Serbia

Drvengrad, Serbia – Visit an Idyllic Former Movie Set

(Last Updated On: 22/01/2022)

Have you seen an excellent movie “Life is a miracle” directed by the famous Serbian Emir Kusturica? Did you know that it is possible to visit the idyllic movie set?

The place is called “Drvengrad” (literally “a wooden town”) or “Küstendorf” (“Kusturica’s village”) and is located near Mokra Gora in the Zlatibor mountains of Serbia.

Visiting the place is actually very easy and you shouldn’t miss it when you visit Serbia as it’s one of the coolest places you can see in this country.

drvengrad serbia

“Life is a miracle”

“Life is a miracle” is a 2004 movie directed by Emir Kusturica that tells a story of the Balkans conflict in kind of an unconventional way.

The story follows the Serbian architect from Belgrade who came with his family to the mountains on the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to design the tourist railway line.

After a while, the Balkan conflict erupts and reaches the secluded village too. This starts a chain of events in the lives of the main characters and everything is shown in a dark comedy style, so typical for Kusturica’s movies. You can learn about “Life is a miracle” here.

If you haven’t seen the movie you definitely should, it’s really good and should be interesting for everyone even slightly interested in the Balkans. Of all the Kusturica’s movies, this must be my favorite one, right after “Underground”.

drvengrad serbia

A short background of Drvengrad

Drvengrad was built in 2000 as a movie set for “Life is a miracle” but Kusturica had a wider idea for the place. After leaving his hometown Sarajevo because of the 1990s war, the director wanted to create a place of cultural diversity, where art would be present in form of seminars, movie screenings, art exhibitions, etc.

The place as we can see now was opened in 2004 with the premiere of “Life is a miracle”. Since then Drvengrad was open for tourists who wished to explore this unique place.

Since 2008 Drvengrad is home to the Küstendorf Film and Music Festival, focusing on showing works from all over the world. During the festival, there is also the competition for the best short movie held, with the price of “Golden Egg” (Zlatno jaje) award. Over the years numerous famous artists, such as Johnny Depp or Marjane Satrapi, attended the festival.

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

How to get to Drvengrad

Drvengrad is located on the slopes of Mećavnik hill, just above the village of Mokra Gora in the western part of Serbia, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Getting here is actually really easy. You can reach Drvengrad by car, just before reaching Mokra Gora you need to turn uphill from road no 28 connecting Uzice with the Bosnian border. There is a parking lot right in front of the entrance to Drvengrad (when I visited it was free of charge).

You can also walk to Drvengrad from Mokra Gora, it’s a short but uphill walk. Drvengrad is located not far from the lower station of the Sargan Eight train.

It is possible to visit Drvengrad with the tour, here are the available options:

drvengrad serbia

What to see in Drvengrad

Drvengrad is a complex of around fifty wooden houses as well as buildings of public use such as the St. Sava Church, the cinema, or the library. The whole place isn’t very large and you can walk from one side to the other in a few minutes only but I guarantee you will spend much more time there, enjoying the unique atmosphere of the place.

Pay attention to the street names, you will surely recognize many of the names (such as Nikola Tesla, Diego Maradona, or Jim Jarmusch, just to name a few famous people commemorated in Drvengrad).

The whole village is really charming with all the wooden buildings, murals, old-style cars, and cobbled lanes. Since it’s located up on the hill you can admire some amazing views of surrounding mountains from there.

Once you are done with wandering around and exploring all corners of Drvengrad you can relax in one of a few restaurants/cafes/bars available here. If you would like to do some shopping like local produce or souvenirs, there are stalls with those in the lower part of Drvengrad.

It is also possible to stay overnight in Drvengrad – this is definitely on my bucket list for my next trip to Serbia. You can find the details here.

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

My visit in Drvengrad

I visited Drvengrad in September 2021, on the mid-week day, during my road trip with friends. We first took the Sargan Eight train and after the journey, we went by car up to Drvengrad.

Most of the people who were on the train trip with us continued to Drvengrad afterward and the place was a bit crowded at first but it was easy to escape people, we simply took our time when exploring the place and left the main street and square for the end.

I really enjoyed the place. Sure, it might feel a bit artificial for some but that’s exactly what I expected, after all the houses there are not original and decades old, and the whole complex was built only recently.

As a fan of Kusturica’s movies, I found this place very interesting as I could picture easily how it used to be part of the “Life is a miracle” movie. It really felt for me like I’m walking in this created, imaginary universe that I knew from the cinema.

A great bonus for my visit to Drvengrad was meeting Emir Kusturica who was visiting the place too. It definitely added up to my experience there.

On a practical note, when I visited the place it was free of charge but I read online that the fee of 250 RSD applies.

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

Final thoughts on visiting Drvengrad

I found Drvengrad to be a really charming and unique little place and the secluded location makes it even better and more fun to visit. Even if it’s popular among tourists I didn’t find it too touristy (or maybe I was expecting that?).

I really believe this is one of the coolest places to visit in Serbia for everyone but those of you who have seen movies by Emir Kusturica simply cannot miss Drvengrad!

And while you are here it’s worth hopping across the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit another project by Emir Kusturica – Andricgrad in Visegrad, the artificial town dedicated to the amazing writer and a Noble prize winner Ivo Andric.

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

drvengrad serbia

Travel Resources

Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Serbia

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Serbia here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


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drvengrad serbia


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