This blog is a continuation of my Serbia travel series. (You can read the first part highlighting the visits to the ruins of an era dating back to Emperor Constantine here). I visited the Nikola Tesla museum like all new arrivals in the country and was fascinated by the life and works of the scientist. Instead of waxing eloquent on it, I will let the tale be told in pictures.
The Wooden Town
No visit to Serbia is complete without a trip to the Wooden Town built by the famed film director Emir Kusturica. The town is is located on a sun kissed hill named Mecavnik near the village of Mokra Gora. Beautiful wooden houses frame the main street as you walk into the town giving an ethereal feel of a lost fairy kingdom. The alleys and the houses were framed by sweet scenting grass and picturesque flowering plants and flower boxes. Each house in the town is unique, with many of them being period pieces, all fitting perfectly into the town resembling puzzle pieces into a pretty picture.
Memorable street names and magnificent views
Almost all the street names and landmarks in this little town are named after writers, nobel laureates, scientists and other eminent personalities. There is the Ivo Andric square, named after the nobel laureate. The main square in the heart of the town is named after Serbia’s most famous son, Nikola Tesla. The square also contains the Stanley Kubrick Theater and a helicopter pad in the back yard. At the end of the square is a small wooden church made up of 16th century beams and rafters. The cobbled steps constructed in the main alleys and streets are noteworthy, being constructed with specially treated timber at the edges.
There is of course, a Federico Fellini street which houses a tasty restaurant. Most of the wooden houses in the town are period pieces from 13th – 17th centuries carefully dismantled from their original sites and reassembled in this little town. Some of the fascinating features of note include houses without chimneys (they were built before chimneys were invented!) as well as the medieval décor consisting mainly of crosses made of (now) aged wood, oak timber bedsteads and cooking pots placed strategically outside the house.
Most Serbians revere Yuri Gagarin, as pioneer of not just space travel but also of stimulating the interest of the local populace in science and it is, but to be expected that he would feature prominently in this little town in carefully curated wall paintings. Fidel Castro features alongside Yuri Gagarin, being one of Kusturica’s personal heroes.
The funny highlight of the entire trip came when I noticed the portraits of George W Bush and Henry Kissinger painted on a prison replica. This of course, stems from the bitter memories of a civil war that shook Yugoslavia in the 1990’s before it broke apart into different nations such as Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Needless to say, the strategic location of the hill where the Wooden Town was situated gave rise to some spectacular views of green carpeted hills and blushes of primroses and other flowering plants all around.
A lonely house
The next interesting sight of our tour was the lonely house standing alone by itself in the middle of the river Drina. This tiny house stands on an exposed rock in the middle of the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, at the eastern edge of Tara National Park and attracts a LOT of travelers across the globe.
Precariously perched on a rock, this little house has endured half a century of storms and flooding. It was constructed, by a group of young swimmers to take a rest from bathing in the Drina River. It is basically a one room shack and can be hired for a night’s stay.
Sargan 8 Train
The final destination on our trip was a visit to the Sargan 8 railway station. This is an old-fashioned narrow-gauge railway which was constructed in 1925. This is now a major tourist attraction for its quaint carriages with wooden seats and wood stoves as well as the breathtaking, beautiful landscape of Tara Mountain through which it travels. The railways is so named because of the way its constructed resembling the number 8.
In conclusion, the wooden town is artsy and folksy, the lonely house – an adventurous night stay and the sargan 8 railways, historic. Also check out Tara national park if you can spare the time.
Add Serbia to your bucket list of tourist destinations, if you love flashes of european culture, history and picturesque locations. Happy travelling.
Credits: A shoutout to Stefan Slavkovic (firstname.lastname@example.org), our guide for an interesting trip.