In Moldavia there is an interesting city called Soroki. The city is right on the boarder with Ukraine. Today we’ll speak about a Gipsy phenomenon connected with this place. The Gipsy block located here on the high bank impresses most tourists who come here only to look at the settled Gipsy mode of life. Many people believe that Gipsies are often ill-dressed, bothering people in the streets, living in Gipsy bands or at stations. But they do have houses! And what houses they have! In the ordinary provincial Moldavian city they simply delight!
The Ukrainian side
The most civilized Gipsies in the world live in Soroki. That’s how they tell about themselves. By the way, the local Gipsy Baron (Baron of all Moldavia) Arthur Cherar pretends to a title of a Gipsy King (chosen by ethnic minorities from different countries).
The main part of Soroki population are Moldavians living in the low part of the city at the bank of the Dniester, and higher, on the hill is a Gipsy city called “Jingling mountain”: in autumn and spring here wedding tambourines often jingle…
Here works the rule “the lower – the more expensive”. It is told about the land on which newer and newer Gipsy mansions are being built. They say that cost of a plot of land may reach incredible amounts – 50 thousand dollars for 1 m2!!!
The mansions they build have 3 or 4 storeys and are made in special Asian style with huge balconies, fanciful turrets, pyramidal superstructures…
Not very impressive? But can you imagine that some of the mansions already stood here in the 1980s? While party authorities were satisfied with 1 storey governmental summer cottages and rich bankers and businessmen were read about in magazine sections “Abroad”, here already stood a wonder city! At the Soviet time tourists had more interest in it than today.
Building process never ends in the houses of the Soroki Gipsies. But tax authorities know the reason well – according to the law no taxes are due from an incomplete house or they are pretty much lower.
Their weak spot is a never-ending desire to surpass a neighbour! That is why the construction competition never ends. Two bricks higher than he has!
One of them, for example, has a posh fountain with antique statues in which frogs and crocodiles live!
It takes about three hours to see everything interesting here. And each time you’ll see something new. Here they have a mini-copy of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre and a house looking like a 50 dollars note!
Walking here is absolutely safe, these Gipsies are rich and won’t be begging. They are rather hospitable and like their houses and families to be photographed. They can even let you enter a house looking for better angles…
However it’s ordinary people who live in such mansions.
Where do they get money to build them? Many people believe they are drug dealers. It cannot be affirmed for sure. But fortune-telling and begging are unquestionable. They still have such a sin – to steal a baby and make it a part of the begging business. The more miserable a kid looks the more he/she receives. Thus, beggars are usually dressed in rags and are often mutilated.
In the time of the USSR Soroki became the Gipsy capital of the world. The most powerful Gipsies settled here. Today close Gipsy connections still exist and thus, a ruble given to a Gipsy kid somewhere in Vladivostok will be spent for construction of a new mansion here, in Soroki!
Many Gipsies leave for other cities for earnings and return several times a year. Nomadic ones mostly come here for Christmas and Easter. Didn’t you know? They are orthodox believers!
Here used to be a jewelry cooperative, the only one of such kind in the USSR. The cooperative belonged to Mircha Cherar, father of the current Baron. Mircha was a skillful businessman, he developed something that was in deficit. He also helped other Gipsies to open and promote their business. Thus, in the 90s they started production of underwear in Soroki…
Right behind the fences all splendour vanishes being replaced by dirt and puddles.
What a nice roof this house has!
New mansions being constructed.
They say it’s Baron who is building them for his son and daughter.
The Moldavian part of Soroki is seen in the lower part.
The family of the Baron! Unfortunately there are no photos of their house here, but it’s the most beautiful in Soroki.
Gipsies do not understand people who do something for no particular reason. Everything must be done for profit.
Interstate ferrying. Only citizens of Ukraine and Moldova can cross the border.