Educational tourist tour “Invisible maps of Vranje” and the DAH Theatre performance “Invisible town”
The educational tourist tour of “Invisible Maps of Vranje” was created on the basis of the research process of high school students from Vranje, with the support of associates and coordinators of Group 484. It was first carried out on 5 March 2020 in Vranje. On that day, together with the local population and young migrants and through performance, we were drawing alternative maps of this town using the history of everyday life and cultural heritage.
The tour started in front of Bora Stankovic High School, where high school students from Vranje held a class on dialect and took everyone along the American Home route (formerly home for children without parental care) –White Bridge – the fountain of Đerenka –Dolphin Pool – Gornja čaršija – Haremluk. We enriched our knowledge with facts, legends, tales and stories about personalities and buildings that marked the history of Vranje and have left a mark that often remains invisible to most residents and tourists. High school students and students of the School of Economics and Trade in Vranje revealed to us who were the well-known newcomers and how much they contributed to the development of this town, Helen King, director of the American Home, Dr Emslie Hutton, Stana Avramović Karaminga, a prima ballerina at Vranje Sevdah, author of the popular song “Dimitrijo, sine Mitre”. They also told us about Dr Franjo Kopša and the mark he left in Vranje when he had founded the first singing society, brought the first piano, introduced people of Vranje to the kohlrabi and celery, as well as to beekeeping. The trumpet master Baki Bakic was introduced with a song by young Melvin Arsic, known in Vranje for his performances and brilliant trumpet skills. Through local jokes and improvisations, the young citizens of Vranje presented their fellow citizen Kole, a tailor, hairdresser and makeup artists at Roma weddings, as well as the events at the Dolphin Pool, the first Lunga tennis court, the fountain of Đerenka, as a prototype of social networks. The young people added that the story of Romeo and Juliet had a happy ending compared to the story of Ajša and Stojan and the White Bridge. We ended the tour in front of Haremluk, with samsa (local garlic pie) and with the announcement that Vranje still has many parts of history to offer and that we would be happy to show them.
The next day, on 6 March 2020, the members of the DAH Theatre performed the play “In/visible town”, which shed light on the multiethnic structure of Vranje and made visible the richness of different cultures of the town, which often remain hidden. The play was performed on a town bus, a regular line that goes from Vranje to the village of Ćukovac and showed all the power and beauty of Vranje through the influence of foreigners on the social and cultural life of this town.
While working with high school students and preparing the tour, we cooperated with Bora Stankovic High School and the School of Economics and Trade, and all activities were supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia within the project “Beyond the Chapters: Accession to Diversity”.