Field visit of the ROMHERITAGE project partners to the Slovenian itinerary of Roma cultural heritage, as well as meetings with the stakeholders that are involved in the itinerary (May 2024).

The partners of the ROMHERITAGE project met in Slovenia from 4 to 7 May 2024 with the aim of learning about the Roma Cultural Heritage route in Slovenia and conducting meetings with stakeholders, both public representatives and private companies and also prominent representatives of Roma culture in Slovenia.

Representatives of the project partners (Presencia Gitana, Them Romanó and EPEKA) spent three days on the ground to know the different stages/spots and contents that make up the Romani Cultural Heritage Route in Slovenia. During the different days, they held internal work sessions of the project and visits to the cities and neighbourhoods where Roma heritage is most prominent.

On the first day after a working meeting, the national coordinators travelled to the city of Maribor to attend an important Roma market, which is a prominent meeting point and cultural exchange for Roma and non-Roma. There they had the opportunity to meet leaders of the Roma people, including the president of the Roma National Council Darko Rudaš who expressed great enthusiasm for this project. In addition, in the city of Maribor they visited a Romani food restaurant and the well-known Roma Airbnb, a Romani neighborhood where visitors can stay.

From Maribor the journey continued to the Romani settlement of Kamenice, a Roma village where a museum of Roma culture can be visted, run by the locals. An anecdote was the extraordinary reception that the inhabitants of Kamenice gave to the famous Romani musician Santino Spinelli (director of Them Romano). Also, the Roma settlement Pušča – hidden gem of Pomurje was visited, where history, tradition and Roma culture intertwine to create a unique tourist experience

Other highlights were the visit to Radio Romic, the oldest Roma radio station in Slovenia, which also broadcasts in Romani language 24 hours a day. This radio will be one of the local partners of the project, as will the Roma museum in Murska Sobota which contains a wide diversity of elements of the material culture of the Roma in South-Eastern Europe, such as Roma occupations, artistic skills and dwellings throughout history, vehicles, music, handicrafts, many products and various tools from the past.

In the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, the ROMHERITAGE partners met with government representatives, such as Mrs. Ana Komac from the Office of minorities of Republic of Slovenia, and the Ministry of Culture, as well as prominent members of the Roma community, such as Haris Tahirović from Romano Anglunipe Slovenia, or international musician Trajani. The meeting explored opportunities for collaboration between government bodies, cultural organizations, and the Roma community to ensure that the route accurately represents and supports the Roma people. There was also time for a meeting with the director of the Ethnographic Museum of Ljubljana, Mrs. Tina Palaic, who expressed her interest in being part of the route in the Slovenian capital.

In total, there were intense days of work, travel and meetings in which it is clear how much interest the project has aroused in Slovenia and the great legacy and possibilities that Roma cultural heritage offers for the ROMHERITAGE project.