I have noticed that in the past ten years, ethnic tourism and recreation in traditional villages have become incredibly popular in the Balkans, Europe. Most likely, it started in Serbia, in the mountainous area of Zlatibor (“zlati bor” is a “golden pine” in Serbian) where Emir Kusturica built his Drvengrad or, as the Germans call it, Küstendorf. This ethno village project was as original as its creator, the most famous film director of the Balkans.
They say that this idea came to Kusturica during the filming of “Life Is a Miracle.” Later, he transported his parents’ house to Zlatibor and began to look for and to buy old houses in Serbia to dismantle and reassemble them in a new place: in his ethno-village. Today it has about 50 traditional houses. This is a prototype of a typical early 20th century Serbian village which usually had several houses and was surrounded by magnificent nature. There are no more such villages in Serbia. I know this because I have a house in that area.
I think I understand why the project turned out to be so successful, and today you can find ethno villages in any part of the former Yugoslavia. This is an embodiment of people’s love for the lost country of their ancestors, and this is nostalgia for peaceful times before the Balkan conflict. Emir Kusturica was able to recreate the ideal village of his childhood with its cozy wooden houses where roosters crow every morning, white lilies bloom under windows, and where life is perceived as a miracle as it was many years ago.
However, there is a problem: the road trip from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, to Drvengrad takes about five hours by car, too long for just a day-trip. Of course, you can get there without a rented or private car, perhaps by bus, but such a long trip without spending a night in Drvengrad will not be easy. So I will tell you of another incredibly charming place. This is the ethno village of Stanisici in the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, three kilometers from the border with Serbia.