“Respect what belongs to other people, be proud of what is yours”is a famous saying of Bunjevci. It did not become known for no reason, as it signified what hard work peasants needed to do in all weather conditions to grow crops and feed their family.
Not far from Novi Sad, 17 km from downtown Novi Sad, there is paradise for all those who are tired and seeking peace – Brka’s farmstead. It is located on the way to Sirig and Srbobran. Just like all other farmhouses in Čenej, Brka’s farmstead is protected as part of Vojvodina’s heritage.
The word salaš originates from the Hungarian word szallas, which means‘accommodation’. However, a farmstead is more than just that, because the word in Serbian denotes a house in the middle of the country, outside of a village, and includes the accompanying farm buildings.
Namely, farmsteads emerged for certain natural and economic reasons which then led to their transformation. At its very beginning, in the first half of 19th century, a farmstead was the improvised commercial property of cattle breeders. Later, those farmsteads were turned into houses and were similar to those that were built in villages. Even though their presence once blossomed, their number growing to almost 2,000, modern times have caused many young people to leave their family farms, contributing to their rapid deterioration. Luckily, these authentic farms are being revived. One such example is Brka’s farmstead, whose one-hundred-year-old tradition is being preserved by the Matić family.
In 1904 farmhouse No. 213 was built by Arsen Miodragović and it was inherited by Ozren Brka Miodragović after whom the farmstead was later named – Brka’s farmstead (literally Mustache Man’s farmstead). Since uncle Ozren had no children, he passed on the farmstead to Đurica Sivački from Srbobran in 2005, obliging him to make sure its chimneys never die out. Later, Đurica Sivački handed the farmhouse over to Nataša and Goran Matić, whose three sons were born in their new home. The new owners modernized the farmstead while preserving its tradition and keeping alive the memories of Arsen Miodragović. By doing so, the new owners are keeping their promise and enabling their visitors to enjoy the beauty of this traditional Vojvodinian house.
The estate has all that is needed for a contemporary life – electricity, internet, a bathroom and running water. Even though its primary purpose is to receive guests, guests must make a reservation in advance so as not to disturb the peace that is the creation of many decades of tradition. The first guests to visit our homestead were from the USA. Since then we’ve hosted hunters from such countries as Australia and Germany, as well as guests from Vienna and London. We have an increasing number of reservations both from Serbia and many other countries.
The farmhouse includes four double rooms, all of which are furnished in a traditional style. We serve traditional Vojvodinian meals, as well as homemade fruit juices, food preserves, brandy, and wine. Just a few of the dishes we offer are: Nataša’s favorite – turkey with potatoes made in a clay plate covered with ashes and live coals, chicken stew with potatoes and broth, plum dumplings, cheese pie, and strudel with poppy seeds or walnuts.
The peasant’s hands are not clean, but they knead white bread.