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Republic of Serbia
Република Србија
Republika Srbija
(Serbian)
Flag Coat of arms
AnthemБоже Правде / Bože Pravde
Location of Serbia (dark and light green) – Kosovo (light green)
on the European continent (green + dark grey)
Capital
(and largest city)
Belgrade
44°48′N 20°28′E / 44.8°N 20.467°E / 44.8; 20.467
Official language(s) Serbian1
Demonym Serb, Serbian
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Boris Tadić
 -  Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković
Establishment
 -  Principality 850 
 -  Raška Kingdom 1217 
 -  Serbian Empire 1345 
 -  Independence lost to Ottoman Empire 14592 
 -  Serbian revolution 15 February 1804 
 -  Independence recognized 13 July 1878 
 -  Unification with Vojvodina 25 November 19183 
 -  Independent Republic 5 June 2006 
Area
 -  Total 88 361 km2 (113th)
34 116 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.13
Population
 -  2009 estimate 7,334,935[1] (excl. Kosovo
 -  Density 107,46/km2 (94th)
297/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $79.798 billion[2] (72nd)
 -  Per capita $10,810[2] (excluding Kosovo) (74th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $50.061 billion[2] (73rd)
 -  Per capita $6,782[2] (excluding Kosovo) (70th)
Gini (2007) .24 (low
HDI (2006) 0.821 (high) (65th)
Currency Serbian dinar (RSD)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .rs
Calling code 381
1 Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Bunjevac, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian, Romany, Rusyn, Slovak, Ukrainian and Vlach[3] are recognized by the ECRML
2 Serbian dynasty, nobility tributed to Hungary until 1540.[4][5] Serbia was briefly reestablished by Jovan Nenad 1526–27.
3Preceded by the unification with Raška, Kosovo and Syrmia
Serbia (pronounced: en-us-Serbia.ogg /ˈsɜrbiə/ ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Република Србија, Republika Srbija), is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central- and Southeastern Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and central part of the Balkans. Serbia has borders with 8 countries, Hungary to the north; Romania, Bulgaria to the east; Republic of Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the west; its border with Albania is disputed. Although landlocked, the country has access to the Black Sea through the Danube river. Its capital city, Belgrade, is among the largest in Southeastern Europe.
After their settlement in the Balkans, Serbs formed a medieval kingdom that evolved into a Serbian Empire, which reached its peak in the 14th century. By the 16th century Serbian lands were conquered and occupied by Ottomans. Serbia regained independence from the Ottoman Empire in a 19th century revolution and subsequently expanded its territory. Serbia was the second state in Europe that abolished feudalism and serfdom. The former Habsburg crownland of Vojvodina joined Serbia in 1918. Decimated as a result of World War I, the country united with other South Slavic peoples into a Yugoslav state which would exist in several formations up until 2006, when Serbia once again became independent.
In February 2008, the parliament of Kosovo, Serbia's southern province with an ethnic Albanian majority, declared independence. The response from the international community has been mixed. Serbia regards Kosovo as its autonomous province governed by UNMIK, a UN mission.
Serbia is a member of the United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe and will preside over the CEFTA in 2010. Serbia is classified as an emerging and developing economy by the International Monetary Fund and an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank.[6] WTO accession is expected in 2010.[7] Serbia has a high Human Development Index[8] and Freedom House in 2008 listed Serbia as one of few free Balkan states.[9] The country is also an EU membership applicant and a militarily neutral country.[10][11]

Contents

History

Prehistory & Early

The Vinča and Starčevo cultures were early neolithic civilizations in Serbia between the 7th and the 3rd millennium BC. Many Archeological sites show a long history of culture in Serbia, such as the Lepenski Vir. The ancient Paleo-Balkan peoples, such as the Illyrians, Thracians, Dacians and Celts inhabited Serbia prior to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC. The Celts had built many fortifications such as the Kalemegdan fortress, and founded many modern cities in Serbia, the biggest being Singidunum, the city that evolved into Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Greeks expanded into the south of modern Serbia in the 4th century B.C., the northernmost point of the empire of Alexander the Great being the town of Kale-Krševica. Contemporary Serbia extends fully or partially over several classical Roman provinces such as Moesia, Pannonia, Praevalitana, Dalmatia, Dacia and Macedonia. The northern Serbian city of Sirmium was one of the capitals of the Roman Empire during the Tetrarchy.[12] No less than 17 Roman Emperors were born in what is now Serbia.[13]

Medieval principalities, kingdoms and Serbian Empire (630–1459)

Frescoe from Visoki Dečani monastery (UNESCO), depicting the Nemanjić dynasty
Apostle Peter and Paul's church, the oldest preserved sacral monument in Serbia, UNESCO item and the coronation site of many Serbian monarchs.[14]
The beginning of the Serbian state starts with the White Serbs settling the Balkans led by the Unknown Archont, who was asked to defend the frontiers from invading Avars. Emperor Heraclius granted the Serbs a permanent dominion in the Sclavinias of Western Balkans upon completing their task. By early 800s., a great-grandson of the Unknown Archont- Prince Višeslav[15] has managed to temporarily unite several territories adjacent to the modern Raška region which lied between the crisis-struck Byzantine- and growing Frankish Empires.[16][17] At first heavily dependent on the Byzantine Empire as its vassal, Raška gained independence by expulsion of the Byzantine troops and heavy defeat of the Bulgarian army around 850 A.D. The last and full Christianization of Serbia took place in 867–869 when Byzantine Emperor Basil I sent priests after Knez Mutimir had acknowledged Byzantine suzerainty.[18] At about the same time, the western Serbs were subjugated to the Frankish Empire.[19] The First dynasty died out in 960 A.D: the wars of succession for the Serb throne led to incorporation into the Byzantine Empire in 971. Around 1040 AD an uprising in the medieval state of Duklja overthrew Byzantine rule. Duklja then assumed domination over the Serbian lands between the 11–12th centuries. In 1077 A.D. Duklja became the first Serb Kingdom [20] following the establishment of the Catholic Bishopric of Bar. From late 12th century onwards Raska rose to become the paramount Serb state. Over the 13th and 14th century, it ruled over the other Serb lands. During this time, Serbia began to expand eastward and southward into Kosovo and northern Macedonia and northward for the first time.
Map of the Serbian Empire in 1346
The Serbian Empire was proclaimed in 1346 under Stefan Dušan, during which time the country reached its territorial, spiritual and cultural peak, becoming one of the larger states in Europe.[21] Dušan's Code, a universal system of laws, was enforced. Dušan was succeeded as emperor by his son Uroš Nejaki, The Feeble). Rather young and too incompetent to maintain a strong grip on the empire created by his father, he watched the Serbian Empire fragment into a conglomeration of principalities. Stefan died childless in December 1371, after much of the Serbian nobility had been destroyed by the Turks in the Battle of Marica earlier that year.
The Houses of Mrnjavčević, Lazarević and Branković ruled the Serbian lands in the 15th and 16th centuries. Constant struggles took place between various Serbian kingdoms and the Ottoman Empire. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks and the Siege of Belgrade, the Serbian Despotate fell in 1459 following the siege of the provisional capital of Smederevo. After repelling Ottoman attacks for over 70 years, Belgrade finally fell in 1521. Forceful conversion to Islam became imminent, especially in the southwest Raška, Kosovo and Bosnia. To the south, the Republic of Venice grew stronger in importance, gradually taking over the coastal areas.

Ottoman and Austrian rule (1459–1791)

Serbia of Jovan Nenad in 1526/27, before Ottoman conquest
After the loss of independence to the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, Serbia briefly regained sovereignty under Emperor Jovan Nenad in the 16th century. Three Austrian invasions and numerous rebellions, such as the Banat Uprising, constantly challenged Ottoman rule. Vojvodina endured a century long Ottoman occupation before being ceded to the Habsburg Empire in the 17th–18th centuries under the Treaty of Karlowitz. As the Great Serb Migrations depopulated most of Kosovo and Serbia proper, the Serbs sought refuge in the more prosperous Vojvodina in the north and Military Frontier in the West where they were granted imperial rights by the Austrian crown under measures such as the Statuta Wallachorum of 1630. The Ottoman persecutions of Christians culminated in the abolition and plunder of the Patriarchate of Peć in 1766.[22] As Ottoman rule in the Pashaluk of Belgrade grew ever more brutal, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I formally granted the Serbs the right to their autonomous crown land following several Serbian petitions such as the one from Timisoara.[23]

Serbian Revolution and independence (1804–1878)

George Petrović (Karađorđe) ignited the revolution against the Ottomans (1804-1815)
The quest for national emancipation was first undertaken during the Serbian national revolution, in 1804 until 1815. The liberation war was followed by a period of formalization, negotiations and finally, the Constitutionalization, effectivelly ending the process in 1835.[24] For the first time in Ottoman history an entire Christian population had risen up against the Sultan.[25] The entrenchment of French troops in the western Balkans, the incessant political crises in the Ottoman Empire, the growing intensity of the Austro-Russian rivalry in the Balkans, the intermittent warfare which consumed the energies of French and Russian Empires and the outbreak of protracted hostilities between the Porte and Russia are but a few of the major international developments which directly or indirectly influenced the course of the Serbian revolt.[25]
During the First Serbian Uprising, or the first phase of the revolt, led by Karađorđe Petrović, Serbia was independent for almost a decade before the Ottoman army was able to reoccupy the country. Shortly after this, the Second Serbian Uprising began. Led by Miloš Obrenović, it ended in 1815 with a compromise between the Serbian revolutionary army and the Ottoman authorities. German historian Leopold von Ranke published his book "The Serbian revolution" in 1829.[26] They were the easternmost bourgeois revolutions in the 19th-century world.[27] Likewise, the Principality of Serbia was second in Europe, after France, to abolish feudalism.[28]
The Convention of Ackerman in 1826), the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829 and finally, the Hatt-i Sharif of 1830, recognized the suzerainty of Serbia with Miloš Obrenović I as its hereditary Prince.[29][30] The struggle for liberty, a more modern society and a nation-state in Serbia won a victory under first constitution in the Balkans on 15 February 1835. It was replaced by a more conservative Constitution in 1838.
In the two following decades, temporarily ruled by the Karadjordjevic dynasty, the Principality actively supported the neighboring Habsburg Serbs, especially during the 1848 revolutions. Interior minister Ilija Garašanin published The Draft (for South Slavic unification), which became the standpoint of Serbian foreign policy from the mid-19th century onwards. The government thus developed close ties with the Illyrian movement in Croatia-Slavonia region that was a part of the Austria-Hungary.
Following the clashes between the Ottoman army and civilians in Belgrade in 1862, and under pressure from the Great Powers, by 1867 the last Turkish soldiers left the Principality. By enacting a new constitution without consulting the Porte, Serbian diplomats confirmed the de facto independence of the country. In 1876, Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, proclaiming its unification with Bosnia. The formal independence of the country was internationally recognized at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, which formally ended the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78; this treaty, however, prohibited Serbia from uniting with Bosnia and Raška region by placing them under Austro-Hungarian occupation.[31]

Serbian monarchy (1815–1918)

Principality of Serbia, Serbian Vojvodina with adjacent Ottoman and Habsburg territories
From 1815 to 1903, Principality of Serbia was ruled by the House of Obrenović, except from 1842 to 1858, when it was led by Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević. In 1833 Istanbul has officially recognized the country as a hereditary monarchy, which was further institutionalized by a Constitution of 1835, the first of its kind in the Southeastern Europe.
Sremski Karlovci, site of the May Assembly of Habsburg Serbs in 1848
In 1882, Serbia, ruled by King Milan, was raised to Kingdom. In 1903, the House of Karađorđević, descendants of the revolutionary leader Đorđe Petrović assumed power. Serbia was the only country in the region that was allowed by the Great Powers to be ruled by its own domestic dynasty. During the Balkan Wars lasting from 1912 to 1913, the Kingdom of Serbia tripled its territory by acquiring part of Macedonia,[32] Kosovo, and parts of Serbia proper. As for Vojvodina, during the 1848 revolution in Austria, Serbs of Vojvodina established an autonomous region known as Serbian Vojvodina. As of 1849, the region was transformed into a new Austrian crown land known as the Serbian Voivodship and Tamiš Banat. Although abolished in 1860, Habsburg emperors claimed the title Großwoiwode der Woiwodschaft Serbien until the end of the monarchy and the creation of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918.

