Serbia tourist information
Serbia stretches across two geographic and cultural regions of Europe: Central Europe and Southeast Europe. This boundary splits Serbia roughly in a ratio of 1:2 alongside the Danube and Sava rivers. The northern parts of the country are Central-European lowlands while the southern and central parts are mostly mountainous. There are more than 15 mountain peaks rising to over 2,000 metres above sea level. The navigable rivers are the Danube, Sava and Tisa. A moderate continental climate predominates, with a more Mediterranean climate in the south.
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The variety of scenery and cultural and historical monuments, curative spas, hunting grounds and fishing areas give the basis for Serbia's tourism. International roads and railway lines link Western/Central Europe with Greece, Turkey, the Near East, Asia and Africa. The main air transport routes between West and East and North and South cross the country, too.
The Serbian lands were the crossroads of various civilizations in the past, with different spiritual, architectural, artistic and cultural influences. Serbian culture and its historical heritage is diverse because of mixture of various influences. Numerous prehistoric and classical monuments represent some unique examples of the changing times (Vinca culture, Starcevo culture, Lepenski Vir, etc.) Serbia is a land of natural, historic, cultural and ethnic contrasts. The northern lowlands (the province of Vojvodina) form the Central European part of the country. The FruÅ”ka Gora hills are the only mountains in that part of Central Europe. Central Serbia is characterised by fields, hedges, orchards and meadows. Southern Serbia has bigger mountain ranges with wide river valleys and hollows. The altitude of some of the mountains is over 2,500 m, the highest peak being in Kosovo province--Djeravica, 2,656 m above sea level. However, Kosovo's status is disputed; the government of Serbia refuses to recognise the territory's independence.
Eastern Serbia is covered with mountains which belong to the Carpathian mountains but also to the Balkan mountain system. Here, the Danube river cuts the Kazan, the longest and narrowest part of the Djerdap Gorge. Western Serbia is another mountainous region, with many picturesque canyons, forests and great natural and climatic advantages. Waters in Serbiaārivers, lakes, artificial lakes and mineral springs, represent an important natural resource for tourism. The Danube, the largest and the most important waterway in Europe flows through Serbia, covering some 591 km inside its borders. The river Sava was formerly the largest national river in Yugoslavia, connecting Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in length of about 900 km; the river's mouth is located north of Ljubljana and the river's end is in Belgrade, where it flows into the Danube by an ancient fortress of Kalemegdan.
Flora and fauna are especially attractive. Throughout Serbia there are numerous animal species and game stock, which is a very favourable precondition for the hunting tourism. Many tourist resorts have sprung up with accommodation facilities, ideal for rest and recreation, situated in this diverse combination of natural and human mightiness. As a tourist area, Serbia has a very long tradition. For more than 150 years, guests have been coming to Serbian spas--Palic and Vrnjacka Banja being the best-known among tourists. The current receptive basis of tourism and catering industry consists of 125,000 beds in basic and supplementary accommodation facilities. There are nearly 40,000 hotel beds in various classes.
Belgrade, the capital of modern Serbia, is situated at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. In the course of its long history it has been captured 60 times, and razed to the ground at least 38 times; however every time it got leveled to the ground the city had arisen from its ashes, like a phoenix- which is a legend connected to the city. Today, it is a modern city of about 2 million inhabitants. To visitors Belgrade offers its rich programme of cultural, artistic and sports events, many museums, cultural and historic monuments. With the Sava Congress Centre and numerous hotels, Belgrade has become one of the major congress and convention centres in Europe.
The convention facilities offer the other large towns: NiÅ”, Kragujevac, Leskovac, KruÅ”evac, Uzice, Valjevo, ZajeÄar, VrÅ”ac, Sombor, Pristina Sremska Mitrovica as well as the mountain centres: Kopaonik, Tara, Zlatibor, Divcibare, Brezovica, and the spas: Vrnjacka Banja, Niska Banja, Bukovicka Banja, Soko Banja and many others tourists resorts.
Belgrade has a reputation for offering a vibrant nightlife, and many clubs that are open until dawn can be found throughout the city. The most recognizable nightlife features of Belgrade are the barges (ŃŠæŠ»Š°Š²Š¾Š²Šø, splavovi) spread along the banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Many weekend visitorsāparticularly from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Sloveniaāprefer Belgrade nightlife to that of their own capitals, due to a perceived friendly atmosphere, great clubs and bars, cheap drinks, the lack of language difficulties, and the lack of restrictive night life regulation.
