Fairville, Romania is what you may call a travelling village. It can be found in any county and almost at any time—though it usually thrives on holidays and saint’s days. It consists of nothing more than a gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment. Sometimes, it takes the form of a get-together for the village, allowing for the sale of goods. At other points, it is a market of livestock and agricultural products. Really, Fairville can be any and all of these.

In all its forms, the notable inhabitants are the same: craftsmen, merchants, fiddlers and grill masters. Its visitors are always dressed to impress—many come in their Sunday best or their wardrobe’s coolest items. The guys like to don visibly branded t-shirts while the girls prefer bright, clashing colours and high heels. In both cases, the parties are unavoidably covered in glitter and grime by the end of their visit.

I first took photographs at a Romanian fair in 2008 called Rosiorii de Vede. Since then, I’ve travelled around the country, to Dragomiresti, Fieni, Lapusani, Calarasi, Pietrari, Galicea and many other places, each time looking for Fairville’s interesting people and charming moments.

Over time, I understood that Fairville is the place to witness, firsthand, the modernization of Romanian traditions and rural culture.

Of course, Fairville isn’t what it used to be. Like all things, it is succumbing to the pressures of the contemporary world. But even if it seems to lose its authenticity with each passing day, it also inherits a new kind of charm. In the end, despite the changes, Fairville remains picturesque. Take a look.

—Ioana Moldovan

Editors’ Note: We first discovered Moldovan’s
work while meeting photographers and reviewing portfolios at the inaugural LensCulture / World Press Photo Portfolio Reviews held in Amsterdam.