World War I

On 28 June 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Gavrilo Princip, a Yugoslav unionist member of Young Bosnia, and an Austrian citizen, led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Kingdom of Serbia.[33] In defense of its ally Serbia, Russia started to mobilize its troops, which resulted in Austria-Hungary's ally Germany declaring war on Russia. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against Serbia activated a series of military alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations across the continent, leading to the outbreak of World War I within a month.[34]
Serbian soldiers are crossing Kolubara river during the Battle of Kolubara in 1914.
The Serbian Army won several major victories against Austria-Hungary at the beginning of World War I, such as the Battle of Cer and Battle of Kolubara – marking the first Allied victories against the Central Powers in World War I.[35] Despite initial success it was eventually overpowered by the joint forces of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria in 1915. Most of its army and some people went into exile to Greece and Corfu where they recovered, regrouped and returned to the Macedonian front during the World War I to lead a final breakthrough through enemy lines on 15 September 1918, freeing Serbia again and defeating Austro-Hungarian Empire and Bulgaria.[36] Serbia, with its campaign was a major Balkan Entente Power[37] which contributed significantly to the Allied victory in the Balkans in November 1918, especially by enforcing Bulgaria's capitulation with the aid of France.[38] The country was militarilly classified as a minor Entente power.[39] Serbia was also among the main contributors to the capitulation of Austria-Hungary in Central Europe.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1945)

World War II

In 1941, in spite of domestically unpopular attempts by the government of Yugoslavia to appease the Axis powers, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and other Axis states invaded Yugoslavia.
Belgrade Fairground became a Nazi-run concentration camp in 1942.
After the invasion, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was dissolved and Serbia was put under a German Military administration, under a joint German-Serb government with Milan Nedić as Head of the "Government of National Salvation". Serbia was the scene of a civil war between Royalist Chetniks commanded by Draža Mihailović and Communist Partisans commanded by Josip Broz Tito. Against these forces were arrayed Nedić's units of the Serbian Volunteer Corps and the Serbian State Guard.
After one year of occupation, around 16,000 Serbian Jews were murdered in Axis-occupied Serbia, or around 90% of its pre-war Jewish population. Banjica concentration camp was established by the German Military Administration in Serbia.[40] Primary victims were Serbian Jews, Roma, and Serb political prisoners.[41] Other camps in Serbia included the Crveni Krst concentration camp in Niš and the Dulag 183 in Šabac. Staro Sajmište was one of the first concentration camps for Jews in Europe. Staro Sajmište was the largest concentration camp in Axis-occupied Serbia.[42]
The joint Soviet and Bulgarian occupation in 1944 swung in favour of the partisans, who were then established as the ruling elite, with the Karadjordjevic dynasty banned from returning to Serbia.[43] The Syrmia front was the last sequence of the civil war in Serbia following the Soviet-led Belgrade Offensive.
Relations between Serbs and Croats in Yugoslavia severely deteriorated during World War II as a result of the creation of the Axis puppet state of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) that comprised most of present-day Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and parts of present-day Serbia's Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The NDH committed large scale persecution and genocide of Serbs, Jews, and Roma.[44] The number of Serbs and others killed varies in sources, but all agree that hundreds of thousands of people were killed. The Jewish Virtual Library estimates that between 330,000 and 390,000 were victims of the entire genocide campaign.[45] The Yad Vashem center reports that over 600,000 Serbs were killed overall in the NDH,[46] After the war, official Yugoslav sources estimated over 700,000 victims, mostly Serbs. The estimate by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum say that NDH authorities murdered between 330,000 and 390,000 ethnic Serb residents of Croatia and Bosnia during the period of Ustaše rule.[47] The Jasenovac memorial lists 75,159 names killed in this concentration camp.[48] In April 2003 Croatian president Stjepan Mesić apologized on behalf of Croatia to the victims of Jasenovac.[49] In 2006, on the same occasion, he added that to every visitor to Jasenovac it must be clear that "Holocaust, genocide and war crimes" took place there.[50]

Serbia within Socialist Yugoslavia (1945–1991)

Serbia (dark red) was one of the republics within the Socialist Yugoslavia
In the aftermath of the victory of the communist Yugoslav Partisans, a totalitarian single-party state was soon established in Yugoslavia by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. All opposition was repressed and people deemed to be promoting opposition to the government or promoting separatism were given harsh prison sentences or executed for sedition.
Serbia became a constituent republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and had a republic-branch of the federal Communist party, the League of Communists of Serbia. Over time Serbia's influence began to wane as reforms demanded by the other republics demanded decentralization of power to allow them to have an equal say in the centralized system. This began with the creation of the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina which initially held modest powers. However, reforms in 1974 made drastic changes, giving the autonomous provinces nearly equal powers to the republics, in which the Serbian parliament held no control over the political affairs of the two provinces, and technically only held power over Central Serbia. Many Serbs, including those in the Yugoslav Communist party, resented the powers held by the autonomous provinces. At the same time, a number of Kosovo ethnic Albanians in the 1980s began to demand that Kosovo be granted the right to be a republic within Yugoslavia, thus giving it the right to separate, a right which it did not have as an autonomous province. The ethnic tensions between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo would eventually have a major influence in the collapse of the SFRY.

Dissolution of Socialist Yugoslavia and Kosovo War (1991–1999)

Ušće Tower on fire after being bombed, and after being fully reconstructed in 2005
Slobodan Milošević rose to power in Serbia in 1989 in the League of Communists of Serbia through a series of coups against incumbent governing members. Milošević promised reduction of powers for the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. This ignited tensions with the communist leadership of the other republics that eventually resulted in the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia from Yugoslavia.[51]
Multiparty democracy was introduced in Serbia in 1990, officially dismantling the former one-party communist system. Critics of the Milošević government claimed that the Serbian government continued to be authoritarian despite constitutional changes as Milošević maintained strong personal influence over Serbia's state media.[52][53] Milošević issued media blackouts of independent media stations' coverage of protests against his government and restricted freedom of speech through reforms to the Serbian Penal Code which issued criminal sentences on anyone who "ridiculed" the government and its leaders, resulting in many people being arrested who opposed Milošević and his government.[54]
The period of political turmoil and conflict marked a rise in ethnic tensions and between Serbs and other ethnicities of the former Communist Yugoslavia as territorial claims of the different ethnic factions often crossed into each others' claimed territories[55] Serbs who had criticized the nationalist atmosphere, the Serbian government, or the Serb political entities in Bosnia and Croatia were reported to be harassed, threatened, or killed by nationalist Serbs.[56] Serbs in Serbia feared that the nationalist and separatist government of Croatia was led by Ustase sympathizers who would oppress Serbs living in Croatia. This view of the Croatian government was promoted by Milošević, who also accused the separatist government of Bosnia and Herzegovina of being led by Islamic fundamentalists. The governments of Croatia and Bosnia in turn accused the Serbian government of attempting to create a Greater Serbia. These views led to a heightening of xenophobia between the peoples during the wars.
In 1992, the governments of Serbia and Montenegro agreed to the creation of a new Yugoslav federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which abandoned the predecessor SFRY's official endorsement of communism, and instead endorsed democracy.
In response to accusations that the Yugoslav government was financially and militarily supporting the Serb military forces in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia, sanctions were imposed by the United Nations, during the 1990s, which led to political isolation, economic decline and hardship, and serious hyperinflation of currency in Yugoslavia.
Milošević represented the Bosnian Serbs at the Dayton peace agreement in 1995, signing the agreement which ended the Bosnian War that internally partitioned Bosnia & Herzegovina largely along ethnic lines into a Serb republic and a Bosniak-Croat federation.
When the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia refused to accept municipal election results in 1997, which resulted in its defeat in the municipalities, Serbians engaged in large protests against the Serbian government and government forces held back the protesters.
Between 1998 and 1999, peace was broken when the worsened situation in Kosovo with continued clashes in Kosovo between the Yugoslav security forces and Kosovo Liberation Army, locally known as the Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës, or the KLA. The confrontations led to a multi-nation conflict called the Kosovo War.

