Settled in the southern part of Europe, with its biggest part in Balkan Peninsula. Serbia has a specifically good geographical position and this is the main reason it’s been conquered so many times in the past. Its biggest part is in southeastern Europe and one quarter of the country occupies the region of middle Europe. With its bigger part it is a continental country and one part counts Serbia into Mediterranean countries.
Serbia is the mixture of different reliefs, starting from beautiful rivers, through gorgeous forests, long plains and impressive mountains. Honestly, it is a bond of tremendous untouched nature and exclusive and vivid cities.
No matter whether you enjoy fresh air, untouched nature, long hikes, skiing, or a vivid nightlife, Serbia is the right country for you. Combination of old and new, history and future, different nations and religions it will welcome you with open hands, embrace you and make you feel home. Once you visit this country you will wish never to leave or at least to come back again.
Belgrade, Novi Sad and other large cities will give you a great pastime, mountains and pastures will give you fresh air and peace, and spas will help you improve your health. Every season is beautiful here. In winter you can enjoy mountains, but also feel the warmness of the countryside, spring, the time when all the nature wakes up, will provide you long walks. Summer is the time for beautiful Serbian rivers and lakes. And autumn, the last but not the least will show you what a friendship here actually means, since it’s the time of work, when people in Serbia prepare for winter season.
There is no exact information about the correct origin of the name Serbia and Serbian people. There are many different interpretations and data about the first appearance of Serbs and their name as we know it today. The official history says that Serbia is firstly mentioned in the 10th century by Greeks. When it comes to the name of the people (Serbs) it’s much trickier and under the veil of secrets. Some data show that this name appears in ancient times, long before our time, but most historians claim that this word comes from Slovenian language.
Basic information about Serbia
The territory of the state occupies 88.361 square kilometers. Narration is (in 2016) 7.058.322 people and density 91.1 square kilometers. Most of the populations make Serbs, but there are many ethnic groups here such as Hungarians, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Roma and others.
The capital and at the same time the largest city is Belgrade. The official language in Serbia is Serbian and the currency is Serbian dinar (RSD).
Calling code for the country is +381.
Serbia is Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic, with the President as its leader. The current Legislature of Serbia is National Assembly. People here drive on the right side of the road.
Serbia is a member of many organizations such as UN, BSEC, OSCE, CEFTA, etc. The country is an EU membership candidate since 2012. The state is military neutral. This is an upper-middle income country. The dominant sectors are: service (the most dominant), then industrial and agricultural.
The symbols of Serbia
Serbian anthem is almost the same as the anthem of former Kingdom of Serbia (with slightly changed text). Its name is God of Justice.
The coat of arms is the same as from the period of the rule of Obrenovici Dynasty, from 1882 (Kingdom of Serbia then). It is consisted of two-headed white eagle with the shield on his chests. On the shield there is a cross and over the eagles’ head there is the crown of Nemanjici Dynasty.
The national flag of Serbia is a tricolor with horizontally settled lines of red, blue and white. The state flag is completely the same except is has got a small coat of arms in the blue field.
History of Serbia
Serbia is one of the countries that have a long and rich history. As we’ve already mentioned, because of its specific and good position, it has always been a target of many conquerors. The oldest traces of existence are around forty thousand years old. The area of today’s Serbia was conquered by Romans in the 3rd and 4th century. When the Roman Empire was divided, the biggest part of this country belonged to the Eastern Roman Empire. Under the Romans the today’s capital was called Singidunum.
If you enjoy researching history of different countries, Serbia will most certainly occupy one of first places in your researches. Through the course of history it passed through many temptations and was invaded so many times that, I believe, there is no country with similar history.
Somewhere in the seventh century, Serbs came to the Balkan Peninsula. According to historical information, they occupied the territory between Vrbas and the river Cetina in the west, between the rivers Bojana, Ibar and Morava in the east, the Adriatic Sea on south and the rivers Danube and Sava on the north.
Vlastimir, who ruled Serbia in the 9th century, is considered to be the founder of Serbian medieval country. Period of his reign and period after are characteristic for many battles, especially with Bulgaria.
One of the most important dynasties in Serbian history is most certainly the dynasty of Nemanjici.
