In a country with few tourist attractions, Soroca is comparatively overflowing with them, boasting both a medieval fortress dating from the days of Ștefan cel Mare and several new “fortresses” built by members of the gypsy, or Roma, community.
The name “gypsy” is itself controversial, based on a now debunked theory that the Roma people hailed originally from Egypt. Recent evidence suggests that the group actually made their way to Europe from northern India. Because the word “gypsy” is so common, some activists advocate owning and reclaiming it; others feel the name carries too many negative connotations. (Regardless, English language speakers should definitely avoid using the word “gyp,” which is a clear racial slur.)
While Roma communities have existed in Europe for a millennium or more, they have often been the target of discrimination and worse.