Political transition (since 2000)

In September 2000, opposition parties claimed that Milošević committed fraud in routine federal elections. Street protests and rallies throughout Serbia eventually forced Milošević to concede and hand over power to the recently formed Democratic Opposition of Serbia (Demokratska opozicija Srbije, or DOS). The DOS was a broad coalition of anti-Milošević parties. On 5 October, the fall of Milošević led to end of the international isolation Serbia suffered during the Milošević years. Milošević was sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on accusations of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo which he was held on trial to until his death in 2006. With the fall of Milošević, Serbia's new leaders announced that Serbia would seek to join the European Union. In October 2005, the EU opened negotiations with Serbia for a Stabilization and Association Agreement, a preliminary step towards joining the EU.
Serbia's political climate since the fall of Milošević remained tense. In 2003, the prime minister Zoran Đinđić was assassinated as result of a plot originating from circles of organized crime and former security forces. Nationalist and EU-oriented political forces in Serbia have remained sharply divided on the political course of Serbia in regards to its relations with the European Union and the West. However, the tensions between those political poles gradually eased since, as the issues of Kosovo independence, economical crisis and aspiration towards accession to the European Union forced the parties to find more common ground.
From 2003 to 2006, Serbia has been part of the "State Union of Serbia and Montenegro." This union was the successor to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 21 May 2006, Montenegro held a referendum to determine whether or not to end its union with Serbia. The next day, state-certified results showed 55.4% of voters in favor of independence. This was just above the 55% required by the referendum.[57]

Independent Serbia (2006–)

On 5 June 2006, following the referendum in Montenegro, the National Assembly of Serbia declared the "Republic of Serbia" to be the legal successor to the "State Union of Serbia and Montenegro."[58] Serbia and Montenegro became separate nations. However, the possibility of a dual citizenship for the Serbs of Montenegro is a matter of the ongoing negotiations between the two governments. In April 2008 Serbia was invited to join the intensified dialogue programme with NATO despite the diplomatic rift with the Alliance over Kosovo.[59]
Serbia officially applied for the EU membership on 22 December 2009.[60] The government of Serbia has the goal for the EU accession in 2014 per the Papandreou plan - Agenda 2014.[61][62] European Commission's Vice President Jacques Barrot seems to back this initiative, predicting Serbia's EU accession within 5 to 7 years following its formal application.[63]

Geography

Mountain ranges and plains of Serbia
Located at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe Serbia is found in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. The province of Vojvodina covers the northern third of the country, and is entirely located within the Central European Pannonian Plain. The easternmost tip of Serbia extends into the Wallachian Plain. The northeastern border of the country is determined by the Carpathian Mountain range,[64] which run through the whole of Central Europe. The Southern Carpathians meet the Balkan Mountains, following the course of the Velika Morava, a 500 km long river. The Midžor peak is the highest point in eastern Serbia at 2156 m. In the southeast, the Balkan Mountains meet the Rhodope Mountains. The Šar Mountains of Kosovo form the border with Albania, with one of the highest peaks in the region, Djeravica, reaching 2656 meters at its peak. Dinaric Alps of Serbia follow the flow of the Drina river, overlooking the Dinaric peaks on the opposite shore in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

National parks

Over 27% of Serbia is covered by forest.[65] National parks take up 10% of the country's entire territory.[66]
Name Established Size in hectares Map Picture
National park Derdap 1974. 93.968
Serbia is located in Serbia
IronGate.jpg
National Park Kopaonik 1981. 11.810
Serbia is located in Serbia
Pančićev vrh during winter.jpg
National Park Tara 1981. 22.000
Serbia is located in Serbia
Planina tara.jpg
National Park Šarplanina 1986. 39.000
Serbia is located in Serbia
MountShara.jpg
National Park Fruska Gora 1960. 25.393
Serbia is located in Serbia
Monastère de Mala Remata.jpg

Wetlands

Name Designated Municiplaity Area (km²)
Gornje Podunavlje 2007 Vojvodina 224,8
Labudovo okno 2006 Bela Crkva 37,33
Ludaš Lake 1977 Subotica 5,93
Obedska bara 1977 Pećinci 175,01
Peštersko polje 2006 Sjenica 34,55
Slano Kopovo 2004 Vojvodina 9,76
Stari Begej - Carska Bara 1996 Zrenjanin 17,67
Vlasina Lake 2007 Surdulica 32,09

Climate

The Serbian climate varies between a continental climate in the north, with cold winters, and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall patterns, and a more Adriatic climate in the south with hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy inland snowfall. Differences in elevation, proximity to the Adriatic Sea and large river basins, as well as exposure to the winds account for climate differences.[67] Vojvodina possesses typical continental climate, with air masses from northern and western Europe which shape its climatic profile. South and South-west Serbia is subject to Mediterranean influences. However, the Dinaric Alps and other mountain ranges contribute to the cooling down of most of the warm air masses. Winters are quite harsh in Sandžak because of the mountains which encircle the plateau.[68] Mediterranean micro-regions exist throughout southern Serbia[69], in Zlatibor[70] and the Pčinja District around valley and river Pčinja[71]. The average annual air temperature for the period 1961–90 for the area with an altitude of up to 300 m is 10.9 °C. The areas with an altitude of 300 m to 500 m have an average annual temperature of around 10.0 °C, and over 1,000 m (3,280.84 ft) of altitude around 6.0 °C.[72] The lowest recorded temperature in Serbia was −39.5 °C in January 13, 1985, Karajukića Bunari in Pešter, and the highest was 44.9 °C, or 113 °F, in July 24, 2007, recorded in Smederevska Palanka.[72] In the July 23th, 2007, temperatures were as high as 46 °C or 114.8 °F.[citation needed]

Environment

Serbian environmental is monitored by the Ministry for Science and Environmental Protection. a federally funded governmental agency called SEPA, or Serbia Environmental Protection Agency,is responsible for environmental cleanups and protection of wildlife in Serbia.[73] The NATO bombings of 1999 caused lasting damage to the environment of Serbia, with several thousand tons of toxic chemical stored in factories that were targeted being released into the soil, atmosphere and water basins affecting humans and the local wildlife.[74] Recycling is still a fledgeling activity in Serbia, with only 15% of its waste being turned back for re-use, while the Ministry for Science and Environmental Protection is moving towards improving the situation.[75] The Serbian Energy Efficiency Agency, SEEA, was founded in May 2002. A national non-profit organization, it develops and proposes programmes and measures, co-ordinates and stimulates activities intended to achieve rational use and saving of energy, as well as the increase in efficiency of energy use in all sectors of consumption.[76] The country is looking towards making wider use of renewable energy, a 20 megawatt wind farm is being developed in Belo Blato as part of a 300 megawatt development plan.[77]

Water

Spanning over 588 kilometers across Serbia, Danube river is the largest source of fresh water. Other freshwater rivers are Sava, Morava, Tisza, and Timok. Drina river, flows into the Adriatic, while Pčinja flows into the Aegean. The largest natural lake is Belo Jezero, located in Vojvodina, in covering 25 square kilometers. The largest artificial reservoir Đerdapsee, locally known as Đerdapsko Lake, covers the area of 163 square kilometers on the Serbian side, and it has a total area of 253 square kilometers. The largest waterfall, Jelovarnik, located in Kopaonik, is 71 meters high.
River Km in Serbia Length total
(km)
Number of countries
1 Danube 588 2783 9
2 Great Morava 493 493 1
3 Ibar 250 272 2
4 Drina 220 346 3
5 Sava 206 945 4
6 Timok 202 202 1
7 Tisa 168 966 4
8 Nišava 151 218 2
9 Tamiš 118 359 2
10 Bega 75 244 2

Government

National Assembly of Serbia located in Belgrade, the cornerstone was laid by King Petar I in 1907.
After the formation of the Republic of Serbia in 2006, the government quickly proclaimed a referendum that ousted the old Milošević-era constitution and created the new framework for the newly created nation by ratifying a new Constitution of Serbia. Serving his second term President Boris Tadić is the leader of the center-left Democratic Party. His second reelection was won with a narrow 50.5% majority in the second round of the presidential election held on 4 February 2008. Parliamentary elections were held in May 2008. The coalition For a European Serbia led by President Tadics' party claimed victory, but was significantly short of an absolute majority. Following the negotiations with the leftist coalition centered around the Socialist Party and parties of national minorities, those of Hungarians, Bosniaks and Albanians, an agreement was reached to make-up a new government, headed by Mirko Cvetković. Present-day Serbian politics are fractiously divided on different issues, such as Serbia's role in the European Union and the scale of government intervention in the economy.
Kosovo has been governed since 1999 by UNMIK, a UN mission. The current Special Representative, Lamberto Zannier, oversees the governance of Kosovo. The Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, has an assembly and a president, currently Fatmir Sejdiu. Although the assembly has declared independence from Serbia, the legality of this move is unclear and is currently being debated in the International Court of Law.

Foreign relations

The Foreign Minister, currently Vuk Jeremic, serves as a director responsible for the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a government organization that seeks to maintain and improve neighborly relations among other goals. The four goals for the minister in 2010 are to maintain Serbia’s territorial integrity, aid the accession of Serbia to the European Union, develop good neighborly relations and aid economic diplomacy.[78]

Administrative Division

Map of Serbia's administrative divisions, according to the Law on Territorial Organization[79] and Government's Enactment of 29 January 1992[80]
The territorial organization of Serbia is regulated by the Law on Territorial Organization[79], adopted in the National Assembly of Serbia on 29 December 2007[81]. Under the Law, the units of the territorial organization are: municipalities, cities and autonomous provinces.[79]
Serbia is divided into 150 municipalities and 24 cities, which are the basic units of local self-government[79]. The city may and may not be divided into "city municipalities" (gradske opštine). Five cities, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Kragujevac and Požarevac comprise several municipalities, divided into "urban" (in the city proper) and "other" (suburban). There are 31 city municipalities (17 in Belgrade, 5 in Niš, 5 in Kragujevac, 2 in Novi Sad and 2 in Požarevac). Of the 150 municipalities, 83 are located in Central Serbia, 39 in Vojvodina and 28 in Kosovo. Of the 24 cities, 17 are in Central Serbia, 6 are in Vojvodina and 1 in Kosovo.[79]
Serbia has two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina in the north (which includes 39 municipalities and 6 cities) and Kosovo and Metohija[79] in the south (with 28 municipalities and 1 city). The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija has been transferred to the UN administration of UNMIK since June 1999. In February 2008, the Government of Kosovo declared its independence, a move recognized by a minority of countries (most of the European Union and USA) but not recognized by Serbia or the United nations. Autonomous province has its own assembly and executive council (government). It enjoys autonomy on the certain meters like education and culture. The area that lies between Vojvodina and Kosovo is called Central Serbia. Central Serbia is not an administrative division (unlike the autonomous provinces), and it has no regional government of its own.
Municipalities and cities are gathered into districts, which are regional centers of state authority, but have no assemblies of their own; they present purely administrative divisions, and host various state institutions such as funds, office branches and courts. Districts are not defined by the Law on Territorial Organisation, but are organised under the Government's Enactment of 29 January 1992.[80] Serbia is divided into 29 districts (17 in Central Serbia, 7 in Vojvodina and 5 in Kosovo), while the city of Belgrade presents a district of its own.

