The Key Study of the Stara Planina Villages

Gorica B. Ljubenov
University Union – Nikola Tesla, Belgrade

Mirjana Roter-Blagojević
University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture


This paper is focused on the disappearance of the traditional architecture in the Stara Planina villages, in the Pirot area, at the eastern border of Serbia. The paper gives authentic examples of traditional rural architecture with emblematic traditional elements and methods of construction, which have been gradually disappearing over time due to abandonment of the villages. Reasons leading to the villages withering away and the decay of architecture in that mountain area are predominantly enormous migrations of the village population to the cities as a result of socio-economic changes and poverty of the region. The abandonment of the villages leaves in its wake a sparse ageing population, housing units and other structures in the state of decay and ruin. In the past, the area was well-known as a source of native, self- taught, builders called dunđeri, organized in the groups of 10-15 people, tajva, famous and respected on the territories of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. Nowadays their descendants work and live in urban areas, and as a consequence, the villages have not preserved their traditional building skills.

Stara planina villages, traditional rural architecture, migrations, native builders, disappearance



SAJ Vol. 8, 2016, No. 1