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In Pictures: Romania's rich Roma
Affluent Roma construct mansions and drive luxurious cars in the small town of Buzescu.
Last updated: 20 Mar 2014 20:32
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Buzescu, Romania - In this town in southern Romania, 35 percent of the inhabitants are Roma. However, unlike the popular perception of the impoverished Roma, this community is quite affluent. Their large houses feature ornate and extravagant designs that can take years to build. 
 
Only one road runs through the 5,000-person town, but both sides of the road are cluttered with mansions. The residents own the latest luxurious sports cars made by top brands - such as Porsche and Mercedes. Many of these Roma run large businesses, but they do not specify which ones. And when the mafia comes up in discussion, Costica Stancu, an affluent Roma, said "Mafia? What Mafia? The money comes from work - no begging or other trades."

In Buzescu, omerta - an old code of honour that emphasises silence - reigns.

According to Steliana, another wealthy Roma, most of these Roma live in one room of their mansions because they cannot afford to heat the whole place. "We have to show that we have money, that's it," Steliana told Al Jazeera. 
 
Around 1860, the first Roma families, freed from serfdom, settled in this part of Romania to work the earth and mine various metals, such as copper. Today, the landscape has not changed much except for the opulent mansions of wealthy Roma, contrasting them with the storey maisonettes of Romanian peasants in the countryside.

/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Steliana sits on her daughter's bed and explains that the house remains empty for most of the year. Her kids only visit during holidays and weddings.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

One of Buzescu's palaces is protected by an ornate silver fence.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera
Buzescu is surrounded by fields and farms, which contrasts with the shiny palaces of the village.


/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera
A woman walks in front of her house in Buzescu.


/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A farmer passes in front of two unfinished palaces. Buzescu's inhabitants invest much of their money in building extravagant abodes. Sometimes they have to get loans from their families. It can take several years to finish a house.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A huge three-floor mansion with Greek style columns sits along Buzescu's main street. Those who reside in mansions near the main road are the most wealthy.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Cornelia and her husband Marius show off their living room. "We decided to build this house 17 years ago," Cornelia says proudly. "It took four years just to construct the walls."



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Steliana Nicolae, 55, smiles as she shows a picture of her daughter on her wedding day. Her mansion lies at the southern end of the village.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Costica Stancu strolls across the hall of Steliana's opulent house.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Costica Stancu and two men from the village chat on Buzescu's main street.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

"On the official market, the land and the houses aren't worth a penny," says Florina Jurchita, a real estate broker in Bucharest. "This is a parallel market. They sell their homes between them, for any price. Personally, even if I was offered such a house, I will not live there."



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Mansions clutter Buzescu's main road.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

At the entrance of the village lies Dan Finutu's palace. His new Porsche is parked in front of his house.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera
A man posing with his golden rings, necklace and teeth. In Buzescu, residents are pressured into openly displaying their wealth.


/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Farmers pass in front of a huge palace off Buzescu's main road.




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images:
/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151638181635_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151638353746_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151638541110_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151638712922_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151638884738_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151639166465_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151639338398_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151639525339_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151639666643_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151639838745_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151639994522_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151640134368_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151640291774_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151640431507_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/11/2014311151640572849_8.jpg
captions:

Steliana sits on her daughter(***)s bed and explains that the house remains empty for most of the year. Her kids only visit during holidays and weddings.

;*;

One of Buzescu(***)s palaces is protected by an ornate silver fence.

;*;Buzescu is surrounded by fields and farms, which contrasts with the shiny palaces of the village.;*;A woman walks in front of her house in Buzescu.;*;

A farmer passes in front of two unfinished palaces. Buzescu(***)s inhabitants invest much of their money in building extravagant abodes. Sometimes they have to get loans from their families. It can take several years to finish a house.

;*;

A huge three-floor mansion with Greek style columns sits along Buzescu(***)s main street. Those who reside in mansions near the main road are the most wealthy.

;*;

Cornelia and her husband Marius show off their living room. "We decided to build this house 17 years ago," Cornelia says proudly. "It took four years just to construct the walls."

;*;

Steliana Nicolae, 55, smiles as she shows a picture of her daughter on her wedding day. Her mansion lies at the southern end of the village.

;*;

Costica Stancu strolls across the hall of Steliana(***)s opulent house.

;*;

Costica Stancu and two men from the village chat on Buzescu(***)s main street.

;*;

"On the official market, the land and the houses aren(***)t worth a penny," says Florina Jurchita, a real estate broker in Bucharest. "This is a parallel market. They sell their homes between them, for any price. Personally, even if I was offered such a house, I will not live there."

;*;

Mansions clutter Buzescu(***)s main road.

;*;

At the entrance of the village lies Dan Finutu(***)s palace. His new Porsche is parked in front of his house.

;*;A man posing with his golden rings, necklace and teeth. In Buzescu, residents are pressured into openly displaying their wealth.;*;

Farmers pass in front of a huge palace off Buzescu(***)s main road.

