SERBIA

Date of establishment: June 5, 2006

Brief history:

7th century: Slavic tribes settle in the area of present-day Serbia, mixing with the local population and forming early state entities.

9th century: Formation of the first Slavic state entities in the Balkans, including the Principality of Serbia (Raška) under the Vlastimirović dynasty.

12th century: The establishment of the first Serbian state entity, Raška, under the Nemanjić dynasty, with Stefan Nemanja as a prominent leader.

1217: Stefan the First-Crowned becomes the first King of Serbia, marking the establishment of the Serbian Kingdom under the Nemanjić dynasty.

14th century: The Serbian Empire reaches its peak under Emperor Stefan Dušan (1331-1355), who expands the state and codifies laws in Dušan’s Code. The Serbian Orthodox Church gains autocephaly (independence) in 1219 under Saint Sava, becoming a cornerstone of Serbian identity and culture.

1389: The Battle of Kosovo between the Serbian forces led by Prince Lazar and the Ottoman Turks marks a significant event in Serbian history, leading to the gradual Ottoman conquest.

15th and 16th centuries: The Ottoman Empire gradually conquers Serbian territories, culminating in the fall of Smederevo in 1459, marking the full annexation of Serbia into the Ottoman Empire.

19th century: The First Serbian Uprising (1804-1813) and the Second Serbian Uprising (1815) against Ottoman rule, led by figures like Karađorđe Petrović and Miloš Obrenović, lead to the establishment of the autonomous Principality of Serbia.

1878: The Treaty of Berlin recognizes Serbia as an independent principality.

1882: Serbia is elevated to a kingdom, becoming the Kingdom of Serbia.

1912-1913: The Balkan Wars see Serbia expand its territory significantly, gaining regions such as Kosovo and parts of Macedonia.

1914-1918: World War I devastates Serbia, but it emerges victorious and becomes a key component in the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) in 1918.

1941-1945: Yugoslavia is occupied during World War II. The region experiences severe conflict, with significant resistance movements, including the Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito.

1945-1990: Yugoslavia becomes a socialist federation under Tito, known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Serbia is one of the republics within this federation.

1991-2001: The disintegration of Yugoslavia leads to several wars in the region. Serbia remains part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (comprising Serbia and Montenegro) until 2003, when it becomes the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

2006: Following a referendum, Montenegro declares independence, and Serbia becomes an independent state.

 

International abbreviation: SRB

 

Currency: Serbian dinar (RSD)

The dinar has been the official currency of Serbia since its reestablishment in 2003, following the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the subsequent separation from Montenegro in 2006. Prior to this, the Yugoslav dinar was used during the existence of Yugoslavia.

The Serbian dinar (RSD) is issued in various denominations. Banknotes currently in circulation include 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 dinars. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 dinars. The banknotes feature notable figures from Serbian history and important cultural landmarks.

 

Internet domain: .rs

 

Dialing code: +381

 

Time zone: GMT +1

 

Geography:

Serbia, located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, features diverse geographical landscapes, including mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes. The country’s long history is reflected in its geography.

In the western part of Serbia, the Dinaric Alps form part of the broader Dinaric mountain system. This region includes notable mountains such as Tara and Zlatibor, which provide a base for mountain activities and tourism. The Carpathian Mountains extend into northeastern Serbia, contributing to the country’s varied topography.

The central part of Serbia features expansive valleys, agricultural areas, and historic cities. The capital city, Belgrade, is situated in this region and holds a strategic position at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.

The southern part of Serbia is influenced by mountain ranges that are part of the Balkan mountain system. Mountains like Šar Planina, which forms a natural border with North Macedonia, offer dramatic landscapes and opportunities for outdoor activities.

In the northern part of Serbia, the extensive Pannonian Plain is crisscrossed by the Danube. This area is agriculturally significant and has a major impact on the country’s economy, supporting the cultivation of crops such as wheat, corn, and sunflowers.

Serbia is also rich in water resources, with significant rivers like the Sava, Tisa, Morava, and Drina. Additionally, there are lakes such as Lake Palić and artificial lakes like Lake Gazivode, which provide recreational opportunities and support local ecosystems.

 

Highest peak: Midžor, 2 169 meters (7 116 feet) above sea level.

Located in the Stara Planina mountain range on the border between Serbia and Bulgaria, Midžor is a popular destination for tourists and climbers due to its height and picturesque views.

 

Climate:

The climate in Serbia is diverse and influenced by its geographical location, which includes mountains, valleys, lowlands, and proximity to watercourses. Generally, Serbia has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters.

In summer, average temperatures range from 22°C to 30°C (72°F to 86°F). The warmest month is usually July, and temperatures can occasionally exceed 35°C (95°F) during heatwaves. Summers tend to be relatively dry, especially in the northern and central parts of the country.

