Drvengrad Mokra Gora called also Kustendorf is a world of fantasy invented and made by famous Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica. Hotel Mecavnik in old log-houses, 19th century ambiance and modern amenities (movie theater, indoor swimming pool…) wait for nostalgic visitors....
Drvengrad Mokra Gora - Life beyond the Usual
Drvengrad (usually translated as a “Wooden Town”, although personally I will rather call it “Woodenburg”) is a traditional village representing 19th century Serbian countryside settlements from the area of Zlatibor.
It was built in recent years near the city of Mokra Gora by the famous Serbian film director Emir Kusturica.
For that reasons it is also called Küstendorf – supposedly linking Kusturica’s nickname “Kusta” and a German word “dorf” (village).
Despite its very short life-time, Kustendorf has already few versions (if not myths) regarding its origins.
What is sure is that it all started with few log-houses build as scenery for shooting the movie “Life is a miracle”. But soon after, a concept of making something “out of ordinary” gained traction and the few initial wooden-huts mushroomed into a sophisticated ethno-village complex.
Built in an urban style, Drvengrad preserves characteristics of 19th century traditions becoming a perfect example of the “Life beyond the Usual”. Located on the slope of the Mećavnik Hill above the idyllically beautiful Mokra Gora valley, Kustendorf (itself genuinely natural) is immersed in the unspoiled nature and filled with dear to our souls’ ambiance.
Plan of the ethno-village Kustendorf
(left-click on the picture to get its high resolution version)
To disperse any doubts about the “mission” entrusted to Drvengrad, here is what Kusturica said personally:
"I lost my city [Sarajevo] during the war. This is why I wished to build my own village. It bears a German name: Küstendorf. I will organize there seminars for people who want to learn how to make cinema, concerts, ceramics, painting. It is the place where I will live and where some people will be able to come from time to time. There will be of course other inhabitants who will work there. I dream of an open place with cultural diversity which sets up against globalization." (Emir Kusturica, July 2004.
Ethno-village Kustendorf seen from one of the observation platforms along the famous Sagran-8 railroad.
Or on other occasions:
“…..This is my Utopia,”…… I am finished with cities. I spent four years in New York, then in Paris, and I was in Belgrade for a while. To me now they are just airports. Cities are humiliating places to live……..”
“…I have made up a town that looks as if people have always lived there….”
“….I am making a stand here. I want to do something constructive. In Serbia a lot of people hate me because they want to westernize, not understanding that the western world is bipolar, with very good things and very bad things. Since they don’t have experience of the west, they even believe that western shit is a pie….”
Typical wooden house
Having my own experience with the West, I would add that unfortunately many “Westerners” think the same way, marginalizing the culture, traditions and achievements of the Eastern Europe. For some McDonaldization seems to be beneficial, but in reality given its “business nature” (read it big $$$$$ behind) usually it endangers or even kills “native” way of life developed by centuries-old societies. It is exactly like in the nature, when endemic species are killed by stronger, “invasive” ones irreversibly changing native “eco-systems”.
And at the end – we are all loosing something precious…..
No wonder that the village has very strong footprints of Kusturica’s preferences expressing his personal way of life, his friendships and values as well as political standings.
The streets bare the names of distinguished artists, film directors, writers, athletes and others that through their ideas or accomplishments have left a profound mark in the history of the mankind.
Closer view on the village
Main Plaza paved with wooden boards....
Writer's House (this one dedicated to F. Dostojevski)
Open-air Cafe-Bar let you sip freshly brewed coffee admiring at the same time charming local landscape.....
Flowers make an important part of the Ethno-town Drvengrad
This is a "cosmopolitan" town - Easily recognizable images on the facade of this home leave no doubt.... From the left: Jurij Gagarin, Diego Maradona and Che Guevara
Hairdresser's Angela house on the F. Fellini street,
Under this building housing hotel rooms there is a modern movie theater dedicated to "Stanley Kubrick".
An old mill also made it into Drvengrad.....
This house proves the well known truth: Location, location, location! ....
As expected from Emir Kusturica, his village mixes tradition with the world of fantasy..
Drvengrad "In blue" ......
And finally after meandering along the streets of Kustendorf let's have a look at what is "hidden" inside:
Hotels rooms are hand-painted and individually decorated. Despite the seemingly rustic ambiance rooms offer modern amenities...
Crossing the Entrance Gate you enter the world of fantasy. But in contrast to any exhibition or ethno-park that closes at the dusk, this one is a vibrant place. It stays full of life till the late night, looking as if people live here (they are as the matter of fact).
I would say that your first step through the gate marks the beginning of your own “Magical Mystery Tour”……
So let's follow these steps to get more close and personal with Kustendorf, to feel old vibes in the air mixed with new ideas exposed at every corner.....
To have an inside view into Kusturica's world please follow the link: Kustendorf Mokra Gora
But any time, you can also jump on "Romantica" (a nostalgic ride in an old train on famous "Sarganska-Osmica")
It is a wonderful trip into the past with remarkably scenic views...
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