Sirogojno - village on Mt. Zlatibor in west Serbia. "Sirogojno" - the name known all over the world for its hand made woollen jumpers which have been designed by Dobrila Vasiljevic-Smiljanic for thirty years and knitted by Zlatibor peasant women. This traditional art and craft of knitting has been recognised all over the world as a timeless fashion. The "Old Village" Museum is an evident effort have done to preserve, protect and revive the tradition.


Village in winter.Zlatibor, one of the most beautiful and friendly mountainous regions in Serbia, with its vast pastures, dense evergreen forests, clear creeks and rivers and an exceptionally agreeable and healthy climate, has always been congenial for living. Artefacts of bygone epochs prehistoric findings, ancient monuments, medieval sites, churches and necropolis from the times of the independent Serbian Kingdom along with much better preserved monuments from the period of Turkish rule both of sacred and profane traditional folk architecture represent only a part of a vast cultural heritage preserved on Mt. Zlatibor. Ethnographic cultural values in this area are enriched by unique churches built in the style of log cabins, icons painted by naive village artists and beautifully carved gravestones with representations of the deceased and other figural motifs which are most often accompanied by inscriptions and poetic epitaphs of great documentary importance.

HOUSE - The center of family life, built of wood, located on sloping terrain, with a cellar built of logs and covered with a steep shingle roof. The went "kapiŠ" on the top of the house is a special feature of the Zlatibor log cabin.  

The traditional art of buildings in this region is exceptionally characteristic. The Mt. Zlatibor log cabin represents the most accomplished form of traditional Serbian housing within the Dinaric Mountain Range. The old buildings that have survived were fashioned with great craftsmanship and illustrate the skill and art achieved by our people in costructing houses to suit their needs and their sense of beauty. Life was organised in large families - cooperatives with strictly imposed rules and traditional ways of behaviour, with special respect for mutual relationships, rights and duties demanded various kinds of buildings and their proper location within the homestead. As a rule the Zlatibor homestead is situated on specially chosen suuny sloping terrain protected from the winds. The highest point is reserved for the house and a few cottages - the dwellings and other accompanying buildings used for food storage. The lower levels harbour the stables, pig sties and sheep pens and a little further down we can find orchards, fields and vegetable gardens.

COTTAGE - Married members of the family lived in a small cottage specially built for them. It was used only for sleeping. In more recent periods it was extended and had a porch open or closed, a cellar and workshop.
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The open air "Old Village" ("Staro selo") Museum at Sirogojno represents the village dwelling culture on Mt. Zlatibor. To save at least a part of this cultural heritage a number of authentic objects and buildings have been transferred to the present site of the Museum and conserved in order to be used for further research and to be exibited for the public.

The Museum has a particularly elaborate programme to revive old local arts and crafts. Copies of objects of fine workmanship are produced in the workshop of the Museum: pottery, hand printed textiles, utensils of wood and iron. There are also new products inspired by an ancient artistic traditional, but adapted to the needs and tastes of modern man.

DAIRY - Always located nearest the house and made of wood. Used exclusively for producing and storing milk products. The shelves on the outside walls were used for wooden utensils to dry in the sun and to be used for milk.

A few buildings have been adapted for other activities listed in the Museum programme. Several buildings are intended for visitors: a shop selling the handicrafts of Sirogojno, carpenter's and potter's workshops and a shop for selling medicinal herbs and herbal teas. For summer entertainment, lectures, conserts, literature meetings and other programmes, a special small theatre was built to suit the needs and architecture of the Museum. In case of rain of cold weather programmes take place in a converted barn which is used for different exhibitions as well. One of the old houses located a little further from the Museum site has been transformed into a tavern and a few smaller buildings have been adapted for summer school participants to live in.




STABLE - Built of wood and covered with thatched or wodden roof. Located on a sloping terrain an used for livestock both in the upper and lower part of it. The ramp was used for guidance of the sheep to the loft.



The "Old Village" Museum protects not only the buildings in it but the whole traditional art and craft of the building industry of the Zlatibor region. All the selected buildings that have been put on exhibition are equally veluable though it can't be said with certainty when exactly each of them was built and who were their constructors. Having in mind their layout, structure and shape their architectural features must have originated from the early medieval period. The "Old Village" Museum exhibits represent the life in Zlatibor village in 19 century.

Text: Zorica IvkoviŠ