Serbia | Wikipedia audio article
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Serbia | Wikipedia audio article

October 9, 2019

Serbia (Serbian: Србија / Srbija [sř̩bija]),
officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Република Србија / Republika
Srbija [repǔblika sř̩bija]), is a country situated at the crossroads of Central and
Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. The sovereign state borders Hungary to the
north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and Montenegro to the west. The country claims a border with Albania through
the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia numbers around 7 million residents. Its capital, Belgrade, ranks among the oldest
and largest cities in southeastern Europe.Following the Slavic migrations to the Balkans postdating
the 6th century, Serbs established several sovereign states in the early Middle Ages
which at times nominally recognized Byzantine, Frankish and Hungarian overrule. The Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by
the Vatican and Constantinople in 1217, reaching its peak in 1346 as a relatively short-lived
Serbian Empire. By the mid-16th century, the entire modern-day
Serbia was annexed by the Ottomans, at times interrupted by the Habsburg Empire, which
started expanding towards Central Serbia from the end of the 17th century, while maintaining
a foothold in modern-day Vojvodina. In the early 19th century, the Serbian Revolution
established the nation-state as the region’s first constitutional monarchy, which subsequently
expanded its territory. Following disastrous casualties in World War
I, and the subsequent unification of the former Habsburg crownland of Vojvodina (and other
territories) with Serbia, the country co-founded Yugoslavia with other South Slavic peoples,
which would exist in various political formations until the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, the country
declared independence in April 1992 as Serbia formed a union with Montenegro, which was
peacefully dissolved in 2006. In 2008, the parliament of the province of
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, with mixed responses from the international
community. Serbia is a member of the UN, CoE, OSCE, PfP,
BSEC, CEFTA and it is acceding to the WTO. Since 2014 the country has been negotiating
its EU accession with perspective of joining the European Union by 2025 and is the only
country in the current enlargement agenda which is designated as “free” by Freedom House. Since 2007, Serbia formally adheres to the
policy of military neutrality. An upper-middle income economy with a dominant
service sector followed by the industrial sector and agriculture, the country ranks
high by the Human Development Index (66th), Social Progress Index (45th) as well as the
Global Peace Index (54th).==Etymology==The origin of the name, “Serbia” is unclear. Various authors mentioned names of Serbs (Serbian:
Srbi / Срби) and Sorbs (Upper Sorbian: Serbja; Lower Sorbian: Serby) in different
variants: Surbii, Suurbi, Serbloi, Zeriuani, Sorabi, Surben, Sarbi, Serbii, Serboi, Zirbi,
Surbi, Sorben, etc. These authors used these names to refer to
Serbs and Sorbs in areas where their historical (or current) presence was/is not disputed
(notably in the Balkans and Lusatia), but there are also sources that mention same or
similar names in other parts of the World (most notably in the Asiatic Sarmatia in the
Caucasus). Theoretically, the root *sъrbъ has been
variously connected with Russian paserb (пасерб, “stepson”), Ukrainian pryserbytysia (присербитися,
“join in”), Old Indic sarbh- (“fight, cut, kill”), Latin sero (“make up, constitute”),
and Greek siro (ειρω, “repeat”). However, Polish linguist Stanisław Rospond
(1906–1982) derived the denomination of Srb from srbati (cf. sorbo, absorbo). Sorbian scholar H. Schuster-Šewc suggested
a connection with the Proto-Slavic verb for “to slurp” *sьrb-, with cognates such as
сёрбать (Russian), сьорбати (Ukrainian), сёрбаць (Belarusian),
srbati (Slovak), сърбам(Bulgarian) and серебати (Old Russian).From 1945 to
1963, the official name for Serbia was the People’s Republic of Serbia, which became
the Socialist Republic of Serbia from 1963 to 1990. Since 1990, the official name of the country
is the “Republic of Serbia”. However, between the period from 1992 to 2006,
the official names of the country were the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the State
Union of Serbia and Montenegro.==History=====
Prehistory===Archeological evidence of Paleolithic settlements
on the territory of present-day Serbia are scarce. A fragment of a human jaw, was found in Sićevo
(Mala Balanica) and believed to be up to 525,000—397,000 years old.Approximately around 6,500 years
BC, during the Neolithic, the Starčevo, and Vinča cultures existed in or near modern-day
Belgrade and dominated much of the Southeastern Europe, (as well as parts of Central Europe
and Asia Minor). Two important local archeological sites from
this era, Lepenski Vir and Vinča-Belo Brdo, still exist near the banks of the Danube.===Ancient history===During the Iron Age, Thracians, Dacians, and
Illyrians were encountered by the Ancient Greeks during their expansion into the south
of modern Serbia in the 4th century BC; the northwesternmost point of Alexander the Great’s
empire being the town of Kale-Krševica. The Celtic tribe of Scordisci settled throughout
the area in the 3rd century BC and formed a tribal state, building several fortifications,
including their capital at Singidunum (present-day Belgrade) and Naissos (present-day Niš). The Romans conquered much of the territory
in the 2nd century BC. In 167 BC the Roman province of Illyricum
was established; the remainder was conquered around 75 BC, forming the Roman province of
Moesia Superior; the modern-day Srem region was conquered in 9 BC; and Bačka and Banat
in 106 AD after the Dacian Wars. As a result of this, contemporary Serbia extends
fully or partially over several former Roman provinces, including Moesia, Pannonia, Praevalitana,
Dalmatia, Dacia and Macedonia. The chief towns of Upper Moesia (and wider)
were: Singidunum (Belgrade), Viminacium (now Old Kostolac), Remesiana (now Bela Palanka),
Naissos (Niš), and Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica), the latter of which served as a Roman capital
during the Tetrarchy. Seventeen Roman Emperors were born in the
area of modern-day Serbia, second only to contemporary Italy. The most famous of these was Constantine the
Great, the first Christian Emperor, who issued an edict ordering religious tolerance throughout
the Empire. When the Roman Empire was divided in 395,
most of Serbia remained under the Eastern Roman Empire, while its northwestern parts
were included in the Western Roman Empire. By the early 6th century, South Slavs were
present throughout the Byzantine Empire in large numbers.===Middle Ages===Serbs, a Slavic tribe that settled the Balkans
in the 6th or early 7th century, established the Serbian Principality by the 8th century. It was said in 822 that the Serbs inhabited
the greater part of Roman Dalmatia, their territory spanning what is today southwestern
Serbia and parts of neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, the Byzantine Empire and Bulgarian
Empire held other parts of the territory. Christianity was adopted by the Serbian rulers
in ca. 870, and by the mid-10th-century the Serbian state stretched the Adriatic Sea by
the Neretva, the Sava, the Morava, and Skadar. Between 1166 and 1371 Serbia was ruled by
the Nemanjić dynasty (whose legacy is especially cherished), under whom the state was elevated
to a kingdom (and briefly an empire) and Serbian bishopric to an autocephalous archbishopric
(through the effort of Sava, the country’s patron saint). Monuments of the Nemanjić period survives
in many monasteries (several being World Heritage) and fortifications. During these centuries the Serbian state (and
influence) expanded significantly. The northern part, Vojvodina, was ruled by
the Kingdom of Hungary. The period known as the Fall of the Serbian
Empire saw the once-powerful state fragmented into duchies, culminating in the Battle of
Kosovo (1389) against the rising Ottoman Empire. The Serbian Despotate was finally conquered
by the Ottomans in 1459. The Ottoman threat and eventual conquest saw
large migrations of Serbs to the west and north.===Ottoman and Habsburg rule===After the loss of independence to the Kingdom
of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, Serbia briefly regained sovereignty under Jovan Nenad
in the 16th century. Three Habsburg invasions and numerous rebellions
constantly challenged Ottoman rule. One famous incident was the Banat Uprising
in 1595, which was part of the Long War between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs. The area of modern Vojvodina endured a century-long
Ottoman occupation before being ceded to the Habsburg Empire at the end of the 17th century
under the Treaty of Karlowitz. In all Serb lands south of the rivers Danube
and Sava, the nobility was eliminated and the peasantry was enserfed to Ottoman masters,
while much of the clergy fled or were confined to the isolated monasteries. Under the Ottoman system, Serbs, as Christians,
were considered an inferior class of people and subjected to heavy taxes, and a small
portion of the Serbian populace experienced Islamisation. The Ottomans abolished the Serbian Patriarchate
of Peć (1463), but reestablished it in 1557, providing for limited continuation of Serbian
cultural traditions within the empire.As the Great Serb Migrations depopulated most of
southern Serbia, the Serbs sought refuge across the Danube River in Vojvodina to the north
and the Military Frontier in the west, where they were granted rights by the Austrian crown
under measures such as the Statuta Wallachorum of 1630. The ecclesiastical center of the Serbs also
moved northwards, to the Metropolitanate of Sremski Karlovci, as the Serbian Patriarchate
of Peć was once-again abolished by the Ottomans in 1766. Following several petitions, the Holy Roman
Emperor Leopold I formally granted Serbs who wished to leave the right to their autonomous
crownland. In 1718–39, the Habsburg Monarchy occupied
Central Serbia and established the “Kingdom of Serbia”. Apart from Vojvodina and Northern Belgrade
which were absorbed into the Habsburg Empire, Central Serbia was occupied by the Habsburgs
again in 1686–91 and in 1788–92.===Revolution and independence===The Serbian Revolution for independence from
the Ottoman Empire lasted eleven years, from 1804 until 1815. The revolution comprised two separate uprisings
which gained autonomy from the Ottoman Empire that eventually evolved towards full independence
(1835–1867). During the First Serbian Uprising, led by
Duke Karađorđe Petrović, Serbia was independent for almost a decade before the Ottoman army
was able to reoccupy the country. Shortly after this, the Second Serbian Uprising
began. Led by Miloš Obrenović, it ended in 1815
with a compromise between Serbian revolutionaries and Ottoman authorities. Likewise, Serbia was one of the first nations
in the Balkans to abolish feudalism. The Convention of Ackerman in 1826, the Treaty
of Adrianople in 1829 and finally, the Hatt-i Sharif, recognized the suzerainty of Serbia. The first Serbian Constitution was adopted
on 15 February 1835.Following the clashes between the Ottoman army and Serbs in Belgrade
in 1862, and under pressure from the Great Powers, by 1867 the last Turkish soldiers
left the Principality, making the country de facto independent. By enacting a new constitution without consulting
the Porte, Serbian diplomats confirmed the de facto independence of the country. In 1876, Serbia declared war on the Ottoman
