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The Settlement

Gazela is without a doubt the most exposed of the numerous Belgrade slums. It is situated in a markedly central location, a mere two kilometers from the old city. The best hotels, the most important events center, as well as the largest sport arena in the city are in close proximity.

Gazela is not only surrounded by large-scale apartment complexes and representative public buildings but also by important transport routes: the settlement is bordered along its length by the freeway E75 Most Gazela Bridge as well as by a railway embankment which provides international rail service to the main railway station. Thus the settlement is situated not only on the main transit routes between Belgrade’s old and new city, but exactly between the tracks and the road which run through Europe from the northwest to the southeast, connecting Belgrade with Germany and Turkey.

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This exceptional location explains the settlement’s high level profile: Since not only the international but also the majority of the regional as well as inner city traffic travels over the freeway and railway line, Gazela is known by practically everyone in Belgrade, even if it is only by having ‘driven over it’.


Slums originate from makeshift solutions which establish themselves as permanent places to live due to a lack of alternatives, ignorance on the part of the authorities, and marginalization of the inhabitants. Thus the history of Gazela’s development was documented neither in a written nor in visual form; nevertheless it is possible to trace the development of the settlement:

Gazela originated around 1983 in the midst of the dramatic economic crisis which descended upon Yugoslavia after Josip Broz Tito’s death. In the 1990s the number of houses grew rapidly due to the massive influx of refugees resulting from the Yugoslav Wars. During the Kosovo War between 1998 and 2000 the number of huts and barracks multiplied again. The growth of the settlement has continued to the present day. According to a census in summer 2007, which is the most current statistic available, there are 212 households with approximately 1000 persons living in them.