By: Bojana Jankovic
Uzice, March 16, 2010 (Serbia Today) - Ethno- Tourism has been operating in Serbia for many years with great success. Serbian villages are known as ecological oasis free from pollutions of modern cities, the air clean and the food healthy.
Known by their hospitality and cordiality, the hosts will greet you with a smile, attentiveness and closeness. Traditional way of greeting a visitor is by offering him a piece of a warm pogacha ( round bread), preserve made from locally grown fruits, or honey with a glass of cold spring water; of course unavoidable is tasting of domestic rakija (brandy). Yet, there are differences in details in various parts of Serbia, because the ethno-tourist includes the excursions through the surrounding areas, natural attractions, cultural-historical sites, traditional folklore manifestations, sports and recreational activities in nature. If you choose Vojvodina village for your retreat, you will realize that many years ago, the salashes (farms) have switched from agriculture to tourism. Secluded from the rest of the world, they fill you with a charm of past times. Some of the salashes exist over 200 years, and in time they became museums of flatland’s way of life. You can find there almost all the objects and tools that their inhabitants used in the field, household or yard.
In the Eastern part of Vojvodina, in Banat, there is an ethno village Tiganjica, 10 km away from the city Zrenjanin. With an idea to present the life in Banat in an imaginative way, at the entrance to this village is situated a natural reservation preserve called Carska bara (King’s pond). A special attraction in Tiganjica is a mini zoo with roosters, pawns, does and ducks. For lovers of active vacation, there are available horses for riding, and refreshment can be found at the bathing area next to the Zabalj bridge, where also a camp site has been open. The Eastern part of Serbia was always described as a part of country in which life was expressed in a mystical and secretive way, with special philosophy and beliefs. The village homesteads in the vicinity of towns Donji Milanovac, Kladovo, Golubac, Majdanpek and Negotin, known by their ethno-tourist offers, will take care that your stay is not just comfortable but also interesting. Timok region is famous by its vineyard cultivation. A special area in Eastern Serbia is Homolj area, with famous gorges like Gornjcka, Ribarska, Velika I Mala Tisnica, Osanicka Reka I reka Do. The spiritual and cultural center of Serbia called Sumadija (read Shumadia), gave its “seal” and contribution. The trumpet and flute are the instruments from these areas and traditional instruments when the famous ” kolo” is played. The famous “Sumadian Tea” (cooked brandy) will warm you up, while you listen to the story-tellers and their stories of Serbian heroes and Dukes, famous battles and big victories. The villages of Central Serbia nurture a tradition of good health, clean air, pure water and medical benefits of nature. Specifically those are the areas around the towns of Arandjelovac, Topola, Gornji Milanovac, Cacak, Knic, Lucani, Krusevac, Kraljevo. At the North-West part of municipality of Arandjelovac, there is a village Latkovac. With its long and interesting history it spreads a magic atmosphere around itself, culminating in remarkable quality wines.
A special event is wine tasting, when it is accompanied with story-telling about Fairies and Slavic Gods. In this village tourists can participate in old Serbian Crafts or agricultural works. Even though the historic and cultural tradition is very rich, the nature is still intact and pure. There is a souvenir store in this village, which proceeds go to the mentally challenged persons in Aleksandrovac.
The villages in the Western parts of Serbia were actually the first ones , which started to accommodate the tourists in their own houses. Their houses are mainly built out of wood, on stone foundation. The architecture is very pleasant and impressive, while the interior is filled with warmth. Here people greet each other by “All the Best”, which they seriously wish you, and will show you by their traditional meals that will leave you breathless: corn bread from integral flour, mushrooms, pies with homemade filo-dough and domestic cheese, vegetable soups, nettle, djuvech and stuffed peppers, corn meal. The most famous specialty is a flat bread from Uzice, served hot with a spoonful of kajmak (cheese spread).
Fifteen kilometers from the Zlatibor mountain, a village Ljubish is located. It is famous by its medicinal herbs, and river Ljubisnica abounding with trout. Between the mountains Zlatibor and Tara, a film director Emir Kusturica has built an ethno village called Drvengrad on Mecavik, in Mokra Gora. At one end it has a small wooden entrance, at the other end a small wooden church dedicated to Saint Sava. The central village square is made of a big wooden square. Authentic wooden houses are raised on stone foundations. Drvengrad has a library, art gallery, movie theater, pastry shop, traditional restaurant, store selling handicraft works of villagers.
Not far from Mokra Gora is located a village Sirogojno, known as “museum in the open” or “Old village”. The architecture of Sirogojno consists of 47 wooden houses bearing the authentic spirit of surrounding villages. A summer shepherd’s house where they keep the animals is a special attraction. This house consists of two huts and a mobile house with a bed, so the shepherd could be next to his herd during summer and winter. Many workshops are organized during the year, as well as numerous art exhibitions. Sirogojno is famous worldwide for its handmade sweaters, well known in Paris, Rome, Vienna, but also in the Far East. Sirogojno is surrounded by mountainous range, ideal for winter and summer vacations, and in vicinity are Stopica cave, and spa Vapa. There are many other villages participating in the ethno-tourist offers, and even more are still developing and working towards that direction.