In the 12th century, Stefan Nemanja will rebel against his brother Tihomir, who was chosen by Byzantium. He will later defeat Byzantium army in Kosovo, near Pantina. This ruler will be very successful in withstanding the attacks of Byzantium army and will also expand the state.
Stefan Nemanja was inherited by his son, Stefan. He continues to spread Serbia. During his reign, in 1217, he raises the state up to the rank of kingdom. After two years, his younger brother Sava manages to strike the foundation of today’s Serbian Orthodox Church.
The rule of the dynasty Nemanjici is filled with conflicts, not only from the outside, but as well from the inside. Civil wars and argues about the crown; fights among brothers, fathers, and sons were quite common. But, all aside, this dynasty played an extremely important role in Serbian history and during its reign, Serbia was big and strong country.
Serbia was invaded by many conquerors, but Turks were in this are longer than anyone else. After the Kosovo battle in 1389, Serbia was finally invaded by Turkish conquerors in 1459, when the city of Smederevo declined. The territory of today’s Serbia was under Turkish reign from 15th to the beginning of the 20th century.
Of course, Serbian people didn’t just reconcile with this situation. They raised many rebellions against the Turkish conquerors. Its freedom, Serbia got back after The First and The Second Uprising, in 1804 and 1815. Most of the state became independent in 1878, but some parts remained under Turks until 1912.
Throughout its history, Serbia was Kingdom, Principality, and it was ruled by despots. On December the 1st, 1918, Serbia united with Slovenia and Croatia and these countries formed the Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians under the reign of the dynasty Karadjordjevici. In 1929 this country was renamed and called Yugoslavia Kingdom.
In the World War II, it was occupied by Germany and its allies. A little after the war, in 1954, the country changed its name again and it was called, the Democratic Federative Yugoslavia. In 1963, it was called Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. It didn’t change its name again until the 1900s when this big and powerful country fell apart. In 2006, Serbia was an independent country again.
I believe that after reading these lines you will realize that Serbia had rich and hard history. It was conquered so many times by different people and different nations but succeeded in keeping its freedom, religion and faith. Serbs, like not many other nations faced some very rough periods, but yet remained proud and with their heads raised high.
Regions of Serbia
Serbia is the country of nature. It is a combination of beautiful rivers, impressive hills and mountains, vivid and colorful plains. This is the country where you can still enjoy untouched nature, clean waters and fresh air.
The northern part of the country is a plain. This part of Serbia is called Vojvodina. It is an important part of the country because it’s crucial in food production. Over 80 percent of the land here is cultivable and of high quality. Crops are mostly produced here. The biggest city, which is also one of the most beautiful cities in this province, is Novi Sad.
The river Danube, which is one of the largest rivers in Europe, goes through this part of Serbia. It is an essential waterway and it is possible to sail down its entire course here. Besides the Danube, Tisa is one more important and really beautiful river that completes the fairness of this part of Serbia. These rivers are not only important as waterways, but also attract tourists from different parts of Europe who enjoy sailing down the rivers. Besides rivers, some very important factories, especially those which exploit the oil and gas are settled in Vojvodina.
Visiting this part of Serbia always means enjoying, whether you like sights, museums, important monuments, or you enjoy good meals and countryside. It’s a merge of everything that brings peace.
One especially nice place is Fruska Gora. This is one of the most beautiful mountains in Serbia. It is a National Park. Its beauty attracts many tourists, especially in spring when the nature is all vivid and woken up and allows you to enjoy all its benefits. Ethno tourism is highly developed. You can choose to stay in a house, or go camping. Either way, you’ll enjoy.
Hills and mountains are settled in the rest of the country, going from the north to the south.
Central part of Serbia
This part includes Belgrade, Sumadija (word suma means forest in Serbian language), eastern, southern and western Serbia.
Probably one of the most beautiful parts of central Serbia is Sumadija. It is settled between the rivers Danube and Sava in the north and the West Morava in the south. This is one special place, rich in mountains. This is Serbia’s biggest beauty. Sumadija is especially nice in spring when everything is green.
