September 17, 2012

"Gastarbajterske Kuce" in Eastern Serbia

Long time ago I wrote about this phenomenon on Balkan Crew: it was a post about the "Gastarbeiter"-Houses built by migrant workers (Gastarbeiter is the German word for guest-worker and referred specially to migrant worker from the Balkans who went to work in Former West Germany in the 1960's and 70's).

A row of a modest version of the Gastarbajterske Kuce

It didn't change much since then, what concerns the building of prestigious Villas and enormous Houses in the Home Country: the effort to make money in the West (under arduous circumstances) has to be showed off back home as a reward for the hassle! It's easy to impress the local people with a house that blasts in size and decorations.
Flamboyant details
 I made a tour through Eastern Serbia and collected pictures of all pure traditional and modern socialist architecture. But as ridiculous and grotesque this "Gastarbejterske Kuce" (Migrant Worker Houses) look, I thought it's worth to make a little collection also of those!
Crazy details: a Eiffel Tower in the garden
To understand this phenomenon there are a few facts that needs to be explained: Eastern Serbia is the most economically challenged region of Serbia and has one of the biggest amount of migrants. Almost all migrants have a modest school background and work as unskilled workers in West European Countries (mostly Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria). Rearly one of them has a understanding of Serbian vernacular architecture or bothers about it. Main goal of the house is to impress the surrounding. The functional aspect is much less important, not rarely the house doesn't correspont to the needs of the families at all.
enormous size and many exaggerated details
 Almost all those houses are in little villages far from urban vicinity, for some of them there is not even a paved road to reach them. The houses itself are made with expensive materials and fittings, the land where they stay is usually worth just a couple of dinars. The biggest part of them are occupied only for a month during the summer.
Hollywood Style in Eastern Serbia
 I don't want to mention in which villages I took the pictures to respect the privacy of the owners. For me those houses are a bit of an attraction even if they're far away to fit into the surrounding and look a little bit helpless with its mix of random styles.
no limit architecture
Almost like in a fairy tale