Serbia is fabulous country in the mountainous Western Balkans, breathtakingly rich in warm-hearted people, History and outstanding cultural Inheritance from the Prehistorical, Roman, Byzantine, Medieval and the Modern times. Serbia is amazing country among 10 essential stops in Europe, providing diversified and spectacular landmarks, colorful and picturesque villages and unique surprises of tradition beyond imagination.
The List of Immovable cultural monuments of Serbia contains 156 sites of exceptional importance amongst them 6 belong to UNESCO Cultural Heritage. The list of Protected Natural Values of Serbia includes 5 National Parks, 14 Nature Parks, 18 Landscapes of Outstanding Features, 72 Nature Reserves and Special Nature Reserves, 329 Natural Monuments etc. Protected areas of Serbia contribute to the conservation and enhancement of the environment, biodiversity, longevity and quality of natural resources and landscapes, geo-heritage phenomena, the space as the architectural-urbanistic category, etc. The largest protected areas in Serbia are covered with forest ecosystems, as the basis of the healthy environment and the key factor of its conservation and enhancement.
Serbia is country of exceptionally warm and hospitable people ! Serbia is strategic and valuable piece of the Balkans rich in desirable flavors, seducing tones of great fun, unique rhythms and incredible joys where amazing “mental” contrasts enhance awesome issues. Serbia just has too many excellent people and places to discover what make it exotic tourist destination in Europe !
People of Serbia are the best Serbian brand ! Many find the Serbian people are very warm, proud, brave, passionate, open-minded, credulous, enterprising, generous, traditional, caring and extremely hospitable. Without prior booking, it is strongly recommended to ask your guesthouse owners if they can suggest somewhere to stay in your next destination. Serbs are generally of “Balkan genetics“, imaginative and creative and strong people, but highly family-oriented. Repeatedly suffering under foreign invaders purified Serbian courage and chivalry and contributed to their large ethnical energy and precious intelectual features. Serbs have created their tradition in constant fights for political independence and cultural self-consciousness, by develop of particular epic narcissism as kind of illusion that it is possible to withstand any power, regardless its strenght. Serbs are emotional and express dignity often placed within the context of their history and their hopes. Serbian people are very tough and have positive attitude, most probably for the energy inherited by genetics. Serbs remain fairly positive, tenacious and open-hearted people, looking forward to the renewal of their beloved country. Although carrying scars of the almost two decades after the brake-up of Yugoslavia and the recent war and aware of problems still facing the country (15 years of sanctions crippled a once-strong economy) Serbs look into the future.
Bustling Belgrade and other big cities in Serbia are densely populated and extremely vibrant. Night life in Belgrade Serbia is one of the best in Europe and absolutely extraordinary experience for many ! Friendly places and people who know how to relax and socialize… With a thriving cafe and restaurant culture, famous nightlife and a passion for arts and literature, the capital city of Belgrade offers affordable metropolitan living at the crossroads of Central and Eastern Europe. Visitors of other parts of Serbia find it lively, mysterious, affordable, and decidedly unwestern.
Outside of the cities, life of Serbian villagers becomes much more tranquil. In Serbian countryside you should savor the breathtaking scenery and breathe in the fresh air while drinking from the cool mountain springs. Farmers do all the work on the farm themselves, together with their families, but find some time to get together. Farm work is done by hand, with old tools, and smaller tractors. Local people take the time to sit down and enjoy strong coffee or homemade rakija /brandy/ and smoke cigarettes; such a caffeine combination is a favored daily ritual for many. In the rural areas of Serbia the life and dress of the locals are more simple and traditional. Sunday is seen as a day for rest. Even people who are not religious will tend not to work on Sundays.
People from Serbia (especially younger generations) can speak at least some English, which makes communication with foreign visitors a bit easier. Tourists, especially Americans, are not very common yet, and locals are especially thrilled when one takes an active interest in Serbian culture and History. A handshake with an introduction of who you are is usually an appropriate greeting style for both male and female Serbs. A handshake is a form of respect and it is ofter found rude if one does not acknowledge a person by introducing him or herself with a shake hand. As you become familiar 3 times – left-right-left- kissing may be used as common way of communication in Serbia in relation with Orthodox religion.
Serbia is predominantly mountainous country with forests covering 27% of its territory in the central and the southern areas, and low-lying plains of Vojvodina in the north. Largely mountainous in the west and south, Serbia lies within several most significant mountain systems of the Balkans: the Dinaric Alps in the west, the North Albanian Alps and the Sar Mountain in the southwest, and the Balkan Mountain-Stara Planina Mountain in the east of Serbia. Much of Serbia slopes generally descend north toward the Danube and Sava Rivers and are drained chiefly by the Drina River (which forms part of the western border with Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kolubara, Morava, and Timok rivers and their tributaries. The northeast of Serbia is part of the fertile Danube plain drained by the Danube, Sava, Tisa, and Morava Rivers.