If you don’t see Zlatibor, Kopaonik, medieval town Maglich, it’s like you haven’t visited Serbia at all. I feel free to say that it’s not important which season or a month in a year you choose to visit this country, you will definitely enjoy and have a great time.
Lilac valley which takes one part of the Ibar valley was made by a Serbian king Urosh the First, who planted these beautiful flowers so he could express his love towards his wife. In the heart of this impressive valley a medieval town Maglich raises his walls high into the sky. It was probably built somewhere in the 13th century. On the first sight it represents nothing else but classical monument of Serbian Middle age architecture, but it’s much more than that. Its great and strong walls managed to resist many attacks and defend important parts of Serbia. This town is one of the most magnificent towns of old Serbian history.
Serbia doesn’t have impressively high mountains, but it most certainly has some of the most beautiful.
Kopaonik, also called the Silver Mountain is the biggest mountain in Serbia. This mountain has approximately two hundred sunny days in a year. Besides snow, and really super ski slopes, you can also enjoy many sunny days.
Zlatibor is not only a mountain but also a nature park. This part of Serbia is full of pastures where cows and sheep eat the healthiest grass and give perfect milk. Pine forests will welcome you and provide you a lot of fresh air. Besides Kopaonik, this is one of the most popular tourist destinations. This is, above all, the mountain of extreme beauty, pleasant climate, wild pastures and mountain streams rich in water.
The mountain of Stolovi, which is settled near the town of Kraljevo will spread its hands and welcome you with its untouched nature and wild horses.
The national park Tara, Sar-planina (the word planina means mountain) is just one part of Serbian mountainous region. Serbia has got many Nature Reservations, many national parks and nature beauties. Mountains are just one section of all these beauties.
The biggest city of this region is Belgrade which is also the capital of the country. The city is settled on the place where two beautiful rivers, the Danube and the Sava, merge. It is one of the old European cities which, with its grace, welcomes the tourists from all over the world. This is the city of great history. It was conquered by many invaders, such as Huns, and many others. Before 878, it was called Singidunum. It was the center of quarrels among powerful empires (Byzantium, Hungary and Bulgaria). It was bombed in the World War Two.
The symbol of the city is The Winner (Pobednik in Serbian). Belgrade is the city of culture, museums, sport and many other events. It is also a city of a great and wealthy nightlife, specially known for its rafts and live-performed music.
This is the space between two rivers, The South Morava and Nisava. The relief here is very specific. The most important roads go through this part of Serbia. The biggest city in this part of Serbia is Nis. Throughout the course of history, Nis was the capital of many states and empires.
This part of Serbia is known for many archeologic sites. The nature monument, The Town of the Devil (Djavolja Varos in Serbian), is a really rare natural element consisted of 202 stone figures. They are all nature’s work of art and have nothing to do with humans. There are similar places in the world, but these figures are the highest and more firm and steadier than all the others. This is the reason they attract so many tourists from all over the world. They are settled on Radan Mountain.
Rich culture is one of the main characteristics of Serbia. Not only monuments, but impressive monasteries, old buildings, rich libraries, museums and different social and cultural events are marks of this beautiful country.
The cultural legacy of Serbia dates from prehistoric period. The most impressive Neolithic culture in this part of the world is the culture of Lepenski Vir. There are many luxurious towns and palaces from Roman and Byzantium period.
The Middle Age monuments are mostly preserved in forms of churches and monasteries. Frescos decorate the walls of these. The most original monument from this period is Studenica monastery. The most famous fresco is The White Angel (Beli andjeo) in monastery Mileseva.
Painting was always popular among Serbian artists. Sava Shumanovic, Nadezda Petrovic, Paja Jovanovic are just some of the big names of Serbian painting.
The most impressive architect monument is Djurdjevi Stupovi.
The oldest literal, cultural and scientific institution in Serbia is Matica Srpska.
The most important steps in Serbian literacy were made by Vuk Stefnovic Karadzic and Dositej Obradovic. Vuk reformed Serbian language and orthography.
Music in Serbia
Music is very popular in Serbia. People here like to sing and dance and one of the things you’ll definitely enjoy when you come to Serbia is good music. Folk music is the combination of the bagpipes, tambourine and fife (19th century and earlier), and the violin and the accordion (nowadays).
