Kustendorf Mokra Gora called also Drvengrad is a vibrant ethno-village invented by Emir Kusturica for Film and Music festival in traditional scenery and ambiance.
Kustendorf Mokra Gora or "Magical Mystery Tour" ....
The long central square opening in front of you is paved with wooden cubes apparently made from old railways sleepers.
Some rustic timber-huts along the square are authentic, hundreds years old units moved piece by piece from nearby villages and then refurbished.
Others are freshly built by local craftsmen strictly respecting the traditional architectural style of old masters to match the “patina” of the remote past.
Most log-houses are part of the “Mećavnik” hotel, in a way making Kustendorf a city-hotel with all elements necessary to be the living city and the hotel at the same time.
As we would expect from such unusual hotel in the land of fairytale, it offers charming places for guests deciding to stay for a night in the village. Rooms beautifully combine the old-times inspired “rustic-elegance” with modern amenities: bathrooms, flat-screen TV, mini-bar, (some even have a fireplace).
While they all welcome you with the similar charm known these days only from the “grand-grand-ma’s” photo-album they also offer you an amazing uniqueness as each one is individually decorated and painted.
Kustendorf Mokra Gora: Interior decoration seems to evoke "Old Good Times"....
The village complex also includes covered swimming pool, gym, sauna, underground basketball hall, two clay tennis courts, kindergarten…
The movie theater offers films from Kusturica’s vast private collection while the Art Gallery “Macola” displays works of renowned local artists. And the best – the access to all these services is free of charge for overnight hotel guests! (thanks, this warm hospitality meant a lot for me!).
Inside of the coffee shop....
Needless to say that there is also a souvenir shop and stands offering all kind of artisanal (and not only) stuff giving you chance to take back with you some “magic” from Kustendorf Mokra Gora.
There are also restaurants, bar and pastry shop….. They all serve a healthy homemade food. Most sweets (tarts, cakes etc) are made according to long forgotten recipes that are hard to find elsewhere.
Drvengrad: No room for Coca-cola, instead you will find here delicious juices representing the Bio-Revolution .....:-)
Not surprisingly - you will not find here one of the biggest symbols of globalization: Coca-Cola (and its “siblings”) mercilessly “devouring” traditional drinks across the world. Instead, pastry & coffee shop offers tasty home-made juices, promoting the local “Made-in-Kustendorf” brand-names (for details see the picture!)
As in every old village - there is also a small church dedicated to St. Sava. With two-sloped roofs covered with wooden shingles and the next to it timber belfry, it dominates the main square.
On the street below the main square you will find the city jail. Behind the bars you will easily recognize two once prominent former political leaders, since long engraved in a “global consciousness” for rather disgraceful deeds…..
Walking along the streets you will find symbols of the “old good times” like for example cars remembering 1960’s. Some of them like “Trabant” (from the former East-Germany), or “Volga” (from the Soviet Union) disappeared from today’s streets and are clearly part of the seemingly distant past.
Some - like “Skoda” (Czech Republic) that made the name in today’s competitive world of cars, here in its old 1000MB incarnation induces warm smiles on faces of passersby. For many of you, these cars may look miserably unpretentious, but keep in mind that for many Eastern-Europeans, view of these once cherished “babies” brings back the warm nostalgic memory of safe, precious and peaceful past characterizing the pre-globalization era.
Views on the surrounding hills covered by forests, here and there dotted with red-roofed houses marked by white smoke ascending from chimneys add a large dose of sacred tradition and at the same time cheerfulness to this fabulous place…..
To finish this descriptive part about ethno-village Kustendorf let me mention that the jury of Brussels Foundation for Architecture “Philip Rotie” proclaimed Drvengrad the best European architectonic achievement in the last years……
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Kustendorf Mokra Gora: Church of St. Sava dominates the main square....
Right - view on the valley from behind the church
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This is the perfect place for the "nostalgic" cars - symbols of the past....(from the left - Skoda, Volga and Trabant).
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Drvengrad: Interior of the National Restaurant "Lotica"
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.... and this is the Coffee Bar
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Kustendorf Mokra Gora: From the left: covered swimming pool, Movie theater and Souvenirs
Many potential visitors to Drvengrad will enjoy the news that in 2010 the popular Hollywood actor John Depp visited the ethno-village for the opening of the 3rd Annual Kustendorf Film Festival. Depp’s visit is memorized by his life-size statue on the main square next to the coffee shop.
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Kustendorf Mokra Gora: World of imagination and fantasy and on the right - Johny Depp!
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In the summer of 2005 Kustendorf opened doors for the first seminar gathering students of the 7th art under the title “Art is (not) in Transition”. But that was just the beginning of Kusturica’s old dream - to organize a non-commercial, no-red carpet, no-fashion & glamour cultural event gathering distinguished directors, actors and promising students from the whole world representing the art of cinema.
So the next step came almost naturally - since 2008, Kustendorf hosts the annual Film and Music Festival (usually taking place in January, during the deep winter).
The winner of the official student competition receives a precious “Golden Egg”.
And now even more good news for the future visitors to Kustendorf. The fairytale does not end once you leave the ethno-village.
The recently reconstructed narrow gauge railway called Šargan Eight starts the daily trips from the nearby town Mokra Gora.
The standard trip lasts about three hours during which the
refurbished old train takes you on the fabulous adventure crossing
numerous tunnels and stopping at scenic view platforms.
To re-start the visit to Kusturica's ethno-village please select the link: Drvengrad Mokra Gora previous (page 1)
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