Serbia is located in the southeast of Europe in the region known as the Balkans. It is what remains of the former Yugoslavia. Serbia formed a medieval kingdom which evolved into an empire that reached its maximum extension in the fourteenth century. In the XVI century the Serbian territory was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, to which it belonged until the nineteenth century, when Serbia regained its independence and expanded its territory.
After the end of the First World War, Serbia formed together with other Balkan territories the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After the Second World War it became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that term disintegrating after a series of wars in the 1990s.
Finally, Serbia once again became an independent State in 2006, after the dissolution of the union of Serbia with Montenegro. On 17 February 2008, the interim parliament of Kosovo, a province of Serbia southern ethnic Albanian majority, declared its independence from Serbia on a unilateral basis. Such independence is not recognized by the Serbian Government, who regarded Kosovo an autonomous province own -officially called autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija – under the administration of United Nations.
Serbia occupies a surface area of 77,474 km2 (without Kosovo) and has a population of 10 million inhabitants. Its geography is flat in the north, hilly in the south. Although the country is landlocked, there are around 2,000 km of navigable rivers and canals, connecting Serbia with the north and west of Europe (via the rhine-main -Danube Canal – Path of the North Sea); with Eastern Europe (via Tisza, Timiş, Begej, Danube and the routes of the Black Sea) and with the south of Europe (via the Sava River).
Two of the largest cities in Serbia, Belgrade and Novi Sad, are the main ports of the Danube. The Danube river acts as a natural boundary in a wide stretch with Romania and in another with Croatia, as well as the Sava and the Drina (this during 150 km) with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Serbia has historically been considered a transition zone between East and West, which has also conditioned its turbulent history. The route of the valley of the Morava, which prevents the mountainous regions, is the easiest way to travel by land from continental Europe to Greece and Asia Minor. The tourist offer of Serbia is divided between the urban tourism, focusing on large cities of Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, and relating to rural areas (especially their monasteries) and nature.
Serbian cuisine is characterized by a mix of dishes of Turkish origin and central European also. The & Burek (cake with layers of cheese or meat)is present throughout the country. The barbecue of different types of meat, or meat grilled minced, meatballs, are very common, the steak Karadjorde, or the pljeskavica, beef patty, the mesano meso, barbecue or duvec varied, pork ribs grilled vegetables. In Vojvodina is typical goulash. Also the alaska Corba a spicy stew of fish river. The kebab is quite common, and also the moussaka. Boiled beans or zucchini stuffed with minced meat and rice , punjena tikvica, are other typical dishes. The wine is produced in areas such as, Sremski Karlovci, Vrsac, Zupa, Smederevo, Timok till. The typical drink is the plum liqueur.
Serbia is a country that has a very rich cultural universe, artists, writers, musicians … With a current, very critical, regime and due to the wars that the country has experienced in recent times, there is also a thriving writers community. The writer Ivo Andric won the Nobel Prize for his book ‘Na Drini Cuprija’, on religious differences.
The popular music – folk – in Yugoslavia is very important. Instruments such as the caraba (bagpipes small), gajde (another type of bagpipe) more similar to that used in Galicia, Asturias or Scotland, made of goat skin, frula (small flute), duduk (big flute), and violin are used in their dances. The most popular music and more genuine in Serbia is the ‘Blehmuzica’, or music of bronze, made primarily by peasants, with wind instruments, music that is very present in films of Emir Kusturica as ‘underground’ or ‘Black Cat, White Cat’. The language is of Slavic origin, and has been renamed Serbian after secession.