If you happen to be in the northeastern Bosnia & Herzegovina, somewhere around the city of Tuzla, and if you are in search of an authentic Bosnian village that tells the historical saga of this region, you shouldn’t miss “Etno avlija Mačkovac”. It is a charming open-air museum that preserves a valuable collection of antique & traditional artefacts. A sort of time-machine with numerous restored traditional buildings, it shows how the architecture, and life in general, looked like in the 19th and 20th century in this part of the Balkans. And if you are a nature admirer, whenever you come, you will not resist the landscapes with untouched nature of Mt. Konjuh.
Following the winding road from the direction of Banovići towards the Mt. Konjuh, you will quickly reach Etno avlija Mačkovac. After only 5 km of driving through the dense forest, along the Okova River, and while enjoying the splendid view of the Mt. Konjuh, you will find a small museum under the open sky. When you step into Etno avlija, you will have the feeling that you went back in the past at least one hundred years ago. In a typical Bosnian ambience, you will see old Bosnian houses, watermills, workshops and other buildings looking as they looked like long ago. Thousands of authentic objects that were used in the ancient households contribute to the atmosphere.
The insides of the buildings are decorated based on original appearances, and they hold over 3000 copper, silver, wooden and ceramic objects, as well as handicrafts, books and documents. Particularly noteworthy are handicrafts, embroidery and tapestries, but also around 1600 old books and records, all more than 200 years old. And every object has its own story, which takes us back to an ancient and unknown time, that still somehow lives here, in Etno avlija Mačkovac. This complex is precisely what we call a treasury of Bosnian ways of living which has been nurtured for hundreds of years. If you want to take a fraction of this time with you, there is a large number of souvenirs in the form of pies, cigarettes, holders or hookah, different dishes, typical musical instruments or just watches and pendants.
After you get a sneak peek into this historical treasure, your visit to the authentic Bosnian village - Etno avlija Mačkovac should finish with some traditional dishes and a cup of Bosnian coffee, while the murmur of water and the chirping of birds makes you wander into the ancient times. And while you are in the region, it would be a pity to miss an opportunity to explore Mt. Konjuh and its Bosnian maple, famous as the wood used by Stradivari violins makers. If you are passionate about old railways and steam trains, the small town of Banovići is hiding Europe’s oldest working locomotive called “Ćiro”. Finally, if exploring caverns is your thing, I would strongly suggest visiting the Maid’s cave close to Kladanj, known as the home of winged girls.
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