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Република Србија

Republic of Serbia
Republic of Serbia
Flag of Serbia
Coat of arms of Serbia
flag coat of arms
Official language Serbian 1
capital city Belgrade
State and form of government parliamentary republic
Head of state President
Aleksandar Vučić
Head of government Prime Minister
Ana Brnabić
surface 88,361 2 ( 110th ) km²
77,474 3 ( 115th ) km²
population 6.9 million ( 105th ) (2019)
Population density 80 inhabitants per km²
Population development - 0.5% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 51 billion ( 88. )
  • $ 132 billion ( 81st )
  • 7,382 USD ( 87. )
  • 18,972 USD ( 75. )
Human Development Index 0.806 ( 64th ) (2019)
currency Dinars (RSD)
founding February 15, 1835 First constitution
June 5, 2006 as a parliamentary republic in its current form
independence March 25, 1867 Independence
July 13, 1878 International recognition
National anthem Bože Pravde
National holiday February 15 (entry into force of the first constitution in 1835 )
Time zone UTC + 1 CET
UTC + 2 CEST (March-October)
License Plate SRB
ISO 3166 RS , SRB, 688
Internet TLD .rs and .срб
Telephone code +381
1 regional also minority languages
2 including Kosovo
3 without Kosovo
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Serbia ( Serbian - Cyrillic Србија ? / I [ sř̩bija ]; officially Republic of Serbia , Serbian - Cyrillic Република Србија [ repǔblika sř̩bija ]) is a landlocked country in Southeastern and Central Europe . Serbia is located in the center of the Balkan Peninsula , bordered to the north by Hungary , to the east with Romania and Bulgaria , to the south by northern Macedonia and Albania and Kosovo , in the southwest of Montenegro and to the west by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia . Audio file / audio sample

In terms of population, Serbia ranks 22nd among the countries in Europe with a good 7.1 million, ahead of Denmark . The capital and metropolis of the country is Belgrade , other large cities are Novi Sad , Niš , Kragujevac and Subotica . Over 80 percent of the population are Serbs , there are also larger groups of Hungarians , Roma and Bosniaks .

Serbia's recent history is shaped by its role as the largest state in Yugoslavia . Since the final collapse of Yugoslavia in 2006, it has also been the “sole legal successor ” of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was founded in 1992 (2003-2005 State Union of Serbia and Montenegro ).

Serbia is a member of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (SMWK) and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and has other free trade agreements. The country's economic output fell sharply as a result of the Yugoslav wars; in the years from 2003 to 2008 it recovered somewhat. After important successes had been achieved in the context of the EU accession process at short notice (e.g. the entry into force of an interim agreement for trade facilitation with the EU and the abolition of the visa requirement for Serbian citizens), Serbia submitted its candidacy for membership in the European Union on December 22, 2009 Union and was granted candidate status on March 1, 2012 .


Note: The description of the geography of Serbia also includes the area of Kosovo, which is disputed under international law .

Location, relief and geographical structure

The land between the rivers of Syrmia and one of the regions of Vojvodina. Landsat-8-ETM + image, March 12, 2014 (infrared false color aerial photo)

Serbia extends over four degrees of latitude on the edge of the subtropics between 46 ° 11 ′ N (near Subotica in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina ) and 41 ° 16 ′ N near Preševo . From east to west form the Stara Planina near Dimitrovgrad (23 ° 01 ′ E). as well as the Danube at Bezdan (18 ° 51 ′ E) the border points. The lowest point is the exit of the Danube at Prahovo in eastern Serbia at 17 meters above sea level. The highest point is the 2656 meter high Đeravica in Prokletije (Kosovo) and the 2169 meter high Midžor on the Bulgarian border.

The territory of Serbia is composed of two types of landscape , which are divided by the Sava-Danube line. North of the Sava and Danube Plains lies the Vojvodina, a lowland in the Pannonian Plain , where only the gentle rump mountains of the Fruška Gora and the Carpathian foothills of the Vršačke Planine stand out in relief. The former forest steppes of the Danube lowlands are characterized by the hydrological knotting of the most important rivers of Eastern Central Europe and by formerly wide floodplain landscapes and the Aeolian drifting sands (the Deliblatska peščara is known as the “European Sahara”) and fertile black earth soils and loess .

South of the Sava and Danube, the country in central Serbia and Kosovo is predominantly mountainous, but presents itself as a topographically diverse and varied area due to the juxtaposition of mountains, plateaus, basin landscapes and river plains. With the Morava river system running from south to north , which in the tectonic guideline of the Morava furrow separates the mountain ranges of the Dinarides , Carpathians and Balkan mountains into a western and eastern group, and the tributaries of the western and southern Morava, Ibar and the Drina , the border river to Bosnia, formed as ravines Central Serbia structured in many ways. In the basins of the Metohija and the Blackbird Field and the flanking high mountain ranges such as the highest elevation in Serbia, the Đeravica , there is both drainage to the Mediterranean (the Blackbird field drains through the bifurcation of the Nerodimka to both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean) and the interplay the transition to the pelargonian (“Macedonian”) landscape type, from basin landscapes and high mountain forests.


Lower course of the strongly meandering Velika Morava to the confluence with the Danube. NASA Landsat 7 ETM +
Hydrology with the Morava and Drina catchments

From a hydrographic point of view, Serbia is for the most part in the catchment area of ​​the Danube , which crosses the country in its central reaches over a distance of 588 kilometers. The Danube and its tributaries in the Pannonian Plain are typical low rivers with a gentle gradient, numerous oxbow lakes and wide alluvial terraces. Due to the frequent flood hazard of Vojvodina, which is located in an important hydrological node, regulating and hydraulic engineering measures in the form of flood dams, retention basins and also drainage and overflow channels have been created. The most important tributaries of the Danube are here as the most water-rich tributary of the Danube, the Save (into which the Drina flows), the longest tributary of the Danube, the Tisza, and the Temesch . The Danube, Tisza and Sava also form the only navigable waterways in the country.

Among the tributaries of the Danube in Serbia, the Morava and Drina catchment areas occupy the largest area. The longitudinal Morava Trench is the country's main communication artery between the Danube Plain and the Mediterranean . The historically significant long-distance road ( Via militaris ) has run here since ancient times , and forms the central natural connecting route with the transversal valleys of the Toplica , Nišava and Zapadna Morava . Since the likewise longitudinal Drina Valley itself does not represent a continuous communication axis due to its multiple windings and steep gorge sections, the transverse valleys of the Drina tributaries, on the other hand, could mostly only be integrated into the modern transport infrastructure with the completion of the Belgrade-Bar railway line . Because the Morava valley geologically also forms a broad tectonic rift , the base of which consists of crystalline Precambrian - Paleozoic rocks, but the Drina valley runs in Mesozoic sedimentary rocks, which mostly only allow steep and narrow canyon valleys in the form of carbonates , these geological predispositions are also the cause for the obvious obstacles that the Drina Valley poses for communicative penetration of the Southeast Dinarides. In Eastern Serbia the Timok catchment area is the most important and here its most important traffic axis.

The larger mountain rivers of central Serbia mostly form breakthrough valleys with isolated valley widenings. The middle Drina and Lim valleys are partly tiered by river terraces , on which a number of larger settlements have therefore been able to establish themselves. Drina and Morava show strongly meandering courses, especially in their lower reaches; These valley sections are now part of the periodically flood-prone landscapes of Serbia after the Danube and Tisza systems were regulated in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of the smaller rivers in the mountain areas, such as the tributaries of the Rasina , are torrente streams from episodic flash flood events, also a constant threat to urban settlements. Erosion control measures and reforestation efforts in parts of the most endangered catchment areas are intended to minimize the amount of sediment transported, which is the greatest danger in these events.

A significant part of the hydrological systems in Serbia is determined by karst aquifers . These are important in terms of area in the western Serbian- Dinaric limestone mountains and in the Carpathian-Balkan mountain range of eastern Serbia ( Serbian Carpathians ).

Only the extreme southwest of the country is drained through the White Drin to the Adriatic Sea , the extreme southeast over the Pčinja , which flows into the Vardar , to the Aegean Sea .

Larger standing waters are mostly found today as oxbow lakes on the Danube and Sava, the largest natural lake is the Palić lake with an area of ​​around six square kilometers. Among the artificial reservoirs, the Đerdapsee ( Đerdapsko jezero ) above the Iron Gate occupies the largest area with 163 square kilometers on the Serbian side (total: 253 km²). Known reservoirs are vlasina lake on a former bog area in the Southeast Serbian mountains, the Perućac lake on the Drina and its lake in the Uvac - Canyon .

At 71 meters, the Jelovarnik in Kopaonik is the highest waterfall in the country. The largest and longest, but not the deepest gorge in Serbia and Europe is the Iron Gate .


Climate diagram of Belgrade

Serbia, which lies in the warm temperate climate zone , is characterized by a temperate continental climate . Precipitation decreases from south-west to north-east, while the precipitation maxima in particular shift from early summer to autumn / winter in the south-west. This creates a basic characteristic of Serbia's climate, which is determined by its location to the relatively warm seas ( Adriatic , Aegean and Black Sea ) and the mountainous nature. The precipitation regime with Mediterranean winter rains disappears with the distance from the coast, but is still to be found in the western Serbian mountainous region and in Kosovo. It is only in the more continental part of Vojvodina that the typical course of precipitation in Eastern Central Europe occurs with an early summer maximum precipitation that coincides with the highest level of the sun.

Due to the chambering of the relief, various micro- and macroclimatic modifications occur, which are modified by ventilatory conditions and the relief. Mountain climates can be found in the higher mountains in the south, west and east of the country.

The winters in Serbia are generally cold and snowy, the summers are warm. The coldest month is January, the warmest is July. The lowest temperature recorded so far in Serbia was -38.0 ° C (January 26, 1954 in Sjenica ), the highest was 45.8 ° C (August 16, 2006 in Paraćin ). The average annual temperature in Serbia is 10 ° C. The average rainfall at 896 millimeters.

The wind systems are determined by the seasonal pressure gradients. In winter, dry and cold north winds prevail, which are generated by the Siberian high ( Košava , Severac , Moravac ); so bring Adria lows , (in the transitional seasons by feuchtadiabatische Föhneffekte during ascent of the air mass from the Adriatic on the Dinarids) warm moist wind from the southwest ( Jugozapadni vetar ); This is followed by a brief increase in temperature in western Serbia and the Sava Lowlands. The warm Južni vetar (south wind) is based on the summer Etesia and flows in from the south over the Morava-Vardar furrow on the front of a Balkan high into Serbia. While the south wind on the back of the high causes the cooler Meltimi in the Aegean Sea.

Nature reserves and scenic attractions

The Deliblatska Peščara. NASA Landsat 7 ETM +
Deliblatska Peščara sand dunes
Serbian spruce, Tara National Park
The Sumadija in the center of Serbia

Serbia has five national parks, 20 nature parks and around 590 nature reserves with a total area of ​​7,315.08 square kilometers, which means that more than eight percent of the area of ​​Serbia is under nature protection. Serbia has shares in the European Green Belt and is located in the Blue Heart of Europe .

These protected zones, designated for the protection of species and the conservation of the state's biodiversity , represent nationally important reserves for rare or unique animal and plant species, the unique biotopes as well as landscape elements and landscape forms. The steppe dune landscape in the Deliblatska peščara reserve and the mountain jungle are exemplary locations in the Tara Mountains National Park .

In the Tara Mountains there are eleven scattered locations in the national park of the pre-glacial relic of the narrow-crowned and "fir-like" (due to the leathery, soft needles) Serbian spruce ( Picea omirka (Panč.) Purk.). These locations cover 2,760 hectares of special reserve areas, which, among other things, also accommodate the columbine Aquilegia nikolicii , which was first recognized as a new species in 2013 . An unusual relict endemic deciduous tree, which Josif Pančić first picked up in the Jastrebica Mountains in 1856 , is the northern subspecies of the Greek maple ( Acer heldreichii ssp. Visianii , Serbian Planinski javor ), which has a distribution center in the subalpine mountain forests of Serbia. It is the hardest deciduous tree in the subtropical mountains of the Balkans and is also traded internationally as an important commercial product in the tonewood segment due to the sought-after wood quality (violin bottoms are often offered in Balkan maple quality, the English trivial and trade name of the Greek maple wood , even in Italy ). For the production of Guslen it also provides the highest-listed raw material in Serbia, which means that the deposits are subject to strong re-tracking.

Among the steppe plants in the Deliblato Dunes nature reserve in a 34,829 hectare protection zone there are a few locations of the population of around 40 individual plants of the Banat peony ( Paeonia officinalis ssp. Banatica (Rochel) Soó), which also makes up the global population of the forest steppe plant . Another peony, which is also Serbia's national flower - the Byzantine peony - grows in the warmth-loving oak forests of Eastern Serbia and Kosovo. In folk lore it is associated with the blood of the Amselfeld heroes and is therefore called Amselfelder Peony (Kosovski božur). Recently, a population of around 2000 plants on 100 hectares of the deep red blooming species, which is also used as a medicinal plant, was discovered on the Maljan in the Kučaj planina.

The protected landscape areas such as the Suva Planina Special Nature Reserve are home to tertiary tropical relics such as the Serbian rock plate or the endemic Pančić Columbine . These species, adapted to rocky locations in limestone, are typical representatives of the paleo-endemic Balkan flora . For many other species in the Red Data Book of Serbia, these nature reserves and reserves are retreat areas.

The five national parks correspond to Category II of the IUCN .

National park accepted in the list of the IUCN Opština (municipalities) Area (km²)
Đerdap National Park 1974 Golubac , Majdanpek , Kladovo 636.8
Kopaonik National Park 1981 Raška , Brus 118
Tara National Park 1981 Bajina Bašta 190
Šara / Sharr National Park 1986 Štrpce / Shtërpca , Kačanik / Kaçanik , Prizren , Suva Reka / Suhareka 390
Fruška Gora 1960 Novi Sad , Sremski Karlovci , Beočin , Bačka Palanka , Šid , Sremska Mitrovica , Irig , Inđija 253.93

Eight places in Serbia were listed in the Ramsar Convention for the Conservation of Wetlands .

area added in the Ramsar Convention Opština (municipalities) Area (km²)
Gornje Podunavlje 2007 Apatin 224.8
Labudovo okno 2006 Bela Crkva 37.33
Lake Ludaš 1977 Subotica 5.93
Obedska bara 1977 Pećinci 175.01
Peštersko polje 2006 Sjenica 34.55
Slano Kopovo 2004 Novi Bečej 9.76
Carska bara 1996 Zrenjanin 17.67
Vlasina lake 2007 Surdulica 32.09

Among the scenic attractions are numerous geomorphological phenomena. Including:


Population pyramid of Serbia excluding Kosovo 2016

With an average age of 40.7 years, the Serbian population is one of the older (see Germany 46.2) - around 17.4 percent of the population is older than 65 years. The birth rate is 1.78. The average life expectancy is 72.6 years for men and 78.5 years for women. A census in Serbia takes place every ten years, the last census was in 2011.


