Birth of the Settlements, ROMA in Bulgaria

by Jodi Hilton EUPHEMIST

Sitting on a rug spread on the wooden planks of his two-room house, 73-year-old Lazar Asenov skillfully twists willow branches, finishing the basket he is weaving. He learned the craft from his father and grandfather, who were nomadic weavers and horse traders. Lounging on the two beds in the room — the only furnishings — some of his many children and grandchildren watch him work. Four adults and five children share this home in a dilapidated Kremikovtsi neighborhood of muddy streets and brick shacks on the edge of the town of Garmen in Southern Bulgaria

“Simpler and happier” is how Asenov describes his childhood memories of nomadic life.

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Children play between the Kremikovtsi houses in Garmen.

The Kremikovtsi neighborhood, like many others, was established by the Communist government in the 1960s. During this period, the Communist regime forcefully imposed settled way of life on the small number of nomadic Roma who had traditionally led a nomadic lifestyle.

The majority of the Bulgarian Roma had already settled, says Professor Mihail Ivanov, who in the 1990s served as an advisor to President Zhelyu Zhelev on minority issues. He estimates that about 90% of Roma lived in settlements by the late 19th century.

A nomadic group called Kalderash, (Tinsmiths or Tinkers) settled in… READ FULL ARTICLE HERE