Serbia is a state located in southeastern Europe, in the center of the Balkan Peninsula. The country is landlocked and borders with Macedonia to the south, Bulgaria and Romania to the east, Hungary to the north, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west and Montenegro and Albania to the south-west. Due to the geographical position of Serbia, its history is “dotted” with all sorts of conquests and occupations: the Illyrian and Celtic tribes, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire. The XX century, when Serbia broke away from Yugoslavia along with Montenegro, and then separated from the latter, brought many shocks to the country. Today it is reflected by the richness of national customs and traditions, as well as multinationality of the country. The capital and largest city of the Republic of Serbia is Belgrade.
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The kindness and hospitality of the Serbs is one of the main features of the country. The protracted military conflict in the late 20th century has taught the Serbian people to love and respect all living things, and to look to the future with optimism. European tourists are attracted to this wonderful country not by chic and luxury of tourist services, but by clean air, unspoiled nature and human, not commercial, relationships between people. Serbia has a unique culture that goes back to the Byzantine times. This is the birthplace of world famous scientists: inventor Nikola Tesla, naturalist Josif Pancic, geographer Jovan Cvijic, mathematician Mihajlo Petrovic, astronomer Milutin Milankovic, chemist Pavle Savic. Over the last century alone, the country has given the world the beloved film director Emir Kusturica, poet Milorad Pavic, singer and composer Djordje Marjanovic and many other outstanding personalities. Serbia has had a strong influence on the development of modern painting and sculpture, and Belgrade has been nominated the European Capital of Culture 2020.
Over the past few years, tourism has been actively developing in Serbia, and there are many reasons for that: a bright national tradition, a large number of interesting places, beautiful resorts, friendly people. And, importantly, all this at very reasonable prices: at the same level as in other European countries, Serbia will delight its guests with low prices of accommodation, food and shopping.
Belgrade – Capital of Serbia
Cities of Serbia
Serbia covers 88,407 km², and for a small country that is 111th largest in the world, its climate is extremely varied. It is determined by the relief: in the north of the country the Middle Danube lowland is spread out, with vast fertile plains, while the central part is characterized by hilly terrain and in the southeast the East Srpska Mountains rise. A great influence on the weather in Serbia has warm seas – the Black Sea, Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea, that washes the shores of the Balkan Peninsula. As a result, in the north of the country prevails a continental climate, while in the center and south the climate is temperate continental, and in the mountains – mountainous.
Cherry blossoms in Novi Sad
Life strictly according to the calendar is a distinctive feature of Serbia’s climate. Each of the three months corresponds to its season. But unlike Russia, there are no heavy snowstorms in winter, frosts are moderate, easily tolerated without wind. The snow falls a lot here, so the ski resorts are able to offer excellent slopes in the season.
The weather in spring in Serbia is changeable: from +15 degrees in the sun to -5 in frost. The real warmth returns with the beginning of April. The fields, gardens and forests are in bloom all over the country, so for the lovers of natural beauty the time of spring is the best time to visit Serbia.
Autumn in Serbia Serbia Summer
The summer heat comes in August. The rains are brief and the weather is gloomy and does not last the whole day.
Winters in Serbia are usually short (not more than 2 months) and mild, but quite snowy. The average temperature during this period is about 0 … +5 °C. Summers are long and hot (+28 … +30 °C). Most precipitation is in May and June.
The mild Serbian winters are often overshadowed by piercing cold winds, which have even got their own names:
- Košava, a cold wind that blows from October through April in the north of the country and brings freezing rain and blizzards;
- Severac – northern wind from the side of Hungary;
- Moravac – cold north wind in the Morava River valley.
In the north of the country in the Middle Danube Lowlands (or Pannonian Plain, as it is called in Hungary) lies the autonomous region of Vojvodina. Today there are almost no forests here. The land of Vojvodina is very fertile and is actively used for the agricultural sowing of corn, wheat, vegetables and, of course, sunflowers. Flowering fields of sunflowers are as beautiful as the most beautiful landscapes on Earth!
