Romania: Huedin

Probably no other place in Romania (or possibly the entire world) has higher concentration of bling-covered palace houses and bling cars than this tiny town of Huedin. Huedin is known locally as the town of “gypsy castles”. Every single person in this majority Roma town competes with each other in building a bigger and glitzier castle and owning a BMW/Mercedes with shiny rims. If your stereotype was that Russians/Americans/Chinese are obsessed with bling – then come here for a whole new level. It’s the ultimate of kitsch – tibetan roofs with french verandas, mini-tadj mahals with loads of silver and gold trinkets, lion sculptures, Roman and Greek columns, statues of liberty, eiffel towers, and so on and so forth. Where’s the money coming from? Officially, the residents of Huedin are skillful craftsmen. Unofficially, this is a major transit point for middle eastern illegal migrants into Europe, with the gypsy clans running the racket. Most residents of Huedin actually hold dual Romanian/British or Irish citizenships, as most all license plates in town are British.