One of the first documentary attestations of Bahnea village is in 1291, when it was mentioned in one of the documents issued by Roland Borșa, prince of Transylvania in that time, related to a disagreement of Grigore, “county ruler of Bahnea”, about a land plot called Cubli, the location and name of that land plot being most probably prior to that year. Over 1315 - 1335 it is mentioned under the name Bohna, Saceros de Vahya or Bachnea, and later it appeared as Bahnya (meaning “the bourg of Bahnea”)
In the second half of the 11th century, the Hungarian Kingdom began the systematic conquer of Transylvania; in order to consolidate this action in front of the eastern and southern threats, and in order to split the small Romanian provinces, colonization was made in a first stage by means of Szekelys and Saxons. The Saxons’ presence in this village is proven by two facts: first – the presence of the Reformed church which originally was a Catholic one and was constructed by Saxons; second – many family names of Germanic origin, that can be still met in the village (Meder, Jager, Schuster etc)
As attested in the 12th century by the writings of Anonymus (who referred in his papers to Bahnea village as being a village in the time of King Ștefan I of Hungary), Hungarian King Ștefan I ordered that a church be constructed at every ten villages. Therefore, villages Idiciu, Daia, Gogan, Lepindea, Laslău, Varolea, Șoimuș, Ormeniș and Bahnea start the construction of a church in Bahnea, the village being attested in the documents related to the consecration of the church in 1310.
The village is involved (directly or by the participation of its inhabitants) in several historic events of Transylvania and, implicitly, of the Hungarian Kingdom, all these being in close connection with the settlement in the village of the Bethlen family, around 1441. This family of Hungarian feudal noblemen titled “Grof” actively participated in supporting Hungarian Princes.
- 1562 – the Dumbrăveni Szekely Riot; Grof Bethlem Farkas (the family’s successor of the time) mentions in his manuscripts that part of the inhabitants crossed over the hills and joined the rioters, but he made no reference to the number of participants or of the deceased in the event.
- In 1657, the campaign led by Gheorghe Rákóczi II aimed at occupying Poland’s throne drove again the village into the middle of the events, as Grof Bethlem Janos was part of Prince Rákóczi’s close entourage. The Turk-Tatar army, which came to support Turks-appointed Acațiu Barcsay, passed through Bahnea village on their way back, leaving behind at least one third victims among the inhabitants (either killed, or taken away).
- 1703 – the Insurgent Peasants’ Riot against the Habsburgs, the then rulers of Transylvania; the army led by Francisc Rákóczi II retreats together with Samuel Bethlem (the oldest son of the Bethlem family) and part of his army remains in Bahnea.
- In 1784, at the beginning of the Riot of Horea, Cloșca and Crișan, Grof Bethlem retreats to his estate in Bistrița. Without having precise information, we can suppose that, in the turmoil of the events in Transylvania, Bahnea village involved in that riot.
- Year 1848 brings other instabilities in the area, as Somodi Sándor directly informs the order maintenance commission; strong anti-Hungarian manifestations take place in Suplac, Șoimuș, Coroiu, Zagăr and Laslăul Mare villages. There are no written evidence related to the developments in Bahnea village, the only testimonies being the oral stories told by the inhabitants, which refer to the killing of Dumitru Holom (a Grof servant who requested the division of land plots) by four Hussars whom the Grof brought to the village at the end of the riot. The name of the martyr is also mentioned on the Memorial of Romanian Heroes in the First World War and the Second World War, even if it had connection with that period.
- Year 1867 is the year when Austro-Hungary was founded, and as Transylvania lost its autonomy aggressive denationalisation campaigns were launched with the aim of setting up the unitary Hungarian state and a single nation, the Hungarian nation, which is confirmed by the correspondence between the Orthodox church in Bahnea and its higher officials. Moreover, the circular letters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Transylvania, sent to Orthodox parishes, clearly prove the Romanians’ opposition to the attempts of changing Romanian names into Hungarian names or to the obligation to use the Hungarian language in churches and in school, as the official language in the area.
- In 1916, the political context forced the Romanians in the village to participate in the First World War in regiments fighting against the Romanian army. About 29 soldiers who left the village did not return, their names being carved on the commemoration monument. On their retreat way in August that year, the Hungarian regiment 46 infantry caused more material and human damage.
Here are the remarkable monuments in Bahnea village:
- The old Orthodox Church on the hill, located not far from the centre of the village, on the way to Gogan. In a first stage it was constructed of wood, then in 1876 it was constructed in its present shape by means of the villagers’ contribution and the funds offered by Andrei Șaguna Society of the time.
- The Memorial of Romanian Heroes in the First World War and the Second World War. Uncovered in 1930, the massive stone monument is provided with a square two-step base with columns. Over it there is a double cross. The monument honours the memory of the Romanian heroes in the two World Wars. On the façade and the lateral sides there are carved the names of the heroes in the First World War 1914-1919, while on the back side there are the names of the heroes in the Second World War 1941-1945 who died in Bahnea.