Serbia has the second largest number of rivers and lakes in Europe, after Hungary. The biggest and the most majestic of the Serbian rivers is certainly the Danube, which forms many bays, oxbows, marshes and the Djerdap gorge, the narrowest part of which is often called the “Iron Gates”. The Djerdap gorge consists of four gorges and three hollows. In some places, the steep cliffs rise up to 300 meters above the waters of the Danube. The river abounds with numerous ponds up to 90 meters deep here. On the territory of the Djerdap gorge there is a national park with the same name, the pride of which is the numerous relict plants, which disappeared a long time ago in the most parts of Europe.
Thunderclouds over the Danube Đerdap gorge
The southern part of western and eastern Serbia is occupied by mountains. On the territory of the country, four mountain systems are distinguished: the Dinaric Uplands, the Balkan Mountains, the Eastern Serbian Mountains and part of the Rilo-Rodope system. The altitudes of 15 mountains in Serbia exceed the mark of 2000 meters. The highest point is considered to be Dzerevica, at a height of 2,656 meters. The mountains of Serbia are home to vast oak, beech and linden forests.
Population and language
There are some 7 million people living in Serbia. The largest part of the population is made up by the Serbs, the second largest are the Hungarians. Bright national mosaic is complemented by Bulgarians, Albanians, Bosnians, Slovaks, Roma, Macedonians, Romanians.
Serbian is the official language, but twelve regional languages are actively used along with it. Most residents of Serbia practice Christianity of different denominations, most of them are Orthodox Christians, which is somewhat similar to the local traditions and culture.
The historical roots of Serbia go back to the VI century. The settlement of the ancient Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula marked the emergence of the first proto-state formations. By the end of the IX century the main principalities were formed here: Duklja, Travunija, Pagania, Zahumje, and Serbia.
Church of St. Peter in Rasa. The time of construction is estimated eighth – early ninth century.
The first known ruler of these lands is considered to be Prince Vyšeslav, who lived in the VIII century. His descendant Vlastimir freed the Balkan Slavs from the Byzantine Empire, after which the Serbian state grew to almost the entire peninsula. After that, the Serbian state expanded to almost the entire peninsula. The regaining power came into conflict with the largest neighbor, the Bulgarian kingdom, by turns losing and gaining lands. After the conclusion of peace with Bulgaria, the princely wars for supremacy of power began in Serbia.
The medieval period is considered to be the heyday of the Serbian state, which was made possible by the wise government of Stefan Dusan, who lived in the mid-14th century.
The Battle of Kosovo on June 15, 1389. Adam Stefanovich
The Battle of Kosovo Field is considered a tragic turn in the country’s history. After the unsuccessful battle in 1389, Serbia was forced to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, becoming its vassal, and from 1459 it was under Turkish rule for a full 350 years.
A wave of national uprisings between 1804 and 1813 made it possible to make a breakthrough toward liberation. July 13, 1878 Serbia gained independence under the terms of the Peace of Berlin. Four years later the state declared itself a kingdom, and in this format existed until the occupation by German troops in 1941. In 1945 a new entity appeared on the political map of Europe – the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. It included the People’s Republic of Serbia, renamed the Socialist Republic of Serbia in 1963.
U.S. Army along with the UN search for houses with weapons in Mitrovica, Feb. 21, 2000
The decline of socialism here was accompanied by inter-ethnic confrontations that led to a large-scale bloody war. In 2000, NATO was forced to use aerial bombardment, and the UN Security Council decided to send peacekeeping troops into Kosovo. The mass destruction of houses, the flow of refugees, the loss of unique monuments of church architecture – by no means a complete list of what modern Serbs have faced.
After the collapse of Yugoslavia in 2003, there was formed a union of two states, Serbia and Montenegro, which existed only 3 years. The Serbian people initiated the transformation of the state system, which resulted in Serbia becoming a separate full-fledged state on June 5, 2006 and a new constitution was adopted. Pro-European democratic forces came to power and led the process of rebuilding Serbia. This helped bring the country out of international isolation to establish good neighborly relations, including those with Kosovo.
