Settling down the crisis: planning and implementation of the immigrant settlements in the Balkans during the Late Ottoman period
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Since the Crimean War (1853-56), the Ottomans encountered with the problem of settling the Muslim immigrants and it was initially resolved by establishing new towns and villages on vast arable plains in the Balkans and Anatolia. However, it became a necessity to let the immigrants settle in the cities after the massive influx of refugees in 1877-78, when available agricultural lands to assign remained limited in the empire. With the consent of the Sultan, a new urban typology emerged at the outskirts of the cities, which were called immigrant (muhajir) neighbourhoods. This article aims to explore the spatial development of these settlements by the close examination of two cases based on archival materials. Mecidiye, which was established after the Crimean War, stands as an archetypal example and acted as an experimental laboratory. The success of Mecidiye case encouraged the Ottoman bureaucrats for further in post-1878 period. Hence, immigrant neighbourhood in uskub demonstrates us how the experience of Mecidiye was disseminated in the empire to establish a new planned settlement at the edges of an existing city. The close examination of uskub case provides us with the necessary tools to understand how the resettlement of refugees had cross-geographical spatial patterns.