Roma culture in Europe

Roma and Sinti, sometimes called Gypsies, are the largest national minority in Europe, but estimates of their numbers vary from 1 to 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.


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.



Romanes (Romane, Romani), Kale


The Roma were among the forgotten victims of the Holocaust during World War II. See Holocaust remembrance for a guide to concentration camps, museums and other relevant sites.


Czech Republic



Gypsies are Hungary's most populous ethnic minority but, until now, there are only rumours of a Budapest Gypsy Museum about the history of the Roma (Gypsy) people in Hungary and no concrete address or other details.


Like Jews, communists and homosexuals, they were targeted for extermination by the Nazis and hundreds of thousands or more were murdered (called Porajmos, which means devouring in some dialects of the Romani language).




Listen to Roma/Sinti music

Spain: Flamenco music and dance are in large measure credited to the Spanish Gypsies.

Hungary: Hungarian Gypsy music is very famous and can be heard in many places in Hungary.

Bulgaria: There are some fantastic Turkish-Gypsy musicians, including Yuri Yunakov and Ivo Papazov, who play what they call "Balkan jazz," a type of improvised music based on traditional Bulgarian wedding music but with inflections from various other types of music.

Central and Eastern Europe: Gypsy violinists are particularly famous for their virtuosity.


European Roma Cultural Foundation



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