Published on : Monday, July 3, 2017
Yugotour is a sort of pilgrimage through the relics of a glorious past, taking into consideration an old fairground dating back to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to the mausoleum at the ‘House of Flowers’ where Josip Broz Tito is buried. Even the postcards offered in the tour’s gift shop show the magnificence of Tito, with the president-for-life portrayed in a frame of flowers and colours.
To add to the glory, participants don’t take the tour in any old vehicle, but in a Zastava, the emblematic car manufactured in Yugoslavia and nicknamed the ‘Yugo’. “Foreigners are mostly surprised to hear that this time of socialism was very prosperous because most of them have this negative picture of communism and they are surprised to hear a different story,” says the operations officer for Tours in Belgrade, Milica Ilincic.
The Yugotour takes its participants on a time-travelling journey, on which every stop is highly symbolic. One of them is the Hotel Yugoslavia, a once-luxurious building that was bombed by NATO in 1999; another is the Sava Center – “an example of modernist architecture”. Along with foreigners, some people from the Balkan countries also join the tours, although they are mainly aged over 30.
Ilincic has noticed an interesting trend too – while most foreigners are interested in the Yugo car and the concrete buildings, most locals are usually fascinated by the last stop on the tour, Tito’s grave and the room full of presents given to him by other world leaders in the Museum of History of Yugoslavia. Yugonostalgic tourism seems to be a growing trend, and Tito’s old bunker in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the small town of Konjic has also become a tourist attraction. The Yugodom takes its guests back to an era when everything was “made in Yugoslavia”, from the TV used as a nightstand to the pop icons like Lepa Brena whose posters decorate the bright walls.
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