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Serbia Info

10.02.2022.
3 mins Read

Balkan

The Balkan countries occupy a dinstinct and rather large part of southeastern Europe, also known as the Balkan Peninsula. The region comprises many countries. Some definitions consider up to a dozen nations to be entirely or at least partially located in the Balkans. Most often, however, the definition, or public perception, is limited to the ex-Yugoslavian countries, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

One of the Balkan countries is Serbia, a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe. It is situatedin the southern Panonian Plain and central Balkans.

Serbia, officially known as the Republic of Serbia is a country in the Balkans, that shares borders with Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Albania, through the disputed territory of Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

Serbia

Serbia is a unique destination with turbulent history and rich cultural heritage, unique natural beauty with mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, natural organic food and unique atmosphere.

It has been inhabited since the Paleolithic ages, a fact that can be attested to by the human fragments found in the country.

Various rulers and settlements have come and gone since than, and the country has withstood wars and revolutions.

Serbia was one of six republics that made up the country of Yugoslavia, which broke up in the 1990’s. In February 2003, Serbia and Montenegro were the remaining two republics of rump Yugoslavia, forming a federation.In 2006, Montenegro split from Serbia.

Serbia has a population of roughly 7 million, of which 1,7 million live in Belgrade, its capital and largest city.

The capital of Serbia is Belgrade, a cosmopolitan city at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers.

A vast majority of its 7 million citizens are Serbs, and the rest belong to any of the 40 different national communities. Being a country of hospitable, emotional and joyful people, who possess a sense for sportsmanship, extraordinary traditions, and a huge cultural heritage that enriches the entire European culture, Serbia isone of those marks on a map of the world you need to discover and experience. On this page you can find basic, useful information about Serbia, its history, culture.

Climate

The various landscape, differences in elevation, proximity to the Adriatic Sea, the large river basins etc. account for some climate differences. In the north, continental climate with cold winter and hot, humid summers with well-distributed rainfall; central portion, continental and Mediterranean climate; to the south, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland.

Language

The official language is Serbian and the script in official use is Cyrilic, whileLatin script is also used. In the areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, the languages and scripts of the minorities are in official use, as provided by law.

 

More about Serbia

Serbia is one of Europe’s most culturally diverse countries. The borders between large empires ran through the territory of today’s Serbia for long periods in history: between the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire, between Kingdon of Hungary, Bulgarian Empire, Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium, between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire. As a result, while the north is culturally “Central European”, the south is rather more “Oriental”. Of course, both regions have influences each other, and so the distinction between north and south is artificial to some extent.

Cultural and historical heritage

The cultural and historical heritage of Serbia begins with prehistoric archaeological sites and its legacy from classical antiquity. The greatest riches of the country are numerous medieval Serbian churches and monasteries. The World Heritage list includes almost 1000 properties of cultural and natural value, from all over the world, deemed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to be places of outstanding universal value. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in charge for selecting the properties of cultural importance and putting it in the World Heritage List.

Serbia’s medieval heritage, with monasteries and royal mausoleums belonging to the Byzantine cultural influence are recognized in the world. Serbian sites so far added to the UNESCO list of Cultural World Heritage Sites: Studenica monastery, Stari Ras and Sopocani, Gamzigrad – Romuliana Palace of Galerius, Stecci Medieval Tombstone Garveyards and Medieval Monuments in Kosovo.

As part of the UNESCO Memory of the World program, Nikola Tesla’s Archive (2003.) and the Miroslav Gospel (2005.) from Serbia have been added to the World Documentary Heritage register.

Sites on the Tentative list – with property considered fornomination: Djerdap NationalPark, The Deliblato Sands Special Natural Reserve, the Tara NationalPark with the Drina River Canyon, the Djavolja Varos (Devil’s Town) Natural Landmark, fortified Manasija Monastery, Negotinske Rajacke Pivnice, Smederevo fortress, archeological site Iustiniana Prima – Caricin Grad,cultural landscape of Bac and its surroundings. Also, the UNESCO MAB Council has declared part of the Golija nature park as the Golija – Studenica Biosphere Reserve.

All year round, numerous cultural, entertainment, traditional and sporting events are held in Serbia, demonstrating the creative power and spiritual vitality of this country.

 

Visiting Churches and Monasteries

The main religion in Serbia is Christian Orthodox. There are also othr religious communities in Serbia – Islamic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and other.

Upon visiting churches and monasteries you are required to act politely, not to laugh or raise your voice too loud or to use mobile phone while you are in the church or monastery. The dress code require a decent wardrobe upon enetering the churches and monasteries and does not allow shorts or mini-skirts. When entering, take your hat off.

If your visit coincides with a service, you can enter, but stand in one place and do not walk around. On all occasions women are not allowed in the altar space behind the iconostasis. Ask for permission if you want to take pictures with a flash, especially in the church.

Gastronomy

The Serbian gastronomy is a mix of oriental, central European and Balkan cuisines, offering an overwhelming variety of meals. Serbian cuisine is reflection of all historical influences in this area and Orientaland Slavic tastes are dominant.