Population density according to the 2002 census
Ethnic majority areas according to the 2002 census

The composition of the population is very different in the different parts of the country. According to the 2011 census, which did not take place in Kosovo, 83.3 percent of the population identified themselves as Serbs . The most important minorities are Hungarians (3.53%), Roma (2.05%) and Bosniaks (2.02%). Smaller groups form the Albanians , Gorans , Bulgarians and Turks in the southern parts of the country and Croatians and Slovaks in the north. In 2017, 9.1% of the population was born abroad. A large part of them are ethnic Serbs who come from other former Yugoslav republics.

According to official statistics, about 148,000 Roma live in Serbia. Unofficially, their number is estimated at 500,000 people.

Most of the Serbs live in central Serbia , as well as the Wallachians in the east and north-east; Bulgarians in the southeast and northeast; as well as also distributed Roma. In Sandžak some communities are mostly populated by Bosniaks / Muslims, in Preševo Valley in the southernmost tip of central Serbia mainly Albanians live . Overall, 89.48 percent of the residents of central Serbia describe themselves as Serbs, with the Bosniaks representing the second largest ethnic group with 2.48 percent .

The Vojvodina ( Banat , Backa and Srem ) is characterized for centuries by a mix of people - mainly from Serbs (65.05%), Hungary (14.28%), Slovaks (2.79%), Croats (2.78 %), Romanians (1.50%), Roma (1.43%), Bunjewatzen and Schokatzen (about 1%) and earlier also from several hundred thousand ethnic Germans ( Danube Swabians , Austrians, etc.) who, after the Second World War, with the justification of Collaboration with the enemy. Hundreds of thousands of (internally) refugees from the war zones in Croatia , Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo have settled in Vojvodina and northern Serbia . Nevertheless, Vojvodina is suffering from a sharp decline in population. The rural exodus from the fertile regions and the growth of the urban population are characteristic.

The majority of the population in Kosovo today is Albanians (88%). The Serbs form the largest minority (7%).


The main official language in Serbia is the standard Serbian language . Serbian or Serbo-Croatian is understood and spoken almost everywhere in the country. In the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina , Hungarian , Croatian , Russian , Slovak and Romanian are recognized as official languages ​​in addition to Serbian . Albanian is spoken in Kosovo and parts of southern Serbia .

According to the constitution that came into force in November 2006, the Serbian language in Serbia is officially written in Cyrillic , although the Latin form is often used in everyday life and in the media.


Church of St. Sava of Serbia in Belgrade, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world

The overwhelming majority of the population are Christians , of whom the majority, around 6.3 million, profess the Serbian Orthodox Church . According to the 2011 census, 84.6 percent of the citizens of Serbia (excluding Kosovo) profess the Christian Orthodox faith. In addition, there are 5 percent Catholics , 1 percent Protestants and a few New Apostolic Christians. There are also Muslims (3.1 percent) resident in Serbia. 3.1 percent of the population describe themselves as non-denominational, 1.1 percent as atheists and 0.1 percent of the citizens of Serbia as agnostics.

Previously, the Time Almanac supported by the Encyclopædia Britannica for Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo together gave 56.8% Orthodox, 5.1% Catholics, 6% other Christians, 16.2% Muslims and 15.9% non-denominational and atheists. After the independence of Montenegro and Kosovo, the New York Times World Almanac stated that 85 percent were Orthodox, six percent Catholics and three percent Muslim.

Cities and Urbanization

Urbanization and urban parishes

The cities of Serbia developed in cultural and historical terms south of the Sava-Danube line from the Ottoman Çarşı, north of it from Habsburg markets and colonist settlements, which in central Serbia were largely subject to major modernization only after the Second World War. However, the places in the Serbian part of Sanjak and Kosovo (with the exception of Pristina ) partly retained their oriental character.

The urbanization increased rapidly especially after 1945, as evidenced by industrialization, rural exodus from poorer regions of the former Yugoslavia and also the migration of war refugees led during several waves during the Yugoslav wars to a rapid increase in population in the larger cities.

Among the large cities, the administrative centers of the state, the metropolis of Serbia Belgrade with 1,154,589 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) and the seat of government of the autonomous province of Vojvodina , Novi Sad , with 221,854 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) are functional and administrative central role . Media and service companies as well as the state's cultural institutions are therefore also concentrated here. Due to their comparatively developed infrastructure, they are also of the highest regional importance for traffic and trade and show the most dynamic economic development. Due to the central location of Novi Sad and Belgrade on the development axis in Corridor X , they are particularly preferred for investments in the country.

In addition to these primary centers, Niš with 182,208 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) , after Belgrade, plays an additional central role in southern Serbia. The other larger urban cores of southern Serbia, Leskovac with 59,610 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) and Vranje with 54,456 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) , are, like Niš, on the strategic southern part of the Morava Corridor , the country's historically important main transport axis and also the central Balkan Peninsula.

In addition, Kragujevac, located in the heart of the Šumadija region with 147,281 inhabitants (November 10, 2011), and Subotica, which is the most important transit point between Serbia and the EU, with 96,483 inhabitants (November 10, 2011), have central functions.

As a result of the expansion of heavy industry, which was accelerated in socialist Yugoslavia, the metal processing and energy production sites of the ore and lignite deposits mined in the Šumadija region became one of the four major industrial regions in the former Yugoslavia. A large part of the remaining Serbian heavy industry is therefore still concentrated here today, which is characterized by a still significant proportion of large military-industrial combines, particularly at six locations. This central Serbian industrial belt includes Valjevo with 58,184 inhabitants, Užice with 52,199 inhabitants, Čačak with 72,148 inhabitants, Kraljevo with 63,030 inhabitants and Kruševac with 57,627 inhabitants (as of November 10, 2011) .

The most developed and urbanized region of Serbia is still Vojvodina. This is why the most diverse processing companies and service companies in the country have settled here. In addition to Subotica and Novi Sad, Zrenjanin with 75,743 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) , Sombor with 47,485 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) and Vršac with 35,701 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) as well as the other larger urban centers are characterized by comparatively good traffic - and social infrastructure and also a higher standard of living for the inhabitants than in the rest of the country. In addition, Pančevo, located in the Banat, with 73,992 inhabitants (November 10, 2011) has increasingly developed into a satellite city of Belgrade since the 1970s and is growing into the metropolitan region of the capital, which is still dynamically developing in terms of demographics .

Based on the data from the 2011 population survey compared to the previous 2002 census, with the exception of the capital, only the next two largest centers in the country have a positive population balance.

In Kosovo, Pristina takes on the function of the central location and primary business location.

The major cities of Serbia; Population: Preliminary results of the 2011 census:

city Ew. (narrower urban area) Ew. (Local community)
Belgrade 1,154,589 1,639,121
Novi Sad 221.854 335.701 (with Petrovaradin)
Niš 182.208 257,867
Kragujevac 147.281 177,468
Subotica 105,681 141,554
Pančevo 90,776 123.414
Novi Pazar 85.996 125,000
Zrenjanin 76,511 123,362
Čačak 72.184 114,809
Kraljevo 63.030 124,554
Smederevo 63,028 107,528
Leskovac 60,288 144.206

The major cities in Kosovo, Kosovo census 2011:

City (Serbian Latin / Albanian determined) Ew. (Local community)
Pristina / Prishtina 198.214
Prizren 178.112
Uroševac / Ferizaj 108,690
Peć / Peja 95,723
Đakovica / Gjakova 94.158
Gnjilane / Gjilan 90.015
Podujevo / Podujeva 87,933
Kosovska Mitrovica / Mitrovica 71,601
Vučitrn / Vushtrria 69,881
Suva Reka / Suhareka 59,702

The numbers come from the last census in June 2011.


The political structure of Serbia


Serbia is a parliamentary system of government . A unicameral parliament , the Narodna Skupština (literally translated: People's Assembly ) with 250 members, is the legislature . The Serbian parties represented in parliament are grouped as parliamentary groups in a government coalition and the opposition . The executive branch is led by the Prime Minister (Serbian Predsednik Vlade , or Prime Minister for short ). Ana Brnabić became the first woman in this position in 2017 . The president is elected directly by the people every five years. Re-election is possible. The incumbent from 2004 until his early resignation on April 4, 2012 was Boris Tadić ( DS ). He was succeeded in 2012 by Tomislav Nikolić from the SNS . The previous Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić (SNS) has been Serbia's President since the election on April 2, 2017 . There is a regional parliament in the autonomous province of Vojvodina . The district governments of the Serbian Okruzi , on the other hand, are appointed by the central government.

The parties represented in Skupština since the parliamentary elections on May 11, 2008 included the western-oriented coalition “For a European Serbia” ( DS in coalition with G17 Plus , SPO , LSV and the SDP ), the nationalist Serbian Radical Party , the center-right oriented Democratic party of Serbia in coalition with the rightist New Serbia . The Socialist Party of Serbia was represented in a coalition with the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia and with United Serbia in parliament. The Liberal Democratic Party , which is strictly pro-Western , also managed to enter parliament, as did the parties of the Albanian ( KAP ), Hungarian ( SVM ) and Bosniak ( BLES ) minorities, which are exempt from the five percent hurdle .

New elections were held early in 2014 and 2016 , both of which were won by Vučić's Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). In the 2016 election, the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) returned to parliament with just under 8 percent, but not in the 2020 election .

Political indices

Political indices issued by non-governmental organizations
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 66.1 out of 120 100 of 178 Stability of the country: Warning
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
Democracy index 6.22 out of 10 66 of 167 Incomplete democracy
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
Freedom in the World Index 66 of 100 - Freedom status: partially free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Freedom of the press ranking 32.03 out of 100 93 of 180 Recognizable problems for the freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 38 out of 100 94 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Political structure

The Serbian Government building at 11 Nemanjina
The Parliament of the Republic of Serbia, the Skupština

With the constitution of 2006, the autonomous regions of Serbia Vojvodina (in the north) and Kosovo and Metohija (both in the south) regained their political independence within Serbia and Yugoslavia as provinces of Serbia , which had existed from 1974 to 1989 . The rest of Serbia (more than half of the country), which does not belong to these two provinces, does not form a separate political unit, which is why there is no official name for it. Informally, the term central Serbia or “closer Serbia” is used.

Under Slobodan Milošević the autonomy status of the two provinces of Serbia was revoked and the old constitution was renewed from 1945 to 1974. Furthermore, their share of the vote within the state of Yugoslavia was transferred to the Republic of Serbia, which should strengthen Serbia's influence in political and financial decisions at the state level and thus accelerate the breakup of Yugoslavia .

After Milošević's fall in October 2000, the Serbian parliament passed the so-called Omnibus Act in 2002 , which among other things also stipulates that the regional parliament of Vojvodina is directly elected by the citizens of the province.

Kosovo has been under UN administration ( UNMIK ) since June 1999 , so that the provisions could not come into force there. The status under international law is controversial after Kosovo's declaration of independence on February 17, 2008.

For administrative purposes, Serbia is divided into 30 districts (including the city of Belgrade). 18 districts are in central Serbia, seven in Vojvodina and five in Kosovo. The local self-government units in Serbia are the opštine (singular opština , literally municipality , often more rural districts in terms of size). Of these, there are 108 in central Serbia, 54 in Vojvodina and 30 in Kosovo.

The historical regions in Serbia today have no official status. However, the districts are often named after them. For example, the Šumadija is both a district and a region, since the border of the Šumadija region is not clearly defined and extensive areas outside of today's district are often considered to be Šumadija. The regions in Vojvodina are named after rivers, others after mountains or mountains. Many of the regions have a Serbian name derived from the following structure: Po + (name of a river) + je . The Podunavlje region in the north of central Serbia emerged from this concept. It owes its name to the Danube (Serbian Дунав / Dunav ). The Podrinje region stretches along the Drina or the Pomoravlje along the Morava . Others, however, have the name of a mountain, such as the Zlatibor or Kopaonik regions.

2012 presidential election

Challenger Tomislav Nikolić (SNS) and incumbent Boris Tadić (DS) fought head-to-head for the office of president, which Tadić initially won with a narrow majority. Nikolić narrowly won the runoff election on May 20, 2012.

Foreign and Security Policy

Address by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Skupština

Serbia has not yet been part of the EU or NATO . While membership in the EU enjoys a high priority across all parties, the discussion about membership in the NATO military alliance is politically and socially contrary. Although Serbia participates in the Partnership for Peace program, and the armed forces of Serbia have a training program with the Ohio National Guard , there is disagreement within the Serbian parties about integration into the structures of the military alliance. There is also resistance from the influential Serbian Orthodox Church, which would like to entrust this decision to the people, and a traditional pro-Russian sentiment in the Balkan state, which is questioning the country's possible membership of NATO.

The most important argument of the NATO opponents is the bombing of Serbia in 1999 and the recognition of Kosovo's declaration of independence by the United States of America and numerous EU countries. Increased Russian influence on the economic and political events in the Balkans in general and Serbia in particular is due to the takeover of the previously state-owned Serbian oil company NIS by Gazprom, the intention to run the South Stream natural gas pipeline through Serbia and the granting of a billion-dollar loan for the Improvement of Serbia's infrastructure by Russia in 2009 grew noticeably.

The Russian interests in the Western Balkans, in which Serbia plays the key role, have a potentially difficult position in the course of the confrontation between the USA and Europe against Russia in the Ukraine conflict for the further positioning of Serbia, in which the envisaged EU membership is the guideline for foreign policy conflicts of interest to be resolved. The Berlin Foreign Office analyzed the Russian efforts to establish an economic, military and political presence in Serbia and the Western Balkans, which were viewed critically by the German government, in a confidential paper entitled “Influence of Russia in Serbia” at the end of 2014 on behalf of the German government.

High-level visits by Russian delegations, such as in the presence of Vladimir Putin at the military parade for the liberation of Belgrade on October 16, 2014, the holding of a Serbian-Russian military maneuver from November 9 to 16, 2014 ( SREM 2014 ), the largest military maneuver in Serbia in 30 years ago, or the inauguration of a 40-ton large sculpture of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II in Belgrade by the Patriarch of Moscow and Russia Kyrill I on November 16, 2014, emphasize Serbia's unbroken Russia-friendly policy, which also resulted in economic penalties against Russia stayed away from the conflict in Ukraine, and also hopes to intensify further economic cooperation with Russia by implementing the bilateral intergovernmental agreement of October 16, 2014.

The signing of the Minister for Emergency Situations of the Russian Republic, Sergei Shoigu, with the Minister of the Interior of Serbia Ivica Dačić about the establishment of a regional center for disaster situations at Niš Airport was rated as particularly sensitive . This act, which was felt to be symbolic at first, was often interpreted as a sign of Russia's medium-term intention to set up a military base on Serbian territory.

There are positive developments in Serbia's efforts to join the EU. In its annual progress report on the candidate countries of October 12, 2011, the EU Commission proposed granting Serbia candidate status. An essential prerequisite for this was the extradition of the two war criminals Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia . The commencement of negotiations for Serbia, however, remains tied to the condition that the mediation talks with Kosovo be resumed.

