country profile - serbia

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    SERBIACountry profile

    Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615

  • 77,474 km2

    7,209 mlnPOPULATION

    GDP per capita



    Language SERBIAN

    Serbian dinar (RSD)

    Excluding Kosovo

    Excluding Kosovo

  • Official name: the Republic of Serbia

    Location: the central part of the Balkan Peninsula in Central Southeastern Europe.

    Capital and largest city: Belgrade, 1.135 million

    Climate: In the north, continental climate (cold winter and hot, humid summers; central portion, continental and Mediterra-nean climate; to the south, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland.

    Languages: Serbian (official) 88.1%, Hungarian 3.4%, Bosnian 1.9%, Romani 1.4%, other 3.4%, undeclared or unknown 1.8%. Note: Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian, and Rusyn all official in Vojvodina.

    Ethnicity: Serb 83.3%, Hungarian 3.5%, Romany 2.1%, Bosniak 2%, other 5.7%, undeclared or unknown 3.4%

    Religions: Serbian Orthodox 84.6%, Catholic 5%, Muslim 3.1%, Protestant 1%, atheist 1.1%, other 0.8%, undeclared or un-known 4.5%

    National Flag

    Coat of arms















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    LanguagesThe official language is Serbian, member of the South Slavic group of languages, and native to 88% of the population. Serbian is the only European language with active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. Serbian Cyrillic was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadi, who creat-ed the alphabet on phonemic principles. The Cyrillic script itself has its origins in Cyril and Methodiuss transformation of the Greek script in the 9th century.

    Recognized minority languages are: Hungarian, Slovak, Al-banian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Rusyn as well as Bosnian and Croatian, which are completely mutually intelligible with Serbian. All these languages are in official use in mu-nicipalities or cities where more than 15% of the population consists of a national minority. In Vojvodina, the provincial administration uses, besides Serbian, five other languages (Hungarian, Slovak, Croatian, Romanian and Rusyn).

    YugoslaviaThe name Yugoslavia previously designated six republics: Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia. The word means land of the south-ern Slavs. Within Serbia, there are several national cul-tures. In addition to the dominant Serb tradition, there is a large Hungarian population in the northern province of Vojvodina, where Hungarian is the common language and the culture is highly influenced by Hungary (which borders the province to the north). In southern Serbia, the prov-ince of Kosovo is primarily Albanian, and has an Islamic culture that bears many remnants of the earlier Turkish conquest.

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    Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla (1856 - 1943) was a world-renowned inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer of Serbian origin. He is regarded as one of the most important inventors in history. Teslas patents and theoretical work form the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution systems and the AC motor.

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    BelgradeBelgrade is the capital of the Republic of Serbia. It has been the capital of all of the many versions of Yugoslavia through-out history (starting with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in 1918, through the communist Socialist Federa-tive Republic of Yugoslavia, and ending with the romp Fed-eral Republic of Yugoslavia that lasted through the 1990s to 2003). It is located on the outfall of the river Sava into the Danube.

    In Serbian, the city is called Beograd. The name (meaning white city: beo - white, grad - city) is the Slavic version of its old Celtic name, Singidunum.

    Ethnic groupsEthnic Serbs constitute a majority in Serbia, at about 82.86% (excluding Kosovo). There are 37 different ethnicities in Serbia. Ethnic Albanians are concentrated in the Kosovo re-gion of southwest Serbia. Ethnic Hungarians make up about 3.91% of the population and live in northern Serbia near the Hungarian border. The remaining population consists primar-ily of Slavic Muslims, Bulgarians, Slovaks, Macedonians, Cro-ats, Roma, Montenegrins, Ruthenians, Romanians, Vlachs, Bunjevci, and Turks.

