The one minute summary on Serbia
This is it: one minute to the best info on Serbia. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Serbia, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Communist Partisans resisted the Axis occupation and division of Yugoslavia from 1941 to 1945 and fought nationalist opponents and collaborators as well.
The military and political movement headed by Josip Broz “TITO” (Partisans) took full control of Yugoslavia when their domestic rivals and the occupiers were defeated in 1945. Although communists, TITO and his successors (Tito died in 1980) managed to steer their own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. In 1989, Slobodan MILOSEVIC became president of the Republic of Serbia and his ultranationalist calls for Serbian domination led to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines. In 1991, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia declared independence, followed by Bosnia in 1992.
The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in April 1992 and under MILOSEVIC’s leadership, Serbia led various military campaigns to unite ethnic Serbs in neighboring republics into a “Greater Serbia.” These actions were ultimately unsuccessful and, after international intervention, led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. MILOSEVIC retained control over Serbia and eventually became president of the FRY in 1997.
In 1998, an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosovo provoked a Serbian counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. The MILOSEVIC government’s rejection of a proposed international settlement led to NATO’s bombing of Serbia in the spring of 1999. Serbian military and police forces withdrew from Kosovo in June 1999, and the UN Security Council authorized an interim UN administration and a NATO-led security force in Kosovo. FRY elections in late 2000 led to the ouster of MILOSEVIC and the installation of democratic government.
In 2003, the FRY became the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, a loose federation of the two republics. Widespread violence predominantly targeting ethnic Serbs in Kosovo in March 2004 let to more intense calls to address Kosovo’s status, and the UN began facilitating status talks in 2006. In June 2006, Montenegro seceded from the federation and declared itself an independent nation. Serbia subsequently gave notice that it was the successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro.
In February 2008, after nearly two years of inconclusive negotiations, Kosovo declared itself independent of Serbia – an action Serbia refuses to recognize. At Serbia’s request, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in October 2008 sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on whether Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence was in accordance with international law. In a ruling considered unfavorable to Serbia, the ICJ issued an advisory opinion in July 2010 stating that international law did not prohibit declarations of independence. In late 2010, Serbia agreed to an EU-drafted UNGA Resolution acknowledging the ICJ’s decision and calling for a new round of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, this time on practical issues rather than Kosovo’s status.
The EU-moderated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue began in March 2011 and was raised to the level of prime ministers in October 2012. Serbia and Kosovo signed the first agreement of principles governing the normalization of relations between the two countries in April 2013 and are in the process of implementing its provisions.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Serbia
- Does my current phone work in Serbia ? Tips to cell phone usage in Serbia
- Local food you should try in Serbia and No miss drinks in Serbia
Now, cheers to the most Serbia aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Serbia?
A traveler with average knowledge of this region can find history of Serbia to be surprisingly rich. Few interesting examples first: on Serbia’s modern-day territory most of the Roman emperors were born after Italy (about one in five). One of them was Constantine, the first emperor who legalized Christianity. One of the oldest Neolithic cultures, arguably the richest one, started here (Vinca). Recently, the start of the Bronze age was changed to 500 years earlier due to the first evidence of copper smelting (Plocnik). The Skull Tower is not a fictional place and it can be found there. The most decorated female warrior in the history of warfare was Serbian.
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, the Serbs lost a decisive battle in the Kosovo field against the 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 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by an ethnic Serb high school student precipitated the first World War.
In its aftermath in 1918, victorious Serbia gathered 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 Mihajlovi? 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 government that abolished the monarchy and proclaimed a 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 delicate path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. 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 a UN administration. Slobodan Milosevic, by this time elected for the president of the federation, lost in the Federal elections in the fall of 2000 to Vojislav Kostunica.
The country reestablished its membership in the UN 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 some other countries. Independence came on 4 February 2003 (when it changed from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro) or on 5 June 2006 (from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro to Serbia).
The one minute summary for Serbia geography
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. The highest point is ?eravica at 2656 m.
Best places to see in Serbia
Serbia’s many sights include stunning castles, Medieval monasteries, lovely traditional villages and bustling cities with baroque parks and art-deco architecture. Cities and villages Its capital, Belgrade, is a lively and upcoming European city with the Sava and Danube rivers running right trough it. It’s a nice place to spend time. Stroll through Prince Michael Street, the cities main pedestrian street, or have a drink on Skadarlija, a vintage street in the spirit of old Belgrade, filled with restaurants and cafés.
There are a lot of old buildings on all four banks, including the huge Kalemegdan Fortress, that has been built, modelled and remodelled by Celts, Romans, Byzantins, Serbs, Austrians and Turks over more than 2,000 years. Once an important military fortification, it now serves as central park of Belgrade with beautiful views, especially during sunset. Within the fort is a zoo, a military museum, famous churches, galleries, parks, sports fields, etc. It has a multitude of various towers and ports, and two long walking/biking paths along both rivers. Other Belgrade sights include the modern Temple of Saint Sava, the National Museum and the Old Castle.