The question of the future of Kosovo remains a central problem in Serbian politics even after the declaration of independence by the parliament in Pristina in February 2008, the status of which is controversial under international law.

According to the 2006 constitution, Vojvodina in the north and Kosovo in the south form the two autonomous provinces of Serbia . The latter has been under UN administration since 1999 and the end of the Kosovo war . The Serbian government sees Kosovo's actions as a violation of UN resolution 1244 and the principle of territorial integrity . On October 8, 2008, the UN General Assembly approved a motion by Serbia to have the international law validity of the declaration of independence examined by the International Court of Justice . In 2010 the International Court of Justice published its opinion that Kosovo's independence does not violate international law. At the same time, the ICJ avoided assessing Kosovo's status under international law and recognized the validity of UN resolution 1244.

In protest against independence, the Serbs in northern Kosovo founded the Community of Municipalities of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija , which de facto escapes the control of the institutions in Pristina. In line with the efforts of the Serbian government to assert its territorial claims in the area, official documents always refer to Kosovo as an occupied part of Serbia.

After the breakup of the former common Yugoslav state, the course of the border on the Danube between Croatia and Serbia is controversial today. Since the historical Danube center line now meanders in a different position than it did during the original demarcation, Croatia claims parts of the left bank as well as some of the river islands (including the Šarengradska Ada and the Vukovarska Ada ). The total area of ​​the disputed areas, which are now under Serbian administration, is 115 km².

In 2014, Serbia and Russia signed a 15-year contract for the exchange of reconnaissance information and joint military exercises.

Since 2019, Serbia has been discussing a common economic area with North Macedonia and Albania, which is to become a reality under the name Open Balkan from 2023 .

The People's Republic of China has been investing considerable sums in Serbian industrial and mining companies for several years.


On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade from German occupation in World War II, Vladimir Putin was the guest of honor at the Vojska Srbije military parade held for this purpose

The armed forces of Serbia number about 37,000 men (2005 75,000), of which 6500 are in the air force. The conscription was abolished 2011th The budget for 2011 is around 675 million euros , which corresponds to a share of 2.08 percent of GDP.

Since 2003, community service has also been possible in Serbia , but it lasts 13 months. After the state union between Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved , the Montenegrin state received its own army again (the Podgorica corps of the joint army was converted into the Montenegrin army in May 2006 ). The common navy was disbanded.

With a resolution of the Serbian parliament in 2007, Serbia declared itself a “militarily neutral state”. Since 2009, the army has been converted into a professional army with around 10,600 professional soldiers. At the end of 2010 this renovation was completed and conscription was abolished.

Due to the bombing of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the NATO air forces, efforts to improve relations are a priority objective in the military consultations between the NATO command staff and the Serbian Army. Close contact is maintained through the Partnership for Peace , of which Serbia is a member, as well as regular consultations between the General Staff of the Serbian Army and the KFOR commander. As in spring 2014, American soldiers stayed in the most modern Serbian military area Jug to continue the military-technical cooperation. There is also a training agreement for Serbian officers in the United States through cooperation with the Ohio National Guard.

Russia, as Serbia's main military ally and most important military-technical partner, has been operating a civil protection center at Niš Airport since April 25, 2012, with a flight readiness and response team in the event of natural hazards and exceptional situations. This was agreed by the then Minister for Civil Protection and current Defense Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Kuschugetowitsch Shoigu and the current Serbian Foreign Minister and then Interior Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić . On October 17, 2014, a leadership and coordination center ( Russian and Serbian Humanitarian Center ) was set up here, which is subordinate to the Serbian Ministry of the Interior on the Serbian side. During Vladimir Putin's state visit on October 16, 2014, a contract on military-technical cooperation between Russia and Serbia was signed, which also includes the immunity of Russian officers in the Russian-Serbian civil protection center in Niš.

Human rights

According to Amnesty International, minorities continued to face discrimination. The judicial system is said to be weak.

In May 2010, Parliament filled the position of Commissioner for Equal Opportunities, as provided for in the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2009, with a lawyer favored by the ruling party. By the end of 2010, the Equal Opportunities Officer had received around 119 complaints about discrimination.

Homosexuals are still discriminated against in Serbia. According to the survey, 67 percent of the population are still against homosexuality. According to the survey results, 20 percent are even willing to support or justify violence against homosexuals.

In November 2010, the European Commission expressed concern about the impunity for torture of prisoners. Serbia had neither set up a national mechanism for prevention nor adopted a 2009 implementing regulation on the internal supervision of prisons.

Some economists and institutions speak of systematic corruption, since the large scope of discretion in the interpretation of legal provisions encourages abuses. The German lawyer Bettina Nellen , who previously worked for the private bank Kredietbank SA Luxembourgeoise (KBL) in Luxembourg as a specialist in anti-money laundering and compliance with legal standards in the banking sector, has been working in Belgrade as a consultant in the same focus area for the government of the country since December 1, 2013 . Nellen is paid by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation - whose boss Dirk Niebel had promised Serbia support with reforms.

In 2016, Serbia granted asylum to 16 refugees.


The Hilandar Monastery, built in the Byzantine style, is the spiritual center of the Serbian Orthodox. It was founded by the founder of the Nemanjid dynasty Stefan Nemanja and his son, the national saint Sava, on the holy Mount Athos at the end of the 12th century by a donation from the Byzantine Emperor.
Stefan Uroš IV. Dušan , Serbian king (1331–1346) and first tsar (1346–1355), fresco Lesnovo monastery around 1350

A state of Serbia was first mentioned in a document in 822 by Einhard , the biographer of Charlemagne . At that time, Župan Strojimir , the grandson of Višeslav , ruled Serbia. The rule of Županen in the area of ​​Serbia has been known since around 600. They were tribal leaders who held the government of Serbia until around 1000. After Serbia was devastated by the Hungarians , it fell completely under the rule of Byzantium , which lasted from 950 to 1050. Around 1040 Stefan Vojislav became a Byzantine archon over the region called Dioclitia and founded the rule of Vojisavljević, which continued to be under the government of Byzantium, which lasted until 1131. In the Raszien region , the Urošević took over around 1080 and in their successor from 1167 the ruling dynasty of the Nemanjids , under whose leadership Serbia achieved the ultimate rise to a regional great power. Under Tsar Dušan (1331-1355), the most powerful of all Serbian rulers, the Serbian empire reached the height of its political influence and expansion, while Dušan himself rose to be the most powerful king in south-eastern Europe . In 1345 he was raised to "Tsar of Serbs and Rhomeans " in Skopje . From 1371 Lazarević took over the rule. From 1427 to 1459 Raszien was ruled by Branković .

At the end of the 14th century the Turks pushed forward several times against Serbia, which stubbornly resisted military occupation and won the first battles, including the Battle of Dubravnica in 1381 and the Battle of Pločnik in 1386. A few years later it came to Battle on the Blackbird Field ( Kosovo Polje ), in which the last remaining Christian empire of Southeast Europe should be subdued and thus the last obstacle to the takeover of the Byzantine Empire with its capital Constantinople by the Ottomans would have been removed. The battle of Amselfeld ended without a clear winner, and the leaders of both armed forces fell. As a result, however, the resistance of the Serbian princes against a military or numerically superior enemy was so weakened that the Serbian army and its allies were crushed in 1389. They therefore had to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultans, which meant that the remainder of the Serbian principality had to pay tribute , although Vuk Branković continued to resist for a long time after the battle. This battle was later transfigured into the national myth of the Serbs. In 1459 Serbia was finally conquered by the Ottomans and remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1804 .

Independence, Principality and Kingdom of Serbia

Karađorđe , leader of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottomans 1804–1813

Despite numerous attempts to regain independence, Serbia was not partially liberated until 1804 in the first Serbian uprising . In 1813 the area was conquered again by the Ottomans. It was not until the second Serbian uprising of 1815-1817 that Serbia became partially an autonomous principality under Ottoman suzerainty. In 1867 Prince Mihailo Obrenović forced the last Ottoman regiments to leave the principality with their belongings, and Belgrade was solemnly consecrated as the free Serbian capital. In 1878 the independence of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro was recognized at the Berlin Congress of the Great European Powers and the Ottoman Empire . In 1882 the Principality of Serbia was declared a kingdom.

Serbia after the two Balkan Wars in 1913

On November 1st, Jul. / November 13, 1885 greg. the Serbian king Milan Obrenović declared war on Bulgaria. In the Serbian-Bulgarian War , the young Bulgarian army was able to defeat the Serbs without any support. Only the intervention of Austria-Hungary preserved the Serbian kingdom. The war ended with the Peace of Bucharest on March 3, 1886, in which the status quo ante was restored.

On October 9, 1912 Montenegro declared the Sublime Porte the war . The allied Serbs, Bulgarians and Greeks joined the war against the Ottoman Empire on October 18. This lost almost all of its European possessions through the Treaty of London in 1913 . Bulgaria, on the one hand, and Serbia and Greece, on the other, got into a heated dispute over the division of the Macedonia they had conquered . As a result, Bulgaria launched an attack on Serbia on June 29th. So it came to the Second Balkan War , in which Serbia fought together with Greece, Romania and the Ottoman Empire against Bulgaria. In view of this overwhelming power, Bulgaria had to capitulate in August 1913 and in the Peace of Bucharest surrender some of the territories it had won in the First Balkan War.

As a result of the Balkan Wars, the northern part of Macedonia became Serbian (→ Vardarska banovina ), the eastern part Bulgarian, the southern part Macedonia and the southwestern part of Thrace Greek.

Serbia in World War I and in the interwar period

During the First World War , Serbia stood on the side of the Entente cordiale from the start , its war aims envisaged the smashing of Austria-Hungary and the unification of all South Slav peoples in a common state. The trigger for the war was the assassination attempt by Sarajevo on the Austrian heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este, instigated by theBlack Hand ” secret society , which represents Greater Serbian ideologies and is also very influential in the Serbian government . Serbia was then confronted with a practically unacceptable ultimatum from Austria. In Die Schlafwandler , Christopher Clark shows that the key Serbian politicians did take this into account, while political agreements led to its rejection. This process initially triggered the July crisis of 1914, which resulted in the outbreak of war across Europe.

The Serbian army was able to repel the first Austrian offensives in 1914, but suffered heavy losses. A serious blow was the outbreak of an epidemic in the winter of 1914/1915, tens of thousands of soldiers died as a result of the fighting and the poor supply situation. In July 1915, Serbia occupied neighboring Albania . However, in the course of a coordinated offensive by the Central Powers against the country in October 1915 to clear up the Balkan front, Austrian, Bulgarian and German troops attacked Serbia from three sides. The Serbian army escaped total annihilation, but had to retreat to the sea and suffered losses of well over 90 percent of its original strength. Meanwhile, the Central Powers were running a strict occupation regime in the occupied country , which the Serbs stubbornly resisted with partisan actions. With the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918, Serbia emerged as a victorious power despite heavy losses .

After the end of the First World War, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was founded under the leadership of the Serbian King Alexander I. Karađorđević , who renamed itself Yugoslavia ( southern Slavia ) in 1929 . It consisted of Serbia, the previously independent Montenegro and most of the countries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire populated by southern Slavs , such as Bosnia-Herzegovina , Dalmatia , Croatia , Slavonia and Slovenia .

Serbia led on July 15 . / January 28, 1919 greg. officially entered the Gregorian calendar .

Internal conflicts in the Yugoslav monarchy led to a strengthening of national movements. As a result, the Serbian King Alexander I and the French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou fell victim to an assassination attempt by Croatian fascist Ustaša and Macedonian VMRO supporters in Marseille on October 9, 1934 . In the period that followed, an authoritarian regime developed, which historians now call the royal dictatorship and which was largely based on the Serbian part of the population.

The second World War

During the Second World War , Yugoslavia initially remained neutral and refused to join the three-power pact under German leadership. The agreement was only signed by the government of Cvetković-Maček and Prince Regent Paul on March 25, 1941 after open threats of war . As a result, there were demonstrations in Serbia, which finally culminated on March 27, 1941 in a pro-British coup in Belgrade, which was supported by Petar II Karađorđević . The government was overthrown and Prince Paul had to flee to Greece. Shortly afterwards, German troops began to march into Yugoslavia. Belgrade was bombed by the German Air Force on April 6, 1941 , causing around 20,000 civilian casualties. Within a few days, Yugoslavia was completely occupied and divided by the victors: Bosnia, Herzegovina and Syrmia were annexed to the new independent state of Croatia . The Banovina Zeta (now mostly Montenegro and Kosovo ) was occupied by the allied with Germany Italian troops. The Batschka fell to Hungary, while the Banat and a "rump Serbia" came under German occupation. During the war, southern and central Serbia eventually became the Bulgarian zone of occupation. Under the German "Commander Serbia" a puppet government was set up under General Milan Nedić , which had only limited powers. After the German occupation, a popular uprising broke out in Serbia in early July 1941, which later spread to Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia.

Partisan execution by the German Wehrmacht in Serbia, 1941

The anti-fascist resistance in Serbia was organized by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPJ) and the absolutist-monarchist government in exile of Yugoslavia under King Peter II . After the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the partisan movement controlled by the KPJ began to resist the Wehrmacht, but also to openly fight the Yugoslav monarchy. The resistance of the monarchists against the policies imposed Hitler started a little earlier with the fall of the Prince Regent Paul and his puppet Prime Minister Cvetković by General Dusan Simovic on March 25, 1941. In Serbia, the partisans were in the fall of 1941 in the mountainous region around Uzice liberated Republic of Uzice proclaim and hold against the Wehrmacht for 73 days. After the collapse of the uprising, the expulsion of the partisan units and their relocation to Bosnia, the resistance against the fascist occupiers in Serbia was only maintained by the Chetniks .

In 1942, still under German occupation, the communists had recognized the active and passive right to vote for women . The full legal, economic and social equality of the sexes and thus the active and passive right to vote for women were guaranteed for the first time in the constitution of 1946.

The Yugoslav partisans accused the Chetniks of accepting the crimes against Serbs by the German and Croatian occupiers uncritically under the head of government Nedić and of collaborating openly with them. The Chetniks were partially supported by Benito Mussolini's fascist Italy , but also by the Western powers. They resisted the Ustashas , but also the Tito partisans in Bosnia and Croatia, and on their part accused the partisans of provoking the ruthless retaliatory measures of the German occupiers in Serbia and of waging a revolutionary struggle at the back of the civilian population. Often times, the deaths of Wehrmacht soldiers were rewarded with the shooting of hundreds of Serbian civilians. Some Chetnik leaders, such as Kosta Pećanac and Dimitrije Ljotić , worked closely with the occupiers and took part in military actions by the Wehrmacht against the communist partisans.

In October 1944, was the third Ukrainian Front of the Red Army under Marshal Tolbukhin in the Belgrade Offensive , the Army Group South Ukraine beat and invade Serbia. With the advance of the Red Army into south-eastern Europe and the withdrawal of the Axis Powers, which was forced by the collapse of the Army Group in South Ukraine, the NOB (Narodna Oslobodilačka Borba) led by the Communists with units of the Yugoslav People's Liberation Army, coordinated with the Soviet leadership, was expanded to the territory of Serbia.