Famous alternative clubs include Akademija and the famed KST (Klub Studenata Tehnike) located in the basement of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Electrical Engineering. One of the most famous sites for alternative cultural happenings in the city is the SKC (Student Cultural Centre), located right across from Belgrade's highrise landmark, the BeograÄanka. Concerts featuring famous local and foreign bands are often held at the centre. SKC is also the site of various art exhibitions, as well as public debates and discussions.
A more traditional Serbian nightlife experience, accompanied by traditional music known as Starogradska (roughly translated as Old Town Music), typical of northern Serbia's urban environments, is most prominent in Skadarlija, the city's old bohemian neighbourhood where the poets and artists of Belgrade gathered in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Skadar Street (the centre of Skadarlija) and the surrounding neighbourhood are lined with some of Belgrade's best and oldest traditional restaurants (called kafanas in Serbian), which date back to that period. At one end of the neighbourhood stands Belgrade's oldest beer brewery, founded in the first half of the nineteenth century. One of the city's oldest kafanas is the Znak pitanja, Serbian term for?.
The respected Times newspaper in the UK reported that Europe's best nightlife can be found in buzzing Belgrade. In the Lonely Planet "1000 Ultimate Experiences", Belgrade was placed at the 1st spot among the top 10 party cities in the world.
Serbia belongs to the Danubian countries. The surviving monuments testify about its rich history (Lepenski Vir, the oldest archaeological site, Trajan's bridge and Tablet dating from the period when the Danube was the northern boundary of the Roman Empire). Roman rule has left many monuments of culture: Romuliana/Gamzigrad with its famous mosaics and an imperial palace; Viminacium or (Kostolac) offering the remnants of an ancient city; Sirmium- one of the imperial capitals of Roman Empire- largest Roman ruin in the region; Naissus and Mediana- birthplace to the Constantine the Great, father of Byzantium, Constantinople and first Christian emperor of Rome. Medieval times have blessed Serbia with medieval fortresses at Smederevo, former Serbian capital; Golubac; Ram; Fetislam and many others. The Djerdap Dam, built jointly in 1964-72 by Yugoslavia and Romania, is one of the most impressive pieces of civil engineering in Europe. The waters of the Danube represent the largest fishing grounds, where fishing and other water sports are practiced.
There are two national parks including the Danube gravitational area: Äerdap and FruÅ”ka Gora. From Golubac to Tekija, on a stretch 100 km long and covering an area of about 620 square kilometres lies the Äerdap National Park. In this section the Danube is the deepest, widest and narrowest. Two lakes, the Äerdap and the Silver Lake are the pearls of the Serbian Danube. FruÅ”ka Gora, situated between the Sava and Danube rivers, represents the wooded hill in lowland province Vojvodina. The total area exceeds 220 kmĀ². FruÅ”ka Gora is also attractive due to numerous old Serbian monasteries. This region has a long tradition in the production of excellent wines and is known for its hunting facilities.
Serbia has a rich cultural heritage ranging from the remains of the oldest human settlement Lepenski Vir, 7000 years old, through the Neolithic site at Vinca, Roman and Byzantine edifices, Tabula Trajana, Gamzigrad, the Belgrade Fortress, Petrovaradin Fortress, to medieval monasteries with their unique architecture and fresco paintings of outstanding beauty from golden age of Serbia in the 12th and 13th centuries. ÄurÄevi Stupovi, Å½iÄa, the Patriarchate of PeÄ, GraÄanica, Visoki DeÄani, Ljubostinja, MileÅ”eva, SopoÄani are some of them.
Mountain and Winter Tourism
Serbia's mountains are its wealth and its beauty. The joint characteristics of most of its mountains are the vast areas under coniferous and deciduous forests, pastures and meadows, a moderate altitude and very agreeable climate for both summer and winter vacations, sports activities and rehabilitation. Kopaonik, Tara, Å ar Mountain and FruÅ”ka Gora have been proclaimed national parks, thanks to their exceptional beauty.
The most developed mountain tourist centre is Kopaonik, 2,017 m above sea level, a well known winter sport resort. Kopaonik is a mountain giant, about 120 km long and 50 km wide. With a ten year long tradition its ski centre has become established in Europe. It is convenient to all categories of skiers. Kopaonik is not only attractive in the winter, but also a summer tourist centre. In the surroundings of Kopaonik there are many interesting monasteries such as SopoÄani, Studenica, Å½iÄa, Visoki DeÄani, Patriarchate of PeÄ, Å½upa vine-growing region, night spas, the Ibar and other rivers. Zlatibor is a traditional health, recreational and vocation resort. The Zlatibor plateau is a climatic resort, and thanks to the modern recreative and preventative programme it has become popular among the all categories of tourists.