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    SlavaThe Slava, also called Krsna Slava ( , chris-tened Slava) and Krsno ime ( , christened name), is a Serbian Orthodox Church tradition of the rit-ual glorification of ones familys patron saint among Serbs and Montenegrins, and also Serbs in Macedonia. The fam-ily celebrates the Slava annually on the saints feast day. Unlike other major Orthodox Christian nations, i.e. Greeks, Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Georgians etc., Serbs do not celebrate individual name days, as when a person named after a saint would celebrate that saints feast day, but instead they do it collectively as the name day of a certain family and/or clan. Serbs usually regard the Slava as their most significant and most solemn feast day.

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    Kosovo SerbsKosovo Serbs (Serbian: Kosovski Srbi/ ) are the Serbs living in Kosovo, where they are the second larg-est ethnic group. During the 12-13th century, Kosovo was the cultural, diplomatic and religious core of the Serbian Kingdom. It was also an important part of the 14th century Serbian Empire, but was occupied by the Ottomans follow-ing the Battle of Kosovo. After five centuries as part of the Ottoman Empire, Kosovo was annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1912, following the First Balkan War. It was then part of Serbia (and later Yugoslavia), until the 1999 Kosovo War resulted in the de facto separation of Kosovo from the rest of Serbia, followed by its final secession from Serbia in 2008.

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  • State holidays:

    1-2 January: New Years Day New Years Day is a pub-lic holiday in many places around the world and Serbia is no exception.

    7 January: Julian Orthodox Christmas Orthodox Christmas or Boi is based on the Old Julian calendar.

    15-16 February: National dayIt is the anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising in 1804 and the first Serbian Consti-tution in 1835.

    Moveable date during spring: Orthodox Good Fri-dayEaster Monday is the day following Easter Day.

    Moveable date during spring: Orthodox EasterThis day celebrates the res-urrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

    Moveable date during spring: Orthodox EasterMondayEaster Monday is known as Bright Monday or Renew-al Monday.

    1-2 May: May Day Celebration of the interna-tional Labour Day

    11 November: Armistice DayThis day is commemorated since 2012 to mark the ar-mistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compigne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I.

    The employees of Chris-tian, Muslim and Jewish religion are allowed not to work on some of their religious holidays:

    Western Christians: Moveable date during spring: Good Friday

    Moveable date during spring: Easter Moveable date during spring: Easter Monday

    Serbian Orthodox Chris-tians: Moveable date: SlavaThe celebration of patron saint day of the family, the dates vary among families.

    Western Christians and Re-vised Julian Calendar Ortho-dox Christians: 25 December: Christmas day

    Muslims: 1 Shawwal (Moveable date): Eid ul-FitrFeast of the end of RAmadan 10 Dhu al-Hijjah (Move-able date): Eid al-AdhaFeast of the Sacrifice

    Jews:10 Tishrei (moveable date during autumn): Yom KippurDay of Atonement is the holi-est day of the year for Jewish people.


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  • Belgrade FortressBelgrades landmark fortress was originally built as a Roman military camp during the 1st century. Visitors who look closely at the walls will notice that they contain dozens of lay-ers, one for nearly each of the 38 fires set in Serbias capital over the 2,000-year history of the fortress. The Turks added outer fortifications in 1760, after which the fortress appear-ance has remained relatively unchanged.

    Ada CiganlijaThis island-turned-peninsula on the Sava River has become Belgrades most popular re-laxation spot, attracting up to 300,000 visitors on summer weekends. Over four miles of beaches line the manmade Sava Lakes shores. However, Ada Ciganlija also contains most of Belgrades sport facilities - including those of the extreme variety as well as tracks for walking or cycling. Ada Ciganlija also transforms into the citys hottest beach party and concert venue after dark.

    Fruska Gora National ParkAt least one full day is recommended to fully explore Fruska Gora National Park, named after its highest mountain, and frequently referred to as the jewel of Serbia thanks to its picturesque countryside. Riesling and Traminer are just two of the wines produced from the grapes that grow on the mountains, and visitors can even harvest honey from bee-hives in late spring. Hiking, cycling, and rock climbing in Orlovo Bojiste are the parks most popular activities. However, Fruska Goras most famous landmarks are its 35 15th and 16th century South Backa monasteries, all of which can be admired on a single guided tour.

    Tara National Pa