Serbia in the socialist era

Flag of the Republic of Serbia during the Socialist Era
A highly polarizing event during the socialist era was the opening trip of the Belgrade – Bar line on May 28, 1976. The line was the most expensive, longest and ultimately the last project planned from a national infrastructure fund in Yugoslavia. Pioneers welcomed President Tito and his wife Jovanka on the historic trip in Plavi voz.

Tito's partisans emerged victorious from the Second World War. Serbia became one of six republics of communist Yugoslavia. Until 1963, the republic was called the People's Republic of Serbia (Narodna Republika Srbija), after which it was called the Socialist Republic of Serbia (Socijalistička Republika Srbija).

Serbia received Eastern Syrmia, but Macedonia, like Montenegro, became an independent republic. In 1974 took place at the decision of the Communist Party under Tito and Edvard Kardelj a constitutional amendment and restructuring of Serbia into three parts: the "closer Serbia" (central Serbia) and the largely autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. In the Presidium of the SFRY Serbia has since been represented by three (out of eight) seats.

A fundamental characteristic of the development of Serbian society and the other Yugoslav republics in Socialist Yugoslavia was the outgrowth of an underdeveloped peasant society into that of a semi-industrialized European state. In the period from 1945 to the collapse of communism in 1990, the form of the Eastern European dictatorship of the proletariat formed a civilizing leap in society into a new form that did not exist before. Fernand Braudel found all Eastern European dictatorships to be extremely fertile terrain for the formation of new industrial societies. The brutal accumulation of capital required for this came from the nationalization of the agrarian acquis. In Western Europe, Thomas Moore used the metaphor that sheep eats people as the process of transition from a feudal to an industrial society . In the states of Eastern Europe after 1945, according to Milorad Ekmečić, the industrial machines ate the peasants , since the collectivization of the villages provided the social framework for the robbery of the values ​​of agricultural production. The rapid industrialization of agrarian societies through pauperization of the traditional village was carried out through this fund . In 1937, 76.3% of the total population in Serbia still lived from agriculture, compared to 29% in France. In some regions of Yugoslavia, where mostly Serbs lived, the percentage of agrarian society was even higher. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the 1948 census, 10% belonged to the urban population, of which the Serbs accounted for only 2%. In 1946 the law on nationalization was passed, which fundamentally cemented the fundamental repudiation of the sections of the population who were averse to communism. This law alone caused a culture shock among the 9 million inhabitants of Serbia, and in 1948 the handicrafts were also nationalized.

During the success of industrialization 1945–1965, 9,200,000 people in Yugoslavia left their rural surroundings. A million Serbs from other republics settled in Serbia in this way. This internal migration set back the cities more than it did the villages. Both town and village became cultural hybrids. The traditional urban dweller type was lost due to the millions of the agrarian population migrating to the cities, just as a broad agrarian proletariat developed through the collectivization of the village. The result was the transformation of the rural city and of the village, where the form of the lord's mentality, who produced for the market, disappeared. The former soldiers who came from the partisan movement became townspeople, which Branko Čopić described as the “eighth offensive on silk pants”. Ekmečić had metaphorically evidenced the change in shape of Belgrade to a new industrial city with the transformation of a "beautiful larva into an ugly butterfly"; even when the poet Miloš Crnjanski returned to Belgrade in 1965 from his long exile in London, he found that old Belgrade only “welcomed him with tears in his eyes”.

The first five-year plan for the development of Yugoslav society was adopted in 1947. Heavy industry was relocated inland for strategic military reasons. This heavy industry, which mostly met the needs of a strong army, was concentrated in Serbia and Bosnia. Steel works were set up in Zenica (Bosnia) and Smederevo, and automobile production facilities in Priboj and Kragujevac. In the smelting of non-ferrous metals, the lead-zinc mines near Pristina and those of copper in boron grew into real giants, which also became important on a European scale. Niš became the center of the electrical industry ( Elektronska industrija - Ei ). By the end of the five-year plan in 1965, Serbia had such a vehicle and engine (tractors, automobiles, trucks), machine (Niš and Belgrade) and petrochemical industries (Pančevo and Novi Sad). The system of planned economy found critics very late and in 1965 it was abandoned entirely. No five-year plan was passed for the second half of the 1960s; later five-year plans only remained declarative intentions with no binding function.

Plavi voz during the inauguration run on the Belgrade-Bar railway line (1976)

Despite the noticeable industrial stagnation after 1965, the years 1945–1965 marked a major civilizational upheaval in society. During this time communism was seen as a kind of "religion" and was therefore so efficient in this regard as well. The mass deployment of the Omladinske volunteer brigade was already practiced in the areas liberated from the occupation in 1941, although this practice was unknown in the Soviet Union. As a flywheel, major infrastructure projects for the country ( Autoput , Danube-Theiss-Danube Canal, as well as the Đerdap I hydropower plant ) were completed with the help of mass workers from the Omladinske Brigade . In particular, four fifths of the Belgrade-Bar mountain railway, which runs over the entire southeast Dinarides and is 476 km long , was completed in just eight years, despite massive excavation of earth and tunnels and the immense amount of material involved in laying the route through a high mountain range that is hostile to traffic. Yugoslavia got "Europe's giants of mountain railways" (Ascanio Schneider). This new main line of the Yugoslavian railways formed only the fourth main traffic route over the Dinarides (the already existing ones were Ljubljana-Koper, Zagreb-Rijeka, Vrpolje- (Sarajewo) -Ploče) and for the first time connected Montenegro with Serbia in a contemporary modern form. This traffic axis was built not only from an economic point of view, by connecting the Montenegrin coast with the newly built port in Bar as the most economically dynamic part of Montenegro with the grain fields of Vojvodina and the city of Belgrade (in Pančevo most of the overseas phosphate landed in Bar was used for the Processed fertilizer production), but radiated strong political impulses. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, rivalries between the great powers and the Balkan countries over the competing railway projects of a trans- Balkan railway between the Danube plain and the Adriatic coast prevented it from becoming reality within Yugoslavia. Since there were violent differences of opinion between Slovenia and Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro about the financing of strategic infrastructure projects from federal funds during the construction of the railway, these funds were generally discontinued on December 31, 1970. Serbia and Montenegro therefore had to pay almost two thirds of the costs themselves, most of which came from a heavily oversubscribed public loan and an IBRD loan from the World Bank . The inauguration of the route on April 28-29. In May 1976, Josip Broz Tito's trip on the Plavi voz state train, which was very well received in the national and international media, happened . During the ceremonial inauguration, Tito repeatedly invoked the unity of Yugoslavia (Bratstvo i jedinstvo), which, however, had continued since the beginning of the seventies due to the Croatian Spring in the further decentralization through the adoption of the new constitution drawn up by Edvard Kardelj from 1974 and the dissolution of Yugoslavia into separate states cemented.

“What, as I have already said, has been dreamed about for over a century, could not be realized in bourgeois Yugoslavia. That was only possible in the socialist Yugoslav community, a multiethnic, but united in all its work, which is working towards a better future in its endeavors and stability. "

- Josip Broz Tito: A dream of the century has come true

If the constitutional amendment led to an uproar, the cultural authorities had already led the way in their national programs in the 1960s. With the separation of language following the first amendment to the constitution of 1963, culture became a reservoir for national ambitions. In 1967 the creation of the Croatian written language was declared declaratively under the leadership of Miroslav Krleža . Ivo Andrić reacted angrily to this attitude of the most important Croatian author: Once a great Yugoslav, he has now become a provincial Croat, something he had fought incredibly hard in the past . Even during a discussion between Krleža and Andrić in 1970 in Zagreb, which was smoldering in nationalistic euphoria at the time, the deep state crisis was the dominant theme. Due to this internal weakening of Yugoslavia, Tito, aged 86 and already suffering from severe health problems due to a severe form of old-age sugar, was elected lifelong president at a meeting of the SKJ on June 23, 1978, which was an attempt to unify Yugoslavia with a symbolic act to guarantee. After Tito's death in 1980, the gradual dissolution of the entire Yugoslav state continued unabated. Politicians and intellectuals from all republics and autonomous provinces, especially Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and the Albanians of Kosovo, also turned to nationalist programs more and more due to the economic crisis in Yugoslavia in the 1980s . As a result of the state crisis in Yugoslavia and the rebirth of Serbia around the new strong man of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević , which was perceived as a national uprising , the autonomy of Kosovo was curtailed since 1987 and completely abolished in 1989. With the anti-bureaucratic revolution led by Milošević populistically in 1988/89, Serbian nationalism assumed increasingly threatening features for the cohesion of Yugoslavia. After several major manifestations in Belgrade, this culminated in the 600th anniversary of the Battle of the Blackbird Field in the Blackbird Field Speech .

When Slovenia left the Union of Communists at the 14th Congress of the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia in 1990, the situation at the state level was tense. At the same time, the Krajina Serbs in Croatia formed an opposition to the Croatian independence movement, which sought active self-government and also planned a military detachment of the Krajina from Croatia. The military solution to the Yugoslav crisis that Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia had taken into account had thus become a reality. The subsequent secret Karađorđevo agreement between Milošević and Tuđman on March 26, 1991, which provided for the partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia in the impending disintegration of Yugoslavia, was the first offensive step in the restructuring of Yugoslav territory.

Yugoslav Wars 1991–1995 and Kosovo War 1998–1999

Trajectors and departure points for the NATO air force operations in the bombing of Yugoslavia from March 24th - June 11th 1999. Exhibition board in the Military Museum in Belgrade.

The Yugoslav Wars finally broke out with the declaration of independence for Slovenia and Croatia, and subsequently Bosnia-Herzegovina. Initially, regular units of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), which after the international recognition of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, left the republics in retreat fighting or converted to the army of the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs, were involved in the war. In particular, the Serbian-Croatian war culminated in Vukovar, in which the JNA, which had remained passive in the first Slovenian war , now openly intervened on the Serbian side with all available means. Serbia supported the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the Bosnian Serbs militarily and financially, particularly at the beginning of the war , but imposed an embargo on the Bosnian Serb republic during the course of the war.

During the war in Bosnia, the UN imposed a trade embargo on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The sanctions were triggered , among other things, by ethnic cleansing , such as B. the murder of 8000 men and boys in Srebrenica, which was directed primarily against the Bosnian Muslims , but also other non-Serbs in Bosnia. At the beginning of the war, the Croatian and Bosnian Serbs managed to occupy large parts of Croatia and Bosnia, especially the districts inhabited by the majority of Serbs. In the course of the Croatian military operation Oluja 1995, the majority of the Serbian population was expelled from Croatia, which led to the end of the war with the military turnaround in Bosnia and the Dayton Agreement . Around 700,000 Serbs fled to Serbia during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, which at that time was ruled by “a precariat of criminals and thugs” from the Miloševic milieu.

After the Dayton Agreement , which ended the Bosnian War and the end of the “ Republic of Serbian Krajina ”, the status of the predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo remained the last politically explosive question in the Yugoslav wars of disintegration after 1995 . The Serbian leadership under Slobodan Milošević tried to end the increasingly violent unrest in Kosovo with restrictive police and, ultimately, military means. The UÇK ("Liberation Army of Kosovo"), which operates with terrorist means, began in 1996 with intensified attacks on Serbian security forces. There were also acts of violence against the Serbian civilian population in the cities. With the arming of the UÇK from weapons stocks in Albania, where public order completely collapsed after the lottery uprising and entire stocks of ammunition were plundered, the UÇK continued its course of confrontation against the Serbian security forces. As a result of increased activity by the KLA, which was able to gain control of the Drenica region in the course of 1998, the Serbian security forces began a coordinated police counter-offensive, which was supported by units of the army. Due to serious human rights violations during the fighting, the western states under the leadership of the USA now saw themselves as responsible for their inaction in Srebrenica four years earlier. The US blamed the Serbian leadership for the escalation. After the fighting flared up again in the spring of 1999, the North Atlantic Council shortly afterwards issued an ultimatum to Serbs and Kosovar Albanians calling on both sides to start negotiations. The international peace conference was scheduled for February 6, 1999 at Château Rambouillet (see Treaty of Rambouillet ).

NATO interpreted the rejection of the ultimatum as Casus Belli and began on March 24, 1999 with the Allied Force air war operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This operation is still considered illegal by the majority of international lawyers to this day. Under military pressure from NATO, the Serbian parliament approved the G8 peace plan and the core demands of NATO on June 3. On June 9, the Yugoslav government signed the Kumanovo Agreement , which provided for the gradual withdrawal of Yugoslav troops, the simultaneous entry of the international security force KFOR and the suspension of NATO air strikes. After 78 days of war, the United Nations Security Council then ordered on June 10, 1999 with UN Resolution 1244 an international civil interim administration ( UNMIK ) and a security presence for NATO in Kosovo. On the evening of June 10, the North Atlantic Council gave KFOR the order to operate.

These regulations confirmed the affiliation of the province of Kosovo to Yugoslavia, subject to a final status regulation. With the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army and police, over 200,000 Serbs left the province. Most of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were forcibly expelled by the Albanians, and hundreds were murdered or are considered missing.

Democratization and dissolution of the Federation with Montenegro

In the presidential elections on September 24, 2000 Vojislav Koštunica was elected President of Yugoslavia, which ushered in the end of the Milošević era. In the parliamentary elections in December 2000, the DOS won an overwhelming victory. In January 2001 Zoran Đinđić was elected as the new Prime Minister. This resulted, inter alia. on the fact that Slobodan Milošević was extradited on June 29, 2001 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. On March 12, 2003, Đinđić was murdered in the street by assassins from the ranks of the former " Red Berets " . A new president was not elected until June 2004; the liberal and Europe-oriented reformer Boris Tadić won the presidential election.

Since democratization in 2000, Serbia has made greater efforts to integrate into the European Union. Negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) began in November 2005. Serbia unilaterally ratified the provisional Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in September 2008, as the Netherlands opposed ratification by the EU. On December 7th, 2009 the foreign ministers of the EU states approved an interim agreement for trade facilitation with Serbia. The most far-reaching change in the relationship between the EU and Serbia was the easing of travel for Serbian citizens who came into effect on December 19, 2009 and who have since been able to travel to the EU without a visa. The Serbian government applied for membership in the European Union on December 22, 2009. The recognition of the status of candidate country of the European Union expected for December 2011 was postponed to March 2012 mainly at the instigation of Germany because of the smoldering Kosovo conflict (see Serbia and the European Union ).

