Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Typical Sombor, Serbia House Photos - Honestly

For my sister Rachel who emailed asking "What do houses look like in Serbia?". This NOT our house. Our house is the same size, shape and brick-faced but without the froo-froo details. About half the houses in downtown Sombor look like our house and the other half look roughly like this. They're all mixed up together, not segregated like they might be in a US city.

This particular house is about a block from ours. I took the picture of it because I was thrilled to see a local cat stroll casually across the roof and dive into the dark hole you can see up there. (It's a vent space for the attic.) The house layout is typical of many here:

- one story (only newer houses, apartment buildings and rich people's mansions are higher)

- three-four tall street-side windows. (This photo is only of about 60% the front of house.)

- two entries on the street, the front door and the carriage (now car) door.

- firmly attached on both sides to other houses. However, there's usually an "l" shaped tail out the back that's not touching any other house. It forms a private courtyard in the back for you, with your neighbor's house wing forming one of the walls of that courtyard.

Note: Everyone is VERY careful not to put windows on the side of the wall that look out into their neighbor's courtyards... they may have a tiny window up high for light, but nothing low enough to look through.

- tiled roofs. These are the old tiles which were originally "yellow" (I'm not sure how vivid, probably not terribly). Newer houses are all built with those red-orange tiles. When you look out of the plane circling Belgrade, it's a sea of orange tiled house roofs. Which feels odd at first so far North.

- butts right up next to the sidewalk. Zero land, not one blade of grass, between the sidewalk where quite a few people are walking (this is town center, it's better to walk than drive). Many houses do have small front yards, BUT even then, the public sidewalk is right next to the house. My husband says that's because you used to have the town septic run through the front yard so you didn't want that near your windows... there's also a grassy drainage ditch there now. Anyway, this shows you why the whole curtains thing happened. Your neighbors are an inch from your window as they walk by.

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