The Brezovica on the mountain Å ara has a lot of similarities with the Alps. Even this fact is sufficient for the development of modern tourism in the summer and the winter and especially for the development of winter tourism. Mt Para is about 80 km long with numerous peaks over 2,500 m. covered by snow all the year around. The whole area has an exceptional environment: changing scenery, beautiful valleys and mountains, picturesque villages and historical monuments. DivÄibare, Tara Mountain, Vlasina Lake, GoÄ, Zlatar, Stara Planina, Golija offer the favourable climatic and tourist conditions. But, there are the other mountains resorts offering the facilities for tourism.
Hunting and Fishing
Serbia abounds in hunting grounds rich in big and small game. Hunting is possible all year round depending on the type of game and the grounds. Big game includes bears, deer, wild boars and mouflons. Small game species such as hares, pheasant, rabbits, mink and others are abundant throughout Serbia and especially in Vojvodina. Game bird hunting grounds are also rich.
Most of Serbia's surface belongs to the humid subtropical climate (KĆ¶ppen classification Cfa). Serbia's climate varies between a moderate climate in the north, with cold winters, and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall patterns, and a more Adriatic climate in the south with hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy inland snowfall in the mountains. Differences in elevation, proximity to the Adriatic Sea and large river basins, as well as exposure to the winds account for climate differences. Vojvodina possesses typical continental climate, with air masses from northern and western Europe which shape its climatic profile. South and South-west Serbia is subject to Mediterranean influences. However, the Dinaric Alps and other mountain ranges contribute to the cooling down of most of the warm air masses. Winters are quite harsh in SandÅ¾ak because of the mountains which encircle the plateau.
Mediterranean micro-regions exist throughout southern Serbia, in Zlatibor and the PÄinja District around valley and river PÄinja. The average annual air temperature for the period 1961ā90 for the area with an altitude of up to 300 m (984 ft) is 10.9 Ā°C (51.6 Ā°F). The areas with an altitude of 300 to 500 m (984 to 1,640 ft) have an average annual temperature of around 10.0 Ā°C (50.0 Ā°F), and over 1,000 m (3,281 ft) of altitude around 6.0 Ā°C (42.8 Ā°F). The lowest recorded temperature in Serbia was ā39.5 Ā°C (ā39.1 Ā°F) on 13 January 1985, KarajukiÄa Bunari in PeÅ”ter, and the highest was 44.9 Ā°C or 112.8 Ā°F, on 24 July 2007, recorded in Smederevska Palanka.
There are 4 international airports in Serbia: Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, NiÅ” Constantine the Great Airport, VrÅ”ac International Airport and Pristina International Airport.
The valley of the Morava, is sometimes considered "the crossroads between East and West", which is one of the primary reasons for its turbulent history. The Morava valley route, which avoids mountainous regions, is the easiest route of travel from continental Europe to Greece and Asia Minor. Modern Serbia was the first among its neighbors to buy railroads- in 1858 the first train arrived to VrÅ”ac, then Austria-Hungary (by 1882 route to Belgrade and NiÅ” was completed). Serbian Railways handles the entire railway links in Serbia.
European routes E65, E70, E75 and E80, as well as the E662, E761, E762, E763, E771, and E851 pass through the country. The E70 westwards from Belgrade and most of the E75 are modern highways of motorway / autobahn standard or close to that. As of 2005, Serbia has 1,481,498 registered cars, 16,042 motorcycles, 9,626 buses, 116,440 trucks, 28,222 special transport vehicles, 126,816 tractors, and 101,465 trailers.
Although landlocked, there are around 2000 km of navigable rivers and canals, the largest of which are: the Danube, Sava, Tisa, joined by the TimiÅ River and Begej, all of which connect Serbia with Northern and Western Europe through the RhineāMaināDanube Canal and North Sea route, to Eastern Europe via the Tisa, TimiÅ, Begej and Danube Black Sea routes, and to Southern Europe via the Sava river. The two largest Serbian cities ā Belgrade and Novi Sad, as well as Smederevo ā are major regional Danubian harbours. The Danube River, central Europe's connection to the Black Sea, flows through Serbia. Through Danube-Rhine-Main canal the North Sea is also accessible. Tisza river offers a connection with Eastern Europe while the Sava river connects her to western former Yugoslav republics near the Adriatic Sea.
