Ethno villages, the living museums of culture and tradition

Milena Mihajlovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Serbia is a colorful land where the East meets the West, with a unique blend of civilizations, religions, cultures, and landscapes. A cultural and spiritual mix of East and West, Serbia has everything that denotes both cultures, including the architecture and national cuisine. However, like with every other place, the modernism has been overtaking the Serbian culture too, since the people are leaving the villages and going to the cities to seek a better life. Seeing all this, a few dedicated people have decided to take the matter into their hands by safeguarding their Serbian traditions and values. How? They have developed a new concept, a living museum that preserves culture and tradition, popularly known as the ethno villages.

What are the ethno villages?

Ethno villages, also known as ethnic villages, are the places that preserve the national heritage of the country and the people living at that territory. This historical and cultural heritage is attached with touristy elements, which are reflected in the national cuisine, architecture, rustic decorations, and activities that are opened to the guests. Ethno villages in Serbia portray the conventional spirit of Serbia. These villages are scattered across awe-striking and hidden landscapes within Serbia. They are the modern guardians of the traditional customs, values, and culture of Serbia, which combine the warm hospitality and bring back the medieval Serbian practices and lifestyle.

Sirogojno ethno village

Sirogojno showcases the authentic mountainous village life of the 19th century in its true traditional, countryside form. Snuggled in the vivacious scenery of the Zlatibor Mountain, Sirogojno was popularly proclaimed as an open-air museum in the year 1980 and named “Staro selo,” which means an old village. This place is renowned for its 47 wooden houses, which were brought from the nearby Zlatibor villages. The houses are equipped with the authentic interiors and tools. The village also includes the barns, cauldrons for making rakia, bread baking stoves, a wooden church, a tavern, and more than 200 exhibits. The uniqueness of this village is its hand-knit Sirogojno style sweaters made by local weavers.

Drvengrad ethno village

Also called Kustendorf, Drvengrad is tucked between the Zlatibor Mountain and the Tara Mountain National Park. This captivating ethno village in Serbia was designed and developed as a movie set by the renowned Serbian film director Emir Kusturica. The place also hosts the world famous Kustendorf Film Festival. This dazzling retreat allows visitors to stay in the old log cabins and savor the taste of traditional Serbian cuisine. Drvengrad accommodates many other things - an art gallery, small charming church, a library, a souvenir and cake shop, and a cinema.

Tiganjica ethno village

Tiganjica ethno village is constructed in the conventional “Lala” style, which perfectly reveals the way of living in the north of Serbia. Guests can cook a traditional fish soup or Shepherd’s stew while listening to the melodious, sweet music coming out of the traditional tamburica. The best thing about this charming village is its purebred horses that adults can ride, while at the same time it has thoroughbred ponies suitable for children riding.

As the guardians of traditions, these Serbian villages offer the local handiworks, forgotten crafts like wood carving and loom weaving, and folk embroidery, along with the old folk customs, authentic polyphonic singing, and folk music. Additionally, there is a delicious organic food that is produced locally in the gardens and brought straight to the plates of the guests. The locals are always eager to help, showing the warm Serbian hospitality and making the ethno villages real living museums that preserve culture and tradition.

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