Empire, proclaiming its unification with Bosnia. The formal independence of the country was
internationally recognized at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, which formally ended the
Russo-Turkish War; this treaty, however, prohibited Serbia from uniting with Bosnia by placing
Bosnia under Austro-Hungarian occupation, alongside the occupation of Sanjak of Novi
Pazar. From 1815 to 1903, the Principality of Serbia
was ruled by the House of Obrenović, save for the rule of Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević
between 1842 and 1858. In 1882, Serbia became the Kingdom of Serbia,
ruled by King Milan I. The House of Karađorđević, descendants
of the revolutionary leader Karađorđe Petrović, assumed power in 1903 following the May Overthrow. In the north, the 1848 revolution in Austria
led to the establishment of the autonomous territory of Serbian Vojvodina; by 1849, the
region was transformed into the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar.===Balkan Wars, World War I and the First
Yugoslavia===In the course of the First Balkan War in 1912,
the Balkan League defeated the Ottoman Empire and captured its European territories, which
enabled territorial expansion into Raška and Kosovo. The Second Balkan War soon ensued when Bulgaria
turned on its former allies, but was defeated, resulting in the Treaty of Bucharest. In two years, Serbia enlarged its territory
by 80% and its population by 50%; it also suffered high casualties on the eve of World
War I, with around 20,000 dead. Austria-Hungary became wary of the rising
regional power on its borders and its potential to become an anchor for unification of all
South Slavs, and the relationship between the two countries became tense. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
of Austria on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Young Bosnia
organization, led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. In defense of Serbia, and to maintain her
status as a Great Power, Russia mobilized its troops, which resulted in Austria-Hungary’s
ally Germany declaring war on Russia. Serbia won the first major battles of World
War I, including the Battle of Cer and Battle of Kolubara – marking the first Allied victories
against the Central Powers in World War I.Despite initial success, it was eventually overpowered
by the Central Powers in 1915. Most of its army and some people fled through
Albania to Greece and Corfu, suffering immense losses on the way. Serbia was occupied by the Central Powers. After the Central Powers military situation
on other fronts worsened, the remains of the Serb army returned east and lead a final breakthrough
through enemy lines on 15 September 1918, liberating Serbia and defeating the Austro-Hungarian
Empire and Bulgaria. Serbia, with its campaign, was a major Balkan
Entente Power which contributed significantly to the Allied victory in the Balkans in November
1918, especially by helping France force Bulgaria’s capitulation. Serbia was classified as a minor Entente power. Serbia’s casualties accounted for 8% of the
total Entente military deaths; 58% (243,600) soldiers of the Serbian army perished in the
war. The total number of casualties is placed around
700,000, more than 16% of Serbia’s prewar size, and a majority (57%) of its overall
male population. As the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed,
the territory of Syrmia united with Serbia on 24 November 1918, followed by Banat, Bačka
and Baranja a day later, thereby bringing the entire Vojvodina into the Serb Kingdom. On 26 November 1918, the Podgorica Assembly
deposed the House of Petrović-Njegoš and united Montenegro with Serbia. On 1 December 1918, at Krsmanović’s House
at Terazije, Serbian Prince Regent Alexander of Serbia proclaimed the Kingdom of the Serbs,
Croats, and Slovenes under King Peter I of Serbia. King Peter was succeeded by his son, Alexander,
in August 1921. Serb centralists and Croat autonomists clashed
in the parliament, and most governments were fragile and short-lived. Nikola Pašić, a conservative prime minister,
headed or dominated most governments until his death. King Alexander changed the name of the country
to Yugoslavia and changed the internal divisions from the 33 oblasts to nine new banovinas. The effect of Alexander’s dictatorship was
to further alienate the non-Serbs from the idea of unity.Alexander was assassinated in
Marseille, during an official visit in 1934 by Vlado Chernozemski, member of the IMRO. Alexander was succeeded by his eleven-year-old
son Peter II and a regency council was headed by his cousin, Prince Paul. In August 1939 the Cvetković–Maček Agreement
established an autonomous Banate of Croatia as a solution to Croatian concerns.===World War II and the Second Yugoslavia
===During this period, hundreds of thousands
of Serbs fled the Axis puppet state known as the Independent State of Croatia and sought
refuge in Serbia, seeking to escape the large-scale persecution and genocide of Serbs, Jews, and
Roma being committed by the Ustaše regime.In 1941, in spite of Yugoslav attempts to remain
neutral in the war, the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia. The territory of modern Serbia was divided
between Hungary, Bulgaria, Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and Italy (greater Albania
and Montenegro), while the remaining part of Serbia was placed under German Military
administration, with Serbian puppet governments led by Milan Aćimović and Milan Nedić. The occupied territory was the scene of a
civil war between royalist Chetniks commanded by Draža Mihailović and communist partisans
commanded by Josip Broz Tito. Against these forces were arrayed Axis auxiliary
units of the Serbian Volunteer Corps and the Serbian State Guard. Draginac and Loznica massacre of 2,950 villagers
in Western Serbia in 1941 was the first large execution of civilians in occupied Serbia
by Germans, with Kragujevac massacre and Novi Sad Raid of Jews and Serbs by Hungarian fascists
being the most notorious, with over 3,000 victims in each case. After one year of occupation, around 16,000
Serbian Jews were murdered in the area, or around 90% of its pre-war Jewish population. Many concentration camps were established
across the area. Banjica concentration camp was the largest
concentration camp, with primary victims being Serbian Jews, Roma, and Serb political prisoners.The
Republic of Užice was a short-lived liberated territory established by the Partisans and
the first liberated territory in World War II Europe, organized as a military mini-state
that existed in the autumn of 1941 in the west of occupied Serbia. By late 1944, the Belgrade Offensive swung
in favour of the partisans in the civil war; the partisans subsequently gained control
of Yugoslavia. Following the Belgrade Offensive, the Syrmian
Front was the last major military action of World War II in Serbia. A study by Vladimir Žerjavić estimates total
war related deaths in Yugoslavia at 1,027,000, including 273,000 in Serbia.The victory of
the Communist Partisans resulted in the abolition of the monarchy and a subsequent constitutional
referendum. A one-party state was soon established in
Yugoslavia by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, between 60,000 and 70,000 people
were killed in Serbia during the communist takeover. All opposition was suppressed and people deemed
to be promoting opposition to socialism or promoting separatism were imprisoned or executed
for sedition. Serbia became a constituent republic within
the SFRY known as the Socialist Republic of Serbia, and had a republic-branch of the federal
communist party, the League of Communists of Serbia. Serbia’s most powerful and influential politician
in Tito-era Yugoslavia was Aleksandar Ranković, one of the “big four” Yugoslav leaders, alongside
Tito, Edvard Kardelj, and Milovan Đilas. Ranković was later removed from the office
because of the disagreements regarding Kosovo’s nomenklatura and the unity of Serbia. Ranković’s dismissal was highly unpopular
among Serbs. Pro-decentralization reformers in Yugoslavia
succeeded in the late 1960s in attaining substantial decentralization of powers, creating substantial
autonomy in Kosovo and Vojvodina, and recognizing a Yugoslav Muslim nationality. As a result of these reforms, there was a
massive overhaul of Kosovo’s nomenklatura and police, that shifted from being Serb-dominated
to ethnic Albanian-dominated through firing Serbs on a large scale. Further concessions were made to the ethnic
Albanians of Kosovo in response to unrest, including the creation of the University of
Pristina as an Albanian language institution. These changes created widespread fear among
Serbs of being treated as second-class citizens.===Breakup of Yugoslavia and political transition
===In 1989, Slobodan Milošević rose to power
in Serbia. Milošević promised a reduction of powers
for the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, where his allies subsequently took
over power, during the Anti-bureaucratic revolution. This ignited tensions between the communist
leadership of the other republics of Yugoslavia, and awoke nationalism across Yugoslavia that
eventually resulted in its breakup, with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia
declaring independence. Serbia and Montenegro remained together as
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). However, according to the Badinter Commission,
the country was not legally be considered a continuation of the former SFRY, but it
was a new state. Fueled by ethnic tensions, the Yugoslav Wars
(1991-2001) erupted, with the most severe conflicts taking place in Croatia and Bosnia,
where the large ethnic Serb communities opposed independence from Yugoslavia. The FRY remained outside the conflicts, but
provided logistic, military and financial support to Serb forces in the wars. In response, the UN imposed sanctions against
Serbia which led to political isolation and the collapse of the economy (GDP decreased
from $24 billion in 1990 to under $10 billion in 1993). Multi-party democracy was introduced in Serbia
in 1990, officially dismantling the one-party system. Critics of Milošević claimed that the government
continued to be authoritarian despite constitutional changes, as Milošević maintained strong
political influence over the state media and security apparatus. When the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia
refused to accept its defeat in municipal elections in 1996, Serbians engaged in large
protests against the government. In 1998, continued clashes between the Albanian
guerilla Kosovo Liberation Army and Yugoslav security forces led to the short Kosovo War
(1998–99), in which NATO intervened, leading to the withdrawal of Serbian forces and the
establishment of UN administration in the province.After presidential elections in September
2000, opposition parties accused Milošević of electoral fraud. A campaign of civil resistance followed, led
by the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), a broad coalition of anti-Milošević parties. This culminated on 5 October when half a million
people from all over the country congregated in Belgrade, compelling Milošević to concede
defeat. The fall of Milošević ended Yugoslavia’s
international isolation. Milošević was sent to the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The DOS announced that FR Yugoslavia would
seek to join the European Union. In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
was renamed Serbia and Montenegro; the EU opened negotiations with the country for the
Stabilization and Association Agreement. Serbia’s political climate remained tense
