which during the next 30 years, offerd domastic and school education to pupils of all nationalities.

The author of this project is the president of European Movement in Zrenjanin, mr Nikola Slajh.
It is currently under going fundraising for the longest and the biggest project of European Movement Zrenjanin "600 Years of the History of Zrenjanin" and all kind of support is more than welcome.