What’s extremely popular today is the trumpet. There is even an event called Convocation in Guca (Sabor u Guci) devoted to this musical instrument.
Pop, ethno and other kinds of music do not fail behind.
Serbia is the host of many events (movies, music, theater, etc.). BITEF, Exit, Nisvil are just some of them. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Serbia because of these events. The oldest festival of classical music is BEMUS.
We can’t talk about Serbia and skip sport. Serbs are very fond of sport. They enjoy watching all sport events (football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, water polo and many others). When you want to talk with Serbian people about football, don’t forget to mention two most important clubs, The Red Star and Partizan.. Half of the people here is a fan of one, and another half is the fan of the second club. Also very popular is Serbian biggest tennis legend- Novak Djokovic.
Serbian people are very fond of food. Serbian cuisine is heterogeneous. Every region in Serbia has its own specialties, similarities and differences. Food preparation is inevitable part of Serbian culture and tradition.
The thing in common to all parts is that there are three most important meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The most important of the three is definitely breakfast but lunch is usually the largest. The content of the meals varies. Meat is definitely most favorite and most popular independent on the region.
Serbian cuisine represents treasury of different tastes and smells originating from mixture of different influences of different people who passed and lived here. It is characterized by diverse, strong and spicy food. Besides meat, vegetables, dairy products and dough are very popular.
Food was always important for Serbian people. A while ago, in Serbian villages, the kitchen was also called the house and the central part of it was the fireplace. This place was extremely important and the entire family gathered around it.
Serbia is known for a large number of bakeries and fast-food. They offer delicious but yet cheep food that can be found at every corner.
There are many things in Serbian cuisine that cannot be properly translated into other languages nor there is a taste they can be compared to. So, the best thing you can do is come and try them. Some of the biggest specialties are: gibanica (a pie made of crusts, cheese, kaymak, eggs…), barbecue meat( cevapi, burger…), sarma, cabbage, corn bread (called proya here), cracklings, and many, many other kinds of food.
The national fruit is definitely a plum. Plum jam is quite common, but the most famous product made of this fruit is certainly the schnapps called “sljivovica“. This is a sort of Serbian trademark and you simply can’t leave Serbia without trying one.
Drinking coffee is also a tradition here. Coffee here means a time for family, friends and rest. The first thing people here will welcome you with is a cup of warm coffee and a glass of schnapps. This is something you don’t want to skip. And, you won’t enter a Serbian house and leave hungry. It is in blood of this people to show you their hospitality with food, drink and music.
Price of food and drinks
Price in fast- food and bakeries are: “burek” is about 120 RSD (1 €), burger (“pljekavica”) 180-250 RSD (1.5 – 2.1 €), sandwiches 120-250 RSD (1 – 2.1 €), gyros 220-250 RSD (1.9 – 2.1 €), bread 50 – 120 RSD (0.4 – 1 €).
The prices of drinks in bars and restaurants vary between 150 and 300 RSD (1,3 – 3 €) for 0,2 to 0,5 liters. Food in restaurants: meal with pork 350-1200 RSD (2.9-10 €), beef 800 – 2500 RSD (6.5 – 21 €), fish 900 – 1800 RSD (7.5 – 15 €), desserts 250 – 400 (2 – 3.5 €).
How to get to Serbia
There are three main ways to get to this country. Depending on where you live you can do it by air, by rail or by road traffic.
Serbian national airline company is Air Serbia. It cooperates well with most European cities and is well connected with other parts of the world. Besides regular air traffic, there are many low-cost and charter companies in Serbia (since 2009). There are two main international airports: Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, Constantin the Great in Nis.
There are many railway lines that connect Serbia with other countries and you can use them to come here at the same time enjoying the view.
If you enjoy travelling by road, well-connected roads offer the option to see the entire country this way. No matter whether you choose buses or you choose to travel by car, either way you’ll enjoy. In domestic transportation all you need is a driving license. European green card vehicle insurance is valid in Serbia. Road tolls are payable on most sections of the motorways in Serbia and can be paid in cash, in RSD or in EUR. We suggest that you first inform yourselves well about the traffic regulations so you could relax and enjoy completely.