Besides in restaurants and kafanas (something like a tavern), Serbs tend to eat lots of fast food, especially grilled for lunch, and pastry for any other meal.

Serbia has a lot tooffer to hedonists and eating out to catch local flavours is an unforgettable experience and a highlight for many visitors. You simply have to try the local dishes with diversity of flavours. The prices are low for visitors from western countries.

The most famous is grilled meat. Among griiled meat, local favorites are “cevapcici”- small rolls of mixed minced meat, which are eaten with lain onions and warm bread, also, “pljeskavica”- something like burger.

When we are speaking of food and drink, here are some important things you simply have to know. During meals do not hesitate to take more if you like the food. For Serbians this is quite normal, as people also eat very much. Paying the bill in restaurants is a big part of the Serbian mentality. The host will almost never allow a guest to pay for meal or drink because it is customary for the host to take care of all expenses while a guest is staying with him or her. It is a sign of hospitality. Sharing the payment around the table, except when there is no money around, is not considered convivial. You can ask to order a round after you enjoyed several paid by your hosts.

House visits and greeting people

Serbians are good hosts, hospitable and cordial and they will always call you to visit them at home. Upon arriving at someone’shome you will be treated to a coffee, juice and brandy (rakija), delicious sweet preserves “slatko” of which you should take just a spoon or two accompanied by a glass of water. Sometimes, you will be served with bread and salt,  as it is custom for welcoming the guest, especially in rural areas.Upon your first entry in a household it is customary to bring a symbolic present, such as a bottle of an alcoholic drink, chocolates, flowers or similar. Do not be surprised while greeting people the Serbian’s willkiss you three times! Kissing three times on the cheeks is the order of the day in Serbia. Of course, nobody will object if yoy only kiss once or twice while giving a long and sincere hug.

Serbian “Slava” in UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List

"Slava", Serbian celebration of family saint patron's day which is on the UNESCO Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity - In Serbia, Orthodox Christian families celebrate an important holiday in honor of the patron saint, Slava, who is believed to be their protector and provider of welfare.

The celebration consists of the ritual offering of a bloodless sacrifice and a feast held for relatives, neighbors and friends. A specially designed candle is lit in the family home, then wine is poured over a Slava cake, prepared and decorated by the host’s wife, which is then cut crosswise, rotated and broken into four parts and lifted up. During the ritual, thanks are given to the saint and prayers are said for prosperity. The cutting is performed by the host and the oldest or most important guest and other family members. The feast then begins with the ceremonial drinking of wine, eating and a toast expressing wishes for health, fertility and well-being of the family and guests. The greatest honor for every guest is to be invited to a “slava”, a celebration of a family’s saint day. Don’t forget to bring a symbolic gift, such as a bottle of wine or flowers. The conventional greeting is “Srecna slava”, followed by kissing three times on alternating cheeks while shaking hands. You will be offered “zito”, a ceremonial sweet made of wheat, honey and nuts; you are required to make a sign of cross (if you’re a Christian), take one spoon and leave it in a glass of water.

All that you have to do afterwards is to enjoy the hospitality.

 

Entertainment and nightlife

The capital of Serbia, Belgrade is famous for nightlife entertainment and it is Balkan’s New York that never sleeps. Often called “Cit of Sin”, Belgrade is the center of the unforgettable fun and entertainment. Even the most famous tourist guide “Lonely Planet”included Belgrade in the first place lists of the world’s best cities for nightlife. In contrast to the rest of Europe, there is no single day of the week when you cannot have a night out. In Belgrade, every night is Friday night! Everyone is ready to party at all the time, dance the night away, and go straight to work the next day. It is really hard to resist the temptation when you know that on any given evening there are countless clubs out there full of young, gorgeous people having so much fun. In Belgrade you can have a night out and that holds true for all generations, for all lifestyles and musical tastes and for all available budgets. After a wild night out, somwhere around three or four o’clock in the morning, people continue onward in search of grilled meat or “burek”.

But how did Belgrade become the world’s nightlife capital? During the 90’s Belgrade and Serbia went through the roughest path in its resent history. The break-up ofYugoslavia, civil war, UN sanctions, hyperinflation, and high unemployment made sure that the only entertainment Belgraders had back in those days was the one they created themselves. Something changed in people’s minds and – despite all the hardships of living in the capital of a nation that’s was falling apart – the local Belgrade nightlife industry boomed, taking clubbing to an art form. Everyone absolutely loved it. The ’99 NATO bombing forced people of Belgrade to take their fun even more seriously. Faced with everyday threat of losing our lives, we starting having huge outdoor concerts in city squares and on bridges, while some of the most famous night clubs started working even during daylight hours.

Today, Belgrade may be many years behind other European capitals when it comes to economic, industrial, and scientific development, but it’s literally light years ahead when it comes to nightlife. The Belgrade clubbing industry is better organized and has more to offer than any other out there. Every night of the week, there are countless different clubs with different styles and with different kinds of music where you can go. It may be hard to believe, but all the clubs which have the capacity of 300 to 500 people are basically full every night of the week. Belgrade clubs works all year round.

With so many choices of late-night places to go out in Belgrade, you need a guide and professional assistance.