The Roma People often referred to as Gypsies, are a heterogeneous ethnic group who live primarily in Southern and Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Latin America, the southern part of the United States and the Middle East. They are believed to have originated mostly from the Rajasthan region of India. They began their migration to Europe and North Africa via the Iranian plateau about 1,000 years ago. Traditionally most Roma spoke Romani (Romany), an Indo-Aryan language. Today, however, most Roma speak the dominant language of their region of residence.
Most Roma refer to themselves as Rom. In the Romani language, Rom (man) derives from the Sanskrit dom (man).
Worldwide, there are an estimated 8 to 10 million Roma, most of whom, reside in Europe. Although the largest Roma populations are found in the Balkan peninsula, significant numbers may also be found in the Americas, the former Soviet Union, western and central Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In Moldova there are about 15.000 Roma.
In the past gypsies lead a nomad’s way of life in Moldova roaming from a village to other and sharpening knifes and other metal tools of the peasants and shoeing horses. But during the WWII and later on during the collectivization times they were forced to give their horses to the army and to the state and this made this nomad people to settle down. Most of them reside in Soroca, this city being known as Roma “capital”.
Above the town, there is the hill with shining roofs. The Gypsy Hill. The architecture of their houses is outstanding: 2-3 floor houses, with columns and sculptures in the front of the house with silver or golden dome-like roofs. Because what is really important for Roma people – is to have a representative house, best with sculptures, columns or glittering copulas.
Gypsy families have many children. Few years ago an average family would have 7-10 children and nowadays it is 4-5. Women do not work. They stay at home and take care of the house and of the children. Men are out for earnings.
Gypsies look very friendly to foreign visitors and would talk with you with pleasure about their life, their king and their life and culture.