Serbia is divided into 29 districts of which 5 are in Kosovo and Metohija (currently UN-administered) and the City of Belgrade. The districts are further divided into 108 municipalities.
The South Slavs (or Yugoslavs) are one of the five major ethnic groups of the Balkan Peninsula, incorporating the Serb, Croat, and Slovene peoples. Although the movement for political unification of these people dated back to at least the early 19th century, the South Slavs had historically been separated and controlled by various neighboring powers, such as Turkey, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The population of Serbia (2006 est. pop. 9,797,000) consists primarily of Serbs with Albanian, Magyar, Hungarian, Slovak, Ruthenian, Romanian, Croat, Montenegrin, Bulgarian and Macedonian national communities.
Vojvodina is one of the most ethnically diverse territories in Europe, with more than 25 different national communities. According to the last completed census /2002/, the province has a population of about 2 million, of which: Serbs 65%, Hungarians 14.3%, Slovaks 2.79%, Croats 2.78%, undeclared 2.71%, Yugoslavs 2.45%, Montenegrins 1.75%, Romanians 1.50%, Roma 1.43%, Bunjevci 0.97%, Ruthenians 0.77%, Macedonians 0.58%, regional affiliation 0.50%, Ukrainians 0.23%, others /Albanians, Slovenians, Germans, Poles, Chinese etc/.
Official language is Serbian according to the Constitution of Serbia; in Vojvodina, the following languages are also official: Romanian, Rusyn, Hungarian, Slovak, and Croatian; in Kosovo-Metohija also Albanian.
The language which Serbs speak is most often referred to in scholarship as Serbo-Croatian. This language is used by the Serbs and Croats, as well as by the Slavic Moslems of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the Sanjak (a region which outlines the modern borders between Serbia and Montenegro). In the past, there were also groups who used the same language, but who were neither Serbs nor Croats. The Croats call the language Croatian, and the Serbs call it Serbian. Cyrillic alphabet is official in Serbia, but used both with the Latin alphabet. Serbian Cyrillic rule: “Write as you speak and read as it is written” Vuk Stefanović Karadžic. Due to historical reasons, Serbian once being a part of the Serbo-Croat unification brought Latin usage into Serbia. The Cyrillic alphabet / also called Serbian azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters/ is an alphabet used for several East and South Slavic languages; /Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian/ and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Crossed by the Danube River, dotted by plum orchards and divided by wild-flowers and herbs covered mountains, Serbia is one of Europe’s long-forgotten beauties. Serbian botanist Josif Pančić writes :…. “Basil follows the Serb through all serious life occasions, from his birth, when a bunch of consecrated basil is brought to baby’s cot, until his death, when a hand of sister or someone close plants basil on his grave”. Serbia is a land of rich culture, deep religion, wild nature and unique people. Visitors to Serbia can enjoy Medieval Monasteries which have sat at the foot of mountains for centuries, beautiful waterfalls, natural hot springs, delicious food and local wines and friendly people.
Serbia has a rather small population of 7,3 million /without data for Kosovo and Metohija Province which is adminstered by UN/ living on a relatively large amount of land /88.407 sq km/. Much of Serbia’s unoccupied land sits inside of protected natural parks. The five gorgeous National Parks of Serbia are home to prehistoric flora, crystal clear river, lakes and waterfalls, intriguing caves and a wild beauty that is characteristic of this uncharted land. Those who visit the Serbian wild lands may find themselves cutting their own trails in the undiscovered and well preserved beauties of the Serbian countryside.
Serbia’s mountains are easily accessible and make a perfect holiday destination in any season. Serbia’s ski season is long and the snow is always fresh. Mount Tara and Mount Kopaonik and Mt. Golija are gorgeous hot-spots in the summer and winter with an abundance of greenery year round. Mountain Brezovica on Sharr Mountain, though, is Serbia’s best skiing hot-spot with an altitude of over 2,200 meters and ample hunting in the off season.
Serbia has long been a popular tourist destination for those who wish to regain their health in one of the country’s many spas. The thermal springs, clean mountain air and mild weather all make Serbia the ideal location for health spas. The most famous of Serbia’s spas is Vrnjacka Banja Spa which has been in operation for over 120 years. The Vrnjacka Banja Spa is home to several natural springs, the waters of which are believed to be curative. The spa itself is situated in an important archaeological area with monuments dating back to the 1300’s.
The Serbian countryside is real treasure of traditional customs and unique cordiality of local population. The one fact no one can deny about Serbian weddings is that they are expected to be unforgettable. Two people committing to each other in front of many people is the usual wedding scenario in Serbia. To make the wedding day really count, many couples seek extraordinary locations in Serbia – the more extravagant and memorable ceremony, the better initiation to the life together…
The natural splendor, ancient history and intriguing culture and well-preserved customs of Serbia all make it worth seeing and discovering. Serbia is historical country full of precious cultural monuments and magnificent archaeological sites and landmarks. Hidden from the world by rulers and war for decades, it is time to open up Serbia to the world and expose it for what it is – a treasure of modern Europe.
