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Difference between revisions of "Serbia"

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Europe : Balkans : Serbia
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==Buy==
 
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There are lots of good shops in Belgrade downtown, in particular on the "Knez Mihailova" and "Terazije" streets. The only large western-style modern mall is located in "Novi Beograd" and it's called "Merkator". All major credit cards are accepted and prices are around the European average.
 
There are lots of good shops in Belgrade downtown, in particular on the "Knez Mihailova" and "Terazije" streets. The only large western-style modern mall is located in "Novi Beograd" and it's called "Merkator". All major credit cards are accepted and prices are around the European average.
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Revision as of 18:11, 16 August 2007

Flag
[[File:Flag of Serbia (state).png|108px|frameless]]
Quick Facts
Capital Belgrade
Government Republic
Currency Serbian Dinar (RSD); note: in Kosovo the euro is a legal tender
Area 88,361 sq km
Population 9,778,991
Language Serbian 95%, Albanian 5%
Religion Orthodox 65%, Muslim 19%, Roman Catholic 4%, Protestant 1%, other 11%
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code +381
Internet TLD .rs (.yu to be used until end of 2006)
Time Zone UTC +1

Serbia (Србија Srbija) [1] is a country that was part of Yugoslavia. It is in the Balkans, in Southern Europe. It is surrounded by Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, Bulgaria to the southeast, Croatia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Macedonia to the south, Romania to the northeast. It controls one of the major land routes from Central Europe to Turkey and the Near East.

Contents

Regions

Map of Serbia
  • Serbia - republic (republika)
  • Kosovo - autonomous province (autonomna pokrajina)
  • Vojvodina - autonomous province (autonomna pokrajina)

Cities

  • Belgrade - Capital
  • Nis - The third largest city in Serbia.
  • Novi Sad - Provincial Capital of Vojvodina and second largest city(after Belgrade)
  • Priština - Provincial Capital of Kosovo (under UN administration)

Other destinations

  • Staro Selo 3 kilometers south of Velika Plana, it has an all wooden 19th century church, build by Vujica Vuličević, with then ruler of Serbia, Miloš Obrenović, in repentance for killing his godfather Karadjordje (Djordje Petrovic) in the near vicinity, the leader of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman rule. The reason for its wooden structure is so that in the oncoming attack of the Turks, it could be easily dismantled and moved to a safer location. Regarded as national Serbian treasure.
  • Guča a village in Dragačevo district (about 20 km from Čačak) where a famous brass music festival (Trubaci-festival) is held annually. (http://guca.co.yu/)
  • Kopaonik, mountain and ski-resort in South Serbia.
  • Petrovaradin fortress, one of the greatest and preserved XVIII century fortress in Europe.
  • Sokobanja, the road to Sokobanja detaches on 200-th kilometer of the motorway Belgrade - Athens. Sokobanja is situated in basin between the mountains Rtanj(1,560m) and Ozren(1,117m), 400m above the sea level. Sokobanja is a famous spa and tourist place in Serbia for its moderate continental climate and immense surfaces of woods, fresh air and a lot of thermo-mineral sources. They all make Sokobanja an exceptional place in Serbia.
  • Subotica has been rated as one of the most beautiful cities of Serbia. It is located in North Serbia, and is the closest city to Palic. Main languages are Serbo-Croatian and Hungarian.

Understand

Medieval castle in Golubac

Serbia is a lovely country, open for tourism all year round. In summer tourists love spending their time in Belgrade and enjoy the nature of many national parks throughout the country. In winter tourists are warmly welcomed to mountain resorts (one of the most popular being Kopaonik [featured on BBC as one of the best ski destinations in Europe]). There are also many spa resorts such as Sokobanja, Niška Banja and Vrnjačka Banja.

Serbs are warm people especially towards tourists. Most Serbs know English (excluding seniors) so you will be able to find your way around by asking directions. Most tourists come to Serbia in the summer and you will often hear German, Italian, French and English on the streets of Belgrade due to the number of tourists.

If you are planning to travel to Kosovo (a UN administered zone) plan your travel well as it is not the safest place to be. However the rest of Serbia is safe and there are police officers in all cities and towns.

Climate

In the north: continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall); central portion: moderate continental climate; to the south: hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.

