POLOVRAGI, GORJ

Places

Situated in southwest Romania, 50 kilometres from the city of Targu Jiu, Polovragi is renowned for its unique pastoral landscapes, for a much-visited cave, Polovragi Cave and for one of the oldest monasteries in Romania, Polovragi Monastery, built in 1648, which contains more than 700 paintings on glass and a library with over 3,000 volumes.

People

According to the 2011 census, Polovragi had 2,820 residents, including a Roma minority of 400 that is located on the outskirts of the village, close to the Oltet river that crosses the town.

Schools

Of the three schools in Polovragi, Roma are served by a single institution, located about 2 km from the community.

In the past there was a school for grades I-IV for the Roma community, but it was abolished on the grounds that Roma children were not attending school regularly.

At the preschool level Roma benefit from a kindergarten located right within the community, where children learn only Roma and another in the centre of Polovragi attended by both Roma and non-Roma children.

Here as in other Roma communities the number of children who drop out of school is high, mainly because there are almost no sources of income, or traditions that include marrying at a young age.

Workplaces

Tourism is the main income generator for Polovragi, though it is not exploited to the fullest and has no real supporting infrastructure. Every year thousands of tourists visit the Polovragi monastery and the Polovragi cave.

 

The principal income of Polovragi residents comes from work performed in areas such as animal husbandry, agriculture and mining and ore processing. 

 

Traditionally Polovragi Roma had a wood-making guild which produced includes household items such as spoons, chairs, wheels and spindles, yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell these products as commercial outlets are non-existent in the area.

 

As a consequence the number of people who practice this craft today is fewer, with many opting instead to make a living from picking and selling fruit, mushrooms or nuts gathered from nearby forest areas.