Galerija – Slavski kolaci
Slava – patron saint is divine form of Orthodoxy by Serbs, which is so deeply inborn into the Serbian traditional soul. Slava is special feature of the Serbian nation, that represents one of the main identifying characteristics of the Orthodox Faith for Serbs, whose ancestors celebrated memory of the Christian saint who was particularly respected as their protector, and whose Christian life they strived to follow. Slava is celebrated only among Serbs. The Deep sense of celebrating slava lies in the most enlighten ideal of the Serbian nation – the ideal of the holy man which is : man free from the earthen life, the man clean from injustice and vanity, the man fulfilled with love towards God and people, the man fearless to death, in one word – the soulful man !
The special spiritual depth of the Slava can only be understood when one realizes that the family celebrates it on the feast day of the Saint which has been the special patron of that family for centuries – ever since the family became Christian. For generations, the patron Saint’s day has been a special uniting force in the family, bringing it together to give glory and thanks to God the Creator and Saviour. The occasion of slava brings all of the family together, and a feast is normally prepared, including traditional foods: “slavski kolač” and “koljivo”. “Slavski kolač“ literally means “the slava cake”, although it is actually more similar to bread. Depending on whether the slava celebration falls during fasting, “slavski kolač” is made with or without eggs, butter and milk. The cake itself symbolizes Jesus who is the bread of life. The top of the slavski kolač is adorned with the sign of the Cross the “Dove of Peace” and other symbols that relate to the family. “Koljivo” (also called “žito”) is made of boiled wheat. It can be prepared in a variety of ways but most usually includes walnuts, nutmegs and/or cloves and honey. The wheat is a symbol of the Resurrection of Christ and deceased family members. Red wine which is poured on the Slavski Kolac and the Žito symbolizes the blood that poured from Jesus’ wounds. Depending on whether the celebration of slava falls in a period of fasting, the rest of the feast consists of animal-free (posni) meals or not (mrsni); thus, colloquially, slavas can be referred to as mrsne or posne. On the day of the Serbian slava, the family attends church services and partakes in Holy Communion. Following the service, the parish priest is received in the family’s home. He performs a small service which entails venerating the Saint’s memory, blessing the slavski kolač and koljivo, as well as lighting the “slava candle”. Though not necessary, it is common for the priest to bless the house and perform a small memorial service for dead relatives and ancestors.
Russian publicist I.S. Jastrebov writes in 1886 about important Serb custom of Slava – “Slava is celebrated by Serbs not only in Serbia, in Austria, Hungary, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Morava and area of Prizren, but also in the areas of Skopje, Veles, Prilep, Bitola and Ohrid, including also Debar and the area of Tetovo. All inhabitants in the mentioned area who speak with the Slavo-Serbian dialect keep that custom holy.”
The most common Slavas – feast days in Serbia are Saint Nicolas /falling on December 19/, Saint George /May 6, Djurdjevdan/, Saint John the Baptist /January 20/, Saint Demetrius /November 8/ and Saint Archangel Michael /November 21/. Serbian Orthodox Church uses Julian calendar. Julian calendar remained in use until the 20th century as the national calendar, especially in the Orthodox countries, but it was changed into the new version of the Gregorian calendar. Still it is used in some national Orthodox churches amongst them is the Serbian Orthodox Church, The Holy Mount Athos in Greece and Berberi in the South Africa. In Serbia which used to respect Julian calendar as the official calendar according to the tradition of the Serbian Orthodox Church the New Year on the 31st December was first celebrated in 1919 when King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic accepted the Gregorian calendar as the national calendar.
Nikola Tesla was one of the most brilliant inventors of history and was of an unusual intellectual vision. Nikola Tesla is affectionately refered to as the “Father of Free Energy”. Tesla was a world-renowned Serbian-American inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer and is regarded as one of the most important inventors in history. Nikola Tesla is also well known for his contributions to the discipline of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and early 20th century. His 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, with which he helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution. Entire life Tesla dedicated to hard work on finding a „cure” for ills of mankind. “Everything that lives is in a deep and wonderful relationships: man and the stars, the amoeba and the sun, the heart and the circulation of an infinite number of worlds. These bonds are unbreakable, but they can be tame and to propitiate the man and I began to create new and different relationships in the world. Knowledge comes from space. We have two eyes: the earthly and spiritual.” “The truth is that we must learn in order to be cured. The cure is in our hearts”. „Man is born to work, suffer and fight. Whoever does so, He wont fall!”
“Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.” Nikola Tesla