Sightseeing and tourism in Serbia
Tourism in Serbia is on the stage of development, but this country can already pleasantly surprise and delight visitors. Unique monastery buildings, fortresses, mansions, ski and balneological resorts, national parks and unique reserves are waiting for visitors all year round.
The Serbian capital has absorbed the historical spirit of different epochs, combining Western and Eastern culture. The city has been destroyed almost forty times, but it has been successfully rebuilt again and again, which is reflected in the appearance of modern buildings.
The ancient Kalemegdan fortress, built of white stone, is the main attraction of Belgrade. It has a Military Museum and many historical monuments from the 17th century: Orthodox churches, medieval gates, Muslim graves and a Turkish hamam. The entrance to the fortress is decorated by the Monument of Gratitude to France and along the defense structure stretches amazingly beautiful Kalemegdan Park.
The old part of Belgrade is next to the fortress. It is called so – Stari Grad. There are a lot of sights and places for rest on the local streets – cozy restaurants, coffee houses and confectioneries. Visitors are especially attracted by the rich exposition of the National Museum, which is located on the Republic Square. If you are in need of souvenir stores, look for them in Skadarlije neighborhood and near Ada Sigulia park – they are excellent places for walks. There are religious sites in this part of the Serbian capital as well – the majestic St. Sava Church and the only surviving Bajrakli Jami Mosque in Belgrade.
Temple of St. Sava Flower Shop in Old Town Brankovic Fortress
Modern buildings, wide boulevards, spacious streets, alleys and recreation parks are all to be found by tourists in the new part of the city south of the fortress. Among the key attractions in the area are the Revolutionary Museum, the Union Executive Veche, the tomb and the former residence of Marshal Tito.
History lovers can be advised to go to the outskirts of Belgrade to see with their own eyes the largest plain outpost in Europe, the Brankovic fortress.
Novi Sad is the financial and spiritual center of Serbia and not in vain is called “Serbian Athens”. The city has become the core of the national culture formation, because the metropolis of the Serbian Orthodox Church was located here for centuries.
Tourists are attracted by the walking tours of the region. The tour includes the Petrovaradin fortress, the Serbian National Theater, the Danube Park, Freedom Square, the Orthodox church and the church, with or without a guide.
In the suburban area is the national park Fruska Gora, one of the Seven Wonders of Serbia. More than 1500 plant species, protected by the law, grow in this amazing reserve.
Novi Sad Staro Chopovo Monastery
Another treasure of these places is hidden in the dense deciduous forests. The complex of medieval monasteries “Holy Mountain”, among which the most famous are Chopovo, Velika Remeta and Grgetek, annually receives a large number of pilgrims.
In this heavenly place not only the souls are healed. Not far away is Banja Vrdnik spa, specializing in rheumatic diseases, soft tissue injuries, peripheral paralysis and common pains of the spine. The team of specialists uses advanced technologies, including cryotherapy, magnetotherapy, kinesitherapy and acupuncture.
Subotica is the gastronomic capital of Serbia. The mixture of national cuisines of Serbs, Hungarians and Croats has resulted in the appearance of incredibly delicious dishes. Paprikash is considered the city’s calling card. Cooked from pork, chicken or fish, it has in its composition the indispensable ingredient – paprika. Such a culinary masterpiece will be served to a guest in any restaurant or cafe.
In addition, Subotica is famous for its defensive fortress. The city was once the outskirts of the Ottoman Empire and later part of the Austro-Hungarian lands, so the fortified border outposts here are really impressive.
The urban landscape is varied and colorful: buildings with wavy patterns, wide facades and rounded lines are found everywhere in Subotica.
Palić Lake at sunset
The Town Hall is an example of the local architectural style. Today it has a large Historical Museum exposition, and on the top is an excellent viewing platform where you can enjoy a colorful panorama of Subotica and its surroundings.
