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Tzigania Project...

Experiencing a sociological – anthropological - environmental – and herbalist
 perspective to the extremely marginalized (to the edges of the forest), 
impoverished (poorest of the poor), archaic (19th century living)
- Gypsy communities

- The Forest Gyspies... Khashtalo -Romantic Lonliness
                         Foragers of the Forest

The Forest Gypsies (Khashtalo) are found living between the stream (their water source) and forest (their gardens). While Europeans cultivated the valleys the marginalized Roma harvested the forests where they scavenged their daily meal and income

The sad - lonely Forest Gypsies - known in Roma society as "Khashtalo" - linger at the very bottom of Roma hierarchy.
They are the outsiders - the outcastes. They stand alone, rejected by their Romanian neighbors because they are "gypsies" and at the same time by  their Roma brethren for having lost the Roma langauge and culture -
as the Roma proverb attests:  
“who is ashamed of his language – is ashamed of his mother”

These are the Khashtale - the Untouchables of Roma society.

             Forest Gypsy Decor                    

 Visiting the Forest Gypsies of Hetea is a virtual journey back in time... It’s a horse and wagon community, where automobiles do not come,  Where water is hauled out of a single well shared by all and their daily meal comes from the blessings of Mother Nature. While Europeans cultivated the valleys, the Gypsies freely gather their needs from the backyard forests. The wild, dark and mysterious forests act as their gardens. They gather mushrooms, berries and wild greens that are sold or bartered in the village and city markets.  

 The  Khashtale Decor

Forest Gypsy Architecture    Collecting wood     Mushrooms
              Architecture................................................     ............The Life..............................................................The Food (MUSHROOMS)


Koka gypsy bread

Tzigania Project and the Forest Gypsies of Hetea invite YOU into the community of outcaste to meet the families and break bread (the Khashtalo bread" Koka" ). Learn about the life directly from the source (the people) and experience this rare view inside the community where outsiders don't go .  

Collecting Mushrooms:  the hidden-away Khashtalo have been harvesting the forest for centuries. Like forest gnomes they know the dark, mysterious forest like the back of their hands... 
Learn mushroom collecting from the people who survive scavanging the forest for a 1000 years  

 More Reading on the origins and culture: Khashtalo - the Outcastes

                 Forest Health Benefits (interesting article) -  Forest Bathing

Tzigania Project offer various choices designed to meet the budget and interest of everyone

"affordability is our mission" 

Our Various Options 


Mushroom Collecting with the Experts
Mushroom Collecting with the Experts (Level II)
Mushroom Collecting: Hawking in the Marketplace
 (Level III)
Hostel Program 
Meal Options
Gypsy Folk Music
LEARNING CENTER treasure trove of Learning
The Jewish Cemetery: Remembering Roza Goldstein
Basket-Making Workshop
Hiking Routes
and MORE.... new and improved



Time Duration 1-2 hours

A unique authentic experiece of a day with the Forest Gypsies (a slice of real life - Khashtalo style) … Wagon ride with Forest Gypsy family Vasile and Donna into the forest collecting mushroom (and other eatable / sellable forest produce). Sense the serenity of the sacred forest that is both beautiful, pristine and frightfully dangerous (the Forest Gypsies back yard)… 
Forest Health Benefits (interesting article) - 
 Forest Bathing
Learn the art of the forest harvest from the true experts.  (- Option: the program offers optional "Shatra" break where we make Gypsy camp - Gypsy fire and BBQ picnic with the family in the holistic forest.-)  Then it's to the Khashtalo village.  See the life: architecture, style and decor, occupations, severe poverty (reality) from inside. Visit to Vasile and Donna's house for some freshly made "koka" (Gypsy bread) and taste of some of our freshly picked mushrooms made by the Gypsies in Gypsy style... 

Visiting Khshtalo of Hetea is more than just mushrooms. Learn first hand the styles and customes of these severely marginalized people
the history  and that social break that caused their sad and lonely untouchable status.....

Visit includes humble guide ChuckTodaro offering objective insight to Khashtale and Roma culture...

Number PersonsVisit 
1100 Lei 
2150 Lei
 (75 per-person)
3210 Lei
 (70 per-person)
4270 Lei
 (68 per person)

Additional option

making the most of your time

  • "Shatra" option (Gypsy camp) BBQ / Picnic in Forest (a meal with the family).....We take a pause during the hunt for a Gypsy fire and BBQ / picnic in the forest clearing... Make a meal of it...This option requires only food purchase. Approximately 50 lei .
  • music performance by the unique Gypsy folk music (CD in the making)
  • Visit to the schoolhouse assist in our goals to stimulate education in the community nearly 100% illiterate or semi-illiterate
  • The trades : broom-making / basket-making (learning workshop in development)
  • HOSTEL STAY - click here for more info
  • MEAL OPTIONS - click here for more info

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

Gypsy magic mushroomGypsy houseGypsy and medicinal flowersMaking Gypsy bread
Gypsy FireGypsy forest greencoca breadHetea Flower Mushroomfresh mushrooms and gypsy bread
Mushrooms in a basketHetea womenFlower MushrooHetea by Wagon

Our Location and Directions
Location: Village Valcele county Covasna.
25 km east of Brasov
 (Brasov – villages SanPetru – Bod - Araci – Valcele – Sf Gheorghe (11 km west of city Sf Gheorghe) 
Arriving By CAR
Various routes to our location (less than 20 minutes frm Brasov and 15 minutes from Sfantu Gheorghe). The following link will take you to our location at Google Maps: Valcele, Covasna, Romania. Choose the direction option: write in where departung from and the program will offer option. Choose your prefered route.  
In Valcele

Arriving From Brasov: Entering Valcele. Follow winding road past the park on right - and then follow slope into village center
passing Catholic church on the hill on the left - communal well and abandon school on left. About 20 meters after the well come upon small bridge. Take the left hand turn onto gravel road just before the bridge. That corner house on opposite side of the stream is us. Iron bridge crosses the stream into our front gate. WELCOME! 

Arriving From Sfantu Gheorghe:
Road leading into Valcele is boardered by series of homes. You come upon small narrow bridge. Take immediate right hand turn after bridge onto gravel road. We are that corner house on the opposite side of the stream. 
Iron bridge crosses the stream into our front gate. WELCOME!
By BUS departing from BRASOV
Bus to Valcele departs at bus station at Brasov “gara de north” (main train station). Bus departs Mon-Fri: 7:30 AM / 4 PM / 7:30 PM. Sat and Sun: 7:30 / 4 PM  (40 minutes – 6 lei). Step down at Valcele (last stop).

   Continue along the main road in the direction of the bus, pass the village center, then up the hill, pass a church on your left, followed by communal well (on left). About 20 meters after the well is a small bridge. Take the left hand turn just before the bridge and follow the stream… We are the 1st house on the right. Cross at the iron bridge


  At Brasov “gara de north” (main train station): On left hand side facing the train station is a single bus stop to Sf. Gheorghe. Bus departs every half hour.. (30 minutes:  10 lei)

  Bus from Sf, Gheorghe to Valcele departs 1 PM and 4 PM. Bus can be met at the main bus terminal (near train station) and city center bus stop (in front of park. In front of row of flower shops)

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