|Official name:||Republic of Serbia|
|Currency:||Serbian dinar (RSD)|
|Internet domain:||.rs, .срб|
|Time zone:||CET (UTC+1)|
Anthem: Боже правде / Bože pravde / God of Justice
Serbia is located in the Southeast Europe, in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is a continental country, with its north part belonging to the Pannonian Plain, while the southern part is dominated by Dinaric Alps. The main regions change gradually from flat, agricultural Vojvodina in the north, over the hilly Šumadija in the central part towards the mountainous southern Serbia, rich in canyons, cliffs, caves and forests. The biggest river is the Danube, and the highest peak is Đeravica on the Prokletije Mountain (2656m).
People and Language
Today, the population of Serbia is around 7 million, a great majority of which are Serbs, who belong to the South Slavic nations. Besides Serbs, there are almost 40 other nationalities living in Serbia. The official language is Serbian, and it is equally used in two scripts, Cyrillic and Latin. The official script is Cyrillic, although both Cyrillic and Latin are used in everyday life.
Fun Fact: As the country used to be a part of former Yugoslavia, the language was previously called Serbo-Croatian, and it included Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin variants of almost the same language. Today, all these variants became official languages in these countries and are evolving a bit differently, but in reality are very similar and mutually understandable.
Over hundreds of years, Serbia has been at crossroads between East and West Europe, and a connection between different worlds: Roman and Byzantine Empire, Ottomans and Christianity, and later, during the Cold War, between Warsaw pact and NATO pact. This has resulted in multiethnic and multicultural society in Serbia, as it is today.
The main religion is Orthodox Christianity, but there are also Muslims, Catholics and Protestants. Religion and faith have played a major role in Serbian history and sense of patriotism and unity, especially for the medieval rulers who have left a great number of magnificent churches and monasteries as monuments to those glorious times. Many of them are under UNESCO protection today.
Over the following centuries, there have been two major streams of cultural influence: Austro-Hungarian from the north and Ottoman from the south. Both have left characteristic traces in the nature of people, but also in cuisine and way of life in the sense of the relaxed northerners, compared to energetic and straightforward southerners.
The biggest cities, besides Belgrade, are Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac. With their recognised universities and variety of study programmes, as well as the rich cultural offer, these cities are attractive to many motivated young people who seek opportunities and bright future in Serbia. Following the growing interest of visitors and international students in Serbia, a lot has been done in recent years to modernise the system and make the most of the country’s offer available to foreigners.
It is such cultural mixture, together with proud, freedom-loving, but yet kind and hospitable personality of Serbian people what makes the unique spirit of Serbia the way it is today.
Did you know that in Serbia...?
...we traditionally kiss three times on the cheek when greeting friends.
Serbians are said to be open, warm and hospitable nation. A firm handshake is the usual gesture when meeting someone for the first time. Later, if you become friends with your Serbian, be ready for a kiss on the cheek, or a sincere and strong hug.
...we take toasts seriously.
Toasts are a very important part of Serbian socialisation, and are done while looking the person in the eye when clinking glasses, and saying “Živeli!” Toasts are usually done with homemade rakija (traditional type of brandy), but other drinks work as well.
... we like our food to be spicy and in large portions.
And if you are our guest, we like it to be on us. It is a Serbian custom for the host to pay for dinner or drinks for his/her guests.