Defense

Serbia is a constitutionally declared neutral country, as such it is not a member of NATO or any other military alliance, nor does it participate in military operations on foreign soil. It does however participate in peacekeeping operations under United Nations authority.[10]
The Armed Forces of Serbia are divided into three basic pillars of command:
Conscription is still mandatory with regular service lasting 6 months, but a high number of recruits take the opportunity to put forth conscientious objection and serve 9 months in civil service.[82] Thorough reforms and full professionalization are underway. Currently, the largest portion of the budget goes to paying pensions and salaries of soldiers. Professionalization of the army is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.[83])

Demographics

Serbian citizens from ethnic minority groups and communities make up 18% of Serbia's population.
As of January 2010, Serbia without Kosovo is estimated to have 7,334,935 citizens[84]. The 2002 census was not conducted in Kosovo, which was under United Nations administration at the time. According to CIA estimates, Kosovo has around 1,8 million inhabitants, majority of them Albanian with Serbs of Kosovo coming in second place.[85]
Ethnic Serbs, or those who identify have declared themselves only as Serbs, are the largest ethnic group in Serbia and they represent 83% of the total population in the territory of Central Serbia and Vojvodina. With a population of 290.000, Hungarians are the second largest ethnic group in Serbia, representing 14.3% of the population in Vojvodina. Other minority groups include Bosniaks, Roma, Albanians, Croats, Montenegrins, Slovaks, Vlachs and Romanians.[86] Roma tend to be underrepresented in census data: according to the UN assessments, 450,000 to 500,000 Roma live in Serbia, many of whom have been exiled from Kosovo.[87][88] The northern province of Vojvodina is ethnically and religiously diverse. Ethnic composition of Kosovo is estimated as 88% Albanians, 7% Serbs and 5% others.[85]
Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Serbia form between 7% and 7.5% of its population – about half a million refugees sought refuge in the country following the series of Yugoslav wars, mainly from Croatia, and to a lesser extent from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the IDPs from Kosovo, which are currently the most numerous at over 200,000.[89] Serbia has the largest refugee population in Europe.[90]
On the other hand, it is estimated that 500,000 people have left Serbia during the '90s alone, and around 20% of those had college or higher education.[91][92] Serbia has the fourth oldest overall population on the planet,[93] mostly due to heavy migration and low level of fertility, which is expected to continue in long terms. In addition, Serbia has among the highest negative growth population rates in the world, ranking 225th out of 233 countries overall.[94]
Ethnic groups in Serbia (excluding Kosovo) in 2002[86]
Serbs
  
82.86%
Hungarians
  
3.91%
Bosniaks
  
1.81%
Roma
  
1.44%
Yugoslavs
  
1.08%
Croats
  
0.94%
Montenegrins
  
0.92%
Albanians
  
0.82%
Slovaks
  
0.79%
Vlachs
  
0.53%
Other
  
4.90%

Largest Cities

Leading Urban areas of Serbia (excluding Kosovo)[95]

Rank Core City Urban Population Municipal Population
1 Belgrade 1,119,642[96] 1,576,124
2 Novi Sad 191,405 299,294
3 Niš 173,724 250,518
4 Kragujevac 146,373 175,802
5 Subotica 99,981 148,401
6 Zrenjanin 79,773 132,051
7 Pančevo 77,087 127,162
8 Čačak 73,217 117,072
9 Leskovac 63,185 156,252
10 Smederevo 62,805 109,809
11 Valjevo 61,035 96,761
12 Kraljevo 57,411 121,707
13 Kruševac 57,347 131,368
14 Šabac 55,163 122,893
15 Vranje 55,052 87,288
16 Užice 54,717 83,022
17 Novi Pazar 54,604 85,996
18 Sombor 51,471 97,263
19 Kikinda 41,935 67,002
20 Požarevac 41,736 74,902

Religion

Religious groups in Serbia(excluding Kosovo) in 2002[86]
Eastern Orthodoxy
  
84.1%
Roman Catholicism
  
6.24%
Islam
  
3.42%
Protestantism
  
1.44%
Cathedral of Saint Sava, dedicated to Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, is one of the largest in the world.
For centuries straddling the religious boundary between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, joined up later by Islam, Serbia remains one of the most diverse countries on the continent. While formation of the nation-state and turbulent history of 19th and 20th century has Vojvodina province is still25% Catholic or Protestant, while Central Serbia and Belgrade regions are over 90% Orthodox Christian.[86] Kosovo consists of a 90% Albanian Muslim majority.
Among the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Serbian Orthodox Church is the largest. According to the 2002 Census,[97] 82% of the population of Serbia, excluding Kosovo, or 6,2 million people declared their nationality as Serbian, who are overwhelmingly adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Other Orthodox Christian]] communities in Serbia include Montenegrins, Romanians, Vlachs, Macedonians and Bulgarians. Together they comprise about 84% of the entire population.
Catholicism is mostly present in Vojvodina, especially its northern part, which is home to minority ethnic groups such as Hungarians, Slovaks, Croats, Bunjevci, and Czechs. There are an estimated 388,000 baptized Catholics in Serbia, roughly 6.2% of the population, mostly in northern Serbia.[86]
Protestantism accounts for about 1.1% of the country's population, chiefly among Reformist Hungarians and Slovaks in Vojvodina. Islam has a strong historic following in the southern regions of Serbia – Sandžak (Raška) region and Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa municipalities in the south-east. Bosniaks are the largest Muslim community in Serbia with 140,000 followers or 2% of the total population, followed by Albanians,[86] whereas a part of Serbian Roma are Muslim.
With the exile of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition era, thousands of escaping families and individuals made their way through Europe to the Balkans. A goodly number settled in Serbia and became part of the general population. They were well-accepted and during the ensuing generations the majority assimilated or became traditional or secular, rather than remain orthodox as had been the original immigrants. Later on the wars that ravaged the region resulted in a great part of the Serbian Jewish population emigrating from Europe.[citation needed]

Economy

Service industry makes up 63% of Serbia's GDP.
With a GDP PPP for 2008 estimated at $79.662 billion[2] or $10,792 per capita PPP, the Republic of Serbia is an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank.[98] Foreign Direct Investment in 2006 was $5.85 billion or €4.5 billion. FDI for 2007 reached $4.2 Billion while real GDP per capita figures are estimated to have reached $6,781 in April 2009.[2] The GDP growth rate showed increase by 6.3% in 2005,[99] 5.8% in 2006,[100] reaching 7.5% in 2007 and 8.7% in 2008[101] as the fastest growing economy in the region.[102] According to Eurostat data, Serbian PPS GDP per capita stood at 37 per cent of the EU average in 2008.[103]
20% of worlds raspberries are grown in Serbia.
The economy has a high unemployment rate of 14%[104] and a unfavourable trade deficit. The country expects some major economic impulses and high growth rates in the next years. Given its recent high economic growth rates, which averaged 6.6% in the last three years, foreign analysts have sometimes labeled Serbia as the “Balkan Tiger”.
National Bank of Serbia established in 1884.
Apart from its free-trade agreement with the EU as its associate member, Serbia is the only European country outside the former Soviet Union to have free trade agreements with the Russian Federation and, more recently, Belarus.[105] Apart from its favorable economic agreements with both the East and West, such steps could be soon undertaken with Turkey and Iran.[106] By doing this Serbia hopes to set up an export-oriented economy.[106]
Blue-chip corporations investing in Serbia include: US Steel, Philip Morris, Microsoft, FIAT, Coca-Cola, Lafarge, Siemens, Carlsberg and others.[107][108] In the energy, Russian giants Lukoil and Gazprom have invested heavily.[109] The banking sector has attracted investments from Banca Intesa Italy, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale France, HVB Bank Germany, Erste Bank Austria, Eurobank EFG and Piraeus Bank Greece, and others.[110] U.S. based Citibank, opened a representative office in Belgrade in December 2006.[111] In the trade sector, biggest foreign investors are France's Intermarche, German Metro Cash & Carry, Greek Veropoulos, and Slovenian Mercator.
Serbia grows about one-third of the world's raspberries and is the leading frozen fruit exporter.[112]

Communication

Light blue represent recognition of Serbian as minority language, dark blue official language.
89% of households in Serbia have fixed telephone lines, and with over 9,60 million users the number of cell-phones surpasses the number of total population population of Serbia itself by 30%. Largest cellphone providers are Telekom Srbija with 5,65 million subscribers, Telenor with 3,1 million users and Vip mobile covering the rest of the populatiob. [2] 46.8% of households have computers, 36.7% use the internet, and 42% have cable TV, which puts the country ahead of certain member states of the EU.[113][114][115][116][117] Serbia is ranked 59th in the world in terms of Internet usage out of 216 states by the CIA World Factbook.[118] With 45% of its population using the internet, Serbia is ahead of all Balkan countries except for Croatia in terms of internet service penetration.[119]

Transportation

Nikola Tesla Belgrade Airport, the busiest and largest airport in Serbia is named after Nikola Tesla.
Serbia owns one of the world's oldest airline carriers, Jat Airways, founded in 1927.[120] There are 3 international airports in Serbia: Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Niš Constantine the Great Airport and Vršac international airport as well as one in Kosovo, Pristina International Airport .
Historians have labeled the entire Serbia, and especially the valley of the Morava, as "the crossroads between East and West", which is one of the primary reasons for its turbulent history. The Morava valley route, which avoids mountainous regions, is by far the easiest way of traveling overland from continental Europe to Greece and Asia Minor. Modern Serbia was the first among its neighbors to buy railroads- in 1858 the first train arrived to Vrsac, then Austria-Hungary[121] (by 1882 route to Belgrade and Niš was completed). Serbian Railways handles the entire railway links in Serbia.
European routes E65, E70, E75 and E80, as well as the E662, E761, E762, E763, E771, and E851 pass through the country. The E70 westwards from Belgrade and most of the E75 are modern highways of motorway / autobahn standard or close to that. As of 2005, Serbia has 1,481,498 registered cars, 16,042 motorcycles, 9,626 buses, 116,440 trucks, 28,222 special transport vehicles, 126,816 tractors, and 101,465 trailers.[122]

Water transportation

Although landlocked, there are around 2000 km of navigable rivers and canals, the largest of which are: the Danube, Sava, Tisa, joined by the Timiş River and Begej, all of which connect Serbia with Northern and Western Europe through the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and North Sea route, to Eastern Europe via the Tisa, Timiş, Begej and Danube Black Sea routes, and to Southern Europe via the Sava river. The two largest Serbian cities – Belgrade[123] and Novi Sad, as well as Smederevo – are major regional Danubian harbours.[124] The Danube River, central Europe's connection to the Black Sea, flows through Serbia. Through Danube-Rhine-Mein canal the North Sea is also accessible. Tisza river offers a connection with Eastern Europe while the Sava river connects her to western former Yugoslav republics near the Adriatic Sea.

