Jatagan Mala

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Jatagan Mala (Serbian Cyrillic: Јатаган Мала) is the former urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It was located in Belgrade's municipality of Savski Venac.


Jatagan Mala was located some 5 kilometers south of downtown Belgrade, east of the Sava river, on the northern slopes of Topčidersko Brdo. It occupied roughly the area between present neighborhoods of Mostar and Prokop. The name of the neighborhood comes from Turkish words yatagan and mahalle, meaning "sword neighborhood".


Efforts to demolish Jatagan Mala, which was a typical shanty town, began prior to the World War II. In 1938, it had 5,000 inhabitants, and the major section of the settlement, between modern interchanges of Autokomanda and Mostar, was demolished that year. City administration constructed “Worker’s colony”, a barracks settlement in the Severni bulevar street, in the neighborhood of Zvezdara, to relocate settlers of Jatagan Mala, but the outbreak of the war put the project on hold.[1]

When construction of the new highway through Belgrade began in 1960s, population of Jatagan Mala was dislocated into the newly constructed residential blocks of Novi Beograd across the Sava and the neighborhood was demolished to make way for the interchange of Mostar and the future (though still not completely finished) central railway station of Belgrade, Prokop.


It was a poor, neglected neighborhood inhabited by the Romani people and by today's standards it would probably be classified as an informal settlement. Ironically, it bordered two wealthiest neighborhoods of Belgrade, Senjak and Dedinje.

The case of Jatagan Mala is today often cited as a successful way of handling informal settlements problems (regarding today existing similar settlements like Kartonsko naselje, Deponija, etc.), but no proper study was ever made how fully the Romani population was really integrated.


  1. ^ "Novi Beograd se zida", Politika (in Serbian), 1938