Roma culture in Europe

Roma and Sinti, sometimes called Gypsies, are the largest national minority in Europe, at an estimated population between 1 and 20 million. They don’t have their own country but live in a diaspora all over Europe and beyond.

Since one of the primary reasons for travel for some, is to experience different cultures, this article aims at collecting pointers to places where Roma can be met and their culture can be experienced at first hand.

In Europe, there are many ethnic group with lifestyle similar to Roma, such as the Irish Travellers, and the Jenish people of Germany.

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The Romani people are believed to have been descended from immigrants from what is today northern India. The name “gypsy” comes from the formerly widely-held misconception that they originated from Egypt.

The Romani language is part of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. This means that it is only distantly related to most other European languages like English and French, and more closely related to North Indian languages such as Hindi and Bengali. There are many dialects of the Romani language, and most Romani speakers are also able to speak the official language of their respective countries.

All over Europe, but mainly in the Balkans, in the south of Spain and South of France.

Stolipinovo district of Plovdiv

Saintes Maries de la Mer (Provence)

Šuto Orizari or Šutka (Шутка) one of the municipalities that make up Skopje, the only municipality in the country where Roma are a majority of the population. Documented in The Shutka Book of Records, a film made by one of the inhabitants.

Soroca – known as the “Romani capital of Moldova.” The hill on the west side of town has numerous ornately decorated Roma houses.

The largest Roma community in Slovakia is the Luník IX neighbourhood of Košice

Granada, Jerez, Sevilla

While Sulukule near the ancient city walls of Istanbul, which used to be continously inhabited by the Roma since the days of the Byzantine Empire and as such was the oldest sedentary Roma community in Europe, was gentrified by the local government through forcing its traditional inhabitants out amidst protests in the first decade of the 2000s, Ahırkapı Festival, held in the district of the same name near Sultanahmet on the night of Hıdrellez (May 5th, an ancient Turkish spring festival), provides an entertaining night for everyone with much Roma music and dancing around bonfires.

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