Tourism

Studenica monastery, founded in 1190 by Serbian nobleman Stefan Nemanja, is a UNESCO-protected religious sites that is also open to the public.
Dunđerski castle (1919), Vojvodina tourist attraction
Serbia’s government, businesses, and citizen’s concentrate their tourism on the villages and mountains of the country. The most famous mountain resorts are Zlatibor, Kopaonik, and the Tara. There are also many spas in Serbia, one the biggest of which is Vrnjačka Banja. Other spas include Soko Banja and Niška Banja. There is a significant amount of tourism in the largest cities like Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, but also in the rural parts of Serbia like the volcanic wonder of Đavolja varoš,[125] Christian pilgrimage across the country[126] and the cruises along the Danube, Sava or Tisza. There are several popular festivals held in Serbia, such as the EXIT Festival, proclaimed to be the best European festival by UK Festival Awards 2007 and Yourope, the European Association of the 40 largest festivals in Europe and the Guča trumpet festival. 2,2 million tourists visited Serbia in 2007, a 15% increase compared to 2006.[127]

Energy

Most of the energy is currently produced comes from coal or hydroelectric dams. Energy consumption is expected to exceed energy production by 2012 and Elektroprivreda Srbije, Serbia's largest energy producer, is expected to develop Đerdap III (Ђердап III), a hydroelectric dam with approximately 2.4 gigawatts of power.[128]
Naftna Industrija Srbije (Нафтна Индустрија Србије / Naftna industrija Srbije), Serbia's largest oil producer was recently acquired by Russian energy giant Gazprom. The two companies, are planning to build the Serbian portion of the South Stream gas pipeline. The two companies are also building a 300 million cubic meters gas storage at Banatski Dvor, located approximately 60 kilometers northeast of Novi Sad. overall, the South Stream gas pipeline project will be the largest since the 19th century railway construction through Serbia.

Culture

For centuries straddling the boundaries between East and West, Serbia had been divided among: the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; between Kingdom of Hungary, Bulgarian Empire, Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium; and between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, as well as Venice in the south. The result of these overlapping influences are distinct characters and sharp contrasts between various Serbian regions, its north being more tied to Western Europe and south leaning towards the Balkans and the Mediterranean Sea.
Miroslav Gospels, one of the oldest surviving documents written in Serbian Church Slavonic, 1186, UNESCOs Memory of the World Programme
Despite these confronting influences Serbian identity is quite solid, being described as the "most westernized of the Eastern Orthodox peoples, both socially and culturally" by the Encyclopedia of World History (2001).[129]
The Byzantine Empire's influence on Serbia was profound, through introduction of Greek Orthodoxy from 7th century onwards today Serbian Orthodox Church has an overwhelming influence on the makeup of cultural objects in Serbia. Different influences were also present- chiefly the Ottoman, Hungarian, Austrian and also Venetian, also known as coastal Serbs. Serbs use both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The monasteries of Serbia, built largely in the Middle Ages, are one of the most valuable and visible traces of medieval Serbia's association with the Byzantium and the Orthodox World, but also with the Romanic Western Europe that Serbia had close ties with back in Middle Ages. Most of Serbia's queens still remembered today in Serbian history were of foreign origin, including Hélène d'Anjou, a cousin of Charles I of Sicily, Anna Dondolo, daughter of the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, Catherine of Hungary, and Symonide of Byzantium.
Serbia has eight cultural sites marked on the UNESCO World Heritage list: Stari Ras and Sopoćani monasteries added to the Heritage list in 1979, Studenica Monastery added in 1986, the Medieval Serbian Monastic Complex in Kosovo, comprising: Dečani Monastery, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and Patriarchate of Pec, monestaties were added in 2004, and put on the endangered list in 2006, and Gamzigrad – Romuliana, Palace of Galerius, was added in 2007. Likewise, there are 2 literary memorials added on the UNESCO's list as a part of the Memory of the World Programme: Miroslav Gospels, handwriting from the 12th century, added in 2005, and Nikola Tesla's archive added in 2003.
The most prominent museum in Serbia is the National Museum, founded in 1844; it houses a collection of more than 400,000 exhibits, over 5600 paintings and 8400 drawings and prints, and includes many foreign masterpiece collections and the famous Miroslavljevo Jevanđelje. Currently museum is under reconstruction. The museum is situated in Belgrade.

Heritage

Serbia in the list of World Heritage Sites
Image Name Location Notes Date added Type
Sopocani monastery16.jpg Stari Ras Novi Pazar Medieval monuments, added as Stari Ras and Sopoćani 1979 Cultural[130]
Manastir Studenica 1.jpg Studenica monastery Kraljevo Serbian Orthodox monastery 1986 Cultural[131]
Gracanica1.jpg Medieval Monuments in Kosovo Kosovo Visoki Dečani, Patriarchate of Peć, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica monastery. Heritage in danger. 2006 Cultural[132]
Romuliana peristyle.jpg Gamzigrad Zaječar Late period Roman sites. 2007 Cultural[133]

Theatre and cinema

Renowned film director Emir Kusturica
Serbia has a well-established theatrical tradition with many theaters. The Serbian National Theatre was established in 1861 with its building dating from 1868. The company started performing opera from the end of the 19th century and the permanent opera was established in 1947. It established a ballet company. Bitef, Belgrade International Theatre Festival, is one of the oldest theatre festivals in the world. New Theatre Tendencies is the constant subtitle of the Festival. Founded in 1967, Bitef has continually followed and supported the latest theater trends. It has become one of five most important and biggest European festivals. It has become one of the most significant culture institutions of Serbia. Cinema prospered after World War II. The most notable postwar director was Dušan Makavejev who was internationally recognised for Love Affair: Or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator in 1969 focussing on Yugoslav politics. Makavejev's Montenegro was made in Sweden in 1981. Zoran Radmilović was one of the most notable actors of the postwar period. Serbian cinema continued to make progress despite the turmoil in the 1990s. Emir Kusturica won a Golden Palm for Best Feature Film at the Cannes Film Festival for Underground in 1995. In 1998, Kusturica won a Silver Lion for directing Black Cat, White Cat. As at 2001, there were 167 cinemas in Central Serbia and Vojvodina combined, and over 4 million Serbs went to the cinema in that year. In 2005, San zimske noći A Midwinter Night's Dream directed by Goran Paskaljević caused controversy over its criticism of Serbia's role in the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.

Education

Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts directs a number of scientific research projects, including many influential philosophical papers on government and national policies that have helped shaped the Serbian society since 1886.
Education in Serbia is regulated by the Ministry of Education. Education starts in either pre-schools or elementary schools. Children enroll in elementary schools (Serbian: Osnovna škola / Основна школа) at the age of seven, and remain there for eight years. After compulsory education students have the opportunity to either attend a high school for another four years, specialist school, for 2 to 4 years, or to enroll in vocational training, for 2 to 3 years. Following the completion of high school or a specialist school, students have the opportunity to attend university.
In Serbia, some of the largest universities are:
The University of Belgrade is the oldest and currently the biggest university in Serbia. Established in 1808, it has 31 faculties, and since its inception, has trained an estimated 330,000 graduates. Other universities with a significant number of faculty and alumni are those of Novi Sad (founded 1960), Kragujevac (founded 1976) and Niš (founded 1965).
The roots of the Serbian education system date back to the 11th and 12th centuries when the first Catholic colleges were founded in Titel and Bač, in Vojvodina province. Medieval Serbian education, however, was mostly conducted through the Serbian Orthodox monasteries of Sopoćani, Studenica, and Patriarchate of Peć. Serbian Orthodox education starting from the rise of Raška in 12th century, when Serbs overwhelmingly embraced Orthodoxy rather than Catholicism. The oldest college faculty within current borders of Serbia dates back to 1778; founded in the city of Sombor, then Habsburg Empire, it was known under the name Norma and was the oldest Slavic Teacher's college in Southern Europe.[134][citation needed]

Holidays

All holidays in Serbia are regulated by the Law of national and other holidays in Republic of Serbia (Закон о државним и другим празницима у Републици Србији, Zakon o državnim i drugim praznicima u Republici Srbiji). The following holidays are observed state-wide:[135]
Date Name Serbian name Notes
1 January / 2 January New Year's Day Нова Година, Nova Godina non-working holiday
7 January Orthodox Christmas Божић, Božić non-working holiday
27 January Saint Sava's Day Савиндан – Дан Духовности, SavindanDan Duhovnosti working holiday (in memory on the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church)
15 February CandlemasStatehood day Сретење – Дан државности – SretenjeDan državnosti non-working holiday (in memory on the First Serbian Uprising)
2 April Orthodox Great Friday Велики петак – Veliki petak non-working holiday (date for 2010 only)
3 April Orthodox Great Saturday Велика субота – Velika subota non-working holiday (date for 2010 only)
4 April Orthodox Easter Васкрс – Vaskrs non-working holiday (date for 2010 only)
5 April Orthodox Easter Monday Велики понедељак – Veliki ponedeljak non-working holiday (date for 2010 only)
1 May / 2 May Labour Day Дан рада – Dan rada non-working holiday
9 May Victory Day Дан победе – Dan pobede working holiday
28 June Saint Vitus Day - Vidovdan Видовдан – Дан Срба палих за отаџбину, Vidovdan – Dan Srba palih za otadžbinu working holiday (in memory of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389)
Also, members of other religions have the right not to work on days of their holidays.

Cuisine

Serbian cuisine is varied, the turbulent historical events influenced the food and people, and each region has its own peculiarities and differences. It is strongly influenced by the Byzantine-Greek, Mediterranean, Oriental and Austro-Hungarian styles. Many of the traditional Serbian foods like ćevapčići, soup, pljeskavica, gibanica, are enjoyed even today.

Architecture

Serbia has a diverse history and this diversity is reflected in its architecture. Serbian monasteries are built in the style of Byzantine architecture, similar to the architecture of Russian churches. In northern Serbia Baroque style of architecture is predominant while in the south oriental style is dominant. In the capital city, Belgrade, many buildings are built in the Art Deco architectural style. After the second world war, the capital city, Belgrade, expanded westwards. The new neighborhood called, New Belgrade, was built according to Le Corbusier's urban planning ideology. Many of the buildings of Belgrade is shocked that during the time of Yugoslavia were built in the style of socialist modernism. The current predominating architectural style is Western and consists of glass façades.

Sports

Marakana Stadium, built partly underground, is the largest football stadium in Serbia and home of the FC Red Star.
Sports in Serbia revolve mostly around team sports: football, basketball, water polo, volleyball, handball, and, more recently, tennis. The two main football clubs in Serbia are Red Star Belgrade and FK Partizan, both from capital Belgrade. Red Star is the only Serbian and former Yugoslav club that has won a UEFA competition, winning the 1991 European Cup in Bari, Italy. The same year in Tokyo, Japan, the club won the Intercontinental Cup. Partizan is the first club from Serbia to take part in the UEFA Champions League group stages subsequent to the breakup of the Former Yugoslavia. The matches between two rival clubs are known as "Eternal Derby" (Serbian: Вечити дерби, Večiti derbi). Serbia and Italy were host nations at 2005 Men's European Volleyball Championship. The Serbia men's national volleyball team is the direct descendant of Yugoslavia men's national volleyball team. After becoming independent, Serbia won bronze medal at 2007 Men's European Volleyball Championship held in Moscow.

