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Tzigania Project introducing.... 
The enigmatic Khashtalo - aka Forest Gypsies
Experience with us a sociological – anthropological - environmental – and herbalist
 perspective of the extremely marginalized, archaic,  Gypsies of the Forest 

Romantic Lonliness

             The Forest Gypsies - 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 source of 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" while 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 Khashtalo - 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.  Water is hauled out of a single well while their daily meal comes from the blessings of Mother Nature. Europeans cultivate the valleys while the Gypsies freely gather their needs from the backyard forests. The forboding forest act as their gardens where they gather mushrooms, berries and wild greens that they hawk through local villages and city market.  


Forest Gypsy Architecture    Collecting wood     Mushrooms
                            Architecture                                              The Life                                              The Cuisine


Koka gypsy bread

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

The severely marginalized Khashtalo have been harvesting the forest for centuries. They know the dangerously unpredictable forest like the back of their hands... Learn mushroom collecting from the experts - the people surviving by scavanging the forest for a 1000 years 


KHASHTALO – Forest Gypsy Experience

A journey back in time


Your visit begins with a horse and wagon ride with Forest Gypsy family Vasile and Donna into the surrounding forest where guests learn the art of mushroom collecting 

Gypsy horse and wagon ride with Khashtalo (Forest Gypsies)

If a picture is worth a thousand words than a VIDEO is… 

VIDEO Horse and Wagon with Forest Gypsy


It doesnt end with mushroom collecting. Next stop is rare and unique visit into the Khashtalo village where few venture...  See the preserved Khashtao life, the architecture, style and decor, and other realities from INSIDE. Khashtalo Bread Koka A visit to the home of host family for some freshly made "koka" (Gypsy bread) and taste of some of our freshly picked mushrooms made by the Gypsies in Gypsy style... 

Visiting Khashtalo of Hetea is more than just mushroom collecting yet the unique first-hand opportunity to learn of the archaic customs - social order - style - decor - and the evolution including their specific history that caused their sad and lonely untouchable status.....

Visit includes guide ChuckTodaro (WHEN AVAILABLE) 
offering objective insight to Khashtalo and Roma culture......

Hostel Guest Rates


number personsWith GuideWithout Guide
1100 lei80 lei
5 ++ 50+ 50

Day Visit Rates

number personsWith Guide Without Guide
1110 lei100 lei
5+ 50+ 50

Making the most of the experience

Meeting the Musician
for some authentic Gypsy folk music
(Rate: negotiable tip going to family)

Video Link Khashtalo Music
Gypsy Folk Music VIDEO

Meet the basket-makers
 (Rate: negotiable tip going to family)

Basketmaker VIDEO link
Basket-Making VIDEO

Available now to our  hostel guests

Khashtalo (Gypsy) Woodcarving workshop

Learn from Iacob, master Gypsy craftsmen 
and the woodcarving skills of his forefat

Learn the figurine skill changing this.... 

 Woodworking Workshop

 into this.... 

Woodworking Workshop Figurines

 ...and take home a most unforgettable souvenir 
Contact us for more info about this 
unique opportunity...

Woodworking Workshop VIDEO link
Khashtalo Workshop VIDEO Link


Highly Recommended
Peasant Romanian Meal option        


Meal at the neighboring “taran” (Peasant Romanian) for an
unforgettable traditional Romanian Meal

Great Price - Exquisite Food and Unique Setting 

DAY VISIT Menu / Rates

Traditional Romanian “tocanitsa”... just 45 lei per plate
Fresh rabbit (guest can participate in the sacrifice)
Rabbit… just 150 total
(serves up to 4 persons / 40 lei a plate)

Free range chicken.... just 100 lei (serves about 4)

(All meat from the stable and greens from the farm. 
(Vegetarian dishes available) 


Fresh RabbitSetting
RabbitAll Natural /Authentic Setting 

FAdditonal reading 

Khashtalo origins and culture: Khashtalo - the Outcastes

Forest Health Benefits (interesting article) -  Forest Bathing

The Jewish Cemetery: Remembering Roza Goldstein

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

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