Despite the democratization, the process of disintegration of the Serbian state, as one of the last of the states to emerge from Yugoslavia , continued. After the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), only Serbia and Montenegro formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992 onwards. This has now been dissolved by a resolution of the then Federal Parliament on February 4, 2003 and replaced by Serbia and Montenegro (Srbija i Crna Gora) . On June 5, 2006, the Serbian parliament in Belgrade declared the country's formal independence, after Montenegro took this step after the referendum on May 21, 2006 , which was in favor of independence, on June 3, 2006 with the declaration of independence by the Montenegrin parliament in Podgorica had performed. Serbia became the successor state to the confederation of states at the United Nations . On September 30, 2006 the parliament in Belgrade unanimously passed an amendment to the constitution for Serbia after six years of debate . In a referendum a month later, the new constitution was adopted and later passed by parliament. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo, a territory in Serbia that had been assigned to Serbia by the London Ambassadorial Conference in 1913, declared its sovereignty . The Serbian government and the Serbian parliament consider this secession to be inadmissible; it is controversial under international law. After this declaration of independence, riots broke out in various cities, in which particularly the embassies of the states in favor of independence were attacked. At the same time, the Serbs in northern Kosovo declared that they had set up parallel police and administrative structures.

After early elections were held again in May 2008, a coalition government was formed in July 2008 under the leadership of the previously ruling Democratic Party, among other things together with the previously opposition Socialist Party . A few days after the formation of the government, the long-wanted suspected war criminal Radovan Karadžić was arrested in Belgrade, which led to brief, sometimes violent protests by nationalist sections of the population. At the same time, the way was paved for the ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), which was confirmed by the Serbian parliament on September 9, 2008.

As part of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 which imposed elected in 2017 as President Aleksandar Vučić after they made earlier curfews by hand, without a parliament decision, the state of emergency ; whether he thereby committed a breach of the constitution is controversial.


Economic development

The Yugoslav wars in the first half of the 1990s had seriously damaged Serbia economically. Although there was no fighting on Serbian soil, the discontinuation of the exchange of goods with the rest of Yugoslavia, the support of the Serbian troops in Croatia and Bosnia and UN sanctions plunged the country into a devastating economic crisis. Two thirds of the businesses had already closed in 1992, and by 1995 the formal economy came to an almost complete standstill. With monthly inflation rates of 300,000,000 percent, the purchasing power of the average monthly income sank to the equivalent of 56 DM, the average pension to single-digit DM amounts, four fifths of the population lived below the poverty line. Almost all economic activity shifted to the informal sector. Smuggling, bartering, self-sufficiency in food through part-time farming, using up foreign currency savings and the support of Serbs living abroad made it possible for the population to survive.

The traces of the destruction caused by the NATO bombing during the Kosovo war of 1998/99 have still not been removed everywhere.

Since 2000 the governments of Serbia have been striving to establish a western-oriented economy . In a short period of time, Serbia has achieved successes in macroeconomic stabilization and structural reforms, for example in the financial and energy sectors. Prices were liberalized, taxation and customs reformed.

From 2000 to 2008 inclusive, Serbia's war and embargo economy was one of the fastest growing in Europe, mainly due to increased foreign investment, with an annual growth rate of over 5 percent. From 2001 to 2009, 12.2 billion euros were invested directly in Serbia, which resulted in around 800 companies with foreign participation being registered in Serbia in 2010.

Due to the strict requirements of the Serbian National Bank and a lack of attractiveness for speculative investors, Serbia is one of the most highly capitalized and most stable banking markets. This also contributed to the fact that the decline in economic output in Serbia in the crisis year 2009 was less than in the entire region of Southeastern Europe (−5.4%). In 2009, however, the country's economic output fell by a considerable 3 percent. In the following years, however, the economy was able to recover. In 2015 the Serbian economy only grew by 0.5 percent, while inflation was 2.0 percent. The gross domestic product (GDP) was around 32.9 billion euros in 2015, and GDP per capita was 4,624 euros. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Serbia ranks 78th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks 99th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

In 2010, 2.95 million people were employed in Serbia. The proportion of unemployed in 2010 was 19.4 percent of the working population and rose to around 24 percent in early 2012. The average net wage in 2009 was the equivalent of 335 euros. The proportion of the population living below the relative poverty line , which is defined as 60 percent of the median income , was 13.2 percent in 2008 and thus 3.3  percentage points below the EU average of 16.5 percent. The proportion of those below the absolute poverty line , which is a monthly income of € 80, was 7.9 percent in 2008.

The main export products from Serbia are iron, steel, textiles, rubber products, wheat, fruits, vegetables and non-ferrous metals. The main imports are petroleum and petroleum derivatives , automobiles, gas, electrical appliances and industrial machinery. Most of the imports are from Russia, followed by Germany, Italy, China and Hungary. Exports are mainly to Germany, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Romania.

Economic cooperation

Serbia is a member of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) . There is also an agreement on special relations with the Republika Srpska . Serbia is the only European country outside the CIS that has signed a free trade agreement with Russia . On December 7th, 2009, the EU approved an economic agreement with Serbia that had been prevented by the Netherlands so far.

Several other free trade agreements with the states of Kazakhstan , Belarus and Turkey as well as the European Free Trade Association are currently in force. This means that markets with a total of around 800 million inhabitants are open to the Serbian economy under largely liberalized conditions.


Within the framework of the Chinese economic development in a specialized development fund for Central and Eastern Europe, most of the 15 Eastern Central European countries involved are currently being carried out in Serbia.

In 2007, the volume of orders for Chinese companies in Serbia was 10.26 billion US dollars, which is about 1/4 of Serbia's GDP (41.4 billion US dollars).

In addition to an already completed bridge over the Danube near Zemun and sections of the motorway transversal to the Adriatic coast, the central project is the high-speed route Budapest - Belgrade. This project was announced by the Prime Ministers of China, Hungary and Serbia on November 26, 2013 at the second China-Central-East-Europe Summit in Bucharest. China is providing the funds required for this in the CEE fund (Central-East European countries). In addition to an infrastructure loan, Chinese know-how is planned for construction and operation. During the third China-CEE meeting held in Belgrade in December 2014, the planning contracts and on November 24, 2015 in Suzhou at the fourth China-CEE summit, the execution of the high-speed line was decided in the presence of Li Keqiang . The railway line to be built for the first time in Europe by a consortium of Chinese companies, China Railways and the China Railway Group on the Hungarian side and the China Communications Construction Company on the Serbian side, is considered to be a flagship for the expertise of Chinese railway technology, which is part of the "China speed" railway initiative. is staged in an effective way around the world. During a promotional run of the CRH380A, one of the world's fastest regular trains at 486 km / h, on November 25, 2015, the premieres of Hungary and Serbia were also guests of honor Li Keqiang.

In addition, the transitory freight transport in Southeast Europe is a strategic focus. About an intermodal networking in the container port of Piraeus , to the Chinese state-owned China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (in short: COSCO) has leased about 50% for a period of 35 years as a trading center of Southeast Europe for certain to the EU goods, in relation China-EU upgraded the Balkan route. A so-called China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line , within the framework of which the China-CEEC company will coordinate goods traffic, is to be implemented in the medium term via the pilot project in the expansion of the Budapest - Belgrade route. According to the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko Čadež, investments in the railway infrastructure on the main Balkan axis will be of macroeconomic importance in addition to faster cargo handling.

In further bilateral discussions between the President of China Xi Jinping and Premier of Serbia in Beijing on November 26, 2015, the interest of the Chinese government on sale of the only Serbian steelworks Smederevo (Železara Smederevo) that ten years was the consortium US Steel belonged to the world's second largest steel producer - HBIS Group - Hesteel ( HBIS Group core company - Han-Steel ). A memorandum of understanding between HBIS and the Serbian government was signed on November 26, 2015 in Beijing. The formal signing of the contract took place on April 18, 2016 between the Serbian government and representatives of Hesteel in Smederevo. It is China's first strategic investment in a Serbian company. Due to the presence of Chinese civilians in Serbia, Chinese police officers went on patrol in Serbia, more precisely Belgrade, for the first time in 2019 as part of the bilateral cooperation .


Russia, which invested $ 3 billion in Serbia up to 2014, has emerged as the main investor in Serbia's energy ($ 2 billion) and railway infrastructure ($ 800 million) in recent years. During Vladimir Putin's state visit on October 16, 2014, in the presence of the Russian President, the open anekse on the modernization of Železnice Srbije by the Russian State Railways was ratified. With this, RŽD -International is renewing essential components of the Serbian main lines. The Russian Railways and the Železnice Srbije also signed a memorandum of strategic cooperation between the two state railways on October 27, 2015, by sending projects to the Russian Railways to plan a railway operations center as dispatcher , as well as to improve training in Serbia's rail transport system were handed over.

In addition, in the Serbian abstinence from sanctions against Russia by the EU and the USA, Putin has advocated an expansion of food and automobile exports to Russia.

Economic structure


Over 100 year old Prokupac vines near Aleksandrovac, Župska regija
The most widespread autochthonous red wine in Serbia is made from the Prokupac vines.

About 65 percent of the total area of ​​Serbia is agriculturally usable. The low relief of the Pannonian Plain, which is advantageous for intensive agricultural use, has also made the province of Vojvodina the breadbasket of the country. Among the climatic and ecological conditions that have a positive effect on the harvest volume, the fertile soils, which in Vojvodina often consist of high-yielding optimal soils from the steppe black earth, are to be emphasized. Industrial intensive crops on large areas therefore also occupy significant areas in the north. Here are oilseeds , sugar beet , corn , potatoes and wheat predominant crops.

The hilly to mountainous regions of central Serbia are then often characterized by orchards . In particular, Serbia is an important producer of plums , raspberries and apples on a global scale . The area has also been a wine-growing region for centuries . Among the 68,000 hectares of vineyards, the Syrmian Fruška Gora , the Vršačke gore in the Banat, the Timočka krajina in Eastern Serbia, the Toplički okrug around Kruševac and in general the landscapes of the Great and Southern Morava (with centers in Smederevo and Vranje) are important wine producers The Serbian wine region in Metochien once produced the Amselfelder as the most imported red wine in Germany. Regional varieties like the dominant Prokupac and Kadarka , Tamjanika , Smederevka , Vranac and Krstac be for varietal autochthonous wines or blends with Riesling , Pinot Noir , Gamay , Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pig fattening , cattle breeding and, in the mountainous regions in the southwest and east, sheep farming are typical for animal husbandry .


The country's industrial sector has been growing steadily for several years. Most of the companies in Serbia were state-owned companies. The industrial sector in Serbia is characterized by a large number of small and medium-sized companies. The most important branches of industry are the manufacturing and construction industries .

The focus is on the production of food , textile products , metal products , glass , cement , machines and, occasionally, technology and telecommunications products .

With the signing of the agreement in Moscow in January 2008 for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which is to run around 400 kilometers through Serbia, the takeover of 51 percent of the share capital of the Serbian oil company NIS (Нафтна Индустрија Србије / Naftna industrija Srbije ) by Gazprom Neft , whose majority owner is the Russian energy company Gazprom and the commissioning of a natural gas depot with at least 300 million cubic meters of storage capacity in the exhausted Banatski Dvor gas field about 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Novi Sad , one of the most important transit hubs for gas in Southeastern Europe will be built in Serbia in the near future.


The service sector has dominated the economy in Serbia since 2001 and accounts for well over half of the gross domestic product. The shift from the primary and declining secondary sector, which consisted mostly of state-owned enterprises, to the service sector began with a series of fundamental reforms that were introduced as early as the post-socialist era of the Milošević regime. Since then, the economy has “boomed” in this area.

The largest service center is the financial metropolis and capital Belgrade , where most of the companies from the tertiary sector are based. The other large cities of Novi Sad and Niš are also important service locations. The banks , the insurance industry, trade and transport are at the fore here.


Serbia's largest lake, Lake Đerdap , is a reservoir at the Iron Gate

The primary energy sources are coal and hydropower, as well as oil. The most important power plants are the lignite power plants in Kostolac as well as the hydro-energy system of the Danube with the two hydropower plants Đerdap I + II. In addition, the sparsely populated catchment area of ​​the Drina is important in terms of water management (hydropower plants near Zvornik, Bajnina Bašta as on Uvac and Lim).


Due to increased investments in tourism, infrastructure and more advertising, the number of foreign visitors rose to 700,000 in 2007. Tourism income in 2008 was around $ 944 million.

The main tourist destinations in Serbia are the cities of Belgrade and Novi Sad , numerous health resorts, the Kopaonik , Zlatibor and the Danube. Furthermore, Serbia offers numerous fortresses and monasteries as well as a multitude of lakes and gorges, of which the Iron Gate is the largest. Many of these geographic features are protected as national parks or nature reserves. The House of Flowers , Tito's mausoleum in the Museum of the History of Yugoslavia , attracts numerous visitors from all over the former Yugoslavia , especially on the day of Tito's death, May 4th.

State budget

The state budget for 2011, approved on December 29, 2010, includes expenditure of RSD 844.9 billion and planned income of RSD 724.4 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 4.1 percent of GDP .
The national debt in 2011 was 13.79 billion euros or 41.7 percent of GDP.

The largest expenditure items in the 2011 budget:

  • Social expenses: RSD 274.3 billion - 21.8%
  • Pensions: RSD 230.9 billion - 18.6%
  • Public service salaries: RSD 156.7 billion - 12.4%


Energy sector

Energy in Serbia is mainly generated by coal and hydropower plants, of which about a third of the annual production - around 10 to 12 billion kilowatt hours - is generated by hydropower plants. In 2009 a surplus of 2.6 billion kWh was generated.

After the end of the Milošević regime, the Serbian energy sector was in a desperate state due to the UN embargo, war damage and liquidity shortages of the state electricity supplier EPS. Only through an international emergency aid program could the power supply be stabilized to such an extent that there have been no more scheduled power cuts since 2002. In the years up to around 2017, further investments of 14 billion euros were planned to bring the Serbian generation and transmission systems closer to Western European standards.

According to experts, Serbia has significant potential for better use of alternative energy sources, which is estimated at more than 3.83 million tons of oil equivalent per year. According to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, around 2.68 million tons of oil equivalent are accounted for by biomass, a further 640,000 tons by solar energy, 440,000 tons by small hydropower plants, 185,000 tons by geothermal and 160,000 tons by wind energy. The large biomass potential results from the 24,000 km² wooded area and the 45,000 km² agricultural area and, according to estimates, should be able to satisfy around 20 percent of Serbia's energy needs. The use of biomass in Serbia finds its most common use in heating private households in the form of briquette and pellet usage.

In order to make investments in the field of renewable energy sources more attractive, the Serbian government set the amount of the feed-in tariff for electricity generated in this way at the end of 2009. The remuneration scheme provides for guaranteed purchase prices for electrical energy generated by small hydropower plants, wind and solar parks and also by systems that use biomass, landfill or sewer gas for electricity production. With the help of this regulation, the Serbian government hopes to increase electricity generation from renewable energy sources by 7.4 percent by 2012 compared to 2007 levels.

In 1968, the country's largest hydropower plant was built near the small town of Bajina Bašta . With an output of 340 megawatts, it still generates a large part of the electricity consumed in Serbia.