Terrain

City of Zrenjanin, Serbia

Extremely varied; to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills. Although the region around the town of Mionica has been known for some earthquakes in recent years, these were by no means destructive.

Highest point 
Đeravica 2,656 m

History

The first Serbian state was formed in the early 11th century, expanding to a Balkan empire until the mid of 14th century. In 1389, the Serbian empire finally fell to the dominance of the Turks. An uprising in the early 1800s led to Serbian independence in 1815.

The 1914 Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by an ethnic Serbian precipitated the first World War. In its aftermath, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941 was resisted by various paramilitary bands that fought each other as well as the invaders. The group headed by Marshal Tito took full control upon German expulsion in 1945. Although Communist, his new government successfully steered its own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades.

Capital city of Serbia - Belgrade

In the early 1990s, post-Tito Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines: Slovenia, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia all declared their independence in 1991; Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (FRY) in 1992 and, under President Slobodan Milosevic, led various military intervention efforts to unite Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia". All of these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

In the late 1990s, the violent Albanian separatist movement in Kosovo led to NATO intervention, and the placement of Kosovo under UN administration. Federal elections in the fall of 2000 brought about the ouster of Milosevic, and led to the country's acceptance into UN organizations under the name of Yugoslavia. In 2002, the regions of Serbia and Montenegro began negotiations to forge a looser relationship, which led first to the name change to "Serbia and Montenegro", then culminated in Montenegro declaring independence in June 2006.

Independence 
4 February 2003 (when changed from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to State Union of Serbia and Montenegro), 5 June 2006 (from State Union of Serbia and Montenegro to Serbia)
National holidays

January 1 - 2 (New Year's Day), January 7 (Eastern Orthodox Christmas), January 14 (National Holiday (Orthodox New Year), January 27 (Saint Sava's feast Day), February 15 (Sretenje / Groundhog Day (Candlemas) / Serbian National Day), April 21 (Orthodox Good Friday), April 23 (Orthodox Easter), April 24 (Orthodox Easter Monday), May 1 - 2 (Labour Day), May 9 (Victory Day), June 28 (Vidovdan / St Vitus Day)

Get in

City of Subotica, Northern Serbia

Getting into Serbia does not constitute a problem for most European nationals. You don't need to obtain a visa for entering. Citizens of USA, Canada and Australia do not need visas either. Citizens of Bosnia need only ID. Check with your nearest Serbian embassy for current and detailed information.

By plane

  • Belgrade The main airport of Serbia is Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG), just a few kilometres from downtown Belgrade. Major European airlines fly to Belgrade. Serbian national airline Jat Airways flies to all major cities in Europe, nothern Africa and the Middle East. These are the following airlines that fly to Belgrade: Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo), Aerosvit Airlines (Kiev-Boryspil), Air France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle), Alitalia (Milan-Malpensa), Austrian Airlines (Vienna), British Airways (London-Heathrow), Czech Airlines (Prague), Gazpromavia (Moscow-Vnukovo, Sochi), Germanwings (Cologne/Bonn), Jat Airways (Amsterdam, Athens, Basel/Mulhouse [starts November 9, 2006], Beirut, Berlin-Tegel, Brussels, Cairo, Copenhagen, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Hamburg [starts November 21, 2006], Istanbul-Atatürk, Larnaca, Ljubljana, London-Heathrow, Malta, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Monastir, Munich, Ohrid, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Podgorica, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Sarajevo, Skopje, Stockholm-Arlanda, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Tivat, Trieste, Tripoli, Tunis, Vienna, Zürich), Lufthansa (Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich), Montenegro Airlines (Podgorica, Tivat), Olympic Airlines (Athens), Swiss International Air Lines (Zürich), Tunisair (Djerba, Monastir) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk).

TIP: If you want go by taxi to the city centre of Belgrade, don't take one of the taxis that are offered by men in and around the airport. They are much too expensive. Just take one that arrives with new travellers. They will be happy if they don't have to go back on their own. The average trip is between 550 and 800 Dinars (January 2005: 1400 Dinars)

Make sure that the taximeter is switched on. Tarif 1 is the correct one Monday to Saturday from morning till 10 am. Or better take one of the several bus lines, check the Belgrade section.{br} You can change money at the airport. There is an ATM in the luggage collection area which accepts most major banking and credit cards.


Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport - Terminal 2 (international departures and arrivals
  • Niš - Serbia's second international airport is in Niš - Niš Constantine the Great International Airport (INI). It's connected with Zurich as well as some other European cities during the winter months, serving as the airport for the near by ski resorts at Kopaonik. The following airlines operate to and from the airport: Jat Airways (Basel/Mulhouse [starts November 2006], Frankfurt [starts November 2006], Vienna [starts November 2006], Zürich) and Thomsonfly (London - Gatwick Airport [starts December 10, 2006])

  • Priština - Serbia's third international airport is Priština International Airport(PRN). The following airlines operate to and from the airport: Adria Airways (Ljubljana), Albanian Airlines (Tirana), Austrian Airlines (Vienna), British Airways (London-Gatwick), Club Air (Verona), Dubrovnik Airline (Dubrovnik), Edelweiss Air (Zurich, Geneva), dba (Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Berlin), Germanwings (Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg, Stuttgart), Hello (Zurich, Geneva), Jat Airways (Belgrade [expected to start late 2006]), LTU International (Dusseldorf, Stuttgart), Kosova Airlines (Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Hannover, Gothenburg-Landvetter), Malév Hungarian Airlines (Budapest), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk). The airport is located about 20 km from the city itself, in the direction of Peć. The only way to get to the city is a taxi. The drivers may ask as much as 30 EUR for the ride, but the normal price is about 15 EUR.

By train

Several international trains from Belgrade to Budapest and Vienna and to Zagreb-Ljubljana-München/Zurich. Usually, they should not be too late (seldom more than 1 hour). The night train to Budapest was very regularly overcrowded in summer 2005 (only 1 sitting car). Furthermore, there are direct (day or night) trains from Belgrade to Skopje - Thessaloniki (Belgrade-Thessaloniki 30 euro/seat+20euro/bed one way at 2 beds compartment). Trains to Sofia and Bucarest however seem to be often very late (several hours). Trains to Macedonia (Greece), Bulgaria and Romania are allegedly reported to be unsure.

By car

Be sure your Green Card has an uncancelled "YU" or "SCG" box.

By bus

Priština - Bus terminal is located about 2 km from the city center. It serves several connections in Kosovo as well as international ones (Skopje, Belgrade). Buses are fairly cheap - for example, 80 km trip to Skopje, which takes 2-2.5 h is 5 Euro. Hungary: When you take an international bus from Belgrade towards Germany, be not surprised when a collection is held inside the bus for paying the Hungarian border guards a fee to let the bus go faster over the border. This is what you would call a bribe. On your way into Serbia it seems 'cheaper'.

By boat

There are boat tours, which pass through Belgrade. These are English Trafalgar Tours which cruise along the Danube and have a two day stopover in Belgrade.

By thumb

Sometimes difficult to hitchhike, sometimes easy. Novi Sad seemed hard to get out of. Numberplates have an indication of where the car is coming from (or going to), NS is Novi Sad, BG is Belgrade, etc.

Generally, it is easy to hitch-hike through Vojvodina and it's much more difficult to hitch a ride from Belgrade to south, both Macedonia and Montenegro directions.

Talk

Languages: Serbian 95%, Albanian 5%

The Serbian language is almost identical with Croat, Bosnian or Bosniak (differences are mostly in vocabulary [bread = cro. kruh, sr. hleb, bo. hlijeb and similar], but all inhabitans understand all versions). Before the era of aggressive nationalist cultural and linguistic policies in former Yugoslavia, it was known as Serbo-Croatian, although today people in former Yugoslavia no longer use this general expression for their common language.

In Kosovo, the spoken language is almost entirely Albanian, although Serbian is usually understood. You should generally try to avoid using it though except in areas populated by Serbs, Roma or Bosniaks. Due to the high number foreign aid workers and NATO soldiers, English is also spoken quite well especially by younger people.

In Vojvodina, people mostly speak Serbian. However there are also languages being spoken by some minorities like Hungarians. There are other minorities like Slovaks, Ruthenians, Russians, Bulgarians, Croats, Bosnians, Slovenians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Ukrainians, Russians, Germans and Romanians.

See

There are two rivers which go through Belgrade: Sava and Danube. There are a lot of old buildings on all four banks, including a fortress from the Turkish period (Kalemegdan), various towers and ports, and two long walking/biking paths along both rivers.

