As they fled, the Sephards brought their distinct language and customs with them. That’s what you see in this series, and that’s what makes it so unusual. The language they speak intermittently is Ladino, a mixture of Spanish and various ancient languages. It’s loaded with proverbs and sayings, which the characters quote frequently. The Sephards also held onto their unique clothing through the centuries, as well as their cuisine and their Spanish and Jewish musical heritage.
So as the series begins in 1914, the proud Salom family finds itself living in one of Europe’s most interesting crossroads of religion and culture. Beyond their community they live next to Serbs, Croats and Muslims, within feet of the sounds of Roman Catholic churches, Orthodox churches, and mosques. They are peaceful neighbors and friends with people outside of their cultural group. They do business with them, and their children grow up together. But in a flash, everything changes when the Archduke Ferdinand is killed.
The world as they know it is gone.