Famous Drina River House defies weather, here it is after the floods: Built by boys, hides these secrets
A group of teenagers built a symbol of friendship which has withstood years and bad weather conditions, and is attractive to people from around the world
Drina River House is a kind of tourist attraction that is appealing to visitors not only from Serbia and the countries of the former Yugoslavia, but also from faraway parts of the world. This building has resisted the years and the weather since long ago in 1968, and just a few days ago disturbing images arrived of a swollen river passing at great speed through the symbol of Bajina Basta.
Still, even this time the small wooden structure resisted the Drina, and one of its founders, Misko Savic Zuzec, tells Telegraf.rs that this year's floods were, above all, a big test.
This year, the attraction that was even on the cover of National Geographic magazine is celebrating its 54th birthday, and its current owner, Misko, has been there from day one. Although the first thought of the house is that of a tourist feature, he revealed to us that in addition to screws and nails, decades of memories, laughter and stories from childhood are carved into the rock on which it is located.
As he explained, a group of at that time teenagers had nothing but playing and strong friendship that bound them, and as a memory of some better times, they decided to raise a monument to that period with their own hands. Although Drina has already in the past managed to knock it down in an instant, Misko is convinced that they have found a formula to protect the house from any threat and so that future generations can also witness some of their wishes, work and effort.
The first (versions of) houses were the most interestin, building them was a game to us. Each subsequent one tied us more and more to this place, and even today it proves to be a very interesting environment and attraction. It's very popular in the world, especially because of the way it was built and its location. It is so popular that the very town of Bajina Basta became famous for it.
"The first original house was built primitively, without tools, because we did not have the same possibilities as today. We only had a hammer, nails and a saw, and whatever we used to make it, that's how it turned out. However, it was very interesting. The only problem is that it was not attached and strong like this one today.
We used this place for playing and swimming, we spent every day here. We were often caught by storms, so we came up with the idea of making something to give us shelter, that's how it was - what we imagined it, we achieved it," the owner recalls with a smile on his face.
However, the year 2010 was fatal for this symbol of friendship. A torrent that passed through a nearby dam at a speed of 4,000 cubic meters per second taking the house out in a second, but as our interlocutor states, all this was a big test, because the desire to keep the memories alive did not abate even then. Misko decided to build a new house, which will be able to withstand even the strongest blows of water.
"That December, the water came 20-30 centimeters under the roof itself, and there was an additional problem because roof tiles were placed there out of ignorance, creating pressure on the house. That force of water additionally rocked the roof and it just collapsed. This current house is large considering that it is located on the water itself, its square footage is 6 by 4. The first one was 2.20 meters by 1.20 and tiny. Now we had to think of how to secure and ensure it. It's made from pieces of wood and does not have a single nail in it.
The whole thing is kept tight with screws, from the rock to the roof. An additional system that is very important and proved to be very good this year because this year during the flood, water flowed at 2,000 cubic meters per second through the dam, we raised the front and back sides, which allow the water to pass through it, so there was no pressure and the water could not harm it, it just went through," says Misko and explains that they are very satisfied because the flood was a great test of their work and effort, they had the opportunity to see what they managed to create, and there was no fear at any point.
As he says, the interest of tourists is enormous. Everyone who passes through this part of Western Serbia must visit the attraction, and in the summer the scene is the most beautiful. Nevertheless, the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on whittling down the number of foreigners, but Misko hopes that the situation will change soon.
"We always have two boats on the bank ready to get to it, it is open for 6 months and closed for the other 6 precisely because of situations like this. Anyone who wants to cross should call us on the bank. All visitors enjoy it, especially tourists from abroad. They are so happy and delighted that they can't believe what they are experiencing. Foreigners are generally more interested, but because of Covid, their arrival has thinned out a bit, so the number of domestic tourists is higher," says our interlocutor.
Misko concludes that his satisfaction could not be greater. Regardless of the challenges, he and his friends at just 14 years old managed to create something that will be talked about by the whole world and last forever.
"It's incredible that one rock carries so many memories," he says with a smile on his face.
For some, it might be just a wooden structure, but for Misko and a few people who were once boys, this represented the whole world and it warms his heart in a way that will last him a lifetime.
Video: Will Drina River House withstand the force of the swollen river: The symbol of Western Serbia facing a flood wave
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