We are onto our fifth article in our zero-emission tourism series, and this one is about the serene granges of Vojvodina.
There is this old saying in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina that goes “what are heavens above, that is a salaš on earth”. Salaš (an isolated grange) is an integral part of the Vojvodinian tradition. They date back 300 years, while some historians claim that this type of farm has been in existence since the 2nd century AD.
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The word itself is of a mixed Turkish-Hungarian origin and means a protected space or an asylum. These granges were always built with one purpose and one purpose only and that is for people to be closer to their land because it was the land that they lived off. A typical salaš consisted of a house, usually built in L shape to keep the squally south-eastern wind called košava at bay, a guest house, a servant house, a house for day labourers, barns, stables, pigsties, chicken coups and the like. These rustic granges were usually surrounded by ash and almond trees, as well as orchards.
Entire generations of one family were born, lived and died on these granges. Some of them never left their farms because they thought there was no need to – after all, everything they ever needed (from bread to soap) was produced here. Older members of the family occasionally popped into nearby towns to buy salt, sugar and petroleum, and for them, that was the only time they ventured into ‘the civilization’.
There are still many granges across Vojvodina, some are closed off to visitors since their owners prefer to live like their predecessors did, while some have been transformed into beautiful inns with a preserved décor and the spirit of old times. The latter ones are perfect spots for spending a serene day far away from the hustle and bustle of cities.
These three granges have caught our eye…
1.Salaš 137 – This is a very unique place, made both for adults and children to enjoy. People who have spent a day here rave about the excellently prepared food here that is plentiful, authentic and tasty. Salaš 137 is a lovely place that is also an exciting estate with many surprises for guests.
For instance, you can try horseback riding (there is a stable with 20 horses nearby), or being driven in old-fashioned Vojvodinian carriages, or go hunting on nearby hunting grounds, or try archery and golf. For kids, there is a fully equipped playground and sports grounds. Dogs are welcome at Salaš 137 and there is a section just for them. If you like the place so much that you want to stay overnight, you can do so, because the grange has 13 hotel-like rooms decorated in the Alt Deutsche style. Each room has an ample size bathroom, and there is also a spa.
2. Salaš 84 – When a grange is the winner of the Perfect Spot Award (as Salaš 84 is), then it is definitely worth paying a visit so you can see for yourself what is so perfect about it. And this is just one of a plethora of awards that this grange has received.
Salaš 84 is a truly authentic place where time stands still. Everything here is mindful of tradition – the roof is made of reed, the central house on the grange gets its heat from tile stoves, and the food is prepared in an old-fashioned way from fresh, locally grown produce in clay pots.
There is a great deal of history tied to this place. Albert Einstein’s wife Mileva Marić had a house nearby, only 70 metres away from the grange. Unfortunately, the house is long gone but there is still an old mulberry tree there, under which Albert and Mileva sat and talked.
If you are an avid fisherman or a hunter, than Salaš 84 is the place for you. Crni Vir Lake is very close to the grange itself and the lake has 18 fishing locations with each having a wooden platform. For hunters there are hunting grounds all around the salaš, perfect for hunting pheasants, hares and deer.
Salaš 84 is near the village of Kać, some 12km from Novi Sad. The central house at the grange spans over 950 square metres, has three apartments with separate garages, a restaurant that can take up to 150 people, and a small conference venue.
3. Salaš Tatić – Located 37km from Novi Sad, outside the village of Turija, this grange lies on the Great Bačka Canal, in the very heart of Bačka County.
The grange spans on 4 hectares of land and has its own vineyard (with grape varieties like Italian Riesling, Chardonnay and Hamburg grown). The owners of Salaš Tatić make their own wine that can be bought at the grange.
Then there is an orchard with 500 different fruits grown which the family Tatić uses to make their homemade jam, rakija and the typical Vojvodinian sweets like kitnikez (made out of quince). The nearby fishpond covers half an acre where you can catch perch, catfish, pike, tench and grass carp. The hosts can even prepare the fish you catch the way you want it to – be it fish chowder or grilled.
Photo credits: BigBlue.rs, Salas137.rs, Salasi,info, RestoraniVojvodine.com, BrendBacke.rs