In winter, average temperatures range from -1°C to 5°C (30°F to 41°F). The coldest month is typically January, and temperatures can sometimes drop below -10°C (14°F), especially in mountainous regions. Snowfall is common in winter, particularly in higher elevations.

Spring and autumn are transitional seasons with mild and pleasant temperatures. In spring, average temperatures range from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F), while in autumn, they range from 12°C to 22°C (54°F to 72°F). These seasons are characterized by moderate rainfall.

 

Fauna and flora:

Serbian forests and mountains are home to a diverse range of wildlife. Brown bears roam the mountainous areas, particularly in the Carpathian and Dinaric Alps regions. Wolves are present in most wooded and wild areas throughout the country. The Eurasian lynx, a rare and elusive predator, can be found in the remote mountain forests, especially in regions like the Šar Mountains and Kopaonik.

The imperial eagle, a large and powerful raptor, nests in remote rocky areas and is a symbol of Serbia’s natural heritage. Various species of waterfowl, including ducks, herons, and swans, can be found on the Danube, Sava, and other rivers and wetlands. The country is also home to several species of owls, woodpeckers, and passerines.

The flora of Serbia is equally diverse. The pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) and sessile oak (Quercus petraea) are native species that dominate many deciduous forests, particularly in hilly and lowland areas. Pines, such as the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), are common in mountainous regions and on sandy soils, forming characteristic forest communities.

The Serbian flora includes many unique and endemic species. The Dalmatian tulip (Tulipa gesneriana), which blooms in the spring, can be found in certain mountainous areas. The four-angled borage (Symphytum officinale), known for its medicinal properties, grows in various habitats, including riverbanks and damp meadows.

 

Agriculture:

Crops such as wheat and corn are key staples in Serbian agriculture, ensuring food security and providing essential animal feed. Oilseeds such as sunflower and rapeseed are cultivated for oil production and other products.

Fruits and vegetables are also crucial components of Serbian agriculture. Serbia is known for its high-quality fruit production, with apples, cherries, plums, raspberries, and apricots being particularly important. The country is one of the world’s leading producers of raspberries. Vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbages are grown in open fields and greenhouses, allowing for extended growing seasons and year-round production in some cases.

Livestock farming holds traditional importance in Serbia. Serbian farms raise cattle, pigs, and poultry, providing a steady supply of milk, meat, and other animal products. Sheep and goat farming are also prevalent, especially in hilly and mountainous regions, contributing to the production of dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

Viticulture is another significant aspect of Serbian agriculture, with several regions, such as Fruška Gora and the Timok Valley, being well-known for wine production. Serbia produces a variety of wines, including indigenous varieties and international grape types.

 

Natural resource extraction:

Coal mining plays a significant role in Serbia’s energy sector. Lignite (brown coal), mined primarily in the Kolubara and Kostolac basins, serves as a fundamental energy source for thermal power plants that generate a large portion of the country’s electricity.

Other key resources include ores and metals such as copper, lead, and zinc. The Bor and Majdanpek mining districts are particularly notable for their extensive copper deposits. The extraction and processing of copper are critical for industrial production and export.

Iron ore is also an important resource in Serbia. It is mainly extracted in the region around Ljubija in Bosnia and Herzegovina (which was historically part of the Serbian mining industry before the breakup of Yugoslavia). The iron ore is essential for steel production and the metallurgy industry.

In addition to these, Serbia has significant deposits of gold, primarily found in the eastern parts of the country. The exploration and extraction of gold have been growing, contributing to the economy.

Stone quarrying and crushing are important activities, providing essential materials for the construction and infrastructure sectors. Limestone, marble, and other types of stone are widely quarried for building materials, road construction, and other uses.

Serbia also has reserves of other minerals, including antimony, bauxite, and silver, which are mined to varying extents.

 

Industry:

The automotive industry is among the most important sectors in Serbian industry. Several leading automobile companies, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Kragujevac, have manufacturing plants in the region. These plants produce vehicles and automotive components, playing a significant role in the country’s economy and employment.

Metallurgy also holds a traditional and vital place in Serbian industry. Steel production, metal products, and other materials are essential for various industrial sectors. The Smederevo Steel Plant, operated by the Chinese company Hesteel, is one of the key facilities in this sector.

Food processing plays a key role in Serbia’s industry, ensuring food security and contributing to exports. This sector includes meat processing, dairy products, baked goods, beverages, and fruit processing. Serbian brands and products are well-known in regional markets.

The energy sector is another significant part of Serbian industry. It includes the production of electricity from coal, hydropower, and increasingly from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. Serbia’s extensive coal reserves and hydropower plants on the Danube and Drina rivers are crucial for energy production.

The textiles and clothing industry, which once dominated Serbian manufacturing, has faced challenges due to global competition. However, it still remains an important sector, with several companies focusing on high-quality and niche markets.