The most ancient architectural monument of the town is the Franciscan monastery, which survived two world wars and NATO bombing. This Catholic shrine was erected on the site of an old fortress in the 18th century. There is a chapel and a church in honor of the Archangel Michael, topped with two towers. The altar of the monastery is decorated with the image of Black Madonna.
People come to Subotica to visit the Palic Lake. Its width is 4.2 thousand square meters, but its depth is not more than 2 meters. The mineral water and mud of the lake have therapeutic properties and have a positive effect on the skin and joints. For the convenience of tourists along the coast equipped with cafes, bicycle paths, picturesque park.
Kopaonik is a ski resort in Serbia, located to the south of Belgrade. Its sub-alpine climate allows you to enjoy the beauty of the mountains regardless of the season.
Thanks to the developed tourist infrastructure and ski trails of varying difficulty levels, the resort quickly gained the love of travelers and began to compete with many European mountain complexes. What will pleasantly surprise guests: the prices of services offered here are much lower than the European average.
The ski season lasts from November to May, the snow cover holds steady for 160 days a year. The average air temperature is from -1 to -3°С during the day and from -8 to -15°С at night. Special elevators take tourists to the summits, where you can rent the necessary equipment. There are special slopes for children, a large 20-kilometer track for flat skiing. Lovers of winter romance can take a ride on the illuminated track “Little Lake”.
In summer, Kopaonik also has something to see: the mountains are mesmerizing with dense forests, green meadows and flower meadows. In the shady bushes, there are medicinal springs, and the resorts are built near them.
Serbia – the Republic of Serbia a state in southeastern Europe
– A democratic state with equal rights for all citizens residing in its territory. The political system is based on the multi-party parliamentary democracy. Serbia has two autonomous provinces – Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina.
There are about 10 million people, taking into account the population of Kosovo and Metohija of about 2 million. The most numerous nationalities are the Serbs (62%), the Albanians (17%), the Montenegrins (5%) and the Hungarians (3%). Besides those mentioned there are also some 30 other nationalities living in Serbia, such as Romanians, Slovaks, Croats, Bulgarians, Turks, Roma and others. Before the war in 1999 the Serbs made up 85% of the population in Serbia proper, 54% in Vojvodina and 13% in Kosovo. Hungarians and Croats are numerous minorities in Vojvodina. Muslims are a majority in Kosovo and Metohija, with a small share in the rest of Serbia.
г. Belgrade. Population, together with the suburbs, about 2 million inhabitants.
Novi Sad (about 350 thousand), Nis (about 260 thousand), Kragujevac (about 200 thousand), Subotica (about 150 thousand), Pristina (about 200 thousand).
The official language is Serbian. Two types of writing are used: Cyrillic (official writing, differs from the Russian Cyrillic alphabet with special letters) and Latin. The languages of the nationalities are equal.
Most of the population are Orthodox Christians. The other religions are free to practice their faith.
Serbia is situated in southeastern Europe in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula between 41° and 46′ N. and 18° and 23′ E. Its borders extend from the Drina River in the west to the Timok River in the east. It borders seven countries: Macedonia in the south, Bulgaria in the east, Romania in the northeast, Hungary in the north, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the west, and Montenegro and Albania in the southwest. The total length of all borders is 2,397 km. Serbia is divided into three geographical and historical regions: Serbia proper, with a population of 6 million people; Vojvodina, with 2 million people; and Kosovo and Metohija, with 2 million people. Through its territory cross the main transport routes connecting Western and Central Europe with the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Serbia is the East in the West and the West in the East.
Central European: UTC+1 in winter and UTC+2 in summer, or MSK-2 in winter and MSK-1 in summer.
In the central part, between the Danube and Sava rivers in the north and the West Morava in the south, lies the hilly, forested area of Sumadia. In the north, above the Danube and the Sava, are the fertile plains of Vojvodina. In the south-west, the Kosovo Plateau and the rocky mountains, cut through by river canyons, are covered by vast forests. Of the total area of Serbia, 55% is arable land, 24% – forests. The highest mountain peak is Mt Dzierawica (2,656 m above sea level), which belongs to the Prokletije range. There are also 15 other peaks above 2,000 m.