In mid-February 2011 in Belgrade, the Serbian electricity supplier Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) (Електропривреда Србије / Elektroprivreda Srbije) and the Italian company Seci Energia signed a preliminary contract for the construction of a number of hydropower plants along the central Drina. The planned hydropower plants will have a capacity of 300 MW and the construction costs are estimated at around 820 million euros. Construction is scheduled to start in 2012. EPRS, the electricity company of the Republika Srpska , will be involved in this project on the basis of an agreement signed by EPS and EPRS in September 2010 for the construction of hydropower plants in the central Drina. Part of the electricity generated in Serbia is to be exported via Montenegro and then to Italy via submarine cables. EPS and Seci Energia are currently working on another project. which was agreed in summer 2010. The construction of ten hydropower plants with a total output of 103 MW and an expected annual electricity production of 420 million kWh on the Ibar River is planned. The costs are put at around 300 million euros. The project is to be implemented by the joint venture Ibarske hidroelekrane , in which EPS will hold 49 percent and Seci 51 percent of the shares.

In addition, the Serbian state power producer EPS is planning to build a third hydropower plant on the Danube called Đerdap III (Ђердап III) with an output of around 2.4 gigawatts (around 7.6 billion kWh annually) and with the electricity producers of the neighboring countries concerned an investment volume of around three billion euros. The project was considered as a possibility as early as 1973.


Serbia is an important transit country in traffic from Hungary and Eastern Central Europe to Greece, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania and Turkey.

The Serbian government plans to invest around 22 billion euros in the renewal and expansion of traffic routes over the next two decades. The largest part is to go into the construction of roads and motorways, but the expansion of railways, ports and airports is also planned.

Road traffic

The road network is 45,290 kilometers long. Serbia has 633 kilometers of toll motorway . The road network includes 2,638 bridges and 78 tunnels, but very few of them are illuminated. The infrastructure is gradually being expanded. Many motorways and expressways are in the planning and construction phase. In the future, seven motorways are to connect Belgrade with the Serbian heartland. Two new motorways are to be built, which will connect Belgrade with Montenegro (south-west) and Romania (north-east). The extension of the 106 km long line from Horgoš to Novi Sad to the Autoput A1 took place between 2009 and 2011. The modernization of the existing 68 km long line between Novi Sad and Belgrade is planned, the Autoput A2 from Belgrade to Požega with a length of 148 Kilometer (see motorways in Serbia ) has been under construction since 2010.

In the foreseeable future, the route from Požega towards Montenegro is to be continued. Above all, tourism and the economy in general are hoping for an upswing for all of Southeast Europe and also for the Adriahafen Bar . The aim is to have the planned new motorway from Belgrade to the southern Adriatic recognized as part of the trans-European traffic corridor 10 .

The current section of the Autoput A1 from Belgrade to Preševo is the most important motorway route in Serbia. It runs from Belgrade in a southeastern direction to Leskovac . In 2006 an agreement was reached with the Greek government to complete the construction of the motorway to the Macedonian border . The cost of the approximately 96-kilometer route is expected to be around 380 million euros, of which the Greek government is investing 100 million euros. Construction began in the summer of 2008. In 2008, a section of the Belgrade ring road was completed, but it is only a semi-freeway. The completion of the entire ring road around Belgrade was still pending in 2021.

Further investments will be made on the A4 autoput , an important route especially for transport from Central Europe to Turkey and the Middle East . In addition, a mandatory vignette was introduced on Serbian motorways in 2010.

Rail transport

Route network of the Serbian railways
Museum Railway in Bosnian lane-wide on the Šargan Eight

Serbia has 3,809 kilometers of railway lines. 1364 kilometers of it are electrified. However, a large part of the railway network no longer meets the technical railway standards of developed industrial countries. For the first route to be established as a modern high-speed line, the contracts for the Belgrade-Budapest route were signed by the Prime Ministers of China, Hungary and Serbia on November 25, 2015 in Suzhou at the fourth China-CEE summit. With a planned two-year realization, construction is scheduled to start at the end of 2015. The government of China is responsible for the financing, construction and technical operation of the strategic project. In the medium term, the route from the port of Piraeus, which is of interest to China's export industry and which, as a railway hub for goods transport across the Balkans, is to form a central rail-bound freight transshipment port between China and Europe, will expand the entire Serbian main route to Macedonia and further to the Greek ports.

The most important long-distance train stations in the pan-European railway corridor X are Belgrade ( Central Station , Prokop and Novi Beograd ), Novi Sad, Niš and Subotica. The entire Budapest-Belgrade connection has been upgraded to a high-speed line since 2017 . In addition to the domestic lines, Serbia's railways operate connections to Montenegro , Turkey and several EU countries, including to Bulgaria as well as Hungary and Austria .

Due to the heterogeneous historical origin of its railway lines, which have only gradually grown into a coherent network, the Serbian-Bosnian railway system with 760 mm gauge was formerly the largest narrow-gauge railway network in Europe. The most scenic part of this Bosnian-Old Serbian narrow-gauge network, initially intended as a temporary solution, was the 400 km long Belgrade – Sarajevo line, which until 1974, in connection with the former Bosnian Eastern Railway in the section of the Šarganska osmica, had a double railway loop that was unique in Europe and one of the most spectacular per built lines apply. The section between Višegrad and Kremna, which has been restored as a museum railway, is one of the few remaining international narrow-gauge lines in Europe.

Air traffic

The international airport "Nikola Tesla" on the western outskirts of Belgrade plays the most important role for air traffic . There is also the international airport "Konstantin Veliki" in Niš. Another civil airport was opened in the summer of 2006 through the renovation of a former military airfield near Užice . Air Serbia is the national airline. The attempt made in 2006 to establish a low-cost airline in the country with Centavia failed after a few months.

Inland shipping

There are many river ports on the Danube, Sava and Tisza , which have recently started serving a tourist route. There is a water connection to the Black Sea via the Danube .



In the ranking of press freedom 2021 published by Reporters Without Borders , Serbia was ranked 93rd out of 180 countries. The non-governmental organization sees the strong concentration of the media market and the control exercised by the state under President Vučić as the largest donor and advertiser as problematic. In addition, journalists are inadequately protected from attacks and threats.

There are 18 daily newspapers in Serbia, including Politika , Blic and Večernje novosti . Among the weekly political magazines, NIN and Vreme are the most prominent. The daily newspaper circulation is 106 newspapers per 1000 inhabitants. There is also the state television broadcaster RTS with two channels, which is in transition to a public service system, as well as several private television channels, of which RTV Pink has the highest audience rating in the country. In addition to three state-owned radio stations, there are a large number of private radio stations . Here, in the 1990s, the broadcaster B92 in particular became internationally known when it actively supported the Serbian opposition to the Milošević government .

The International Radio Serbia sends a program in twelve languages, including in German, and can on shortwave , via satellite and the Internet as a podcast to be heard.

The British BBC broadcast a Serbian-language program until the beginning of 2011 . However, this was discontinued in February 2011.

Bless you

Medical code Hilandars here to Phytopharmacology the Betonie (бетонйка)
The Military Medical Academy in Belgrade (VMA) is the largest hospital in the country

Medical care in Serbia is based on monastery medicine in the 12th-16th centuries. Century back. Sava of Serbia established the first hospital in the statute of the Studenica Monastery. The extensive genre of phytopharmacological treatises of Latin medical codes was translated into Slavic-Serbian via Hilandar's Medical Codex ; Konstantin von Kostenezki reported in the 15th century on the Belgrade hospital, to which a large medicinal herb garden was attached. In the 14th century, professional doctors from Italy took over the medical consultation in the Serbian Adriatic cities, just as the first pharmacies were opened there. Lepers and the physically handicapped were taken outside of the monasteries in special facilities, among others. at Dečani Monastery and Srebrenica. During the Ottoman period, only Muslims could be treated in the hospices they established; the Serbian Christians were left with care in the monastery facilities or, increasingly, the phytotherapy carried out by folk healers and herbalists. Folk medicine, naturopathy and theurgical-magical medicine were only gradually replaced with the arrival of trained doctors from abroad and the first modern medical facilities in the course of the 19th century; in 1835 medical care for the population was constitutionally guaranteed, and the first military hospital opened in 1836. Doctors and nurses from all over Europe helped to contain the great typhoid epidemic of 1914/15, just as the Balkan Wars and the First World War accelerated the further development of anesthesiology, epidemiology and surgery in particular.


In 2001, a fundamental reform of the education system began in Serbia, which among other things extended the duration of primary school from eight to nine years, completely revised and modernized the curricula and redefined the requirements for teachers. The first pupils were taught according to the new rules at the beginning of the 2003 school year. The conversion to the new school system should be completed by the 2007/2008 school year.

According to the school law that has been in force since 2003, compulsory schooling in Serbia begins at the age of seven, with which the nine-year elementary school begins, which is divided into three-year phases with a different proportion of compulsory and optional subjects. After that, the pupils have the option of either attending grammar school for another four years or a subject-related secondary school, which lasts two to four years depending on the subject, or they can begin with two to three years of vocational training. Both high school and high school graduation lead to higher education entrance qualification .

Cyrillic script

There are a total of five universities in Serbia :

The literacy rate in Serbia is 93 percent. About 7 percent of the population are illiterate . There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, it depends on social status and age (more than half of the illiterate people are over 60). On the other hand, the illiteracy rate in certain regions (especially in the south and in the remote villages there are most illiterate people) varies. The different ethnic groups and religions also play an important role . The illiteracy rate is lowest among Slovaks in Serbia (1.4%) and Christians (Protestants), while Muslims and Bosniaks (9.5%), Kosovar Albanians (12.4%) and Roma ( 26.7%) have the highest illiteracy rates.


The great hall of the Serbian Academy. Address by academician Vladimir Stevanović on the occasion of a congress of phytogeography of the Balkan peninsula in September 2009

The beginnings of science in Serbia go back to the establishment of humanities and natural sciences in the 19th century. The autodidact Vuk Stefanović Karadžić is considered a pioneer of Serbian linguistics and literary studies . Based on Karadžić's correspondence with Jacob Grimm and Goethe , his work is one of the initiators of folk song research in European Romanticism . He codified a modern Serbian literary language based on the vernacular and established its lexicals.

Scientific research in Serbia goes back to the work of the doctor Josif Pančić , who specialized as a botanist in the flora of Serbia and whose editorial team also published a scientific book in Serbian for the first time. The Belgrade Lyceum, established in 1808, became Velika škola in 1863 , of which Pančić was rector six times. Pančić was also appointed the first President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) in 1886 .

By Jovan Cvijić geoscientific research of the Balkan peninsula and the establishment began the subjects of anthropology, ethnology and ethnography, which underwent a global reception of the Anthropological School Cvijićs. In 1904 the Belgrade University was finally founded, which for the first time also made academic training possible within the country. On Austrian territory, Matica srpska in Novi Sad has been institutionalized since 1826 as a contact point for the Serbian intelligentsia. At Belgrade University of mathematician and astronomer worked Milutin Milankovitch , the solar constant long-period climate cycles calculated and the first evidence of astronomical causes of the ice ages were. In the humanities there are the institutes for Byzantism (founded by Georg Ostrogorsky ), Balkan Studies ( director Dušan Bataković ) and the Serbian language (under whose board of trustees the monumental thirty-volume dictionary of the Serbo-Croatian language as - Rečnik srpskohrvatskog književnog i narodnog jezika SANU - was created). the most important today. In the natural sciences, the "Vinča" Institute for Nuclear Sciences with the country's only experimental nuclear reactor and the Physics Institute with the most powerful supercomputer in Southeastern Europe Paradox IV. Are leaders.

public holidays

date designation Serbian name annotation
January 1st & January 2nd New Year (Kalendarska) Nova Godina New Year according to the Gregorian calendar
January 7th Christmas Božić Orthodox Christmas; December 25th according to the Julian calendar
January 13th & January 14th Serbian New Year Srpska Nova Godina New Year according to the Julian calendar
February 15th National holiday Dan državnosti Srbije 1835: first constitution of Serbia
Moving holiday Easter Uskrs (ecclesiastical: Vaskrs) Easter according to the Julian calendar
1st of May Labor Day Praznik rada  
May 9 day of the victory Dan pobede End of the Second World War in 1945
June 28th Vidovdan Dan Srba palih za Otadžbinu Day of the Serbs Fallen for the Fatherland


The most popular sports in Serbia are basketball , soccer , handball , water polo , volleyball and tennis . Some Serbian basketball players play in the American Basketball League ( NBA ). In tennis, Serbia won the Davis Cup in 2010 .

After the collapse of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia , the two republics of Serbia and Montenegro founded the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("Rest of Yugoslavia") in 1992 , which continued the successful basketball streak of the old Yugoslavia and twice world champions ( 1998 and 2002 ) and three times European champions ( 1995 , 1997 and 2001 ) was.

Serbia hosted the 2005 European Basketball Championship together with Montenegro .

Serbia and Montenegro have also had great successes in volleyball. In 2000 the national team won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney. In 1998 Serbia-Montenegro became vice world champion. At the European Championships, the team has finished third three times (1995, 1999 and 2005), once second (1997) and twice first (2001 and 2011).

Serbia and Montenegro hosted the 2005 European Volleyball Championship together with Italy .

The national water polo team won the world championships in 2005 and 2009 , finished second in 2001, and third in 1998 and 2003. In 1991, 2001, 2003 and 2006 Serbia became European champion and 1997 vice-European champion. At the Olympic Games , the team won three gold, four silver and three bronze medals (most recently bronze in 2008 in Beijing ).

The 2006 European Water Polo Championship was held in Belgrade.

The most successful Serbian tennis player is Novak Đoković . After his victory at the Wimbledon Championships in 2011 , he was number one in the tennis world rankings from July 2011 to July 2012 . In 2010 the men's national tennis team won the Davis Cup . Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković , who were at the top of the tennis world rankings for a few weeks in 2008, were also very successful.

A semi-final and the final of the European Football Championship in 1976 were held in the capital Belgrade . The finale went down in history as the night of Belgrade .

The greatest success of Serbian football was the victory of the U-20 World Cup in 2015 in New Zealand, where they beat Brazil 2: 1 aet. The national team was able to qualify for the soccer world championships 1998 (still as Yugoslav national soccer team ), 2006 (still as Serbian-Montenegrin national soccer team ) and 2010 as well as for the European soccer championship 2000.

The Serbian U-21 national team reached the final of the European Championship in 2007. The Serbian U-19 national team won the title of European champion in 2013 . In June 2015, the male U20 national soccer team won the world title at the World Cup in New Zealand. This is considered to be the greatest success in Serbian football within the 21st century and one of the greatest successes in this sport.


The architecture of the Catholic in the Visoki Dečani Monastery shows the fusion of Gothic-Romanesque and Byzantine style elements in the architecture. (around 1335)
Ottoman Konak of Prince Miloš in Topčider, first half of the 19th century
The monumental bronze of Miloš Obilić, one of the mythical heroes of the Blackbird Field, created by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović, shows how Serbian art deals with the historical past. National Museum of Belgrade, 1908.

The area of ​​today's Serbia was already settled in the early days. The Vinča culture , which produced one of the oldest known writing systems, played an important role here. The archaeological site of Lepenski Vir on the Danube is believed to have the oldest known sedentary population of arable farmers and ranchers in Europe.

