Museum of Roma Culture in Slovakia / Romano Drom Exposition

The exhibition presents the origins and history of the Roma, from the departure of their ancestors from their original homeland – India to their arrival in Europe.It pays special attention to the historicity of the presence of the Roma in Slovakia and the impact of breakthrough historical events on their community. A substantial part of the exposiition is devoted to the traditional culture and way of life of the Roma.

Until now, it has not been possible to determine precisely to which inhabitants group and social status the ancestors of the Roma belonged, nor the time and reasons for their departure from the original homeland. At the beginning of the 2nd millennium, however, the wandering groups of Roma gradually came through the Persian and Armenia empires and Asia Minor to southern and south-eastern Europe. They came to Central Europe from the Balkans gradually during the 12th – 13th centuries. In the 15th and 16th centuries, reports of Roma appeared in western, northern and eastern Europe.

As the first written mention of the presence of the Roma in our territory is considered to be the report of the Spišská Nová Ves mayor about wandering of Roma from 1322.

The earliest reports on the settlement of Roma families on the outskirts of Slovak towns date from the 16th century. These were mainly families of blacksmiths and musicians.

In the period of the Enlightenment, Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II developed the efforts for permanent settlement of the Roma.

The most tragic period in the history of Slovak Roms was the period of the Second World War, when many Roma were victims of the German occupation troops.

After the Second World War the Roma community was not recognized as a special ethnic minority and its problems were solved within the framework of the so-called gypsy question in order to raise „the socially and culturally backward" but legally non-existent Roma population. In particular, the 1960s were the period of the strongest assimilation procedures of the state policy towards the Roma.

Only after 1989 did the Roma acquire rights-equality with other nationalities living in Slovakia. During the last census in 2001, a total of 89,920 inhabitants of Slovakia claimed their Roma nationality, with a realistic estimate of their numbers ranging from 350,000 to 450,000.

Traditional Roma culture has retained many specifics.

The exposition has the ambition to present the most common ways of obtaining the livelihood of the Roma – especially blacksmithing and music, including a reminder of the most important Roma performers, but also the processing of natural raw materials. It also pays attention to housing, meals, clothing and the social and spiritual culture of the Roma.

A special part of the exposure indicates the diversity of the Roma ethnic group. It is dedicated to the culture of the Vlach Roma. Many archaic elements have been preserved in their way of life. The means of approaching the topic is rich textual and pictorial material and a number of exhibits coming from the collection fund of the Slovak National Museum in Martin – Museum of Roma Culture in Slovakia.

The project is implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.


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Where to find us?

Museum of Roma Culture in Slovakia (Múzeum kultúry Rómov na Slovensku)
seated in Museum of the Slovak Village
Martin, Slovakia

e-mail: adriana.danekova@snm.sk