 

Services and other economic areas: Services, telecommunications, trade, and road and river transportation.

 

Natural and historical attractions:

Serbia’s historical and cultural heritage is remarkable and includes numerous medieval monasteries located in beautiful landscapes. These monasteries, such as Studenica Monastery, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, not only showcase architectural beauty but also hold deep religious and historical significance. Other notable monasteries include the Monastery of Žiča, the Patriarchate of Peć, and the Monastery of Sopoćani.

The Serbian landscape is impressive in its diversity, ranging from mountains to river valleys. Tara National Park offers a unique environment with deep canyons, dense forests, and beautiful views of the Drina River. Tourists come here not only for natural scenery but also for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching.

Thermal springs and spas in Serbia are sought after for their healing properties and relaxing atmosphere. Notable spa towns include Vrnjačka Banja, Sokobanja, and Niška Banja, where local spa facilities offer a wide range of therapeutic procedures, catering to visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. These spas are known for their mineral-rich waters and modern wellness treatments.

In addition to these attractions, Serbia boasts vibrant cities such as Belgrade and Novi Sad. Belgrade, the capital, is known for its lively nightlife, historical sites like Kalemegdan Fortress, and cultural institutions. Novi Sad, home to the Petrovaradin Fortress and the famous EXIT music festival, is another cultural hub.

The Đerdap National Park, located along the Danube River, features the impressive Iron Gate gorge, archaeological sites like Lepenski Vir, and abundant wildlife. The Fruška Gora National Park, with its rolling hills and numerous monasteries, is another significant natural and cultural attraction.

 

 

Form of government: Parliamentary republic

Serbia’s government system is based on the principles of a parliamentary republic, emphasizing democracy, civil rights, and the rule of law. The country has a directly elected president, who holds representative duties and powers related to foreign policy, government appointments, and other state functions. The presidential term is five years.

The parliamentary structure includes the National Assembly (Narodna skupština), which is the primary legislative body. The National Assembly consists of 250 members who are directly elected by the citizens through proportional representation. This chamber has the authority to approve laws, oversee the government, and perform legislative functions.

Serbia consists of two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija (though the latter is currently under UN administration and not under Serbian control). These regions have their own local governments that manage specific regional interests within the framework of the Serbian constitution.

The government of Serbia, also known as the Council of Ministers, is the executive branch of state power. It is led by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly. The government has the authority to govern the country, conduct foreign policy, manage the economy, and oversee other key areas. It is accountable to the National Assembly and can be removed by a vote of no confidence.

The judicial system in Serbia is independent and ensures justice and the upholding of the law. The highest judicial authority is the Constitutional Court, which has jurisdiction over constitutional issues and can review the constitutionality of laws and government actions. The Supreme Court of Cassation is the highest court of appeal and oversees all other legal matters. The judicial system plays a crucial role in maintaining the rule of law and ensuring civil rights and freedoms.

 

Capital city: Belgrade

Belgrade’s location at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers gives it a unique character and significant strategic position. The Belgrade Fortress, dominating the city’s skyline, is a symbol of its historical heritage. This impressive structure not only speaks to a rich past but also offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landscape. Visitors can explore historical walls, gates, and courtyards where significant events occurred.

Belgrade is also known for its vibrant streets, with the most famous being Knez Mihailova Street. This renowned street is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants, inviting visitors for strolls and shopping. It’s a place where history and modernity intersect.

The Church of Saint Sava, a majestic Orthodox church, is another significant point of interest. Its grand architecture and spiritual significance attract visitors and believers from around the world. The area around the church often hosts cultural and religious events.

Skadarlija, a picturesque quarter, is an oasis of artistic atmosphere and traditional charm. Streets filled with art galleries, cafes, and taverns create a unique ambiance that transports visitors to the past.

The city has a population of about 1 411 000

 

Area: 88 499 km² (34 170 square miles)

 

Population: 6 660 000 (2022 estimate)

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 5

 

  1. Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius (2007) – A complex of ancient buildings built during the Roman period, originally constructed for the Roman Emperor Galerius Valerius Maximianus.
  2. Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (2004) – Four buildings reflecting the heights of Byzantine-Romanesque church culture that developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries.
  3. Stari Ras and Sopoćani (1979) – These medieval monuments in Serbia provide insight into the region’s rich history and culture.
  4. Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (2016) – Unique cultural heritage found in various parts of the Balkan Peninsula, primarily in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Stećci are stone tombstones with characteristic ornamentation and reliefs.
  5. Studenica Monastery (1986) – One of the most important and oldest Serbian Orthodox monasteries. Located in the Zlatibor mountain region, about 39 km west of Kraljevo.

 

National parks: 5

 

  1. Đerdap National Park
  2. Kopaonik National Park
  3. Tara National Park
  4. Fruška Gora National Park
  5. Šar Mountain National Park