In the past, Serbia was often the borderland of important empires. The border between the West and East rivers once ran along the Drina through Serbian territories. Several important Roman legionary camps ( Singidunum ), large cities ( Sirmium , Viminatium ) and imperial residences (Sirmium, Naissus , Mediana , Felix Romuliana ) from late antiquity were located on the Save, Danube and along the Via militaris . In Byzantine times, Justinian I founded an episcopal city ( Justiniana Prima ) here, the last significant ancient city to be founded and at the same time the first purely Christian urban foundation on the Balkan Peninsula. Since the second Turkish siege of Vienna, the border between the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary ran along the Danube . This has left its mark. The north of Serbia is more central European than the south of the country.

The Byzantine Empire had the greatest influence on Serbian culture through the mediation of Christianity, the introduction of the Byzantine rite and the Cyrillic script as well as through the shaping of court ceremonies, literature, painting and architecture. This is why the Serbs have mostly professed the Orthodox Church to this day . The many monasteries, a large part of which were built as foundations of the ruling dynasties in the Middle Ages, also have a special place in Serbian culture. The medieval chronicles ( letopisi ), as well as those for the state ideology of the Serbian rulers and the Serbian , were also preserved in the grave monasteries that were specially built by the kings in remote valleys, in which their memorial cults were continuously cultivated - even over the Turkish period Monasticism specially created Serbian special form of the saints stories and life descriptions ( žitije ) of the kings in the monastery libraries, which have preserved the historical knowledge and worldview of the Serbian Middle Ages and are therefore also its main sources.

The monastery churches are often built from a synthesis of both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles and, as in the great foundations of monasteries (Studenica, Hilandar, Archangel Monastery, Ravanica, Resava) also images of an ideal, spiritual city architecture, which were thought of as earthly Jerusalem and also as defensive monasteries had large tower-rich walls. Famous are the numerous frescoes from Serbian monasteries, of which the antique “White Angel” in the Mileševa monastery and the large-format frescoes in Sopoćani with extremely nuanced colors are among the most important paintings of the High Middle Ages. Created half a century ago similarly important works in the Italian Trecento , their humanistic spirit and realism point well into the Renaissance ( Palaeological Renaissance ). The Byzantine art with that comes a whole to the central position in the original art work of Serbia. Serbia itself had developed into one of the great centers of Byzantine art in general. In many ways, this tradition has been preserved here up to the modern age, which is particularly prominent for the construction of sacred buildings such as the temple of Saint Sava , for example .

The Ottoman conquest of Serbia between 1371 and 1459 formed the central turning point in the country's cultural creation. The center of Serbian culture gradually shifted to the south of the Kingdom of Hungary to Syrmia on the slopes of the Fruška Gora . The monasteries of Fruška Gora were built in the 15th century as a follow-up to the great medieval Serbian architecture and, along with the Athos monastery of Hilandar, were the most important preservers of Serbian tradition and culture. In the old Serbian countries, however, the art of the Islamic world dominated over the following centuries due to the changed political, cultural and ethnic conditions. The Islamic art , which spread on the territory of Serbia was, in particular by the classical Ottoman culture and art represented. Mosques, hammams , turrets , konaks and especially Ottoman arch bridges are eloquent testimony to the centuries-old legacy of Ottoman culture. The rich Ottoman handicrafts found expression particularly in the style of interior decoration, garden design, clothing and generally applied arts . Pirot kilims were particularly blooming in the 19th century and even enjoyed exceptional status in the centers of the Ottoman Empire.

The Serbian epic songs an independent Serbian folk poetry, the orally passed on and accompanied by the gusle, remembering that formed since the 15th century Kosovo Polje battle and Haiduks kept alive.

The Serbian uprisings at the beginning of the 19th century gradually brought Serbia back its independence. European modernism gradually gained a foothold in Serbia via Vienna ( Dositej Obradović , Vuk Karadžić ).


Gospel of Miroslav, second half of the 12th century, National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade

middle age

Religious literature

The beginnings of Serbian literature are closely related to Byzantine theological literature and Byzantine civilization. The Neo-Platonic School formed the determining dominant for the philosophical framework of Christian orthodoxy. Education was shaped by imparting religious content, in which the legends of saints, history, mythology as well as grammar and philosophy were components. Monasteries functioned as centers of literary creation , in particular Visoki Dečani , Manasija and Hilandar . Hilandar's leading position among the Serbian monasteries also served as the center of the monastic training of the Serbian clergy and was at the same time the training center for all great Serbian medieval writers, including Domentijan , Teodosije Hilandarac and Danilo II.

The oldest book written in Cyrillic and Church Slavonic is the national relic of Serbia, the Miroslav Gospel from 1180. In 2005 it was included in the UNESCO list of the memory of mankind. The Serbian Orthodox Gospels of the late Middle Ages were embellished with humanistic miniatures , as in the Serbian Psalter and Radoslav Gospel, especially at the time of the Morava School .

Biographies of old Serbian rulers
Radoslav Gospel with a miniature of the Evangelist John, first half of the 15th century. Russian National Library St. Petersburg.

The origin of the old Serbian rulers' biographies and the actual beginning of Serbian literature is the brief, key-point narrative about the life of his father Stefan Nemanja, written by Saint Sava of Serbia between 1208 and 1217 in the Studenica monastery, in which the monastic life of Nemanja is told in particular:

"So he moved from his fatherland to this holy realm, called holy mountain, and found here a former monastery, called Mileje, (consecrated) the representation of the holy and glorious Mother of God, completely destroyed by ungodly warriors."

- Sava of Serbia : Vita of Saint Simeon 1208–1217, translation by Stanislaus Hafner

The literary climax of the life of the 13th century was reached by the last pupil of Sava, the Hilandar monk Domentijan (Hilandarac) in the Žitije Svetog Save (Vita des Saint Sava, 1243) and the Žitije svetog Simeona (Vita des Saint Simeon). In contrast to Sava's short Vita Simeon, Dometijan's works are extensive hagiographic depictions with a multitude of biographical details and chronological dates that document historical events. Through the depth of his theological thoughts, ethical reflections and apotheoses on the spiritual life, the works bear the ecclesiastical and political ideologies of the Middle Ages. Domentijan's origins and birth have not been handed down, but through the likely accompaniment of Sava on his second trip to Palestine, he soon acquired a great deal of knowledge of theology and state ideology.

These ruler biographies of Savas and Domentijans were taken in the medieval literature of Serbia as the ideal measure of the rule of rule and found in the ruler biographies of the 14th century by Danilo II., Danilo III. and Grigorij Camblak a consistent further development. All these vites testify to the self-image of the Serbian royal rule and prove the continuity of this self-interpretation in an indissolubly close coexistence of secular and spiritual power.

Serbian poetry first appeared through Jefimija . Even the despot Stefan Lazarević , one of the eminent phenomena among the Slavic Orthodox in the 15th century, was active as a writer . the text of the marble column on the Amselfeld came from.

At the court of Stefan Lazarević, by far the most important work of his genre in medieval Slavic literature in Southeast Europe was written, the vita of the despot Stefan Lazarević (Житија деспота Стефана Лазаревићki) of the Bulgarian emigrants and neo-neophytes Constantinople , the portrayal of the Fastinovian modernist , the biography of the Bulgarian emigrant and neo-neophonist , and at the same time is one of the most important historical source works of the Slavic south. This also brought about a certain change from monastic to courtly historiography, in which a reference by authors from classical antiquity was also an innovation. In the vita of the despot Stefan Lazarević there is a detailed account of the battle on the Blackbird Field , as well as the heroic figure of the "Serbian Hercules" Marko Kraljević in the later folk song for the first time , but also the events in the Ottoman Empire, the marriage of Olivera Despina in the Sultan's harem to Bursa, and the appearance of the conqueror of the world Tamerlane, as discussed in detail by Stefan Lazarević's participation in the Battle of Angora under Sultan Bayezid I against the Mongols. Konstantin Kostenezki, as an outstanding historiographer and script reformer of the three active Serbian writing schools (Belgrade, Manasija and Hilandar) in the first half of the 15th century, was responsible for the editing of the Church Slavonic script by the Serbian editors in the center of the Serbian writing school in the monastery of Manasija (Resava) ( Resava Writing school , rezavski pravopis dt. Resava spelling), which was based on the grammatical rules of the Byzantine philologist Manuel Moschopulos , as well as a. the translation of works of the polymath Michael Psellos into Serbian, back. In addition, Grigorij Camblak also worked in the Serbian despotate, who wrote the vita of Stefan Dečanski in the Visoki Dečani monastery as well as about his life from Bulgaria, the Wallachai, Serbia and Russia, where he became Metropolitan of Kiev, and his participation in the Council of Constance , both in the Byzantine "Commonwealth", as well as in the German-speaking area, is perceived as an outstanding personality of Orthodoxy and the Palaiological Renaissance.

The transmission of the knowledge of ancient natural science , which was revolutionary for the epoch at that time , such as the knowledge of the idea of ​​the spherical shape of the earth in Constantine's Psellos translation in the chapter O zemli supsanii o klubnom videni obraza jeje (dt. Description of the spherical shape of the earth), an essential achievement of the paleological renaissance for the rebirth of ancient knowledge in Europe.

In the late work of the Resava School under complete Ottoman rule, the synthesis of Slav-Byzantine literature under Demetrios Kantakuzenos ( Wladislaw Gramatik and other anonymous authors) in the last Serbian medieval literary center Novo Brdo was the last link to the at the end of the 15th century Byzantine literary tradition (including copies of Pindar's Olympic Oden as well as Prometheus and Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus ).

Feudal Bugarštice and Serbian folk epics

With the decline of Serb statehood, this literary tradition succumbed to the Ottoman conquest. The feudal Serbian ballads and epics in the Bugarštice genre were cultivated in other areas with the emigration of the Serbian nobility in the 15th century by Serbian bards to the Dalmatian coastal cities and the southern Hungarian countries north of the Sava. This poetry, which goes back to feudal Serbian society, survived the breakup of the Serbian state for a while. However, none of the Bugarštice from the time of the Serbian medieval empire could survive, as no records have survived before the end of the 15th century. All writings of the Bugarštice that were made in the Dalmatian cities in Dubrovnik , Hvar , Perast and Kotor by Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Italian and German writers were at that time already so due to the linguistic bloom of the ten-syllable Serbo-Croatian epic in the Was shadowed so that the Bugarštice in the traditional anachronistic linguistic form no longer possessed the epic, imaginative and narrative power of oral poetry .

The folk poetry took their stories, dozens of motifs, their narrative and stylistic patterns and hundreds of its formulaic language elements from the epic predecessors of Bugarštice bard. Over the centuries, in the peasant patriarchal society of the simple Serbian and Croatian rural people, an extremely rich epic genre developed from this, which lasted an unusually long time as an independent poetry from the middle of the 15th century to the 19th century. It thus overshadows all other European folk song poems in their historical constancy and importance for national literature and represents by far the most important poetic legacy of the Serbian people.

The epics go back to the time before the arrival of the Ottoman conquerors in the Balkans and still contain pagan remnants of old mythological ideas such as those of nature spirits (including the vila , in popular belief a supernatural being with horse legs and the body of a beautiful young woman who comes from a Plant or dew was born and lives in mountains, trees, lakes or the clouds).

The main part comes from the period when Edirne became the residence of the Ottomans in Europe, and describes the struggle of the Christian Balkan peoples against the advance of the Ottoman conquerors. Heroes' songs are therefore often thematic, especially those of the “Serbian Hercules” Marko Kraljević , for which both anachronisms and anatopisms are characteristic. The epics of Kraljević Marko followed those of the Blackbird Field Battle , the historical benchmark of Serbian folk songwriting as the heroic age of heroic song poetry. The chants of this Kosovo cycle (after the location of the battle on the 'Kosovo Polje'), on the other hand, also have a significant historical dimension, as they contain various references to the actual historical context. The lyrical love and women's songs , which are mostly composed by women and sung during round dance ( Kolo ), are not of an epic nature . While the heroic songs predominantly have ten-syllable trochaic meter ( Deseterac ), trochaic and dactylic metrics in eight-syllable verse ( Osmerac ) are used in the dance songs . General characteristic of the Serbo-Croatian epic poetry a rhyme is fundamentally absent.


Vuk Stevanović Karadžić
Birth of the literary language from the vernacular

From the German translation of the folk poem "Asan-Aginice" recorded by Alberto Fortis in Dalmatia in 1774 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1775 and the publication in Johann Gottfried Herder's folk songs , the Serbo-Croatian songs and epics, written in ten-syllable meter of Deseterac , became known for the first time in Europe. The Goethe translation was soon translated into English by Walter Scott , Prosper Mérimée into French and Alexander Pushkin into Russian.

The folk songs only experienced an intensive European reception from the records and publications of the folk song collector Vuk Karadžić (from 1814). This had the main part of the Serbian hero songs between 1814 and 1815 in Syrmia either by blind women who eke out their existence on the fringes of society (blind Živana from Zemun, blind Jeca from Zemun, blind Stepanija from Jadar, blind from Grgurevci), or from the heartland of epic poetry in the patriarchal mountain regions of the Dinarides in today's Montenegro as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina recorded outlaws expelled (Karadžić best "singer", in this case reciter, Tešan Podrugović was a Herzegovinian outlaw who fled to Syrmia in 1813 after the suppression of the Serbian uprising and In 1815, following the call to fight for freedom again, after many fatal skirmishes with the Ottomans between Bosnia and Serbia, he finally died; Starac Milija ("sage" Milija) also came from old Herzegovina in what is now Montenegro , through fights with Ottomans all over his head two of Milija's epics were distorted without reference on the author shortly after its publication in Leipzig by Goethe in more detail).

The first collection of folk songs by Vuk Karadžić (1814) accompanied his linguistic reforms, which were intended to elevate the vernacular to the language of literature. In his language reform, the orthography was largely simplified, the main achievement of which is a phonetic character. In the socio-political context, his reform supported the Serbian national project and, if not programmatically, the Yugoslav one, since Karadžić based his reform on the literary standard of a Herzegovinian dialect - Štokawian - which was understood by both Serbs and Croats. Karadžić's search for Serbian folk poetry and customs with their later codification into national culture was initially linked to his desire to assert the vernacular against the “artificial” Slavic Serbian idiom of the church and merchants. In the ethnogeographical literature sources of the Volksepik, he devised and legitimized a political entity on the basis of ethnocultural markers. With these language reforms and the codification of the folk song legacy for the formation of states, Karadžić became a role model and key figure of the Serbian Romanticism in a broad European context, which had a great influence on European Romanticism in the discovery of the poetry of the archaic folk song culture.

The discovery of a illiterate only company orally transmitted Serbian epics in the 19th century was the real puzzle in the literature of the 19th century, and in 1816 they were therefore Kopitar in relation to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and the emergence of the Greek epic set . Into the 20th century, the views on the stylistic methodology and formulaic language technique of the orally transmitted Serbian epic remained fundamental to literary-historical research on the Homeric question . In particular, Milman Parry and Albert Lord collected the last remaining authentic evidence in illiterate communities of Yugoslavia in the 1930s. From the sound recordings of these research trips, the "Millman Parry Archive" was created at Harvard University, the most important sound recordings collection of South Slavic heroic songs, which Béla Bartók first musically transcribed there in 1940–1942 .