Basketball

Belgrade Arena regularly holds 23,000 people and is one of the largest sport venues in Europe .
Serbia is one of the traditional powerhouses of world basketball, winning various FIBA World Championships, multiple Eurobaskets and Olympic medals (albeit as FR Yugoslavia). Serbia's national basketball team is considered the successor to the successful Yugoslavia national basketball team. Serbia has won FIBA world championships five times and has won second place in the European championship in 2009. Players from Serbia made deep footprint in history of basketball, having success both in the top leagues of Europe and in the NBA. Many Serbs have played in the NBA such as Vlade Divac, Predrag Stojakovic, Nenad Krstic, Darko Milicic, and Vladimir Radmanovic.
Basketball League of Serbia Is the highest professional basketball to Serbia. For the eighth consecutive year, KK Partizan is currently the reigning champion of the league, followed by KK Crvena Zvezda. KK Partizan was the European champion in 1992 with curiosity of winning the title, although playing all but one of the games (crucial quarter-final game vs. Knorr) on foreign grounds; FIBA decided not to allow teams from Former Yugoslavia play their home games at their home venues, because of open hostilities in the region. KK Partizan was not allowed to defend the title in the 1992–1993 season, because of UN sanction.
Serbia has hosted the Eurobasket tournament in 2005.

Soccer

Serbian national team.
Serbia's national football team made their first appearance during the qualifying rounds for Euro 2008 although they did not qualify for Euro 2008. During the qualifying tournament for the World Cup 2010, Serbia won the first place in its group and consequently qualified directly for the 2010 World Cup Championship. Some members of the national team are international players such as, Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovic, Milos Krasic, Neven Subotic, and Nikola Zigic.
Serbian Superliga, is the highest professional league in the country. The 2008/2009 season champion was FK Partizan, followed by FK Vojvodina in the second place, and Red Star Belgrade in the third.

Tennis

Novak Djokovic, one of the top 5 tennis players in the world.
Serbian tennis players Novak Đoković, Ana Ivanović, Jelena Janković, Nenad Zimonjić, Janko Tipsarević and Viktor Troicki are very successful and led to a popularisation of tennis in Serbia. Novak Đoković is the founder of an ATP tennis tournament, Serbia Open.
Other well-known players are Monika Seles and Jelena Dokić. Playing for Yugoslavia, Seles has won the Australian Open in 1991, 1992, and 1993, the French open in 1990, 1991 and 1992, and US Open in 1991 and 1992.

Waterpolo

Serbia men's national water polo team is the reigning Water polo world champion winnig the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy. Yugoslavia national water polo team was twice the World Champion (in 1986 and 1991) and once the European Champion (1991). After becoming independent, Serbia have won three European Championships (2001, 2003 and 2006), finished as runner-up in 2008, won two World Championships (2005 and 2009) and won bronze medal at 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing.
VK Partizan won 6 titles of European champion and it is the second best European team in history of water polo.
Serbian capital Belgrade hosted the 2006 Men's European Water Polo Championship.

International rankings

Organization Survey Rankning
Institute for Economics and Peace [3] Global Peace Index[136] 78 out of 144
Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2009 62 out of 175
The Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom 2010 104 out of 179
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 83 out of 180
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 2009 67 out of 182
Networked Readiness Index Networked Readiness Index 2008–2009 84 out of 134

See also

References

  1. ^ http://webrzs.stat.gov.rs/axd/index.php
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External links

General information

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Serbia
noframe
Flag
Image:Flag of Serbia (state).png
Quick Facts
Capital Belgrade (Beograd / Београд)
Government parliamentary democracy
Currency Serbian Dinar (RSD)
Area 88,361 sq km
Population 9,778,991
Language Serbian 90.1% (official), Hungarian 3.8%, Romany (Gypsy) 1.1%, other 4.1%, unknown 0.9% (2002 census)
note: Romanian, Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Croatian all official in Vojvodina
Religion Orthodox 65%, Muslim 19%, Roman Catholic 4%, Protestant 1%, other 11%
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +381
Internet TLD .rs (.yu to be used until end of 2009)
Time Zone UTC +1
Serbia Serbian: (Srbija / Србија) [1] is a country that was a founder and one of six republics forming the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is in the Balkans, in Southern Europe. It is surrounded by Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, Bulgaria to the southeast, Croatia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Macedonia to the south, and Romania to the northeast. It controls one of the major land routes from Central Europe to Turkey and further on to the Near East.
Map of Serbia
Map of Serbia
  • Central Serbia - main region
  • Vojvodina - autonomous northern province (autonomna pokrajina / аутономна покрајина)
  • Kosovo - considered an autonomous southern province, (de-facto independent country)
  • Belgrade (Beograd / Београд) - Capital
  • Niš - The third largest city in Serbia.
  • Kragujevac - The first capital of modern Serbia, industrial hub and the 4th largest city in Serbia.
  • Kraljevo
  • Novi Sad - Provincial Capital of Vojvodina and second largest city (after Belgrade)
  • Vršac - One of the most beautiful cities in Serbia
  • Palić The lovely lake in North Serbia, baroque parks, the monuments of art nouveau architecture and long tradition in catering made it fashionable summer resort. Palić is the host of ,,Film Festival,,(http://palicfilmfestival.com/), ,,World Ethno Music Festival,, (http://etnofest.org/) and sport - recreation events.
  • Staro Selo 3 kilometers south of Velika Plana, it has an all wooden 19th century church, build by Vujica Vuličević, with then ruler of Serbia, prince Miloš Obrenović, in repentance for their role in the death of Đorđe Petrović Karađorđe in the near vicinity, the commander-in-chief in the first phase of the War of restoration (First Serbian uprising)against the Ottoman empire. The reason for its wooden structure is so that in the oncoming attack of the Turks, it could be easily dismantled and moved to a safer location. Regarded as national Serbian treasure.
  • Guča a village in Dragačevo district (about 20 km from Čačak) where a famous brass music festival (Трубачки фестивал) is held annually.
  • Zlatibor is a very famous mountainous tourist site and ski-resort in South-Western Serbia.
  • Petrovaradin fortress, one of the greatest and preserved XVIII century fortress in Europe.
  • Sokobanja, the road to Sokobanja detaches on 200-th kilometer of the motorway Belgrade - Athens. Sokobanja is situated in basin between the mountains Rtanj(1,560m) and Ozren(1,117m), 400m above the sea level. Sokobanja is a famous spa and tourist place in Serbia for its moderate continental climate and immense surfaces of woods, fresh air and a lot of thermo-mineral sources. They all make Sokobanja an exceptional place in Serbia.
  • Subotica has been rated as one of the most beautiful cities of Serbia. It is in North Serbia, and is the closest city to Palic. Main languages are Serbian and Hungarian.
  • Sremska Mitrovica is one of the oldest cities in Serbia and in Europe. Known as Sirmium in Roman Empire, it was one of the four capitals during tetrarchy period.
  • Negotin one of the smallest but very beautiful
  • Lepenski Vir
  • Smederevo is a medieval capitol of Serbia. It was also a capitol during the 1st Serbian Uprising against the Turks in the early XIX century. It has a medieval fortress built in XV century by despot Djuradj Branković and it is the largest lowland medieval fortress in Europe. [2]
Medieval castle in Golubac
Medieval castle in Golubac
Serbia is a lovely country, open for tourism all year round. In summer tourists love spending their time in Belgrade and enjoy the nature of many national parks throughout the country. In winter tourists are warmly welcomed to mountain resorts (one of the most popular being Kopaonik [featured on BBC as one of the best ski destinations in Europe]). There are also many spa resorts such as Sokobanja, Niška Banja and Vrnjačka Banja.
Serbs are warm people especially towards tourists. Most Serbs speak some English (seniors, however, are more likely to speak German and/or French), so you will be able to find your way around by asking directions. Most tourists come to Serbia in the summer and you can often hear German, Italian, French and English in the streets of Belgrade, while Slovenian tourists pour for New Year hollidays.

Climate

In the north: continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall); central portion: moderate continental climate; to the south: hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.
City of Zrenjanin, Serbia
City of Zrenjanin, Serbia
Extremely varied; to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills. Although the region around the town of Mionica has been known for some earthquakes in recent years, these were by no means destructive.
Highest point 
Đeravica 2,656 m

History

The first Serbian state was formed in the mid 9th century, expanding by the mid 14th century to an empire comprising most of the Balkans. In 1389, Serbs lost a decisive battle in the Kosovo field against Ottoman empire. Serbia managed to preserve its freedom for another seventy years only to be finally overwhelmed by the Turks in 1459. An uprising in the early 1800s that grew in the full scale war (War of Restoration) led to the restoration of Serbian independence in 1815.
The 1914 Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia following the asassination of Archduke Ferdinand by an ethnic Serb high school student precipitated the first World War. In its aftermath,in 1918, victorious Serbia gatherd all south Slav lands (Croatia, Slovenia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegowina, and Montenegro)into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes; The country's name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Invasion and occupation by Germany and Italy in 1941 was resisted by Yugoslav Army in fatherland (Chetniks), commanded by Lt.-Gen Dragoljub Mihajlović and communist led guerilla (partisans) who eventually started fighting each other as well as the invaders. The partisans, commanded by Field-Marshal Josip Broz Tito emerged victorious and formed a provisional governement that abolished monarchy and proclaimed republic in 1946 after a dubious referendum. At the end of the war nearly all ethnic Germans left the country. Although pro-Communist, J.B. Tito's new government successfully steered its own delecate path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades.
Capital city of Serbia - Belgrade
Capital city of Serbia - Belgrade
In the early 1990s, post-Tito Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines: Slovenia, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia all split from the Yugoslav Union in 1991; and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. All of efforts to preserve Yugoslavia were ultimately unsuccessful and bloody civil wars broke out in Croatia and in Bosnia. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (FRY) in 1992. Slobodan Milosevic was elected the first president of Serbia. In the late 1990s, the conflict with the Albanian separatist movement in Kosovo led to a NATO bombing campaign and direct intervention, which left the placement of Kosovo under UN administration. Slobodan Milosevic, by this time elected for the president of the federation, lost Federal elections in the fall of 2000 to Vojislav Kostunica. The country reestablished its membership in the OUN and started preparations to join the EU. In 2002, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro began negotiations to forge a looser relationship, which led first to the name change of the nation to "Serbia and Montenegro", then culminated in Montenegro declaring independence in June 2006. More recently Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence, however this act remains unrecognised by Serbia and most other countries.
Independence 
4 February 2003 (when changed from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to State Union of Serbia and Montenegro), 5 June 2006 (from State Union of Serbia and Montenegro to Serbia)
National holidays
January 1 - 2 (New Year's Day), January 7 (Eastern Orthodox Christmas), January 14 (National Holiday (Orthodox New Year), January 27 (Saint Sava's feast Day), February 15 (Sretenje / Groundhog Day (Candlemas) / Serbian National Day), May 1 - 2 (Labour Day), May 9 (Victory Day), June 28 (Vidovdan / St Vitus Day)