Moderately continental, with warm summers and snowy winters.
Serbia is a rich country of water resources. The total length of rivers is about 52,000 km. Rivers carry their waters into three seas: the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Aegean Sea. One fifth of the current of the second longest river in Europe the Danube passes through Serbia (588 out of 2,960 km), connecting Europe with the Black Sea and the ports of the Middle East. The rivers West Morava, South Morava, Ibar, Drina, Sava, Timok, East Morava, Tisza, Nisava, Tamis, Begaj and Mlava, in addition to the Danube, are known and quite full. There are more than thirty lakes in Serbia, of which the largest are the Djerdap, Vlasin, Silver, Palic, Zlatar and Bor.
Serbia has a rich flora and fauna. About 80% of the forests are deciduous, and 20% are coniferous. Within the country live bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, hares, wild goats, fallow deer, mouflons, lynx, deer, martens, chamois and many other species, including rare ones. The bird world is also diverse: out of 666 species of birds in Europe, 508 are found in Serbia. Among them are eagles, falcons, white-headed vultures, pheasants, partridges, wild ducks, marsh snipe and many others. Numerous rivers, lakes, canals and ponds abound with various fish species: carp, pike, sturgeon, catfish, sterlet, pike, trout, mackerel and other species of freshwater fish.
Serbia is rich in ores and minerals. There are quite large reserves of copper, lead-zinc (from which gold, silver and bismuth can be extracted, among other things) and antimony ores, as well as chromites. Serbia has significant deposits of lignite and lignite.
Serbia was the core of Yugoslavia. During the years of socialism, a powerful heavy industry was created in its territory: the overwhelming majority of the money was invested in the development of the processing and mining industries. They were followed by light industry, agriculture, construction and transport.
The NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 had a devastating effect on the economy of the country, because the targets of the raids, contrary to the propaganda, were objects that were competitive in international markets, producing not only arms, but also cheap cars, tobacco, etc. The Serbian economy after all this time has not reached the level of 1990.
The main economic indicators of Serbia in 2020:
|GDP (01.01.2020)||51.41 billion USD|
|GDP per capita (01.01.2020)||7 213 USD|
|GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power parity (01.01.2020)||18 180 USD|
|Unemployment Rate (July 2020)||7,3%|
|Wages and salaries (June 2020)||59 740 RSD ≈ 570 USD|
|Inflation rate (July 2020)||2%|
|Trade Balance (July 2020)||-572 million USD|
|External debt||28,418 million EUR|
|Public debt to GDP (dec. 2019)||52%|
|Petrol prices (Aug. 2020)||1.39 USD/liter|
Taxes in Serbia:
|Corporate income tax||15|
|Personal income tax||10 to 20|
|Social insurance rate||37,8|
Note: In Serbia, the amount of wages stated in the employment contract refers to the amount already cleared of all taxes that will be received by the worker. Thus, for every 100 RSD paid to a worker, the employer needs to pay about 70 RSD in tax.
The country is largely self-sufficient in equipment, appliances, electrical appliances, and furniture.
The production of minerals remains significant. They are mainly iron and copper mines. Kosovo has coal of rather high quality, but, for known reasons, it is not developed. Serbia has a large hydropower potential: the largest hydroelectric power plant on the Danube and one of the most powerful in Europe is located in the Djerdap gorge. The hydroelectric power plant is operated jointly with Romania. In addition to hydropower plants, the most important role in the energy sector of the country is played by coal-fired thermal power plants (the largest – “Nikola Tesla” in Obrenovac). There is no nuclear power in the country.
