The gypsy palace in Turda in Romania is home to many rumors. This luxury place has been abandoned for some years, but not anymore. I was invited inside by the Roma family. This is my experience from the gypsy palace in Turda.
It’s afternoon and I’m in the town of Turda in Transilvania, Romania. For several years, the biggest and most impressing gypsy palace in the town has been abandoned. I want to see the construction with my own eyes.
When we are getting close to the palace, we see it’s not empty anymore. A few ladies standing on the staircase. A really big carpet covers the steps. Something is happening here!
The car is now parked and we’re walking towards the palace. The ladies are gone but you can hear people yelling inside. Around the palace is a high fence.
In a moment I was inside
After a few minutes of waiting, a woman comes out. We tell her about the amazing house, how impressed we are, and if it possible to let us inside.
Well, if we can bring them some gifts, we may be welcome inside. We accept the deal and within a few seconds, more ladies coming and drag us inside the house.
Inside the palace
The whole family gathering around us at the same moment we are inside. Everyone wants to show us around, in what they think is the most expensive and luxurious palace in the world. Some speak a little English. Others speak a few words in German. They arguing among each other to be the one who’s communicating with the foreigners.
Much focus is placed on the decorations on the ceiling and on the walls. One criterion for letting us inside was to take “good pictures”. Therefore most of my pictures represent decorations to making them happy.
The busy situation continues. They take my elbow leading me to a dark room. It’s the kitchen an old women stir in a pot on a gas stove. It’s totally dark due to powercut to the building. I turn on the flashlight on my cell phone. I see dust everywhere and 5-8 people around me who are chatting intensively. My travel company is gone. I don’t see them. I answer in both English and German. Someone shuts “Geld für den Kinder” which means money to the children. I shut back, “Später, weiter gehen” (later, go further).
Some Roma men sitting around a table in the dark room and laughing. I say “geiles haus” (amazing house) and soon I find my travel company again. They have been on sightseeing in other rooms. We try to stay together during the rest of the visit.
We continue our stroll through the house, or more accurately, being pushed and dragged through the house. Everyone is excited! Time after time they show everything to get me saying: “amazing house, fantastic, you are so happy, wow you are rich etc.”
We stay in a room covered with porcelain figures and antiques. They show me many of the things and describes them as “very expensive” and “high quality”. I also think some of them could be…
Enough is enough
After a short walk, somebody shuts out load. The head of the family has had enough of our visit. He is somewhere around 2 meters tall and wearing a big black hat. We are quickly pushed outside in the yard by the women. Before we are done, two ladies show the broken boiler.
During my study of the boiler, the other ones in the Roma family talks with my travel company about requests from people from Indonesia and New York that offered thousands of Euros just to see the palace from inside, but they have been denied… Well. I don’t know.
It’s time for payment, or even called “the gifts”. When the wallet is shown and the bills appear, the situation suddenly changes. Now the ladies are offended by the payment and ask us if we really think they are in need of money. After some polite phrases, they take the money with a comment like “for some candy to the children then”. There will be a lot of chocolate in Romania for this sum I think.
Reflections about the visit
I think both sides of this history had pretty fun. The Romas had the opportunity to show their house, get a lot of compliments and also some money. We, on the other side, got a unique experience from this formerly abandoned palace. Like a win-win, right? Everyone was satisfied.
About the gypsy palace
There are some facts about this palace on the Internet. Some details can be found here.
What could be read is that the house is redeemed by the bailiff. Maybe the family has moved in here nevertheless. What I saw, they haven’t lived here for more than a few days. The 22 peoples that now lives in the palace are relatives of the Roma man who’s started to build it at the beginning of the year 2000. Some of the ladies refer to him as “uncle”.
Anyway, a big thanks to the family who lives in here today and good luck with the renovation!