Driving through Transylvania, Romania we passed these unfinished palatial houses in the town of Huedin, I was fascinated why would anyone build these grandiose, gaudy looking houses and leave them unfinished. Some even looked deserted.
It turns out that under Romanian law, a house is not liable to real estate tax until it is finished, and many houses leave some windows undone, or an upper floor not finished to avoid the tax.
The houses I saw belong to a family of Romany (gypsies). Prejudice against gypsies is common in Europe, in part because of a popular belief that most of them live by crime; as a result these have been called “Pickpocket Houses.”