Money

Serbia's official currency is the Serbian Dinar (RSD). The Serbian dinar can be exchanged in most of the banks throughout the Europe. However, it is best to convert at the airport (even though the rate there tends to be a bit higher) or in the banks located in the towns or in the numerous and visibly marked authorized exchange offices. Euro is occasionally being accepted, but prices are often overestimated when directly compared to the Dinar. Belgrade is typically on pair with many European cities prices, however, outside the capital prices of almost any item are lot lower when compared to the capital. Typically, 120 Dinars for a coke in a Belgrade bar, and 150 Dinars for 3 cokes in a bar outside the capital. On September 2009 the exchange rate stood at 63 Serbian Dinars for 1 US Dollar, and 93 Serbian Dinars for €1.
While you might not need a visa ...
Similar to neighbouring Bosnia and Croatia, foreigners are required by law to register themselves with the police station in their district within 24 hours of receiving a Serbian entry stamp at a border crossing or airport.
Registration is done automatically by hotel staff upon check-in, however if you are staying with friends in a private dwelling, you must register your presence with the police in the district in which you are staying.
You will receive the bottom part of the Foreigner Registration Form to carry with you if registering at a police station, or a printout from hotel reception if staying at a hotel; when exiting the country, you will be required to present it to the Border Police. Sometimes they will not ask for it, and you can keep it as an administrative memento. Never forget, though, that failure to register can result in prosecution and a large fine.
City of Subotica, Northern Serbia
City of Subotica, Northern Serbia
Getting into Serbia does not constitute a problem for most European nationals. You don't need to obtain a visa for entering. Citizens of USA, Canada and Australia and the European Union do not need visas either. Citizens of Bosnia need only ID. Check with your nearest Serbian embassy for current and detailed information.
Serbia has announced that visitors with Kosovan visas or passport stamps will not be allowed into the country. In practice, officers seem content with simply crossing them out and replacing them with Serbian ones, but it would be foolhardy to rely on this. Likewise, leaving Serbia via Kosovo is not considered leaving the country, so you run the risk of being charged with overstaying if you ever return.
TIP: Licensed taxi service fare from the airport to the city has a flat rate of RSD 800 (€10). Travel time to the city centre is approximately 20 minutes. Incoming taxis have constant radio communication with airport authorities. This ensures passengers a better alternative. Should there be any problem finding taxi you should address the staff of the Tourist Organisation of Belgrade in the Arrivals Hall to call a taxi for you. All taxis working at the airport are comfortable limousines in top-notch condition.
Using taxi services for destinations outside metropolitan Belgrade is unwise, as prices are unreasonably high. All licensed taxi drivers have a badge, an oval blue license plate with a serial number, and the Belgrade Coat of Arms displayed on the roof. Make sure that the taximeter is switched on. Tarif 1 is the correct one Monday to Saturday from morning till 10AM. Tarif 3 is the 'trick' fare used to scam out of obscene amounts of money. Or better take one of the several bus lines, check the Belgrade section.{br}

Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport - Terminal 2 (international departures and arrivals
Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport - Terminal 2 (international departures and arrivals
  • Niš - Serbia's second international airport is in Niš - Niš Constantine the Great International Airport (INI). It's connected with Zurich as well as some other European cities during the winter months, serving as the airport for the near by ski resorts at Kopaonik. The following airlines operate to and from the airport: Jat Airways (Basel/Mulhouse), Tivat, Zürich), Montenegro Airlines (Tivat) and Thomsonfly (London - Gatwick Airport [seasonal])

By train

Several international trains from Belgrade to Budapest and Vienna and to Zagreb-Ljubljana-München/Zurich. Usually, they should not be too late (seldom more than 1/4 of an hour). The night train to Budapest was very regularly overcrowded in summer 2005 (only 1 sitting car). Furthermore, there are direct (day or night) trains from Belgrade to Skopje - Thessaloniki (Belgrade-Thessaloniki €30/seat+20euro/bed one way at 2 beds compartment). Trains to Sofia and Bucarest however tend to be often quite late (about an hour). Trains to Macedonia (Greece), Bulgaria and Romania are allegedly reported to oftenly consist of old, not very comfortable, cars.
For timetables and all other infos, check website of national career Serbian Railways[22]
A cheap way of traveling to or from Serbia might be the Balkan Flexipass.

By car

Be sure your Green Card has an uncancelled "YU" or "SRB" box. Coming in from Hungary, the Szeged/Horgos border crossing is notorious for its congestion. If crossing the border from Hungary, try the Tompa/Kelebija crossing point, about 20km west.
On the two-lane E75 between Szeged, Hungary to Belgrade, please note that cars over-taking will often use the unofficial "middle-lane". Exercise caution and pull over to the hard shoulder on the right to let them through safely. The dual-carriageway should be completed in 2009 to eliminate this risk.
The highway between the Croatian border and Leskovac (via Belgrade and Niš) is tolled, but the toll is no longer higher for foreigners than for Serbs. In 2010, Serbia is scheduled to introduce a vignette system.
Police are generally stationed at major junctions or at underpasses to control traffic and speed. Drivers commonly warn others of a police presence by flicking the high-beams on two or three times.
Note that traffic law is very strict. No person under age of 14 must not ride in the front seat, seat belts are obligatory for those who sit in the front, alcohol is not tolerated at all, rookie drivers need to have an experienced driver in the car if their driving career is less than 5 years and fines are from €100 for smaller violations up to 60 days in prison and €5000 for causing a larger traffic accident (both locals and foreigners). IMPORTANT! If you are driving on country and local roads pay attention to the tractors and other heavy agricultural machines especially at night! They can be without proper light signalization and hard to see so slow down at night.
All highway tolls are quiet cheap and can be paid in Serbian dinars or Euros.

By bus

Vienna - Buses leave from Vienna International Busterminal (Erdberg) almost every day. For destinations south of Belgrade, Zoran Reisen coaches leave at 3PM on Friday, and charge around €45 for a one-way trip (as at August 2007).
Hungary - When you take an international bus from Belgrade towards Germany, don't surprised when a collection is held inside the bus for paying the Hungarian border guards a fee to let the bus go faster over the border. This is what you would call a bribe. On your way into Serbia it seems 'cheaper', though the Hungarian border guards will demand all passengers sign a form declaring they 'offered no gift, cash or otherwise, to Hungarian border police' whether they paid a bribe or not.

By boat

There are boat tours, which pass through Belgrade. These are English Trafalgar Tours which cruise along the Danube and have a two day stopover in Belgrade.

By thumb

Hitchhiking across Serbia is still acceptable and most drivers will treat you like a friend. However, necessary precautions should still be taken. Generally, it is easy to hitchhike through Vojvodina and it's much more difficult to hitch a ride from Belgrade to the south, in the direction of Kosovo, or Macedonia and Montenegro. The Hitchhiker's guide to Serbia [23] offers a collection of hitchhiking tips for a number of cities and towns in Serbia. It was made by the members of the Serbia Travel Club, an association of independent travelers from Serbia, and is available in English and Serbian.

By bike

The cycling route EuroVelo 6 [24] which runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, crosses Serbia by following the Danube river. Most of the advised itinerary follows minor paved roads, and directions are clearly indicated by a specific EuroVelo 6 signage. Although too few cities offer appropriate cyclist-friendly infrastructures, cycling slowly gains interest among the population as an economic and sustainable alternative way of touring and commuting.

Talk

Languages: Serbian (the majority), also Hungarian in the north.
English is commonly spoken throughout Serbia and the younger people tend to have excellent command. They are also quite willing to practice it with foreigners. Also you can try with young people talking German, French or Spanish which are taught in Serbian schools.
The Serbian language similar to with Croatian and Bosnian. Before the era of nationalist linguistic policies and the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, they were all known as Serbo-Croatian. Today people in the former Yugoslavia no longer use this general term for what remains a common language.
If you speak Russian it can prove to be occasionally helpful for you. Even though Serbia has never been politically involved in any way with Russia, the two languages have some similarities. This also includes all other slavic languages, especially Bulgarian and Macedonian.
In Vojvodina most people speak Serbian, but other languages are also used. In some towns near the Hungarian boarder you are more likely to hear Hungarian. There are many smaller minorities, like the Slovaks, the Romanians, and the Russians, etc. who often speak their native languages as well.

See

There are two rivers which go through Belgrade: The Sava and Danube. There are a lot of old buildings on all four banks, including a huge fortress (Kalemegdan), that has been built, modelled and remodelled by Celts, Romans, Byzantins, Serbs, Austrians and Turks over more than 2,000 years. It has a multitude of various towers and ports, and two long walking/biking paths along both rivers.
Medieval orthodox monasteries – Studenica, Manasija, Žiča, Ravanica. Excellent opportunity to see part of Serbian history. If you are interested in art, there are excellent fresco masterpieces. Recommendaion – “Beli Anđeo” (White Angel) fresco in Mileseva monastery.

Do

Belgrade night life – Belgrade is very famous for its whole-night-party clubs. If you are looking for a place to feel the local atmosphere and good vibes, visit bohemian street “Skadarlija”.
For younger population club Plastic is the place to go. It offers a variety of electronic club music and often hosts very popular international DJ's as well as the best of Serbian DJs. For more info (http://www.club-plastic.com/)
Coffee Bar “Bizzare” is in the center of Belgrade in Gospodar Jevremova 38 street. “Bizzare” is for all electronic music lovers, mostly house and various artist, DJ and live act performances but also, jazz, disco, funky, soul, blues, latino, brasil, ambiental and world music are major assets of this club. Great place to start your evening and proceed to some of the nearby Belgrade clubs. Open all week. (http://www.cafebizzare.rs/)
Coffee Bar "Dali" in Hilandarska street is one of the hot spots of young urban Belgrade, although very small it is always full and offers great atmosphere and good music usually selected by some of the best Belgrade DJs. Style's vary from Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, Electro, Drum n Bass to Bosanova, Nu Funk and RnB. And if you like "Rakija", on Fridays this bar has a theme night called "Rakijanje" (Drinking Rakija in Serbian slang).
Jazz lovers should visit "Ptica" (the Bird) in Šantićeva street. Fridays and Saturdays live jazz music. Club also has a CD shop dedicated only to jazz music.
Also, don't forget to visit "Tramvaj" at the corner of Ruzveltova and 27. Marta street. Live music, young people and excellent atmosphere.
Ada Ciganlija is also an excellent place to kick back and relax during summer. It is as locals call it the sea of Belgrade. A lot of sport fields and courts (soccer, basketball, golf, volleyball, etc.). Cafes serving ice cream and beer abound on the banks of this lake-beach park.
Favorite leisure activity in Belgrade is drinking coffee in numerous bars, bistros and cafés (especially in Strahinjića Bana street, which is known locally as Silicon Valley as it is frequented by loud, vulgar and surgically-enhanced folksingers along with their hangers-on and wannabes). It is very strange, but most of places are occupied all day long - ie, within working hours. You should check: Downtown café, Buka bar, Movie bar, Iron café, Biblioteka café, Monza café-boat, Bibis café-boat, and many more; People who are not in the folk and MTV music, and don't like to drink overpriced coffee, should avoid this street. There are coffee bars on almost every corner in Belgrade, which offer more relaxed atmosphere and are designed with more taste that those in Strahinjića Bana street.
If you like rock music go to "Danguba" located in Cirila i Metodija 2 or "Living Room" located in "Youth Cultural Center" in Makedonska street. Live music every weekend and admission fee is between 100 to 250 RSD (1,5 - €3).
Belgrade Beer Fest, which takes place at Ušće every August. (http://www.belgradebeerfest.com/active/en/home.html)
Smederevo is a town about 50 km from Belgrade. There are direct bus lines almost every half an hour and it takes about one hour to get there from Belgrade. It is considered as the unofficial rock 'n' roll capitol of Serbia because of its many rock musicians and bands who live there or were born there. See the largest lowland medieval fortress in Europe (especially at night when its lights give a special romantic and mystical atmosphere) or go to a rock concert at "Moto Club Street Fighter" (http://www.myspace.com/motoclubstreetfighter) which is located at the very bank of the Danube. At the end of September the town hosts a traditional festival called "Smederevska Jesen" (Smederevo Autumn) which is a festival of vine and Serbian culture with many concerts and other happenings. During the festival there is a carnival located at the end of the town but AVOID IT because it's loud and crowded and basically there's nothing to see or do. Just stay in the town center. Museum of Smederevo holds a lot of Roman and medieval items and collections so for history lovers it's a must-see.
EXIT festival – Biggest music festival in SE Europe, that is happening in the beginning of July, in Novi Sad, on Petrovaradin fortress. (http://www.exitfest.org/)

