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Ursari of Calvini

Ursari, the  Former Bear Trainers

Cauldron-Makers - sand mold

Meet the Ursari..... Unique branch of Roma differing from the others by history, customs, dress, language and trade…

 Ursari Bear Trainers

 The name “Ursari” derives from the root word “urs” meaning bear in Romanian. They are the former bear trainer who traveled village to village entertaining folk with their circus-like dancing bears

Not surprisingly the famed Roma bear trainer occupation came as the first reference of Roma in Byzantium way back in 12th century. It was an unusual sight – and the unusual gets noted.

   "Those who lead around bears are called bear-keepers. They place dyed threads on the head and on the entire body of the animal. Then they would cut these threads and offer them along with parts of the animal's hair as amulets, and as cure from diseases and the evil eye. Others, who are called Athinganoi (Gypsy), would have snakes wound around them, and they would tell one person that he was born under an evil star, and the other under a lucky star; and they would also prophesy about forthcoming good and ill fortunes.".... Theodore Balsamon. Late 12th century. Constantinople.
  Animal training is a popular trade of the so-called “Gypsies” of India and possible descendants of Europe Roma. Upon arriving in foreign Byzantine they did what they knew. It drew an income and so they stuck with it carrying it over the Bosporus into the Balkans where it became a part of their repertoire until the 20th century and strengthening movements for the protection of animals objected ultimately outlawing the practice sometime between the two world wars. Though officially illegal it continued in Bulgaria right up to 2010 when the last of the country’s dancing bears was purchased and brought to the Gypsy Dancing Bear sanctuary in Belitsa.
Making Cauldron 

The loss of the trade resulted in a moment of re-adapting into:  Music – a natural evolution since dancing bear trade incorporated music - Mercantilism - or  Tradesmen (primarily metalworkers): as blacksmith or pot-makers like Calvini that still use the ancient yet highly functional sand mold system.


Ursari are natives of Moldova (Romanian and the Republic). One of earliest popular appearances came in Pushkin’s early 19th century romantic tragedy “The Gypsies”. The popular story would become the model of Bizet’s famous opera Carmen

Ursari language is quite unlike the Romani of Romania. It belongs to the Ottoman Empire influenced Balkan dialect. Their arrival into Romania came as captured booty by Romanian forces over Ottoman military. They were carried back into Moldovan territory as slaves of the state.  The unique musical styles of the Ursari fanfare ensemble resembling the famed Ottoman military marching bands and which differs immensely from the other Gypsy musical styles of Romania

 ceauane       making pots       making pots   


    2017 Programs
Making CauldronCauldron making WorkshopUrsari Community tourLearn RromaniHomestay

Making Cauldrons

Sit down, have a coffee and enjoy host Razvan Calin and family demonstrating the making of Cauldron using traditional sand molds from start to finish…. Duration 1.5 hours….  Includes a coffee, tea or juice


Instead of watching “do”… Participate and learn the steps of the trade… Duration 2 hours … Includes finished product souvenir ….  Includes a coffee, tea or juice

Rate per person

Ursari Community Tour

Join Razvan for a walking tour of the community (population Roma 2000) with explanation of people, culture and its history.

Calvin interesting on many levels. There is poverty and also wealth. Soak in the Romani architecture of poor and rich

Learn Rromani (Gypsy Language) 

Host Razvan Calin is certified teacher of Rromani language at the public school. He offers tutorial sessions. 1.5 hour session.

$ per person/ per session

(homestay recommended or overnight at Calvini Pensione)


Stay and enjoy the trade, community and surrounding nature.

Includes Dinner with the family and Breakfast

Single room, double bed, available.

__ lei per person (lunch available + 15 lei per person)

Calvini Pensione also available for guest overnight stay


Limited English available at Calvini. English speaking guide available with ChuckTodaro including transport. Departing from Sfantu Gheorghe (near Brasov)

Tools of the tradenumerous cauldron usesmaking of moldForm
Tools of the tradenumerous cauldron usesmaking of moldform

Melting metalsliquid metalHorse wagon and wheelGypsy Palace Calvini
Preparing for the pourLiquid MetalHorse wagon and wheelGypsy Palace Architecture 

Contact us with ANY questions                                                                                                                                     Phone: +(40) 758 55 66 70