Introduction to Serbia

“Serbia is the ideal destination for anyone looking for an adventurous holiday, without any long-haul flights, and a love of meeting the locals. You get a real feeling of being in an exotic location, where the tectonic plates of Islam, Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism, alongside socialism and capitalism, have all collided in the past.”

Guardian: The Observer Travel

Basic facts

Serbia is in South-East Europe and occupies central part of the Balkan peninsula. Official name of the country is Republic of Serbia, and the area is not so big: 88.361 sq km (34.116 sq mi).

The population is approximately ten million people (2008 est, with disputed Kosovo-Metohija province included).

Of those 10 million, about two thirds are the Serbs. The remaining third consists of 28 different nationalities. Also, in the country we have six major religious denominations. So, in a true sense of a word, here we are connected with various cultures, and we are celebrating diversity.

The main religious denomination in Serbia is Christian Orthodox and it is the traditional Serb faith. Other religious communities are Islamic, Roman Catholic, Protestant Lutheran and Protestant Calvinist, Jewish and others (like Greek-Catholic for example).

The official language is Serbian and the script is Cyrillic, while Latin script is also widely used, alongside to Cyrillic. Vast majority of people use both scripts, so although you may say that people of Serbia may be not always bilingual they definitely do use two different scripts equally. In some parts of Serbia which are inhabited by ethnic minorities, the languages and scripts of the minorities are in official use, as provided by law. Serbia ratified the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (ECRML), and the following languages are protected under the Charter: Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romani, Romanian, Rusynian, Slovakian and Ukrainian.

The climate in the country is continental, with a gradual transition between the four seasons of the year. We have hot and humid summers, and often relatively cold winters with lot of snowfall.

Belgrade, the capital (Serbian pronunciation: Beograd, meaning ‘White City’), has a population of 1,6 million (about 2,2 million in the greater metropolitan area). It is the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Serbia, dynamic, modern and cosmopolitan city, one of the oldest capitals in Europe.

Serbia is a Republic. We have general elections every four years, and presidential every five years. Our parliament is unicameral, and has 250 seats. Usually, our Government is made by a coalition of parties, as we never have decisive elections allowing only one party to form the government. It is then not a surprise that sometimes we joke about ourselves with a saying that ‘two Serbs make three political parties’. Current President (2010) is Mr. Boris Tadic, leader of Democratic Party.

The time in Serbia is GMT+1, we drive on the right side, electricity is 220V/50Hz, and tap water is good for drinking. Telephone code is +381, Internet domain is.rs and our currency is called dinar (RSD).

Serbia can be reached by plane from all the continents, and also there is a number of low budget airlines that fly to Belgrade.

More information about Serbia and Belgrade, travel information and multimedia content can be found on the authors website.