Many of you have heard about made-out-of-the-wood filming village Kustendorf, that became one of the biggest tourist attractions in Serbia. But did you know that there is also an old village Gostusa entirely made out of the stones in Eastern Serbia? The phenomenon is inexplicably unique in the country - as no other villages have the same building style. The exact reasons behind this architectural wonder are not known - but the stone houses of village Gostusa survive to date and become a silent reminder of what once was a very prominent and rich agricultural settlement.
Aside from stone houses being very rare, the village Gostusa is specific for one more reason: the builders didn’t use plaster or any equivalent material to connect the stones. They are actually just put on top of another, one by one, and with utmost precision and attention.
Even the roofs and the original construction is made out of the stones and the materials found naturally in the area. The village is situated on the slopes of the Old Mountain Nature Park and is surrounded by wonderful nature: thick woods and lots of water. It has won an award from the EU-funded program “Europa Nostra” that preserves the unique and rare cultural heritage of Europe.
The stone houses are mostly abandoned, and the village that counted more than 1.500 inhabitants some 200 years ago, today barely counts 100. There may pass an old man with his goats or sheep, most likely saying hi to the visitors in Serbian, assuming that they are somebody’s cousins. As Belgrade is expanding, and people are rushing towards the Serbian capital, this becomes the sad destiny of many Serbian villages, especially the ones hidden up the barely accessible mountain roads, like Gostusa.
Even with the award, this pretty cool architectural occurrence is not recognized for its value locally, and it’s not very easy to reach. If you decide to visit it and spend the touristic buck here - most likely it won't be possible, as there are no restaurants or hotels near the place. There is just a beautiful nature to welcome you to its peaceful daily course and friendly locals not used to seeing many tourists.
The village has saved the original look and has an old feel to it, and along with the nearby Old Mountain Nature Park, it’s recognized as the natural and cultural monument of Southeastern Serbia. Even if the story of people abandoning their family homes in search for a better future in a city sounds a little bit bitter, it also allows us to observe a big cultural change of one nation.
Traditionally agricultural, Serbia is becoming an unofficial IT center of Eastern Europe. And curious things like the stone village of Gostusa, serve as a real example of its past and tradition.
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