Medieval orthodox monasteries – Studenica, Manasija, Žiča, Ravanica...Exellent opportunity to see part of Serbian history. If you are interested in art, there are excellent fresco masterpieces. Recommendaion – “Beli Anđeo” (White Angel) fresco in Mileseva monastery.

Do

Belgrade night life – Belgrade is very famous for its whole-night-party clubs. It depends from musical taste, but if you are in search of place to feel local atmosphere and good vibes, visit bohemian street “Skadarlija”. If you are eager to feel even more of local atmosphere check “Black Panthers” (Crni Panteri) boat on Ada lake.

Favorite leisure activity in Belgrade is drinking coffee in numerous bars, bistros and cafés (especially in Strahinjića Bana street). It is very strange but most of places are occupied all day long. You should check: Downtown café, Buka bar, Movie bar, Iron café, Biblioteka café, Monza café-boat, Bibis café-boat, and many more;

EXIT festival – Biggest music festival in SE Europe, that is happening in the beginning of July, in Novi Sad, on Petrovaradin fortress. (http://www.exitfest.org/)

Buy

There are lots of good shops in Belgrade downtown, in particular on the "Knez Mihailova" and "Terazije" streets. The only large western-style modern mall is located in "Novi Beograd" and it's called "Merkator". All major credit cards are accepted and prices are around the European average.

Eat

When ordering a burger ask for 'pljeskavica' (pronounced: pl-yee-eska-veetsa), and ask for cheese curd (like sour cream) (pronounced: kei-mahk) it tastes better than it sounds. Stepin Vajat at and Duff at autokomanda, and Iva in Žarkovo are the best grill fastfood restaurants in town. Also try ćevape (pronounced: tye-vape), they are small parcels of minced meat, grilled with hot spices. It is considered a local fast food delicacy. Highly recommended to carnivores.

Burek (pronounced Boor-ek) is very delicious. It is made with either meat, cheese or sometimes apple. Not for dieters as it is quite oily. Morning is definitely the best time to eat this (sometimes sold-out by afternoon).

  • Kiflice (kee-flee-tse)are lovely little crescent rolls.
  • Paprikash (paprika-sh) - stew with paprika often with chicken
  • Gulash - stew with paprika with beef
  • Sarma - stuffed cabbage, similar to dolmes but made with sauerkraut instead of vine leaves
  • Gibanica -(ghee-ban-eetsa) - phillo pie with spinach and cheese or just cheese (like spanakopita or tiropita in Greece)
  • Punjene Paprike - stuffed peppers (Poony-eenay Pap-reekay)
  • Pasulj - (pas-ool-y) - beans-a national specialty. Often cooked for a long time with onion and paprika. Delicious.
  • Riblja čorba - (reebly-a chorba) hot stew with river fish chunks.

Drink

  • Rakija (there are many flavours, like plum (pronounce like she-lyee-va), quince (dun-ya)...
  • Loza (from grapes, a type of rakija)

Tap water is perfectly safe to drink.

Stay safe

Serbia is a safe country. People are normally very polite and helpful in case you require any assistance if you feel lost. However, those of us who are from Asian/Black origin should not be surprised if they attract quite a bit of attention, including the occasional passport-checking by policemen. In cities, Neo-Nazism is a growing problem. Similiarities are occuring in Russia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and most of the slavic and/or former communist countries.

Respect

When toasting in Serbia, as in many countries, you must look the person in the eye as you toast. It is rude not to. Also remember that being obviously drunk is a sign of bad taste and worse character, same as in Montenegro: You may be invited to drink gallons, but are expected to be able to hold your drink.

Always greet people with good morning (Dobro jutro) /afternoon (Dobar dan)/evening (Dobro veče) /night

In Serbia one says "molim" (pronounced: moleam) = please, do not say "šta" (pron. shta) which translates to "what" as is often used in English to get someone to repeat something. That would sound rude.

"Hvala" is "thank you".

Learn the polite version of "you" and use it, especially when addressing older people.

Contact


This country guide is usable. It has links to this country's major cities and other destinations (and all are at usable status or better), a valid regional structure and information about this country's currency, language, cuisine, and culture is included. At least the most prominent attraction is identified with directions. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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