I had always heard about a place called Crna Trava in the South od Serbia and its famous construction workers which built the most significant buildings of the SFRJ. When last summer I visited Crna Trava I found a sleepy but interesting settlement in a beatuiful landscape worth sharing a couple of pictures!
The main square
Crna Trava (Црна Трава) a village in southeast of Serbia lays in a beautiful plateau of the Vlasina region (the mountainous region near the border to Bulgaria) . The beautiful setting along the Vlasina river (which starts 10km before at Vlasinsko Lake (Власинско језеро) and the surrounding mountains makes it a picturesque settlement.
Nonetheless in the statistics it’s one of the poorest municipality of Serbia.
From a population of 13,748 in 1953 the number of inhabitants dropped to just 2'563 in 2002 and goes along with the heavy depopulation (mainly for economic reasons) of the entire Vlasina region.
the town house on the main sqare
Since back to roman times, people of Crna Trava were freedom lovers, and fighted against ocupation of Turks, Bulgarian and Fascism. Also a lot of fugitives from regions like Kosovo, Raška, Metohija, Kopaonik and Makedonia, who escaped from Turkish ocupation 400 years found in hidden mountainous places like Crna Trava a new home.
Life was hard in those places but at least people didn’t have to addapt to the Tursk.
People from Crna Trava were the most wellknown migrant workers (печалбари) of the former Yugolsavian territory. They were known as good construction workers. So the male population was always on the road to look for work and an big part of the great building projects of the communist time in Belgrade, Skopje and other cities of SFRY were made by those migrant workers.
The female population looked after the house, fields, animals and relatives alone waiting fort he husbands to return (in the good cases with the money they made on building sites).
Today in Crna Trava there are no migrant workers anymore, maybe still some older guys still singing migrantworkers-songs and remembering the old times.
There is still a big Construction-School (with campus)
Crnat Trava has evrything a little city needs: a health center, a town house, a police station, taverns, markets, a kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools, a students dorm, a library, a hotel, a square with a monument to the fallen soldiers ... but no people.
The Crna Trava area is in need of a longterm strategy to promote the region. The beautiful setting, an already existing infrastructure and a healthy environment should be a good potential to attract investors for construction related business or for health food development.
More about Crna Trava:
Webpage of Crna Trava (srb)
Tourist attractions in Crna Trava on National Tourism Organization of Serbia (eng)
Picutres on Panoramio of Crna Trava