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What It Looks Like to Make a Home in a Cemetery

Bratislav Stojanovic has lived in a Nis graveyard for the last 15 years.


Bratislav Stojanovic has never had much of a place to call his own. Stojanovic, 43, is a construction worker from the Servian town of Nis. He's never held a steady job.

He has been homeless for decades. Once, he moved from abandoned houses. That changed 15 years ago, when he settled in an old city cemetery. According to Reuters:

Stojanovic says homeless life is difficult and that everything he owns and needs he finds in garbage containers and on the streets. He does not have much, but highly values whatever little he has.

This isn't entirely unique. In Manila and Cairo, entire towns have sprung up in cemeteries (in Cairo, the government sends buses every day to pick students up for school and has strung power lines up). But something about the isolation in the pictures, below, makes Stojanovic's situation particularly striking.

Bratislav Stojanovic, a homeless man, rests as he sits on a grave stone in the southern Serbian town of Nis. Stojanovic, 43, a Nis-born construction worker never had a regular job. He first lived in abandoned houses, but about 15 years ago he settled in the old city cemetery. (/Marko Djurica/Reuters)


Bratislav Stojanovic, a homeless man, lies on an improvised bed in a tomb where he lives. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)
Bratislav Stojanovic, a homeless man, holds candles as he walks out of a tomb where he lives. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)
Stojanovic, a homeless man, looks out of a window at a cemetery where he lives. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.