The river island Ada Ciganlija has an artificial lake and an 8 km long gravel beach, which is visited by thousands of bathers during the summer. It’s a lively place with lots of entertainment, cafes and restaurants, some of which are opened the whole year round. Zemun, now part of the Belgrade urban area, developed independently for most of its history and is a pleasant area with a distinct identity. Novi Sad is another delightful city, with the Petrovaradin Fortress (one of the greatest and best preserved XVIII century fortresses in Europe) as it’s main sight. The city also has a number of lovely parks that just ask for a long afternoon stroll or picnic. Sremski Karlovci near Novi Sad has a rich history, numerous monuments, museums, churches, galleries and famous wine cellars. Novi Pazar, your last stop before Kosovo, has a distinct Turkish heritage and a bunch of great monasteries in the surrounding area.
Mokra Gora is a traditionally reconstructed village in the popular mountain region of Zlatibor. The village of Sirogojno is in the same region, with a nice open air museum and lots of traditional crafts on display. Very nearby is the traditional village of Drvengrad, also known as Me?avnik, which the Serbian film director Emir Kusturica built for his film Life Is a Miracle. If you’ve seen the villages, Zlatibor offers some great ski-resorts, hiking trails and landscapes.
Or, hop on the The argan Eight, a narrow-gauge heritage railway running from Mokra Gora to argan Vitasi station (Zlatibor and Tara mountains). When it comes to the number of bridges and tunnels, and the rise of 18 per thousand, Sargan Eight is unique in Europe and a ride on the 8-shaped track is a popular pass time for tourists. Monasteries Serbia is home to a great number of Medieval orthodox monasteries, many with excellent fresco masterpieces inside.
The 12th century monastery of Studenica (near Kraljevo) is one of the finest examples and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its two churches are built in white marble and boast some stunning 13th and 14th century Byzantine paintings. i?a, also near Kraljevo, was founded around 1207 and painted red as a symbol of the blood of the martyrs of the early Christian church. The frescos at Sopo?ani (near Novi Pazar) are considered some of the finest examples of their time, and the monastery is on the World Heritage list together with ruins of ancient Stari Ras, once the capital of the Serbian state of Raka but deserted in the 13th century.
The fortified Manasija monastery near Despotovac is protected by massive walls and towers, and although much of its original frescos were damaged beyond repair during the Ottoman rule, it’s still well worth a visit. Located in the beautiful Ku?aj mountains, Ravanica near ?uprija was assaulted, damaged and rebuilt time and again during history. It is the burial place of Lazar of Serbia, who is a saint of the orthodox Serbian church and a hero in Serbian epic poetry. Other fine monasteries include the Mileeva monastery near Prijepolje, with its world famous “White Angel” fresco, and Kruedol near Srem.
The famous medieval monasteries were protected by UNESCO are: The Pec Patriarchate(monastery), Gracanica monastery, the monastery of Visoki Decani, … National parks Of the several national parks and natural areas in the country, Fruka Gora is undoubtedly one of the best. Dotted with ancient monasteries and wineries, it combines orchards and vineyards on its vast plains with tight forests on its plains. The Tara National Park covers some 20.000 hectares in the west of the country. There, the steep gorges of the Drina river and the high mountain peaks provide some stunning views that make a long hike well worth your effort. The mountainous landscape of Kopaonik, in the south, offers some great ski and snowboard opportunities as well as great views and a rich flora.
Largest and perhaps most breathtaking national park is Djerdap, located in the northeast of the country, bordering Romania. It consist of the steep gorge thru which river Danube runs and its almost untouched nature and wildlife rich banks. Djerdap is also filled with many archaeological sites, most famous of them is Lepenski Vir, considered to be a first human habitat on European soil. Spas and resorts Vrnja?ka Banja is the largest and most popular spa resort in Serbia and traditionally very attractive tourist resort for rest and recreation. It’s the only mineral spa with a water temperature to match that of the human body, 36.5 degrees Celcius.
Soko Banja is another 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. Pali? is a lovely city in the north. Its baroque parks, monuments of art nouveau architecture and a long tradition in catering made it a fashionable summer resort and spa for the 19th and 20th century elite. Archeological sites Viminacium near the village of Stari Kostolac is an important archaeological site and was Serbia’s first excavation project in the 1880’s.
It was once the provincial capital of the Roman province of Moesia (today’s Serbia) and dates back to the 1st century. At the site you’ll find archaeological remains of temples, streets, squares, a large amphitheatre, palaces, hippodromes and Roman baths. Another major archaeological site (and doubling as a spa) is that of Gamzigrad. It hosts the remnants of an ancient Roman complex of palaces and temples called Felix Romuliana, and is considered one of the most prominent and best preserved late-Roman sites.