During the wave of Yugoslavian industrialization, people left the village and went to the city to enjoy all the benefits that concrete jungle offered. Those mass migrations left many villages abandoned and destroyed by the ravages of time. But now, all those people are tired and just want to relax a bit, and what’s better for relaxation than green grass and soothing breeze on the countryside.
It took some time, but people just recently discovered ethno tourism, which led to a real boom when it comes to ethno villages. So, the reconstructions of old villages started to increase. For those who don’t know, ethno villages are modern reconstructions of old ones with a lot of chalets and cabins, but also restaurants. They are usually placed near the water (rivers or lakes) and you will only find peace and relaxation when visiting them.
Of course, it is not enough just to throw a wreath of garlic here and there to get the taste of real tradition. There is much more to that. Sometimes, people hire experts and according to their advice, ethno village is built. Some folks go step further and make interesting ethno events in their villages. That’s how we got Hajdučki sastanak (where modern brigands meet and celebrate), Pasuljijada (a competition in making the best-cooked beans), Festival of the original Serbian song (singing competition) and much more.
Just to be clear villages are far from the ones in the past, but they all have things that an average tourist needs. Here is just some ethno village you need to visit and what you can expect.
This village is also known as Mećavnik and it is built by film director Emir Kusturica. He actually made it for his movie “Life Is a Miracle”. Its name is a play on words on a German “dorf”, which means village, and director’s nickname Kusta. The streets are named after the people that Emir admires, such as Diego Armando Maradona, Novak Đoković, Ivo Andrić (the main street carries his name), Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Nikola Tesla and Ingmar Bergman.
So, if you head about 200-kilometer southwest of Belgrade, you will find a glorious village with a gymnasium, swimming pool, sound, and even cake shop (because, hey, who doesn’t love cake!). Nearby you can find hotel Mladost and ski slope with four trails. As all of that is not enough, Kusturica also made Kustendorf Film and Music Festival that is held annually and the main prize of this event is Golden Egg, awarded for the best short film. Various significant names visited this place, including Jonny Depp, Audrey Tautou, Nikita Mikhalkov, Jim Jarmusch and many others.
This village was built in 2003 and it is located at the exit from Bijeljina. More than million people visit this place each year, so that tells you everything.
This village is made out of two parts. The first one is wooden, showing secular life, with cottages and other household objects, and the second, made of stone brings the medieval times to us. You will find everything that old times offered to the world, from the water mill to the stone well. Well, not everything, this ethnic village has much more, things that folks in the old days didn’t have, such as tennis court, or swimming pool. Good thing we live in the modern world, right?
This ethnic village is one of the most interesting when it comes to naming its own apartments. They are all named after Slavic mythological figures, so you will be sleeping in rooms called Rusalka, Perunika, Morana, or even Nia. So, pay attention to those mysterious creatures, believe me, they can be very tricky. Even the place where this village is located is magical – Vitez (Knight). In the summer, you can go to a water park and have fun, and during the winter enjoy the spa, sauna and hydro massage pool with salty water.
These three villages are just my top favorite picks, but there are a lot more waiting to be discovered. All of them carry a big potential when it comes to tourism and each one has its own unique spirit. So, for them, saying doesn’t go – “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen all”, just pack your bags and go exploring.