Descendants of the Old Believers who left Russia around 1772 to avoid religious persecution, the Lipovani (identifiable by their blond hair, blue eyes and, among the men, beards) were once dispersed all over the Delta but are now found only at Periprava, Mila 23, Mahmudia and Letea, as well as Jurilovca and Sarichioi on Lake Razim.

Adapting to their environment, the Lipovani became skilled fishermen and gardeners, speaking a Russian dialect among themselves but equally fluent in Romanian. Since you’re likely to rely on Lipovani boatmen to guide you through the confusing side channels (gârla), smokers should be prepared for their fundamentalist abhorrence of the “Devil’s weed”, tobacco; their consumption of vodka, however, is legendary.

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