and in 2003, the prime minister Zoran Đinđić was assassinated as result of a plot originating
from circles of organized crime and former security officials.===Recent history===On 21 May 2006, Montenegro held a referendum
to determine whether to end its union with Serbia. The results showed 55.4% of voters in favor
of independence, which was just above the 55% required by the referendum. On 5 June 2006, the National Assembly of Serbia
declared Serbia to be the legal successor to the former state union. The Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared
independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Serbia immediately condemned the declaration
and continues to deny any statehood to Kosovo. The declaration has sparked varied responses
from the international community, some welcoming it, while others condemned the unilateral
move. Status-neutral talks between Serbia and Kosovo-Albanian
authorities are held in Brussels, mediated by the EU. In April 2008 Serbia was invited to join the
Intensified Dialogue programme with NATO despite the diplomatic rift with the alliance over
Kosovo. Serbia officially applied for membership in
the European Union on 22 December 2009, and received candidate status on 1 March 2012,
following a delay in December 2011. Following a positive recommendation of the
European Commission and European Council in June 2013, negotiations to join the EU commenced
in January 2014.==Geography==Located at the crossroads between Central
and Southern Europe, Serbia is found in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. Serbia lies between latitudes 41° and 47°
N, and longitudes 18° and 23° E. The country covers a total of 88,361 km2 (including Kosovo),
which places it at 113th place in the world; with Kosovo excluded, the total area is 77,474
km2, which would make it 117th. Its total border length amounts to 2,027 km
(Albania 115 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 302 km, Bulgaria 318 km, Croatia 241 km, Hungary
151 km, Macedonia 221 km, Montenegro 203 km and Romania 476 km). All of Kosovo’s border with Albania (115 km),
Macedonia (159 km) and Montenegro (79 km) are under control of the Kosovo border police. Serbia treats the 352 km long border between
Kosovo and rest of Serbia as an “administrative line”; it is under shared control of Kosovo
border police and Serbian police forces, and there are 11 crossing points. The Pannonian Plain covers the northern third
of the country (Vojvodina and Mačva) while the easternmost tip of Serbia extends into
the Wallachian Plain. The terrain of the central part of the country,
with the region of Šumadija at its heart, consists chiefly of hills traversed by rivers. Mountains dominate the southern third of Serbia. Dinaric Alps stretch in the west and the southwest,
following the flow of the rivers Drina and Ibar. The Carpathian Mountains and Balkan Mountains
stretch in a north–south direction in eastern Serbia.Ancient mountains in the southeast
corner of the country belong to the Rilo-Rhodope Mountain system. Elevation ranges from the Midžor peak of
the Balkan Mountains at 2,169 metres (7,116 feet) (the highest peak in Serbia, excluding
Kosovo) to the lowest point of just 17 metres (56 feet) near the Danube river at Prahovo. The largest lake is Đerdap Lake (163 square
kilometres or 63 square miles) and the longest river passing through Serbia is the Danube
(587.35 kilometres or 364.96 miles).===Climate===The climate of Serbia is under the influences
of the landmass of Eurasia and the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. With mean January temperatures around 0 °C
(32 °F), and mean July temperatures of 22 °C (72 °F), it can be classified as a warm-humid
continental or humid subtropical climate. In the north, the climate is more continental,
with cold winters, and hot, humid summers along with well distributed rainfall patterns. In the south, summers and autumns are drier,
and winters are relatively cold, with heavy inland snowfall in the mountains. Differences in elevation, proximity to the
Adriatic Sea and large river basins, as well as exposure to the winds account for climate
variations. Southern Serbia is subject to Mediterranean
influences. The Dinaric Alps and other mountain ranges
contribute to the cooling of most of the warm air masses. Winters are quite harsh in the Pešter plateau,
because of the mountains which encircle it. One of the climatic features of Serbia is
Košava, a cold and very squally southeastern wind which starts in the Carpathian Mountains
and follows the Danube northwest through the Iron Gate where it gains a jet effect and
continues to Belgrade and can spread as far south as Niš.The average annual air temperature
for the period 1961–1990 for the area with an altitude of up to 300 m (984 ft) is 10.9
°C (51.6 °F). The areas with an altitude of 300 to 500 m
(984 to 1,640 ft) have an average annual temperature of around 10.0 °C (50.0 °F), and over 1,000
m (3,281 ft) of altitude around 6.0 °C (42.8 °F). The lowest recorded temperature in Serbia
was −39.5 °C (−39.1 °F) on 13 January 1985, Karajukića Bunari in Pešter, and the
highest was 44.9 °C or 112.8 °F, on 24 July 2007, recorded in Smederevska Palanka.Serbia
is one of few European countries with very high risk exposure to natural hazards (earthquakes,
storms, floods, droughts). It is estimated that potential floods, particularly
in areas of Central Serbia, threaten over 500 larger settlements and an area of 16,000
square kilometers. The most disastrous were the floods in May
2014, when 57 people died and a damage of over a 1.5 billion euro was inflicted.===Hydrology===Almost all of Serbia’s rivers drain to the
Black Sea, by way of the Danube river. The Danube, the second largest European river,
passes through Serbia with 588 kilometers (21% of its overall length) and represents
the largest source of fresh water. It is joined by its biggest tributaries, the
Great Morava (longest river entirely in Serbia with 493 km of length), Sava and Tisza rivers. One notable exception is the Pčinja which
flows into the Aegean. Drina river forms the natural border between
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and represents the main kayaking and rafting attraction in
both countries. Due to configuration of the terrain, natural
lakes are sparse and small; most of them are located in the lowlands of Vojvodina, like
the aeolian lake Palić or numerous oxbow lakes along river flows (like Zasavica and
Carska Bara). However, there are numerous artificial lakes,
mostly due to hydroelectric dams, the biggest being Đerdap (Iron Gates) on the Danube with
163 km2 on the Serbian side (a total area of 253 km2 is shared with Romania) as well
as the deepest (with maximum depth of 92 m); Perućac on the Drina, and Vlasina. The largest waterfall, Jelovarnik, located
in Kopaonik, is 71 m high. Abundance of relatively unpolluted surface
waters and numerous underground natural and mineral water sources of high water quality
presents a chance for export and economy improvement; however, more extensive exploitation and production
of bottled water began only recently.===Environment===With 29.1% of its territory covered by forest,
Serbia is considered to be a middle-forested country, compared on a global scale to world
forest coverage at 30%, and European average of 35%. The total forest area in Serbia is 2,252,000
ha (1,194,000 ha or 53% are state-owned, and 1,058,387 ha or 47% are privately owned) or
0.3 ha per inhabitant. The most common trees are oak, beech, pines
and firs. Serbia is a country of rich ecosystem and
species diversity – covering only 1.9% of the whole European territory Serbia is home
to 39% of European vascular flora, 51% of European fish fauna, 40% of European reptile
and amphibian fauna, 74% of European bird fauna, 67% European mammal fauna. Its abundance of mountains and rivers make
it an ideal environment for a variety of animals, many of which are protected including wolves,
lynx, bears, foxes and stags. There are 17 snake species living all over
the country, 8 of them are venomous. Serbia is home to highly protected owl species. In the northernmost part of Vojvodina plain,
in the city of Kikinda, a number of endangered 145 long-eared owls is noted, making this
town the world’s biggest settlement of these species. Serbia is considerably rich with threatened
species of bats and butterflies.Mountain of Tara in western Serbia is one of the last
regions in Europe where bears can still live in absolute freedom. Serbia is also home to about 380 species of
bird. In Carska Bara, there are over 300 bird species
on just a few square kilometers. Uvac Gorge is considered one of the last habitats
of the Griffon vulture in Europe.There are 377 protected areas of Serbia, encompassing
4,947 square kilometers or 6.4% of the country. The “Spatial plan of the Republic of Serbia”
states that the total protected area should be increased to 12% by 2021. Those protected areas include 5 national parks
(Đerdap, Tara, Kopaonik, Fruška Gora and Šar Mountain), 15 nature parks, 15 “landscapes
of outstanding features”, 61 nature reserves, and 281 natural monuments.Air pollution is
a significant problem in Bor area, due to work of large copper mining and smelting complex,
and Pančevo where oil and petrochemical industry is based. Some cities suffer from water supply problems,
due to mismanagement and low investments in the past, as well as water pollution (like
the pollution of the Ibar River from the Trepča zinc-lead combinate, affecting the city of
Kraljevo, or the presence of natural arsenic in underground waters in Zrenjanin). Poor waste management has been identified
as one of the most important environmental problems in Serbia and the recycling is a
fledgling activity, with only 15% of its waste being turned back for reuse. The 1999 NATO bombing caused serious damage
to the environment, with several thousand tons of toxic chemicals stored in targeted
factories and refineries released into the soil and water basins.==Politics==Serbia is a parliamentary republic, with the
government divided into legislative, executive and judiciary branches. Serbia had one of the first modern constitutions
in Europe, the 1835 Constitution (known as “Sretenje Constitution”), which was at the
time considered among the most progressive and liberal constitutions in the world. Since then it has adopted 10 different constitutions. The current constitution was adopted in 2006
in the aftermath of Montenegro independence referendum which by consequence renewed the
independence of Serbia itself. The Constitutional Court rules on matters
regarding the Constitution. The President of the Republic (Predsednik
Republike) is the head of state, is elected by popular vote to a five-year term and is
limited by the Constitution to a maximum of two terms. In addition to being the commander in chief
of the armed forces, the president has the procedural duty of appointing the prime minister
with the consent of the parliament, and has some influence on foreign policy. Aleksandar Vučić of the Serbian Progressive
Party is the current president following the 2017 presidential election. Seat of the presidency is Novi Dvor. The Government (Vlada) is composed of the
prime minister and cabinet ministers. The Government is responsible for proposing
legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies. The current prime minister is Ana Brnabić
of the Serbian Progressive Party.The National Assembly (Narodna skupština) is a unicameral
legislative body. The National Assembly has the power to enact
laws, approve the budget, schedule presidential elections, select and dismiss the Prime Minister
