Dimitrovgrad – Kamenica Stado Farm and rural tourism 012

Dimitrovgrad – Kamenica Stado Farm and rural tourism 012

This rustic and unique Stado farm and the rural tourist household of diligent Ivanov Family providing tourist services, is situated in one of the easternmost areas of Serbia, in tiny and remote Kamenica village, 33 km north of Dimitrovgrad (Republic of Serbia), within the Stara Planina Nature Park. Dimitrovgrad /former Caribrod/ is situated 5 km from the border between Serbia and Bulgaria, on the main international road Belgrade – Nis – Sofia. Dimitrovgrad is 60 km away from Sofia (Bulgarian capital) and 330km away from Belgrade (Serbian capital). Visitors will need an hour drive from Dimitrovgrad to the Kamenica village and the Stado Farm, driving slowly and patiently along the dirty and narrow road while enjoying in magic nature. The tiny Kamenica village and Stara Planina Nature Park is the best choice if you want to feel total isolation and seclusion, intact and eco environment and nature privileges and the atmosphere of the good past times. Authentic old-fashion Ivanov Stado farm with the Center for preservation of authochtonous animals breeds 4 collections of Balkan autochthonous breeds. This place is very suitable destination for hikers, nature-lovers, bikers and all visitors willing to be near-within wild nature and perfectly clean environment of undiscovered Balkan rural heritage and customs.

The Ivanov farm and the rural household in Dimitrovgrad area in the past years used to provide its guest accommodation and food at the renovated house which features traditional architectural style of Stara Planina Mountain, located in a village with only 16 inhabitants. The authentic rural house in Dimitrovgrad Municipality includes two bedrooms with 10 beds, and 2 bathrooms, of which one bedroom has its own facilities; a spacious dinning room for 30 people with the fire place; a kitchen; large balcony, big backyard and ethnographic collection room.

Farm structures and animals are located 100 meters away from the guest house. The Dimitrovgrad Stado farm has a water-mill, traditional wool processing facility from where numerous wool producers buy wool, and other old architecture objects. Conservation of Balkan domestic animal genetic resources is the mission of this farm in Dimitrovgrad area. The Ivanov Family Stado farm is renown to breed rare and almost extinct Balkan Donkey, Busha Cattle, Karakachan Sheep and Balkan Goat. The Karakachan Sheep flock, which is the most primitive sheep breed of South Eastern Europe, is one of two remaining flocks of this breed in Serbia. In 2012, the municipality of Dimitrovgrad passed a motion to make the municipal territory a biodiversity park.

The Stado Farm in Dimitrovgrad offers visitors uniquely healthy and tasty food /produced and prepared by hosts/ and provides the following services : Bed & Breakfast or self catering /10 beds, 30 places in the dinning room/; Organization of interpretation programs about local rural heritage and history, Stara Planina Nature park values and autochthonous breeds and traditional processing; Horse Back riding /Endurance activities in cooperation with partner farms of “Natura Balkanika” Nature Society; Organization of hiking tours with donkeys for carrying the tourist bags; Camping with renting of the camping equipment; Sightseeing of the gorgeous Stara Planina Nature Park (with 4WD, horses, donkeys…)  or visit to the Poganovo Monastery, “A day with the shepherd trip”;  Paleontology sites visits…

The special efforts are put to promotion and commercialization of local typical products produced from the local autochthonous Balkan breed and traditional technologies such as wool crafts, carpets and rugs making, milk products /famous kačkavalj cheese/, highly prized donkey milk, organic domestic cosmetics /traditional soap/, pottery manufacture, and other hand craft products; natural honey and variety of honey products; fruit and vegetables-processed products; medical plants balms…. The Ivanov farm possesses facility that is going to be used for special craft mangalitza meat processing /smoking/ and small dairy for traditional sheep and goat milk products. The part of the Ivanov farm facilities are used for Children training playground combined with adequate programs for young generation which offer possibility to emphasize values, importance and advantages of the well-preserved heritage, tradition and customs, farm animals safety and natural nutrition with aim to reduce negative effects in urban child population, considering the rural lifestyle. Small-scale agro tourism program /Shop gallery/, demonstration of the traditional crafts techniques, food products offers possibility for additional income generation for few farm families around this rustic farm.

“Traces of the Karakačanska Ovca, a sheep variety selected over the centuries by the Karakacani nomadic ethnic group of the Balkans, were lost for decades in Serbia, but a few years ago, during a visit to the Mount Cemernik area, in southern Serbia, some of the locals told me about two sisters, who were stubbornly continuing to breed ‘strange sheep’ with dark fleeces…” Sergej Ivanov, a veterinarian by profession and also a passionate, patient defender of endangered breeds and biodiversity, is describing the rediscovery of one of the many livestock breeds that he is currently struggling to safeguard. “The Karakačanska is not an isolated case. Often endangered breeds are saved by people on the edge of society, stubborn and full of respect for their animals, who are often considered by their community to have a few screws loose.” The future, according to Ivanov, lies in combining farming, food production and tourism services – Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso