With high marble columns and pagoda-shaped roofs, houses built by wealthy Roma adorn many villages in Romania.
Widespread in one of the poorest EU member states, these buildings are estimated to have several thousand, often multi-storey buildings, as neighbors compete for higher.
Kostica Stanchu says:
“Roma are roaming all over Romania. When they see a beautiful house, they want to own it. Initially all castles had little towers, but were later replaced by more modern ones. "
Colorful decorations, as well as the US dollar sign or the logo of some German car brands, can be seen on some of the facades as a symbol of wealth.
Romanian architect Rudolf Graff says that, while often derided as "absolute kitsch," the style of "Roma palaces" should not be dismissed.
"Paradoxically it reflects a part of Romania's history, unlike the contemporary architecture implemented by the state itself," he says.
The roofs, especially with their fragments and skewed stairs reminiscent of Asian temples, are just a highlight of the typical architectural elements of the country.