and other ministers, declare war, and ratify international treaties and agreements. It is composed of 250 proportionally elected
members who serve four-year terms. The largest political parties in Serbia are
the centre-right Serbian Progressive Party, leftist Socialist Party of Serbia and far-right
Serbian Radical Party.===Law and criminal justice===Serbia has a three-tiered judicial system,
made up of the Supreme Court of Cassation as the court of the last resort, Courts of
Appeal as the appellate instance, and Basic and High courts as the general jurisdictions
at first instance. Courts of special jurisdictions are the Administrative
Court, commercial courts (including the Commercial Court of Appeal at second instance) and misdemeanor
courts (including High Misdemeanor Court at second instance). The judiciary is overseen by the Ministry
of Justice. Serbia has a typical civil law legal system. Law enforcement is the responsibility of the
Serbian Police, which is subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. Serbian Police fields 26,527 uniformed officers. National security and counterintelligence
are the responsibility of the Security Intelligence Agency (BIA).===Foreign relations===Serbia has established diplomatic relations
with 188 UN member states, the Holy See, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and the
European Union. Foreign relations are conducted through the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Serbia has a network of 65 embassies and 23
consulates internationally. There are 65 foreign embassies, 5 consulates
and 4 liaison offices in Serbia.Serbian foreign policy is focused on achieving the strategic
goal of becoming a member state of the European Union (EU). Serbia started the process of joining the
EU by signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008 and officially
applied for membership in the European Union on 22 December 2009. It received a full candidate status on 1 March
2012 and started accession talks on 21 January 2014. The European Commission considers accession
possible by 2025.The province of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008,
which sparked varied responses from the international community, some welcoming it, while others
condemn the unilateral move. In protest, Serbia initially recalled its
ambassadors from countries that recognized Kosovo′s independence. The resolution of 26 December 2007 by the
National Assembly stated that both the Kosovo declaration of independence and recognition
thereof by any state would be gross violation of international law.Serbia began cooperation
and dialogue with NATO in 2006, when the country joined the Partnership for Peace programme
and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The country′s military neutrality was formally
proclaimed by a resolution adopted by Serbia′s parliament in December 2007, which makes joining
any military alliance contingent on a popular referendum, a stance acknowledged by NATO. On the other hand, Serbia′s relations with
Russia are habitually described by mass media as a ″centuries-old religious, ethnic and
political alliance″ and Russia is said to have sought to solidify its relationship with
Serbia since the imposition of sanctions against Russia in 2014.===Military===The Serbian Armed Forces are subordinate to
the Ministry of Defence, and are composed of the Army and the Air Force. Although a landlocked country, Serbia operates
a River Flotilla which patrols on the Danube, Sava, and Tisza rivers. The Serbian Chief of the General Staff reports
to the Defence Minister. The Chief of Staff is appointed by the President,
who is the Commander-in-chief. As of 2017, Serbia defence budget amounts
to $503 million or an estimated 1.4% of the country’s GDP.Traditionally having relied
on a large number of conscripts, Serbian Armed Forces went through a period of downsizing,
restructuring and professionalisation. Conscription was abolished in 2011. Serbian Armed Forces have 28,000 active troops,
supplemented by the “active reserve” which numbers 20,000 members and “passive reserve”
with about 170,000.Serbia participates in the NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan
program, but has no intention of joining NATO, due to significant popular rejection, largely
a legacy of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. It is an observer member of the Collective
Securities Treaty Organization (CSTO) The country also signed the Stability Pact for
South Eastern Europe. The Serbian Armed Forces take part in several
multinational peacekeeping missions, including deployments in Lebanon, Cyprus, Ivory Coast,
and Liberia.Serbia is a major producer and exporter of military equipment in the region. Defence exports totaled around $569 million
in 2017. Serbia exports across the world, notably to
the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America. The defence industry has seen significant
growth over the years and it continues to grow on a yearly basis.===Administrative divisions===Serbia is a unitary state composed of municipalities/cities,
districts, and two autonomous provinces. In Serbia, excluding Kosovo, there are 145
municipalities (opštine) and 29 cities (gradovi), which form the basic units of local self-government. Apart from municipalities/cities, there are
24 districts (okruzi, 10 most populated listed below), with the City of Belgrade constituting
an additional district. Except for Belgrade, which has an elected
local government, districts are regional centers of state authority, but have no powers of
their own; they present purely administrative divisions.Serbia has two autonomous provinces,
Vojvodina in the north, and Kosovo and Metohija in the south, while the remaining area, “Central
Serbia”, never had its own regional authority. Following the Kosovo War, UN peacekeepers
entered Kosovo, as per UNSC Resolution 1244. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. The government of Serbia did not recognize
the declaration, considering it illegal and illegitimate.==Demographics==As of 2011 census, Serbia (excluding Kosovo)
has a total population of 7,186,862 and the overall population density is medium as it
stands at 92.8 inhabitants per square kilometer. The census was not conducted in Kosovo which
held its own census that numbered their total population at 1,739,825, excluding Serb-inhabited
North Kosovo, as Serbs from that area (about 50,000) boycotted the census. Serbia has been enduring a demographic crisis
since the beginning of the 1990s, with a death rate that has continuously exceeded its birth
rate, and a total fertility rate of 1.43 children per mother, one of the lowest in the world.Serbia
subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 42.9
years, and its population is shrinking at one of the fastest rates in the world. A fifth of all households consist of only
one person, and just one-fourth of four and more persons. Average life expectancy in Serbia at birth
is 74.8 years.During the 1990s, Serbia had the largest refugee population in Europe. Refugees and internally displaced persons
(IDPs) in Serbia formed between 7% and 7.5% of its population at the time – about half
a million refugees sought refuge in the country following the series of Yugoslav wars, mainly
from Croatia (and to a lesser extent from Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the IDPs from
Kosovo.It is estimated that 300,000 people left Serbia during the 1990s, 20% of whom
had a higher education.Serbs with 5,988,150 are the largest ethnic group in Serbia, representing
83% of the total population (excluding Kosovo). With a population of 253,899, Hungarians are
the largest ethnic minority in Serbia, concentrated predominantly in northern Vojvodina and representing
3.5% of the country’s population (13% in Vojvodina). Romani population stands at 147,604 according
to the 2011 census but unofficial estimates place their actual number between 400,000
and 500,000. Bosniaks with 145,278 are concentrated in
Raška (Sandžak), in the southwest. Other minority groups include Croats, Slovaks,
Albanians, Montenegrins, Vlachs, Romanians, Macedonians and Bulgarians. Chinese, estimated at about 15,000, are the
only significant non-European immigrant minority.The majority of the population, or 59.4%, reside
in urban areas and some 16.1% in Belgrade alone. Belgrade is the only city with more than a
million inhabitants and there are four more with over 100,000 inhabitants.===Religion===The Constitution of Serbia defines it as a
secular state with guaranteed religious freedom. Orthodox Christians with 6,079,396 comprise
84.5% of country’s population. The Serbian Orthodox Church is the largest
and traditional church of the country, adherents of which are overwhelmingly Serbs. Other Orthodox Christian communities in Serbia
include Montenegrins, Romanians, Vlachs, Macedonians and Bulgarians. Roman Catholics number 356,957 in Serbia,
or roughly 6% of the population, mostly in Vojvodina (especially its northern part) which
is home to minority ethnic groups such as Hungarians, Croats, Bunjevci, as well as to
some Slovaks and Czechs.Protestantism accounts for about 1% of the country’s population,
chiefly Lutheranism among Slovaks in Vojvodina as well as Calvinism among Reformed Hungarians. Greek Catholic Church is adhered by around
25,000 citizens (0.37% of the population), mostly Rusyns in Vojvodina.Muslims, with 222,282
or 3% of the population, form the third largest religious group. Islam has a strong historic following in the
southern regions of Serbia, primarily in southern Raška. Bosniaks are the largest Islamic community
in Serbia; estimates are that around a third of the country’s Roma people are Muslim. There are only 578 Jews in Serbia. Atheists numbered 80,053 or 1.1% of the population
and an additional 4,070 declared themselves to be agnostics.===Language===The official language is Serbian, native to
88% of the population. Serbian is the only European language with
active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. Serbian Cyrillic is designated in the Constitution
as the “official script” and was devised in 1814 by Serbian philologist Vuk Karadžić,
who based it on phonemic principles., while the Latin alphabet is given status of “script
in official use” by the constitution. A survey from 2014 showed that 47% of Serbians
favour the Latin alphabet, 36% favour the Cyrillic one and 17% have no preference.Recognized
minority languages are: Hungarian, Bosnian, Slovak, Croatian, Albanian, Romanian, Bulgarian
and Rusyn. All these languages are in official use in
municipalities or cities where the ethnic minority exceeds 15% of the total population. In Vojvodina, the provincial administration
uses, besides Serbian, five other languages (Hungarian, Slovak, Croatian, Romanian and
Rusyn).==Economy==Serbia has an emerging market economy in upper-middle
income range. According to the IMF, Serbian nominal GDP
in 2017 is officially estimated at $39.366 billion or $5,599 per capita while purchasing
power parity GDP was $106.602 billion or $15,163 per capita. The economy is dominated by services which
accounts for 60.8% of GDP, followed by industry with 31.3% of GDP, and agriculture at 7.9%
of GDP. The official currency of Serbia is Serbian
dinar (ISO code: RSD), and the central bank is National Bank of Serbia. The Belgrade Stock Exchange is the only stock
exchange in the country, with market capitalization of $8.65 billion and BELEX15 as the main index
representing the 15 most liquid stocks.The economy has been affected by the global economic
crisis. After almost a decade of strong economic growth
(average of 4.45% per year), Serbia entered the recession in 2009 with negative growth
of −3% and again in 2012 and 2014 with −1% and −1.8%, respectively. As the government was fighting effects of
crisis the public debt has more than doubled: from pre-crisis level of just under 30% to
about 70% of GDP and trending downwards recently to around 60%. Labor force stands at 3.1 million, of whom
56.2% are employed in services sector, 24.4% are employed in the agriculture and 19.4%
are employed in industry. The average monthly net salary in November
2017 stood at 47,575 dinars or $480. The unemployment remains an acute problem,
with rate of 13% as of 2017.Since 2000, Serbia has attracted over $25 billion in foreign
direct investment (FDI). Blue-chip corporations making investments
include: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Siemens, Bosch, Philip Morris, Michelin, Coca-Cola,
Carlsberg and others. In the energy sector, Russian energy giants,
Gazprom and Lukoil have made large investments. Serbia has an unfavorable trade balance: imports
exceed exports by 23%. Serbia’s exports, however, recorded a steady
growth in last couple of years reaching $17 billion in 2017. The country has free trade agreements with
the EFTA and CEFTA, a preferential trade regime with the European Union, a Generalized System
of Preferences with the United States, and individual free trade agreements with Russia,
Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey.===Agriculture===Serbia has very favourable natural conditions
(land and climate) for varied agricultural production. It has 5,056,000 ha of agricultural land (0.7
ha per capita), out of which 3,294,000 ha is arable land (0.45 ha per capita). In 2016, Serbia exported agricultural and
food products worth $3.2 billion, and the export-import ratio was 178%. Agricultural exports constitute more than
one-fifth of all Serbia’s sales on the world market. Serbia is one of the largest provider of frozen
fruit to the EU (largest to the French market, and 2nd largest to the German market). Agricultural production is most prominent
in Vojvodina on the fertile Pannonian Plain. Other agricultural regions include Mačva,
Pomoravlje, Tamnava, Rasina, and Jablanica. In the structure of the agricultural production
70% is from the crop field production, and 30% is from the livestock production. Serbia is world’s second largest producer
of plums (582,485 tons; second to China), second largest of raspberries (89,602 tons,
second to Poland), it is also a significant producer of maize (6.48 million tons, ranked
32nd in the world) and wheat (2.07 million tons, ranked 35th in the world). Other important agricultural products are:
sunflower, sugar beet, soybean, potato, apple, pork meat, beef, poultry and dairy. There are 56,000 ha of vineyards in Serbia,
producing about 230 million litres of wine annually. Most famous viticulture regions are located
in Vojvodina and Šumadija.===Industry===The industry is the economy sector which was
hardest hit by the UN sanctions and trade embargo and NATO bombing during the 1990s
and transition to market economy during the 2000s. The industrial output saw dramatic downsizing:
in 2013 it was expected to be only a half of that of 1989. Main industrial sectors include: automotive,
mining, non-ferrous metals, food-processing, electronics, pharmaceuticals, clothes. Automotive industry (with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
as a forebearer) is dominated by cluster located in Kragujevac and its vicinity, and contributes
to export with about $2 billion. Serbia’s mining industry is comparatively
strong: Serbia is the 18th largest producer of coal (7th in the Europe) extracted from
large deposits in Kolubara and Kostolac basins; it is also world’s 23rd largest (3rd in Europe)
producer of copper which is extracted by RTB Bor, a large domestic copper mining company;
significant gold extraction is developed around Majdanpek. Serbia notably manufactures intel smartphones
named Tesla smartphones.Food industry is well known both regionally and internationally
and is one of the strong points of the economy. Some of the international brand-names established
production in Serbia: PepsiCo and Nestlé in food-processing sector; Coca-Cola (Belgrade),
Heineken (Novi Sad) and Carlsberg (Bačka Palanka) in beverage industry; Nordzucker
in sugar industry. Serbia’s electronics industry had its peak
in the 1980s and the industry today is only a third of what it was back then, but has
witnessed a something of revival in last decade with investments of companies such as Siemens
(wind turbines) in Subotica, Panasonic (lighting devices) in Svilajnac, and Gorenje (electrical
home appliances) in Valjevo. The pharmaceutical industry in Serbia comprises
a dozen manufacturers of generic drugs, of which Hemofarm in Vršac and Galenika in Belgrade,
account for 80% of production volume. Domestic production meets over 60% of the
local demand.===Energy===The energy sector is one of the largest and
most important sectors to the country’s economy. Serbia is a net exporter of electricity and
importer of key fuels (such as oil and gas). Serbia has an abundance of coal, and significant
reserves of oil and gas. Serbia’s proven reserves of 5.5 billion tons
of coal lignite are the 5th largest in the world (second in Europe, after Germany). Coal is found in two large deposits: Kolubara
(4 billion tons of reserves) and Kostolac (1.5 billion tons). Despite being small on a world scale, Serbia’s
oil and gas resources (77.4 million tons of oil equivalent and 48.1 billion cubic meters,
respectively) have a certain regional importance since they are largest in the region of former
Yugoslavia as well as the Balkans (excluding Romania). Almost 90% of the discovered oil and gas are
to be found in Banat and those oil and gas fields are by size among the largest in the
Pannonian basin but are average on a European scale. The production of electricity in 2015 in Serbia
was 36.5 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh), while the final electricity consumption amounted
to 35.5 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh). Most of the electricity produced comes from
thermal-power plants (72.7% of all electricity) and to a lesser degree from hydroelectric-power
plants (27.3%). There are 6 lignite-operated thermal-power
plants with an installed power of 3,936 MW; largest of which are 1,502 MW-Nikola Tesla
1 and 1,160 MW-Nikola Tesla 2, both in Obrenovac. Total installed power of 9 hydroelectric-power
plants is 2,831 MW, largest of which is Đerdap 1 with capacity of 1,026 MW. In addition to this, there are mazute and
gas-operated thermal-power plants with an installed power of 353 MW. The entire production of electricity is concentrated
in Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS), public electric-utility power company. The current oil production in Serbia amounts
to over 1.1 million tons of oil equivalent and satisfies some 43% of country’s needs
while the rest is imported. National petrol company, Naftna Industrija
Srbije (NIS), was acquired in 2008 by Gazprom Neft. The company has completed $700 million modernisation
of oil-refinery in Pančevo (capacity of 4.8 million tons) and is currently in the midst
of converting oil refinery in Novi Sad into lubricants-only refinery. It also operates network of 334 filling stations
in Serbia (74% of domestic market) and additional 36 stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 31
in Bulgaria, and 28 in Romania. There are 155 kilometers of crude oil pipelines
connecting Pančevo and Novi Sad refineries as a part of trans-national Adria oil pipeline.Serbia
is heavily dependent on foreign sources of natural gas, with only 17% coming from domestic
production (totalling 491 million cubic meters in 2012) and the rest is imported, mainly
from Russia (via gas pipelines that run through Ukraine and Hungary). Srbijagas, public gas company, operates the
natural gas transportation system which comprise 3,177 kilometers of trunk and regional natural
gas pipelines and a 450 million cubic meter underground gas storage facility at Banatski
Dvor.===Transport===Serbian road network carries the bulk of traffic
in the country. Total length of roads is 45,419 km of which
782 km are “class-Ia state roads” (i.e. motorways); 4,481 km are “class-Ib state roads” (national
roads); 10,941 km are “class-II state roads” (regional roads) and 23,780 km are “municipal
roads”. The road network, except for the most of class-Ia
roads, are of comparatively lower quality to the Western European standards because
of lack of financial resources for their maintenance in the last 20 years. There are currently 124 kilometers of motorways
under construction: two sections 34 km-long of the A1 motorway (from south of Leskovac
to Bujanovac), 67 km-long segment of A2 (between Belgrade and Ljig), and 23 kilometers on the
A4 (east of Niš to the Bulgarian border). Coach transport is very extensive: almost
every place in the country is connected by bus, from largest cities to the villages;
in addition there are international routes (mainly to countries of Western Europe with
large Serb diaspora). Routes, both domestic and international, are
served by more than 100 bus companies, biggest of which are Lasta and Niš-Ekspres. As of 2015, there were 1,833,215 registered
passenger cars or 1 passenger car per 3.8 inhabitants. Serbia has a strategic transportation location
since the country’s backbone, Morava Valley, represents by far the easiest route of land
travel from continental Europe to Asia Minor and the Near East. Serbia has 3,819 kilometers of rail tracks,
of which 1,279 are electrified and 283 kilometers are double-track railroad. The major rail hub is Belgrade (and to a lesser
degree Niš), while the most important railroads include: Belgrade–Bar (Montenegro), Belgrade–Šid–Zagreb
(Croatia)/Belgrade–Niš–Sofia (Bulgaria) (part of Pan-European Corridor X), Belgrade–Subotica–Budapest
(Hungary) and Niš–Thessaloniki (Greece). Although still a major mode of freight transportation,
railroads face increasing problems with the maintenance of the infrastructure and lowering
speeds. All rail services are operated by public rail
company, Serbian Railways. There are only two airports with regular passenger
traffic: Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport served almost 5 million passengers in 2016, and is
a hub of flagship carrier Air Serbia which carried some 2.6 million passengers in 2016. Niš Constantine the Great Airport is mainly
catering low-cost airlines.Serbia has a developed inland water transport since there are 1,716
kilometers of navigable inland waterways (1,043 km of navigable rivers and 673 km of navigable
canals), which are almost all located in northern third of the country. The most important inland waterway is the
Danube (part of Pan-European Corridor VII). Other navigable rivers include Sava, Tisza,
Begej and Timiş River, all of which connect Serbia with Northern and Western Europe through
the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal and North Sea route, to Eastern Europe via the Tisza,
Begej and Danube Black Sea routes, and to Southern Europe via the Sava river. More than 2 million tons of cargo were transported
on Serbian rivers and canals in 2016 while the largest river ports are: Novi Sad, Belgrade,
Pančevo, Smederevo, Prahovo and Šabac.===Telecommunications===Fixed telephone lines connect 81% of households
in Serbia, and with about 9.1 million users the number of cellphones surpasses the total
population of by 28%. The largest mobile operator is Telekom Srbija
with 4.2 million subscribers, followed by Telenor with 2.8 million users and Vip mobile
with about 2 million. Some 58% of households have fixed-line (non-mobile)
broadband Internet connection while 67% are provided with pay television services (i.e.
38% cable television, 17% IPTV, and 10% satellite). Digital television transition has been completed
in 2015 with DVB-T2 standard for signal transmission.===Tourism===Serbia is not a mass-tourism destination but
nevertheless has a diverse range of touristic products. In 2017, total of over 3 million tourists
were recorded in accommodations, of which some 1.5 million were foreign. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism were
estimated at $1.44 billion.Tourism is mainly focused on the mountains and spas of the country,
which are mostly visited by domestic tourists, as well as Belgrade and, to a lesser degree,
Novi Sad, which are preferred choices of foreign tourists (almost two-thirds of all foreign
visits are made to these two cities). The most famous mountain resorts are Kopaonik,
Stara Planina, and Zlatibor. There are also many spas in Serbia, the biggest
of which are Vrnjačka Banja, Soko Banja, and Banja Koviljača. City-break and conference tourism is developed
in Belgrade and Novi Sad. Other touristic products that Serbia offer
are natural wonders like Đavolja varoš, Christian pilgrimage to the many Orthodox
monasteries across the country and the river cruising along the Danube. There are several internationally popular
music festivals held in Serbia, such as EXIT (with 25–30,000 foreign visitors coming
from 60 different countries) and the Guča trumpet festival.==Education and science==According to 2011 census, literacy in Serbia
stands at 98% of population while computer literacy is at 49% (complete computer literacy
is at 34.2%). Same census showed the following levels of
education: 16.2% of inhabitants have higher education (10.6% have bachelors or master’s
degrees, 5.6% have an associate degree), 49% have a secondary education, 20.7% have an
elementary education, and 13.7% have not completed elementary education. Education in Serbia is regulated by the Ministry
of Education and Science. Education starts in either preschools or elementary
schools. Children enroll in elementary schools at the
age of seven. Compulsory education consists of eight grades
of elementary school. Students have the opportunity to attend gymnasiums
and vocational schools for another four years, or to enroll in vocational training for 2
to 3 years. Following the completion of gymnasiums or
vocational schools, students have the opportunity to attend university. Elementary and secondary education are also
available in languages of recognised minorities in Serbia, where classes are held in Hungarian,
Slovak, Albanian, Romanian, Rusyn, Bulgarian as well as Bosnian and Croatian languages. There are 17 universities in Serbia (eight
public universities with a total number of 85 faculties and nine private universities
with 51 faculties). In 2010/2011 academic year, 181,362 students
attended 17 universities (148,248 at public universities and some 33,114 at private universities)
while 47,169 attended 81 “higher schools”. Public universities in Serbia are: the University
of Belgrade (oldest, founded in 1808, and largest university with 89,827 undergraduates
and graduates), University of Novi Sad (founded in 1960 and with student body of 47,826),
University of Niš (founded in 1965; 27,000 students), University of Kragujevac (founded
in 1976; 14,000 students), University of Priština – Kos. Mitrovica, Public University of Novi Pazar
as well as two specialist universities – University of Arts and University of Defence. Largest private universities include John
Naisbitt University and Singidunum University, both in Belgrade, and Educons University in
Novi Sad. Public universities tend to be of a better
quality and therefore more renowned than private ones. The University of Belgrade (placed in 301–400
bracket on 2013 Shanghai Ranking of World Universities, being best-placed university
in Southeast Europe after those in Athens and Thessaloniki) and University of Novi Sad
are generally considered as the best institutions of higher learning in the country.Serbia spent
0.64% of GDP on scientific research in 2012, which is one of the lowest R&D budgets in
Europe. Serbia has a long history of excellence in
maths and computer sciences which has created a strong pool of engineering talent, although
economic sanctions during the 1990s and chronic underinvestment in research forced many scientific
professionals to leave the country. Nevertheless, there are several areas in which
Serbia still excels such as growing information technology sector, which includes software
development as well as outsourcing. It generated $200 million in exports in 2011,
both from international investors and a significant number of dynamic homegrown enterprises. In 2005 the global technology giant, Microsoft,
founded the Microsoft Development Center, only its fourth such centre in the world. Among the scientific institutes operating
in Serbia, the largest are the Mihajlo Pupin Institute and Vinča Nuclear Institute, both
in Belgrade. The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts is
a learned society promoting science and arts from its inception in 1841. With a strong science and technological ecosystem,
Serbia has produced a number of renowned scientists that have greatly contributed to the field
of science and technology.==Culture==For centuries straddling the boundaries between
East and West, the territory of Serbia had been divided among the Eastern and Western
halves of the Roman Empire; then between Byzantium and the Kingdom of Hungary; and in the Early
modern period between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire. These overlapping influences have resulted
in cultural varieties throughout Serbia; its north leans to the profile of Central Europe,
while the south is characteristic of the wider Balkans and even the Mediterranean. The Byzantine influence on Serbia was profound,
firstly through the introduction of Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy) in the Early Middle
Ages. The Serbian Orthodox Church has had an enduring
status in Serbia, with the many Serbian monasteries constituting the most valuable cultural monuments
left from Serbia in the Middle Ages. Serbia has seen influences of Republic of
Venice as well, mainly though trade, literature and romanesque architecture. Serbia has five cultural monuments inscribed
in the list of UNESCO World Heritage: the early medieval capital Stari Ras and the 13th-century
monastery Sopoćani; the 12th-century Studenica monastery; the Roman complex of Gamzigrad–Felix
Romuliana; medieval tombstones Stećci; and finally the endangered Medieval Monuments
in Kosovo (the monasteries of Visoki Dečani, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and Patriarchal
Monastery of Peć). There are two literary monuments on UNESCO’s
Memory of the World Programme: the 12th-century Miroslav Gospel, and scientist Nikola Tesla’s
valuable archive. The slava (patron saint veneration) is inscribed
on UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. The Ministry of Culture and Information is
tasked with preserving the nation’s cultural heritage and overseeing its development. Further activities supporting development
of culture are undertaken at local government level.===Art and architecture===Traces of Roman and early Byzantine Empire
architectural heritage are found in many royal cities and palaces in Serbia, like Sirmium,
Felix Romuliana and Justiniana Prima. Serbian monasteries are the pinnacle of Serbian
medieval art. At the beginning, they were under the influence
of Byzantine Art which was particularly felt after the fall of Constantinople in 1204,
when many Byzantine artists fled to Serbia. The most noted of these monasteries is Studenica
(built around 1190). It was a model for later monasteries, like
the Mileševa, Sopoćani, Žiča, Gračanica and Visoki Dečani. In the end of 14th and the 15th centuries,
autochotonous architectural style known as Morava style evolved in area around Morava
Valley. A characteristic of this style was the wealthy
decoration of the frontal church walls. Examples of this include Manasija, Ravanica
and Kalenić monasteries. Icons and fresco paintings are often considered
the peak of Serbian art. The most famous frescos are White Angel (Mileševa
monastery), Crucifixion (Studenica monastery) and Dormition of the Virgin (Sopoćani). Country is dotted with many well-preserved
medieval fortifications and castles such as Smederevo Fortress (largest lowland fortress
in Europe), Golubac, Maglič, Soko grad, Ostrvica and Ram. During the time of Ottoman occupation, Serbian
art was virtually non-existent, with the exception of several Serbian artists who lived in the
lands ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy. Traditional Serbian art showed some Baroque
influences at the end of the 18th century as shown in the works of Nikola Nešković,
Teodor Kračun, Zaharije Orfelin and Jakov Orfelin.Serbian painting showed the influence
of Biedermeier, Neoclassicism and Romanticism during the 19th century. The most important Serbian painters of the
first half of the 20th century were Paja Jovanović and Uroš Predić of Realism, Cubist Sava
Šumanović, Milena Pavlović-Barili and Nadežda Petrović of Impressionism, Expressionist
Milan Konjović. Noted painters of the second half of 20th
century include Marko Čelebonović, Petar Lubarda, Milo Milunović, and Vladimir Veličković.Anastas
Jovanović was one of the earliest photographes in the world, while Marina Abramović is one
of the world leading performance artists. Pirot carpet is known as one of the most important
traditional handicrafts in Serbia. There are around 100 art museums in Serbia,
of which the most prominent is the National Museum of Serbia, founded in 1844; it houses
one of the largest art collections in the Balkans with more than 400,000 exhibits, over
5,600 paintings and 8,400 drawings and prints, including many foreign masterpiece collections. Other art museums of note are Museum of Contemporary
Art in Belgrade and Museum of Vojvodina in Novi Sad.===Literature===The beginning of Serbian literacy dates back
to the activity of the brothers Cyril and Methodius in the Balkans. Monuments of Serbian literacy from the early
11th century can be found, written in Glagolitic. Starting in the 12th century, books were written
in Cyrillic. From this epoch, the oldest Serbian Cyrillic
book editorial are the Miroslav Gospels from 1186. The Miroslav Gospels are considered to be
the oldest book of Serbian medieval history and as such has entered UNESCO’s Memory of
the World Register.Notable medieval authors include Saint Sava, Jefimija, Stefan Lazarević,
Constantine of Kostenets and others. Due to Ottoman occupation, when every aspect
of formal literacy stopped, Serbia stayed excluded from the entire Renaissance flow
in Western culture. However, the tradition of oral story-telling
blossomed, shaping itself through epic poetry inspired by at the times still recent Kosovo
battle and folk tales deeply rooted in Slavic mythology. Serbian epic poetry in those times has seen
as the most effective way in preserving the national identity. The oldest known, entirely fictional poems,
make up the Non-historic cycle; this one is followed by poems inspired by events before,
during and after Kosovo Battle. The special cycles are dedicated to Serbian
legendary hero, Marko Kraljević, then about hajduks and uskoks, and the last one dedicated
to the liberation of Serbia in 19th century. Some of the best known folk ballads are The
Death of the Mother of the Jugović Family and The Mourning Song of the Noble Wife of
the Asan Aga (1646), translated into European languages by Goethe, Walter Scott, Pushkin
and Mérimée. The most notable tale from Serbian folklore
is The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples.Baroque trends in Serbian literature emerged in the
late 17th century. Notable Baroque-influenced authors were Gavril
Stefanović Venclović, Jovan Rajić, Zaharije Orfelin, Andrija Zmajević and others. Dositej Obradović was the most prominent
figure of the Age of Enlightenment, while the most notable Classicist writer was Jovan
Sterija Popović, although his works also contained elements of Romanticism. In the era of national revival, in the first
half of the 19th century, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić collected Serbian folk literature,
and reformed the Serbian language and spelling, paving the way for Serbian Romanticism. The first half of the 19th century was dominated
by Romanticism, with Branko Radičević, Đura Jakšić, Jovan Jovanović Zmaj and Laza Kostić
being the most notable representatives, while the second half of the century was marked
by Realist writers such as Milovan Glišić, Laza Lazarević, Simo Matavulj, Stevan Sremac,
Vojislav Ilić, Branislav Nušić, Radoje Domanović and Borisav Stanković. The 20th century was dominated by the prose
writers Meša Selimović (Death and the Dervish), Miloš Crnjanski (Migrations), Isidora Sekulić
(The Cronicle of a Small Town Cemetery), Branko Ćopić (Eagles Fly Early), Borislav Pekić
(The Time of Miracles), Danilo Kiš (The Encyclopedia of the Dead), Dobrica Ćosić (The Roots),
Aleksandar Tišma, Milorad Pavić and others. Pavić is the most widely acclaimed Serbian
author of the beginning of the 21st century, most notably for his Dictionary of the Khazars
(Хазарски речник/Hazarski rečnik), which has been translated into 24 languages. Notable poets include Milan Rakić, Jovan
Dučić, Vladislav Petković Dis, Rastko Petrović, Stanislav Vinaver, Dušan Matić, Branko Miljković,
Vasko Popa, Oskar Davičo, Miodrag Pavlović, and Stevan Raičković. Notable contemporary authors include David
Albahari, Svetislav Basara, Goran Petrović, Gordana Kuić, Vuk Drašković, and Vladislav
Bajac. Ivo Andrić (The Bridge on the Drina) is possibly
the best-known Serbian author,; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961. The most beloved face of Serbian literature
was Desanka Maksimović, who for seven decades remained the leading lady of Yugoslav poetry. She is honored with statues, and postage stamps,
and streets are named for her.There are 551 public libraries biggest of which are: National
Library of Serbia in Belgrade with funds of about 5 million volumes, and Matica Srpska
(oldest Serbian cultural institution, founded in 1826) in Novi Sad with nearly 3.5 million
volumes. In 2010, there were 10,989 books and brochures
published. The book publishing market is dominated by
several major publishers such as Laguna and Vulkan (both of which operate their own bookstore
chains) and the industry’s centerpiece event, annual Belgrade Book Fair, is the most visited
cultural event in Serbia with 158,128 visitors in 2013. The highlight of the literary scene is awarding
of NIN Prize, given every January since 1954 for the best newly published novel in Serbian
language (during times of Yugoslavia, in Serbo-Croatian language).===Music===Composer and musicologist Stevan Stojanović
Mokranjac is considered the founder of modern Serbian music. The Serbian composers of the first generation
Petar Konjović, Stevan Hristić, and Miloje Milojević maintained the national expression
and modernized the romanticism into the direction of impressionism. Other famous classical Serbian composers include
Isidor Bajić, Stanislav Binički and Josif Marinković. There are three opera houses in Serbia: Opera
of the National Theatre and Madlenianum Opera, both in Belgrade, and Opera of the Serbian
National Theatre in Novi Sad. Four symphonic orchestra operate in the country:
Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Niš Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of Radio Television
of Serbia, and Novi Sad Philharmonic Orchestra. The Choir of Radio Television of Serbia is
a leading vocal ensemble in the country. The BEMUS is one of the most prominent classical
music festivals in the South East Europe. Traditional Serbian music includes various
kinds of bagpipes, flutes, horns, trumpets, lutes, psalteries, drums and cymbals. The kolo is the traditional collective folk
dance, which has a number of varieties throughout the regions. The most popular are those from Užice and
Morava region. Sung epic poetry has been an integral part
of Serbian and Balkan music for centuries. In the highlands of Serbia these long poems
are typically accompanied on a one-string fiddle called the gusle, and concern themselves
with themes from history and mythology. There are records of gusle being played at
the court of the 13th-century King Stefan Nemanjić.Pop music has mainstream popularity. Željko Joksimović won second place at the
2004 Eurovision Song Contest and Marija Šerifović managed to win the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest
with the song “Molitva”, and Serbia was the host of the 2008 edition of the contest. Most popular pop singers include likes of
Đorđe Balašević, Goca Tržan, Zdravko Čolić, Aleksandra Radović, Vlado Georgiev,
Jelena Tomašević and Nataša Bekvalac among others. The Serbian rock which was during the 1960s,
1970s and 1980s part of former Yugoslav rock scene, used to be well developed, featuring
various rock genres, and was well covered in the media, which included numerous magazines,
radio and TV shows. During the 1990s and 2000s popularity of rock
music declined in Serbia, and although several major mainstream acts managed to sustain their
popularity, an underground and independent music scene developed. The 2000s saw a revival of the mainstream
scene and the appearance of a large number of notable acts. The most notable Serbian rock acts include
Bajaga i Instruktori, Disciplina Kičme, Ekatarina Velika, Električni Orgazam, Eva Braun, Kerber,
Neverne Bebe, Partibrejkers, Ritam Nereda, Orthodox Celts, Rambo Amadeus, Riblja Čorba,
S.A.R.S., Smak, Van Gogh, YU Grupa and others. Folk music in its original form has been a
prominent music style since World War One following the early success of Sofka Nikolić. The music has been further promoted by Danica
Obrenić, Anđelija Milić, Nada Mamula, and even later, during 60s and 70s, with stars
like Silvana Armenulić, Toma Zdravković, Lepa Lukić, Vasilija Radojčić, Vida Pavlović
and Gordana Stojićević. Turbo-folk music is subgenre that has developed
in Serbia in the late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s and has since enjoyed an immense
popularity through acts of Dragana Mirković, Zorica Brunclik, Šaban Šaulić, Ana Bekuta,
Sinan Sakić, Vesna Zmijanac, Mile Kitić, Snežana Đurišić, Šemsa Suljaković, and
Nada Topčagić. It is a blend of folk music with pop and/or
dance elements and can be seen as a result of the urbanization of folk music. In recent period turbo-folk featured even
more pop music elements, and some of the performers were labeled as pop-folk. The most famous among them are Ceca (often
considered to be the biggest music star of Serbia), Jelena Karleuša, Aca Lukas, Seka
Aleksić, Dara Bubamara, Indira Radić, Saša Matić, Viki Miljković, Stoja and Lepa Brena,
arguably the most prominent performer of former Yugoslavia. Balkan Brass, or truba (“trumpet”) is a popular
genre, especially in Central and Southern Serbia where Balkan Brass originated. The music has its tradition from the First
Serbian Uprising. The trumpet was used as a military instrument
to wake and gather soldiers and announce battles, the trumpet took on the role of entertainment
during downtime, as soldiers used it to transpose popular folk songs. When the war ended and the soldiers returned
to the rural life, the music entered civilian life and eventually became a music style,
accompanying births, baptisms, weddings, and funerals. There are two main varieties of this genre,
one from Western Serbia and the other from Southern Serbia. The best known Serbian Brass musician is Boban
Marković, also one of the biggest names in the world of modern brass band bandleaders. Most popular music festival are Guča Trumpet
Festival with over 300,000 annual visitors and EXIT in Novi Sad (“The best European festival”
in 2007 by UK Festival Awards and Yourope – the European Association of the 40 largest
festivals in Europe) with 200,000 visitors in 2013. Other festivals include Nišville Jazz Festival
in Niš and Gitarijada rock festival in Zaječar.===Theatre and cinema===Serbia has a well-established theatrical tradition
with Joakim Vujić considered the founder of modern Serbian theater. Serbia has 38 professional theatres, the most
important of which are National Theatre in Belgrade, Serbian National Theatre in Novi
Sad, National Theatre in Subotica, National Theatre in Niš and Knjaževsko-srpski teatar
in Kragujevac (the oldest theatre in Serbia, established in 1835). The Belgrade International Theatre Festival
– BITEF, founded in 1967, is one of the oldest theater festivals in the world, and
it has become one of the five biggest European festivals. Sterijino pozorje is, on the other hand, festival
showcasing national drama plays. The most important Serbian playwrighters were
Jovan Sterija Popović and Branislav Nušić, while today renowned names are Dušan Kovačević
and Biljana Srbljanović. The Serbian cinema is one of the most dynamic
smaller European cinematographies. Serbia’s film industry is heavily subsidised
by the government, mainly through grants approved by the Film Centre of Serbia. In 2011, there were 17 domestic feature films
produced. There are 22 operating cinemas in the country,
of which 12 are multiplexes, with total attendance exceeding 2.6 million and comparatively high
percentage of 32.3% of total sold tickets for domestic films. Modern PFI Studios located in Šimanovci is
nowadays Serbia’s only film studio complex; it consists of 9 state-of-the-art sound stages
and attracts mainly international productions, primarily American and West European. The Yugoslav Film Archive used to be former
Yugoslavia’s and now is Serbia national film archive – with over 95 thousand film prints,
it is among five largest film archives in the world.Serbian cinema dates back to 1896
with the release of the oldest movie in the Balkans, The Life and Deeds of the Immortal