Daylife ID:
67420302235430ce85eaaa16023c88a1
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Rich Romahttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Romaen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Tue, 11 Mar 2014 15:09:52 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/1436cbe29e336f5df519f72b4594206f

Steliana sits on her daughter's bed and explains that the house remains empty for almost the whole year. Her kids only visit during holidays and weddings.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/1436cbe29e336f5df519f72b4594206fSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Steliana sits on her daughter's bed and explains that the house remains empty for almost the whole year. Her kids only visit during holidays and weddings.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/03d6178b0de6d7122dde5552eae3dbe3

One of Buzescu's palaces are protected by an ornate silver fence.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/03d6178b0de6d7122dde5552eae3dbe3Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

One of Buzescu's palaces are protected by an ornate silver fence.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/fff2d08df0a9f02ea56025a320cff006

Buzescu is surrounded by fields and farms, which contrasts with the shiny palaces of the village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/fff2d08df0a9f02ea56025a320cff006Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Buzescu is surrounded by fields and farms, which contrasts with the shiny palaces of the village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/ac788dcd2d37470ea31b2db95f8d6b2b

A woman walks in front of her house in Buzescu.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/ac788dcd2d37470ea31b2db95f8d6b2bSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A woman walks in front of her house in Buzescu.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/33af13aad44ab4494eba8739d328220c

A farmer passes in front of two unfinished palaces. Buzescu's inhabitants invest much of their money in building extravagant abodes, sometimes they have to get loans from their families. It can take several yesrs to finish a house.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/33af13aad44ab4494eba8739d328220cSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A farmer passes in front of two unfinished palaces. Buzescu's inhabitants invest much of their money in building extravagant abodes, sometimes they have to get loans from their families. It can take several yesrs to finish a house.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/1d21947e26fcfc71344d9276a94912bd

A huge three-floor mansion with greek style columns sits along Buzescu's main street. Those who reside in mansions near the main road are the most wealthy.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/1d21947e26fcfc71344d9276a94912bdSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A huge three-floor mansion with greek style columns sits along Buzescu's main street. Those who reside in mansions near the main road are the most wealthy.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/5f96b574d65fcb453b7007b8273b4fd1

Cornelia and her husband Marius show off their living room. "We decided to build this house 17 years ago," Cornelia tells proudly. "It took four years just to construct the walls."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/5f96b574d65fcb453b7007b8273b4fd1Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Cornelia and her husband Marius show off their living room. "We decided to build this house 17 years ago," Cornelia tells proudly. "It took four years just to construct the walls."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/41600124e5b322256338d51ae1956e1c

Steliana Nicolae, 55, smiles as she shows a picture of her daugther on her wedding day. His "palace," as they are called here, lies at the southern end of the village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/41600124e5b322256338d51ae1956e1cSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Steliana Nicolae, 55, smiles as she shows a picture of her daugther on her wedding day. His "palace," as they are called here, lies at the southern end of the village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/fa664fcc55c3bec2938acdfac1bc22fc

Costica Stancu strolls across the hall of Steliana's opulent house.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/fa664fcc55c3bec2938acdfac1bc22fcSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Costica Stancu strolls across the hall of Steliana's opulent house.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/10aab20bcceda8445dc7311c7f0ee280

Costica Stancu and two men from the village chat on Buzescu's main street.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/10aab20bcceda8445dc7311c7f0ee280Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Costica Stancu and two men from the village chat on Buzescu's main street.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/8d7bfded7a00870e612964e4bc231421

"On the official market, the land and the houses doesn't worth a penny," says Florina Jurchita, real estate broker in Bucharest. "This is a parallel market. They sell their homes between them, for any price. Personally, even if I was offered such a house, I will not have lived there."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/8d7bfded7a00870e612964e4bc231421Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

"On the official market, the land and the houses doesn't worth a penny," says Florina Jurchita, real estate broker in Bucharest. "This is a parallel market. They sell their homes between them, for any price. Personally, even if I was offered such a house, I will not have lived there."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/0fd70f47270cfcbc67316b782bad439c

Mansions clutter Buzescu's main road.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/0fd70f47270cfcbc67316b782bad439cSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Mansions clutter Buzescu's main road.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/9afb97f992046bc2616ce16f94234104

At the entrance of the village lies Dan Finitu's palace. His brand new Porsche is parked in front of his house.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/9afb97f992046bc2616ce16f94234104Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

At the entrance of the village lies Dan Finitu's palace. His brand new Porsche is parked in front of his house.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/d8793bbac5fd820f0d5a1dcfbba8c709

A man posing with his golden rings, necklace and teeth. In Buzescu, residents are pressured into openly displaying their wealth.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/d8793bbac5fd820f0d5a1dcfbba8c709Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A man posing with his golden rings, necklace and teeth. In Buzescu, residents are pressured into openly displaying their wealth.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/95ce0df6d9f831b40bbc0a6fe0d9c9ad

Farmers pass in front of a huge palace off Buzescu's main road.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Rich_Roma/slideshow/no-caption/95ce0df6d9f831b40bbc0a6fe0d9c9adSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Farmers pass in front of a huge palace off Buzescu's main road.



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