Serbs - Settlements

Traditionally, neighborhoods or hamlets within villages were composed of closely related kin belonging to the same vamilija (lineage). Today, however, the population of Serbia is predominantly urban: over the past decades a tremendous shift of population to urban centers has occurred. Only about one in every four Serbs now lives in the countryside. Peasant villages in the Šumadija tend to be dispersed in small clusters, with each house surrounded by its own orchards, fields, and outbuildings. Three other types of settlements are found also. Agglomerated villages, in which houses are crowded together along narrow, crooked streets, are found mainly in eastern and southern Serbia. The cross-road village, with its evenly spaced houses and well-planned appearance, can be seen near Belgrade and in the lower Morava Valley. Finally, the ciflik, walled and densely packed villages created by Turkish landlords during the period of Ottoman domination of the area, are found in southern Serbia near the Macedonian border.

Houses ideally are made of brick and stucco with tile roofs. Wood dwellings, which were common historically, are considered inferior. A pattern of paying as you go in building, rather than financing through mortgage, means that a new house sometimes takes years to build.

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