Vožd Karađorđe, a biography about Serbian revolutionary leader, Karađorđe.The most
famous Serbian filmmaker is Emir Kusturica who won two Golden Palms for Best Feature
Film at the Cannes Film Festival, for When Father Was Away on Business in 1985 and then
again for Underground in 1995. Other renowned directors include Goran Paskaljević,
Dušan Makavejev, Želimir Žilnik, Goran Marković, Srđan Dragojević and Srdan Golubović
among others. Steve Tesich, Serbian-American screenwriter,
won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1979 for the movie Breaking Away. Some of the most prominent movie stars in
Serbia have left celebrated heritage in cinematography of Yugoslavia as well. Notable mentions are Zoran Radmilović, Pavle
Vuisić, Radmila Savićević, Olivera Marković, Mija Aleksić, Miodrag Petrović Čkalja,
Ružica Sokić, Velimir Bata Živojinović, Danilo Bata Stojković, Seka Sablić, Olivera
Katarina, Dragan Nikolić, Mira Stupica, Nikola Simić, Bora Todorović, and others. Milena Dravić is the most celebrated actress
in Serbian cinematography. The actress has won Best Actress Award on
Cannes Film Festival in 1980.===Media===The freedom of the press and the freedom of
speech are guaranteed by the constitution of Serbia. Serbia is ranked 54th out of 180 countries
in the 2014 Press Freedom Index report compiled by Reporters Without Borders. Both reports noted that media outlets and
journalists continue to face partisan and government pressure over editorial policies. Also, the media are now more heavily dependent
on advertising contracts and government subsidies to survive financially. According to AGB Nielsen Research in 2009,
Serbs on average watch five hours of television per day, making it the highest average in
Europe. There are seven nationwide free-to-air television
channels, with public broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) operating three (RTS1, RTS2
and RTS3) and remaining four are private broadcasters: Pink, Happy TV, Prva, and O2.TV. Viewing shares for these channels in 2016
were as follows: 20.2% for RTS1, 14.1% for Pink, 9.4% for Happy TV, 9.0% for Prva, 4.7%
for O2.TV, and 2.5% for RTS2. There are 28 regional television channels
and 74 local television channels. Besides terrestrial channels there are dozens
Serbian television channels available only on cable or satellite. There are 247 radio stations in Serbia. Out of these, six are radio stations with
national coverage, including two of public broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (Radio
Belgrade 1 and Radio Belgrade 2/Radio Belgrade 3) and four private ones (Radio S1, Radio
S2, Play Radio, and Radio Hit FM). Also, there are 34 regional stations and 207
local stations.There are 305 newspapers published in Serbia of which 12 are daily newspapers. Dailies Politika and Danas are Serbia’s papers
of record, former being the oldest newspaper in the Balkans, founded in 1904. Highest circulation newspapers are tabloids
Večernje Novosti, Blic, Kurir, and Informer, all with more than 100,000 copies sold. There are one daily newspaper devoted to sports
– Sportski žurnal, one business daily Privredni pregled, two regional newspapers (Dnevnik
published in Novi Sad and Narodne novine from Niš), and one minority-language daily (Magyar
Szo in Hungarian, published in Subotica). There are 1,351 magazines published in the
country. Those include weekly news magazines NIN, Vreme
and Nedeljnik, popular science magazine of Politikin Zabavnik, women’s Lepota & Zdravlje,
auto magazine SAT revija, IT magazine Svet kompjutera. In addition, there is a wide selection of
Serbian editions of international magazines, such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Grazia, Men’s
Health, National Geographic, Le Monde diplomatique, Playboy, Hello! and others. There are two main news agencies, Beta and
Fonet. As of 2017, out of 432 web-portals (mainly
on the .rs domain) the most visited are online editions of printed dailies Blic and Kurir,
news web-portal B92, and classifieds KupujemProdajem.===Cuisine===Serbian cuisine is largely heterogeneous,
sharing characteristics of the Balkans (especially former Yugoslavia), the Mediterranean (Greek
in particular), Turkish, and Central European (especially Austrian and Hungarian) cuisines. Food is very important in Serbian social life,
particularly during religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter and feast days i.e. slava.Staples
of the Serbian diet include bread, meat, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Bread is the basis of all Serbian meals, and
it plays an important role in Serbian cuisine and can be found in religious rituals. A traditional Serbian welcome is to offer
bread and salt to guests. Meat is widely consumed, as is fish. Serbian specialties include ćevapčići (caseless
sausages made of minced meat, which is always grilled and seasoned), pljeskavica, sarma,
kajmak (a dairy product similar to clotted cream), gibanica (cheese and kajmak pie),
ajvar (a roasted red pepper spread), proja (cornbread), and kačamak (corn-flour porridge).Serbians
claim their country as the birthplace of rakia (rakija), a highly alcoholic drink primarily
distilled from fruit. Rakia in various forms is found throughout
the Balkans, notably in Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Hungary and Turkey. Slivovitz (šljivovica), a plum brandy, is
a type of rakia which is considered the national drink of Serbia.===Sports===Sports play an important role in Serbian society,
and the country has a strong sporting history. The most popular sports in Serbia are football,
basketball, tennis, volleyball, water polo and handball. Professional sports in Serbia are organized
by sporting federations and leagues (in case of team sports). One of particularities of Serbian professional
sports is existence of many multi-sports clubs (called “sports societies”), biggest and most
successful of which are Red Star, Partizan, and Beograd in Belgrade, Vojvodina in Novi
Sad, Radnički in Kragujevac, Spartak in Subotica. Football is the most popular sport in Serbia,
and the Football Association of Serbia with 146,845 registered players, is the largest
sporting association in the country. Dragan Džajić was officially recognized
as “the best Serbian player of all times” by the Football Association of Serbia, and
more recently the likes of Nemanja Vidić, Dejan Stanković and Branislav Ivanović play
for the elite clubs of Europe, developing the nation’s reputation as one of the world’s
biggest exporters of footballers.The Serbia national football team lacks relative success
although it qualified for three of the last four FIFA World Cups. Serbia national youth football teams have
won 2013 U-19 European Championship and 2015 U-20 World Cup. The two main football clubs in Serbia are
Red Star (winner of the 1991 European Cup) and Partizan (finalist of the 1966 European
Cup), both from Belgrade. The rivalry between the two clubs is known
as the “Eternal Derby”, and is often cited as one of the most exciting sports rivalries
in the world. Serbia is one of the traditional powerhouses
of world basketball, as Serbia men’s national basketball team have won two World Championships
(in 1998 and 2002), three European Championships (1995, 1997, and 2001) and two Olympic silver
medals (in 1996 and 2016) as well. The women’s national basketball team won the
European Championship in 2015 and Olympic bronze medal in 2016. A total of 31 Serbian players have played
in the NBA in last two decades, including Predrag “Peja” Stojaković (three-time NBA
All-Star) and Vlade Divac (2001 NBA All-Star and FIBA Hall of Famer). The renowned “Serbian coaching school” produced
many of the most successful European basketball coaches of all times, such as Željko Obradović,
who won a record 9 Euroleague titles as a coach. KK Partizan basketball club was the 1992 European
champion. Recent success of Serbian tennis players has
led to an immense growth in the popularity of tennis in the country. Novak Đoković, fourteen-time Grand Slam
champion, finished in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 as No. 1 in the world. Ana Ivanovic (champion of 2008 French Open)
and Jelena Janković were both ranked No. 1 in the WTA Rankings. There were two No. 1 ranked-tennis double
players as well: Nenad Zimonjić (three-time men’s double and four-time mixed double Grand
Slam champion) and Slobodan Živojinović. The Serbia men’s tennis national team won
the 2010 Davis Cup while Serbia women’s tennis national team reached the final at 2012 Fed
Cup.Serbia is one of the leading volleyball countries in the world. Its men’s national team won the gold medal
at 2000 Olympics, the European Championship twice as well as the 2016 FIVB World League. The women’s national volleyball team are current
world Champions, has won European Championship twice as well as Olympic silver medal in 2016. The Serbia men’s national water polo team
is the second most successful national team after Hungary, having won Olympic gold medal
in 2016, three World Championships (2005, 2009 and 2015), and seven European Championships
in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, respectively. VK Partizan has won a joint-record seven European
champion titles. Other noted Serbian athletes include: swimmers
Milorad Čavić (2009 World champion on 50 meters butterfly and silver medalist on 100
meters butterfly as well as 2008 Olympic silver medalist on 100 meters butterfly in historic
race with American swimmer Michael Phelps) and Nađa Higl (2009 World champion in 200
meters breaststroke – the first Serbian woman to become a world champion in swimming);
track and field athlete Ivana Španović (long-jumper; 2016 European champion and bronze medalist
at the 2016 Olympics); wrestler Davor Štefanek (2016 Olympic gold medalist), and taekwondoist
Milica Mandić (2012 Olympic gold medalist). Serbia has hosted several major sport competitions
in the last ten years, including the 2005 Men’s European Basketball Championship, 2005
Men’s European Volleyball Championship, 2006 and 2016 Men’s European Water Polo Championships,
2009 Summer Universiade, 2012 European Men’s Handball Championship, and 2013 World Women’s
Handball Championship. The most important annual sporting events
held in the country are Belgrade Marathon and Tour de Serbie cycling race.==Public holidays==
The public holidays in Serbia are defined by the Law of national and other holidays
in the Republic of Serbia.==See also==Outline of Serbia==Notes====
References==Sources:==External links==Official website
National tourist organisation of Serbia Serbia from UCB Libraries GovPubs. Serbia at Curlie
Serbia profile from the BBC News. Wikimedia Atlas of Serbia
Geographic data related to Serbia at OpenStreetMap Key Development Forecasts for Serbia from
International Futures. “Serbia”. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Serbia Corruption Profile from the Business
Anti-Corruption Portal

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