The house has always represented a place where people want to feel tranquil and secure. But man did not build a house just to find a shelter from the cold, thunder and storms. It was his artistic, as well as spiritual inspiration. In accordance with their simple way of life, the Serbs, built simple, yet functional housing throughout the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century. A few old houses have been preserved in Serbia until today, but we can still see what was the most important to the old builders
In the early 19th century, after the First Serbian Uprising, the Serbian villages were formed in the shape that we still see today. The rural architecture then began to develop, but all that time villages, as well as houses, were built spontaneously. Except in Vojvodina, where there was a strict rule regarding the visual aspects of houses and the plan of the village, there were no official regulations in the territory of Serbia proper.
The most common type of houses built in Serbia since the early 19th century were one-piece, modest dwellings. However, once historical circumstances became more favorable, the vitality of the Serbian people quickly came to the fore, so that they started building two-room houses, and later the multiple-room ones. The bigger space has not changed the fact that household members still consider the original, central room a major part of the house. The importance of that area for family members is corroborated by the very name of the central room called “the house”, while other rooms were named differently.
One of the major types of houses in Serbia is a “Dinaric log cabin”, which consisted of two parts. The most beautiful example of a perfect variety of the “Dinaric log cabin” is a “Moravian House”, which is present both in rural and in urban areas. The porch, either flat or arched, is especially attractive. The advent of the porch in front of the house entrance allowed the occupants a more comfortable life, because this is where preparations were carried out for entry into the central room, and it often served as a place to rest. Empty surfaces alternating with the full ones, always whitewashed walls in combination with dark-colored woodwork, give special expressiveness to these structures.
A variant of the Moravian house, just somewhat simpler, is a “Šumadija house”, which is considered indigenous to the area around Belgrade and central Serbia. In the north of Serbia, in Vojvodina, there were two variants of the so-called “Vojvodina House”, which is dependent on the terrain. A typical house in Kosovo and Metohija, was called a “Kosovo ground-level house”.
Further development of the national architecture influenced the formation of another type of old Serbian house in which they combine elements of all these types. This variety of house building is known as the “Balkan House”.
Old Serbian houses are not just beautiful on the outside, but remarkably functional inside. The wisdom of builders is also reflected in determining the orientation of the house, so the old Serbian house kitchen will never face the south.
Since the mid-20th century, a new Serbian village was formed, which, unfortunately, is characterized by a lack of sense of aesthetics and functionality. During the period of economic “boom” in the region, identity and primordial ties with the homeland was lost to a great extent. The tendency to revive the good old and functional Serbian house is increasingly present. More and more people want to restore the existing old houses and it is their link with tradition, ancestors and themselves. There are also new architectural forms that are inspired by folk architecture.