New Year's Eve

Restaurants, clubs, cafe's and hotels are usually full-booked and organize New Years celebrations with food and live music.
However, Serbian New Year's celebrations are most known for the outdoors festivities in Belgrade, and several other major cities such as Novi Sad, Niš and Jagodina. As of mid-December, cities are extensively decorated and lit. The decorations remain until way into January due to the persistent influence of the old, Julian calendar. Throughout the region, especially amongst former Yugoslav republics, Belgrade is known as the place to be for major parties, concerts and happenings (see [25] for further info). It has become common for large groups of Slovene's to visit their former capital and celebrate the beginning of a new year. Especially since the mid-nineties, street celebrations grew into mass gatherings with hundreds of thousands of people, celebrating New Year on one of several locations throughout Belgrade.
Also, on January 14th Serbians celebrate so called Serbian New Year, which is actually New Year's Eve by Eastern Church calender. In the night between January 13th and 14th you can actually re-live New Year's Eve.

Buy

Downtown Belgrade is populated with many high-end as well as midrange shops. "Knez Mihailova" is the biggest shopping street, but there are also quite a few shopping malls, such as Delta City and Ušće Shopping Center. Imported western food is available in many supermarkets, especially in the Croatian-owned "Idea". In nearly all Serbian pharmacies (apoteka) you can buy prescription drugs without prescription.

Eat

When ordering a burger ask for 'pljeskavica' (pronounced approximately: PYES-ka-vitsa) ask for kajmak (like mildly sour cream) (pronounced: KAI-mak) it tastes way better than it sounds. Stepin Vajat and Duff at Autokomanda, Loki in downtown area and Iva in Žarkovo are the best grill fast food restaurants in town. Also try ćevapi or ćevapčići (pronounced: chay-VAH-pee, chay-VAP-chitchee), they are small parcels of minced meat, grilled with hot spices. It is considered a local fast food delicacy. Highly recommended to carnivores.
Burek (pronounced BOO-rek), sometimes decribed as the Balkan equivalent of McDonalds due to its being sold everywhere, is very delicious. It is made with a range of fillings including meat, cheese, spinach, apple, cherry....... Not for dieters as it is quite oily. Morning is definitely the best time to eat this (sometimes sold-out by afternoon).
  • Kiflice (KEE-flitsay)are lovely little crescent rolls.
  • Paprikaš (PAP-rik-ahsh) - stew with paprika often with chicken
  • Gulaš (GOO-lash) - stew with paprika with beef
  • Sarma (SAR-ma) cabbage rolls, similar to dolmades but made with sauerkraut instead of vine leaves
  • Gibanica (GHEE-ban-itsa) - phillo pie with spinach and cheese or just cheese (like spanakopita or tiropita in Greece)
  • Punjene Paprike - stuffed peppers (POON-yennay PAP-rik-ay)
  • Pohovane Paprike (PO-ho-vah-nay PAP-rik-ay) - paprika rolled in soya oil and wheat flower and fried in sunflower oil, for vegetarians
  • Pasulj - (PAS-ooy) - beans -a national specialty. Often cooked for a long time with onion and paprika. Delicious.
  • Riblja čorba - (RIB-yah CHOR-ba) Fish soup using freshwater catch.
  • Roštilj (ROSH-teel) - barbecue - the most delicious food in the world
  • Prebranac (pre-BRAH-nats) - is for vegetarians. It's cooked and roasted beans with various spices and vegetables. Usually completely meat free.
  • Alva - a sweet of Turkish origin. Made of sugar and nuts.
  • Proja (PRO-ya) - a type of corn bread with white cheese. A national specialty.
  • Rakija (excellent brandy that has many flavours, like plum (pronounce like SHYEE-va), quince (DOO-nyah), apricot (KAI-see-yah)... - You should know that some prestigious brand of rakija can be extremely expensive like Žuta Osa (ZHOO-tah O-sah) which means Yellow Wasp or Viljamovka (VEE-yam-ovka) made of pear of the sort william , the most expensive and the most quality ones have a pear fruit in the bottle.
  • Loza (from grapes, a type of rakija)
  • Voda = Water
  • Slivovitza (the national brandy of Serbia, and the most common type of Rakija, very popular, variably strong alcoholic beverage)
  • Beer. I believe that Jelen (Deer) and Lav (Lion) are the two best varieties of Serb beer, although Nikšićko from neighbouring Montenegro also seems very popular.
Tap water is perfectly safe to drink, and mainly of a good quality, too. There are also many springs and fountains with excellent-quality drinking water - the most popular ones being the fountain on Knez Mihailova in Belgrade, and the many fountains in the city of Nis. One must pay attention when it comes to water in Vojvodina. Some regions ( Kikinda, Zrenjanin..) have heavily polluted water, that is not even used for cooking, only as technical water.

Stay safe

Serbia is generally a very safe place to visit. The locals are incredibly polite and helpful in case you require any assistance. However, you should always be aware of pickpockets, mainly in crowded tourist places and on public transportation. Street robberies, murders, or attacks are highly unusual even in dark or remote parts of the city. One should always watch out for drivers, who can be very rude to pedestrians or cyclists.

Respect

Since many Serbs feel nationally frustrated by the defeats in recent historical events, it is best to avoid discussion of the 1990's Yugoslavian Wars, the NATO bombing of Serbia, and president Milosevic's administration. If someone brings the topic up, try to avoid giving any strong opinions until you can assess your acquaintance's views. Do NOT mention Kosovo. Due to the US's vocal support of Kosovar independence, in addition to the 1999 air strikes, there is some ill-will directed towards the West, particularly towards the USA (though unlikely on a personal level). On the other hand, talking about Socialist Yugoslavia and Tito will not raise as many eyebrows; as most will not hesitate in talking about it and some may even approach it with a strong degree of affection towards that more stable and peaceful era. Remember Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, but does maintain relations with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Macedonia.
When toasting in Serbia, as in the most of european countries, make sure you make eye contact. You may be invited to drink gallons, but are expected to be able to hold your drink. Being obviously drunk is a sign of bad taste, lack of character, and worse. It is always nice to toast in your companion's native tongue. Cheers is živeli in Serbian, gëzuar in Albanian (Don’t confuse these two,or you will be in trouble!) and egészségedre in Hungarian.
The word molim is key to polite conversation in Serbian. It basically means please, but also you're welcome, an appropriate response when somebody thanks you (and says hvala). It also means I beg your pardon?, when you didn’t understand some word. Just saying Šta? (What?) can sound rude. It may be said that the use of the word molim is similar to the use of bitte in German.
Like most European languages, has the formal and informal way of saying you (Vi and ti). Use the formal Vi version when addressing older people. People are normally not addressed or referred to by their first names, unless among friends or relatives.
Serbian greetings are: Dobro jutro = Good morning | Dobar dan = "Good day" indeed to be used most of the day | Dobro veče = Good evening | Doviđenja = Bye | Laku noć = Good night (only when going to sleep, otherwise Dobro veče) | Zdravo = The most common informal greeting, used both when coming and leaving.

Contact

There are three mobile phone networks in Serbia: MTS, Telenor and Vip. Prepaid SIM cards cost 200 dinars. In Vip stores you can buy a Vip 226 (rebranded Sagem my220V) phone with prepaid SIM card for 1999 dinars.
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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Serbia
by Florence Earle Coates
Published in The Literary Digest, 8 June 1918; A Treasury of War Poetry: British and American Poems of the World War 1914-1919;[1] and Victi Resurgunt (2009).
When the heroic deeds that mark our time
   shall, in far days to come, recorded be,
   Men, much forgetting, shall remember thee,
Thou central martyr of the Monster-Crime,
Who kept thy soul clear of the ooze and slime --
   The quicksands of deceit and perjury --
   A living thing, unconquered still and free,
Through superhuman sacrifice sublime.

O Serbia! amid thy ruins great,
Love is immortal; there's an end to hate,
   Always there will be dawn, though dark the night.
Look up, thou tragic Glory! Even now,
The thorny round that binds thy bleeding brow
   Is as a crown irradiating light!

References

  1. A Treasury of War Poetry on Google Books
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1927, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also serbia, sèrbia, and Sèrbia

Contents

English

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Alternative forms

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Serbia
Serbia (uncountable)
  1. A country in southeastern Europe

Related terms

Translations

See also

Anagrams


Finnish

Proper noun

Serbia
  1. Serbia

Declension

Derived terms


Galician

Proper noun

Serbia f.
  1. Serbia

Related terms

  • serbio

Italian

Proper noun

Serbia f.
  1. Serbia

Derived terms

Anagrams


Norwegian

Proper noun

Serbia
  1. Serbia

Related terms


Polish

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Serbia f.
  1. Serbia

Declension

Singular only
Nominative Serbia
Genitive Serbii
Dative Serbii
Accusative Serbię
Instrumental Serbią
Locative Serbii
Vocative Serbio

Derived terms


Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 08, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Montenegro, which are similar to those in the above article.








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