brkaThe word salaš (Eng. farmstead or farmhouse) originates from the Hungarian word szallas, which means ‘accommodation’ in Serbian.  In the west this type of an estate might be known as a‘ranch’. In our country the word denotes a household in the middle of the country, outside of a village, comprising a house and the accompanying farm buildings. Farmsteads in Serbia emerged for different natural and economic reasons. Also, those same reasons led to the transformation of the farmstead. At its very beginning, in the mid 19th century, a farmstead was often the improvised commercial property of cattle breeders. Later, when growing crops replaced cattle breeding, those farmsteads were turned into houses and were similar to those that were built in villages. Initially, farmsteads were summerhouses for peasants, only used as permanent habitations some time later. Seventeen kilometers from downtown Novi Sad, one can find Brka’s farmstead with its more than a century-long history. It is among those rare farmsteads in Čenej that have been fully revived. The original farmstead house was built in 1904 by Arsen Miodragović, known as Brka (Eng. Mustache Man), whereas the accompanying farm buildings (stables, barns, etc.) were constructed in 1923. This man with a big thick mustache owned 150 acres of land that he bestowed in equal portions to his three sons. The youngest of the three sons, Milan, inherited the estate. Working tirelessly and depriving himself of luxuries, Milan managed to buy additional 42 acres of land nearby. He tilled the land with his wife Gordana and son Ozren. Elderly people from Čenej still have memories of Ozren’s love for a girl who fell from a horse and broke several ribs, which was interpreted as a sign that the girl was not well-suited for Ozren’s family. The young man never got over the girl. A few years after the incident, he eventually married another girl whose dowry included 16 pairs of shoes, which made her an unsuitable fit for this farming family. Ozren’s parents urged him to talk his wife into selling the shoes, and he soon got divorced, even obtaining approval from the church to do so. After the process of denationalization, the majority of the land that was part of the farmstead was taken away. In 2005 Ozren gave the farm to its present owners, asking them to promise him one thing: “Don’t ever let the farm chimneys die out.”

”Thank you, uncle Ozren! Your wish and your love for this farmstead obliges us to take care of it and we aim to promote it by opening our doors to all those who want to come and visit. May this website symbolize our indebtedness to you!”

Nataša, Goran, Milutin, Milan and Đura

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