Serbian agriculture is very strong. There has never been a problem with food here. The agricultural specialization of Serbia is berries and fruits. One third of the world’s reserves of raspberries grow here. Strawberries, gooseberries and currants are also very popular. But especially famous in Serbia are plums, which are partly used in the manufacture of rakii “Šlivovica” (national alcoholic drink), and partly – as prunes, which are also exported abroad. The country has favorable conditions for vineyards. Serbian farmers also grow delicious and natural apples and pears, which are exported in large quantities, including to Russia. Among the industrial crops, tobacco comes first, followed by flax and hemp. Livestock breeding is also developed, the basis of which is the breeding of pigs. Fishing is also popular: trout are caught in the mountain rivers, many species, including sturgeon and herring, which come here from the Black Sea.
Serbian exports consist of consumer goods, medicine, food products and equipment. About 35% of Serbian exports go to Germany, Italy, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Russian Federation ranks 5th with a share of 5.1%.
Imports are raw materials (oil, gas) and certain types of machinery. The Russian Federation ranks 4th with a turnover of about 7.5%, behind Germany with 13.2%, China with 12.3% and Italy with 8.4%.
An important specialization of the Serbian economy is armaments. Yugoslavia was almost entirely self-sufficient in arms, which were mainly produced in Serbia. High quality and inexpensive weapons were actively bought by the developing countries and competed with the American samples at the world market.
The Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade and the Konstantin Veliki airport in Nis. Serbia is also connected by rail with European countries and the Montenegrin coast (port of Bar). Regular international bus lines to all neighboring countries and EU countries. Domestic bus connections are well developed and have almost completely replaced domestic rail connections. From Belgrade all tourist centers of the country can be reached by comfortable buses.
Serbian dinar (RSD). Bills in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000, 2000 and 5000 dinars are in circulation. Metal coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 dinars.
In all banks and exchange offices. Banks, post offices and exchange offices are open on Sundays in Belgrade and other major cities.
Individual tourists and tourist groups from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus do not need a visa. Foreign citizens may bring unlimited amounts of foreign currency into Serbia, provided it is included in the customs declaration for the further export of unspent funds from the country.
Food stores are open from 06:00 to 20:00, clothing stores are open from 08:00 to 09:00. Sundays are a day off. All major cities have convenience stores that are open 24 hours a day.
The amount of tips, as a rule, does not exceed 10% of the bill.
Water from the city water pipes is potable. In addition, quite often there are fountains with drinking water in the streets.
The list of souvenirs from Serbia is quite wide, with the most popular being:
- Traditional: magnets, mugs, t-shirts.
- Handmade handicrafts: natural wool, leather and copper products, natural wax candles.
- Decorative and applied arts: woodwork with decorative carvings, national pottery, embroidery with local ethnic patterns, Kolubara lace, Pirot carpets.
- Items of national clothing and footwear, among which the place of honor belongs to the headdress – shaikacha and shoes with up-curved toes – opanki.
- Monastic items and products: brojanitsi (Balkan wicker rosaries), honey, jam, healing ointments, icons, fruits.
- Alcoholic drinks: wines, various rakis (plum, grape, apple, quince, apricot, honey, juniper), national bitter liqueur – pelinkovac.
- Delicacies of dried and smoked meat: prsut (ham), liver (filet).
- Sweets: unusual kinds of honey and jam, dried fruits, Lidery hearts – sweet, honey gingerbread in the shape of hearts, the tradition of which production was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
- January 1-2 – New Year holidays
- January 7 – Christmas
- February 15-16 – Serbian Statehood Day
- May 1-2 – Labor Day
- Orthodox Easter – from Good Friday to the Monday following the Resurrection of Christ, inclusive
- November 11 – Day of the Signing of the Armistice in World War I.
Citizens have the right not to work on religious holidays depending on their faith: both common to the entire religious community and individual (family fame for Orthodox Serbs).The Serbian Orthodox Church, like the Russian one, counts its Christian holidays according to the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the new Gregorian calendar.
When calling to Serbia: +381 + city code (Beograd “11”, Novi Sad “21”) + phone number. When calling from Serbia by landline: 00 + country code (for Russia “7”, for Belarus “375”, for Ukraine “380”) + city code (“495”, “499” for Moscow, “44” for Kiev, “17” for Minsk) + subscriber number. The dialing of “00” is not required to make a call from a cell phone.