For centuries straddling the boundaries between East and West, Serbia had been divided among: the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; between Kingdom of Hungary, Bulgarian Empire, Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium; and between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, as well as Venice in the south. The result of these overlapping influences are distinct characters and sharp contrasts between various Serbian regions, its north being more tied to Western Europe and south leaning towards the Balkans and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Byzantine Empire's influence on Serbia was profound, through the introduction of Greek Orthodoxy from the 7th century onwards to today, the Serbian Orthodox Church has an overwhelming influence on the makeup of cultural objects in Serbia. Different influences were also present- chiefly the Ottoman, Hungarian, Austrian and also Venetian, also known as coastal Serbs. Serbs use both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.
The monasteries of Serbia, built largely in the Middle Ages, are one of the most valuable and visible traces of medieval Serbia's association with the Byzantium and the Orthodox World, but also with the Romanic Western Europe that Serbia had close ties with back in Middle Ages. Most of Serbia's queens still remembered today in Serbian history were of foreign origin, including HĆ©lĆØne d'Anjou, a cousin of Charles I of Sicily, Anna Dondolo, daughter of the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, Catherine of Hungary, and Symonide of Byzantium.
Serbia has eight cultural sites marked on the UNESCO World Heritage list: Stari Ras and SopoÄani monasteries added to the Heritage list in 1979, Studenica Monastery added in 1986, the Medieval Serbian Monastic Complex in Kosovo, comprising: DeÄani Monastery, Our Lady of LjeviÅ”, GraÄanica and Patriarchate of Pec, monestaties were added in 2004, and put on the endangered list in 2006, and Gamzigrad ā Romuliana, Palace of Galerius, was added in 2007. Likewise, there are 2 literary memorials added on the UNESCO's list as a part of the Memory of the World Programme: Miroslav Gospels, handwriting from the 12th century, added in 2005, and Nikola Tesla's archive added in 2003.
The most prominent museum in Serbia is the National Museum of Serbia, founded in 1844; it houses a collection of more than 400,000 exhibits, over 5,600 paintings and 8,400 drawings and prints, and includes many foreign masterpiece collections and the famous Miroslav Gospels. The museum is currently under reconstruction.
There are cultural traces in Serbia from prehistory. The most famous neolithic culture on the territory of Serbia is the culture of Lepenski Vir. There were many famous royal cities and palaces in Serbia at the time of Roman Empire and early Byzantine Empire, traces of which can still be found in Sirmium, Gamzigrad and Justiniana Prima. Serbian medieval monuments, which survived until our days, are mostly Monasteriesand churches. Most of these monuments have walls painted with frescoes. The most original monument of Serbian medieval art is the Studenica (around 1190). This monastery was a model for later monasteries, like: MileÅ”eva, SopoÄani and Visoki DeÄani. The most famous Serbian medieval fresco is the "Mironosnice na grobu" (or the "white angel") from the MileÅ”eva monastery.
Icon-painting is also part of Serbian medieval cultural heritage. The influence of Byzantine art was increased after the fall of Constantinople into the hands of crusaders in 1204, when many artists went to Serbia. Their influence is seen in the building of the church Our Lady of LjeviÅ” and many other buildings, including GraÄanica. The monastery Viski DeÄani was built between 1330 and 1350. Unlike other Serbian monasteries, this one was built in romantic style, under the authority of grand master Vita from Kotor. On the frescoes of this monastery there are 1.000 portrets depicting the most important episodes from the New Testament. Another style of architecture followed in Serbia is that of the end of the 14th century, near the river Morava (Moravic school). A characteristic of this style was the wealthy decoration of frontal church-walls. The frescoes in the monastery Manasija depict religious scenes in which people with Serbian medieval clothes are shown. During the time of Turkish occupation art virtually died. The most important Serbian painters of the 20th century were: Milan KonjoviÄ, Marko ÄelebonoviÄ, Petar Lubarda, Vladimir VeliÄkoviÄ and MiÄa PopoviÄ.
Serbian cuisine is varied, the turbulent historical events influenced the food and people, and each region has its own peculiarities and differences. It is strongly influenced by the Byzantine-Greek, Mediterranean, Oriental and Austro-Hungarian styles. Many of the traditional Serbian foods like ÄevapÄiÄi, soup, pljeskavica, gibanica, are enjoyed even today.