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- March 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm #346418
I was a little shocked when I first heard the name of the this quarter near Belgrade that had the word gypsy in it and the word Ada certainly didn't sound Slavic. Ada means Island in Turkish and the word Ciganlija probably comes from a Celtic word Singlia meaning an island that is underwater land. It somehow got transformed from singlia to tsiganlia.
I think it is an ugly sounding name for such a beautiful spot.
Some chroniclers the name of the island found in the compound of Celtic words singa (Island) and Lia (Underwater Land), so there was a word singalija of which will occur at a later transcription in the word ciganlija. The first part of Ada Ciganlija's name, 'ada', means "river island" in Serbian. The word is Turkish in origin, where it simply means "island", but in landlocked Serbia it specifically denotes river islands (Ada Međica), beside the already existing Serbian word for island, ostrvo. A river island can also be referred to as ostrvo (e.g. Veliko Ratno Ostrvo) but never vice-versa. Ciganlija, on the other hand, is believed to be derived from either the eponymous variety of small, red apple or Cigani, the Serbian name for Gypsies, who inhabited the island in the past. The latter is more likely, as both Austrian and Italian maps from the mid and late 18th century name the island Zigeuner Insel and Isola degli Zingari, respectively, both meaning "Gypsy Island" in their respective languages. Recently, demands have been made to change the island's name, claiming, for example, that the island was called "Serbian Ada" before 1946 (which was easily proven to be untrue), or that its name is originally derived from Celtic words 'singa' meaning "island" and 'lia' meaning "submerged ground". It is accepted by some as a possibility rather uncritically, as the Celtic word for island is 'inis', surviving as such in modern Irish or in varieties of 'innis' in Scottish and 'ynys' in Welsh.
Here is more on the city: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Ciganlija#History
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