Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The Šajkača originated in the 18th century. It was originally worn by the Serbian river fleet as a military headgear (uniform) in the service of the Habsburg Empire (known as the šajkaši) around the Danube and Sava Rivers. 
These men conducted small-scale raids against the Ottomans, thus allowing Serb refugees from the Ottoman Empire to safely flee to the Habsburg Empire. The refugees copied the design of the hat and spread it widely within the Serbian community.
The distinctive hat is recognizable by its top part which looks like the letter V or like the bottom of a boat (viewed from above). It gained wide popularity in the early 20th century as it became an official part of the Serbian military uniform in 19th century. It was initially worn only by soldiers, the officers wore contemporary french-style Kepis but later wearing Peaked caps, but after 1903. it became part of the standard officer's uniform as well (the officers' ones were modified with a peak). It would continue to be used by the Royal Yugoslav Army.

During World War II, it was shortly worn by Serbian members of the Yugoslav Partisans until it was replaced by "Titovka" cap for soldiers and Peaked cap for officers' parade uniform. 
During the Bosnian war, the hat was worn by Bosnian Serb military commanders and many volunteer units in the 1990s. This made me hesitate to sell these hats; having worked in the self proclaimed Serb Republic in Bosnia during the war, I know first hand what the fanatics who wore the Šajkača did - it's a very ugly story.
But it's not the Šajkača that committed the evil, like the berets worn by the French milice's and Franco's Carlists and Phalangists are responsible for the misery and evil their wearers caused. 
Today the hat is commonly seen in rural villages across SerbiaBosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, often worn by elderly men.
I have imported a small quantity of these hats and these are now available through South Pacific Berets (or right here at this blog)

These Šajkača's are hand made in Serbia in a wool/cotton blend, cotton lined and stretch well to fit snug. 


  1. In the years leading up to the war, the Sajkaca was also associated with the music group Rokeri s Moravu. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rokeri_s_Moravu
    Here's a video of theirs from before the war that features people wearing the Sajkaca, the Montenegrin cap and one fellow wearing an Albanian Qeleshe/Plis cap.

  2. Great material! Thanks for your comment.

  3. I got a beret, that I love to use.. I was also visiting Serbia a while back, and thought those hats looked totally awesome, so I bought one fine one. .. But I almost only wear it around the yard back home, its really too much bad blood down in the Balkans, for very many different reasons.. So anyway, I dont want to end up in a shouting match with some person from those countries, that I dont know, just for wearing a hat because it looks cool! :P

  4. it is sad that something simple like a piece of clothing can be associated with bad politics. The Šajkača was worn by many extremist Cetniks, or Serbian nationalists, but at the same time by peasants in Serbia who couldn't care less about those politics.
    Like the beret; for one it may be a symbol of culture, intellectualism or art, for another it can be associated with extremist right- and left wing regimes...

  5. Its a totally rocking hat absolutely, but how hard to get hold off!!!