With the support and translation of Karadžić's publication by Jernej Kopitar , Jacob Grimm , Clemens Brentano and especially Talvj ( Therese von Jacob ), the epics experienced such an exuberant reception among the European readership of the first half of the 19th century that the Talvj edition the folk songs of the Serbs achieved the lower classical status in the short story canon for a few years (it was also found, for example, in the house library of Karl Marx's daughter Eleanor ). Goethe, who was particularly touched by the simplicity and power of the poetic images of the Serbian lyrical songs, published a new independent version in his later work in 1827 long after his youthful translation of the Asan-Aginice ( Lamentation of the Noble Women of Asan Aga ).

Contemporary authors also recognize the literary quality of this poetry, such as the Pulitzer Prize winner and American poeta laureatus Charles Simic :

"Everyone in the West who has come to know this poetry has declared it to be literature of the highest order that should be much better known."

- Charles Simic (1987): Foreword to the English translation by John Matthias and Vladeta Vuckovic The battle of Kosovo - Serbian Epic Poems

as well as the poet, literary historian, critic and former professor of poetry at Oxford University Peter Levi :

“They are one of the most powerful and unrecognized verse rivers in Europe. They carry the own taste of their native mountains, the strength of their troubled times and the moral greatness of an orally conveyed type of poetry that is justifiably called heroic. "

- Peter Levi (1984): Foreword to the English translation by Anne Pennington and Peter Levi Marko the Prince - Serbo-Croat Heroic Songs .

Levi also answered the question of what he considered to be the most valuable and enjoyable work in his professional work by saying that this was the translation of the songs of Kraljević Marko.

Petar II Petrović Njegoš
Petar II. Petrović Njegoš

In 1847 three works appeared at the same time that justified the victory of Karadžić's reforms: Karadžić's second edition of his Serbian dictionary (Srbski rječnik), Đuro Daničić , the codification of the Serbian literary language, Rat za srpski jezik i pravopis , and the one in Deseterac (the actual meter of the Hero songs of the Guslaren) composed the national epic by Prince Bishop Petar II. Petrović Njegoš - The Mountain Wreath .

The latter became programmatically an essential source of inspiration for the national projects of Serbia and Montenegro as well as in the construction of the unity of Yugoslavia and the creation of a common identity. In the Bergkranz, Njegoš deals in the sense of a cosmic theme with its own folk history in the Montenegrin struggle for freedom, which is inspired by the legends of the Blackbird Battle and linked the mythical dimension of the legend with the historical situation of its time.

In 1846 Njegoš had also written the main lyric work in the Serbian vernacular: The ray of the microcosm ( Luča Mikrokosmosa ). Also in the meter of Desterac, the cosmogonic-religious epic Njegoš represents a view of religion and philosophy and the mission of man in the world. The religiously poetic thoughts in The Ray of the Microcosm in which ideas of Kabbalah and other inspirations can be found are particularly important inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divina Comedia and John Milton's Paradise Lost and are therefore often compared with these.

Njegoš also wrote love poetry, which due to his position as bishop could not be published until half a century after his death. His poem Noć skuplja vijeka (English. A night worthier than a century ) is one of the most recognized major works of erotic and sensual poetry in the Serbian romantic language.


Dobrica Ćosić is often referred to as the "father of the nation" because of his literary oeuvre

In the 18th century, the writer and philosopher Dositej Obradović brought about a decisive upheaval in Serbian literature: he called for the use of the vernacular in literature. The philologist Vuk Stefanović Karadžić , who is one of the most important representatives of the Serbian language reform of the 19th century , also pursued this goal .

Jovan Sterija Popović (1806-1856) wrote his dramas in the classicist style . After 1860, Serbian literature based itself on Russian and French models and turned to realism . Representatives of realistic prose in the 19th century included Milovan Đ. Glišić and Simo Matavulj . Radoje Domanovič (1873-1906) became known as a literary critic of the authoritarian state and the founder of modern Serbian satire. Until the First World War, however , Serbian literature, like that of many other small states, was characterized by a certain time lag compared to international development.

At the beginning of the 20th century, with authors such as Marko Ristić , Moni de Buli and Dušan Matić, experimental and surrealist trends developed, especially in Belgrade . For the generation after the First World War, Expressionism was also formative, as happened in the case of Miloš Crnjanski in 1920, for example, in the Poem Sumatra , in which the human experience of war was thematized in a theoretically programmatic style. With the publication by Crnjanski himself of the actual reading of this poem, which was regarded as a manifesto of Serbian expressionist poetry, further expressionist Serbian poetry was given the term Sumatraism (Crnjanski used in the title of the poem the reading S-Uma-Tras dt. Vom Meaning descended). The poet Oskar Davičo was also influenced by surrealism and , like other authors, took an active part in the partisan war against the German occupiers after 1941. Ivo Andrić wrote some of his novels in occupied Belgrade and was only able to publish them after 1945.

After 1945, Serbian literature was largely shaped by socialist realism - the political upheavals in Serbia during the Second World War did not become an issue until years later. In addition to Crnjanski ( Roman o Londonu ), Ivo Andrić ( The Bridge over the Drina ) and Meša Selimović ( The Dervish and Death ) became the main representatives of the classic Serbian novel.

Dobrica Ćosić , in particular, dealt with the historical events and results of the Second World War, who also described social changes in society during modern Serbian history in extensive prose cycles. Ćosić, who also emerged as an influential political essayist on the social situation of Serbia and the Serbs in the aftermath of the collapse of Yugoslavia and the historical dimension of the Kosovo problem, took on historical fate through his political dissident role within the former Yugoslav communists and from the thematically broad literary work of the Serbs has assumed the role of leading Serbian intellectual and political thought leader for decades.

The younger post-war generation took up modern romantic tendencies of the West. Bora Ćosić ( The Role of My Family in the World Revolution ) and Milorad Pavić ( The Khazarian Dictionary ) received a lot of international attention. The Oevre Danilo Kišs ( a tomb for Boris Dawidowitsch , anatomy lesson , encyclopedia of the dead ) is generally regarded as the most important of modern Serbian post-war literature. In addition, Aleksandar Tišma addressed the Holocaust and the fate of the post-war generation in a cycle known as the Pentateuch . The author Svetlana Velmar-Janković , for example, offers a critical look at Belgrade in the 1940s in her novel “Lagum”, which was published in Serbia in 1990. The grotesque narrator and novelist David Albahari , who moved to Canada in 1994 , also deals with topics from recent history . - Today in Serbia around 100 to 150 novels are written a year.

Surrealist tendencies can still be found in poetry even after the Second World War , including in the works of the writer Vasko Popa (1922–1991), who plays with sociolects and dialects of Vojvodina in his poems . Duško Novaković (* 1948) published around 15 volumes of poetry; through his translations he made Macedonian literature accessible to a wider audience.

Dušan Kovačević (* 1948), whose comedies have also been translated into English, is one of the most important playwrights, film authors and directors . Radoslav Petković (* 1953) is one of the well-known essayists .

To this day, the inclination towards the historical and the chronicle have remained important features of Serbian prose literature; but it was also reflected in poetry and drama.


Bronze by Guslar Filip Višnjić
The Gusle

The oldest known record of the use of musical instruments among the Slavs of the Balkan Peninsula dates from a Byzantine chronicle from the first half of the 7th century. The use of the gusle was noted by Arab travelers later in the 10th century. Up until the 12th century, even in Hungary, professional musicians were given the Slavic expression 'igici'. Thus, before the Slavs and Serbs were even recorded chants, their occupation with music has been documented for several centuries.

Domentijan was the first to describe epic chants about the life of Saint Sava in the 13th century. In the reign of Stefan Uroš III. Milutins reported to Teodosije about epic chants of classical ancient materials. He also wrote about the instrumental use of drums and guslen at court. The epic folk chants also developed in the following centuries and, at their core, integrated the stories about the Kosovo battle into a coherent folk epic. The Serbian bards spread this genre over the Central Dinaric countries to Hungary and Poland. Serbian guslen players themselves became known by name and the Hungarian lute player Tinódi reports that Dimitrije Karaman was the best among them. This form of instrument playing was also known as the “Serbian style” (in the 17th century this was still referred to as modi et styli Sarbaci ). The gusle remained the Serbs' most famous musical instrument until the 19th century; Vuk Karadžić wrote from 1814–1815 that every house in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the mountainous western Serbia had a gusle. The most important cast player was the blind seer Filip Višnjić , one of the central singers for the writing of Serbian folk songs in Karadžić's folk song collection. The Guslen players in the era of the Serbian liberation struggles found themselves largely among the insurgents and many of them were outlaws themselves.

The folklore tradition , which especially in the Balkan Brass shows clear influences of centuries of belonging to the Ottoman Empire, is still very much alive in Serbia. Influences can also be heard in the genre of turbo folk , which has a say in popular music in Serbia and other areas of the former Yugoslavia . In the early work of the most important Serbian jazz musician, Dusko Goykovich (Dušan "Duško" Gojković), elements of the Balkan folk song tradition were integrated into jazz (including Swinging Macedonia ). The multi-instrumentalist Slobodan Trkulja also combines jazz rock with elements and instruments of Balkan folk music, Byzantine church choirs and the Byzantine vocal tradition in general. In Trkulya's musical arrangements, which are characterized by Christian spirituality, big band , fusion and modern, classical and traditional instruments are skillfully combined with vocal elements from folk poetry. The traditional instruments that are widely used include the accordion , the gusle , the gajde and the shepherd's flute , which are differentiated from region to region . The national dance is the " Kolo " ( round dance ), a group dance that is performed differently from region to region. The best known is the "Užičko kolo" ( Užicer Kolo ).

With the tradition of the southeast European iso-polyphonic folk song tradition , the two-part chants pevanje na glas and pevanje na bas as well as the genres ganga , kavalj , ojkalica , groktalica and potresalica , the singer Svetlana Spajić and her group Pjevačka družina Svetlane Spajzene became famous in which she performed archaic polyphonic chants in works with Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson, among others, in the closing event of Abramović's performance “The Artist is Present” at MoMA in New York. Svetlana Stević is considered to be the predecessor of the “Revival” .

In addition to Pavle Aksentijević as a researcher and interpreter of forgotten ancient Byzantine vocal and church music, Divna Ljubojević is the internationally most important Serbian representative of a subtle affirmation of the spiritual Byzantine musical heritage, which also has a prominent role in the educational work within the Eastern Churches. In the secular folk song, Biljana Krstić , who found her way to traditional folk music from an early work influenced by pop music, is interested as an interpreter in the original style of interpretation. The melodies of many folk songs are based on scales that are of direct Constantinople descent and are close to church chants of the Orthodox church liturgy. Folk songs such as "Gusta mi magla padnala" are directly related to Greek music tradition , although they often have an incorrect Ottoman-Oriental origin, as is the case with "Simbil cveće" , which was also recorded by stars of the turbo folk scene such as Lepa Brena or Ceca, is suspected. The Byzantine music , exclusively in Oktoechos is composed, and the Byzantine chant know this both a notation - Neume , but also their own tone scales: Ison , oligon and Apostrophos. The characteristic ison is a sustaining, booming tone that accompanies the strictly monophonic melody. Ajde Jano , which was recorded by Kroke together with the English violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy and the Belgian singer Natacha Atlas in Klezmer , Kayah or the American singer Talitha MacKenzie can be regarded as the most popular international folk song in Serbia . One of the most prominent representatives of historical performance practice and early music, Jordi Savall , had recently turned to the historical folk and art songs of the Balkans and the albums "Bal-Kan - Honig und Blut" and "Esprit des Balkans" were part of the historical music tradition and religious dialogue dedicated to the Balkan peoples, which was one of the main events in the Ouverture spirituelle at the 2014 Salzburg Festival .

The traditional orchestra of Radio Belgrade , the Narodni Orkester Radio Beograda (today Narodni Orkester RTS-a ) was founded in 1934. Especially in its golden age from the 1930s to the 1960s, under the direction of Vlastimir Pavlović Carevac , it had further established the genre of Starogradska muzika as bohemian music. As an interpreter of folk music and through his violin playing style, Carevac was formative. His popular music themes - Svilen konac and Bojarka - still form the signature tunes of Belgrade Radio's folk music programs to this day. In the Sevdalinka genre , too, he set the tone with interpreters such as Velinka Grgurević, Saveta Sudar, Vuka Šeherović and Anđelija Milić. Today the orchestra is the national institution of Serbia for the care of Serbian and Balkan folk music.

A counterpart to Vuk Stevanović Karadžić's literary folk song collection was created by the classical composer Stevan Stojanović Mokranjac , who dealt with the musical legacy of Serbian folk songs as a collector and composer. In addition, Mokrajnac's liturgical work culminated in the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom ( Liturgija svetog jovana zlatoustog ), which is important for the Eastern Churches, in which the choral setting of Mokrajnac alongside those of Sergei Rachmaninoff ( Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Tchaikovsky, Op. 31 ) ( The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom op. 41 ) is the most famous. Since 1966, a festival dedicated to the composer's work has been held every September in his birthplace in Negotin, called The Days of Mokranjac ( Mokranjčevi dani ) .

The secret anthem of Serbia is a piece of military music by Stanislav Binički in honor of the first Entente victory in the battles of the First World War, the Drina March (Marš na Drinu). After the Bironi plenum (1966), or Ivo Andrić's express wish, he had a ban on the Drina march during the 1961 Nobel Prize awarded to him in Stockholm, essentially for his best-known novel “The Bridge over the Drina “, Is played, a continued eventful reception. Also in 2013 it caused lasting irritation at a public performance of the choir “Viva Vox” in the General Assembly of the United Nations . In Serbia itself, the Drina March is still popular today and is often given in the football choirs of the two major Belgrade football clubs, or by Serbian fans during international matches. The soldier's song Tamo daleko is also one of the Serbs' special identity-forming music. In this, the memory of the catastrophic retreat of the Serbian army over the winter snow-covered high mountains of Albania in 1915/1916 and the resulting loss of homeland find a programmatic expression.

In addition, there is a rich “independent” music scene in Serbia, which can tie in with the youth scenes in the former Yugoslavia, which were pushed back under the Milošević regime. These include electronica acts like Darkwood Dub or indie rock combos like the Partibrejkers . Well-known popular Serbian singers of various genres are Đorđe Balašević , Lepa Brena , Neda Ukraden , Željko Joksimović , Mile Kitić , Aca Lukas , Marija Šerifović , Zdravko Čolić and Ceca .

In 2007 Serbia took first place in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Molitva by Marija Šerifović . Serbia and Montenegro was also successful in 2004 by achieving second place in this competition with the song Lane Moje by Željko Joksimović .

The largest annual music festivals in Serbia are the “Dragačevski sabor trubača” trumpet festival in Guča and the Exit pop festival in Novi Sad .


Dancers in the Serbian national ensemble "KOLO" in a performance by "Vranjanska svita"

The national dance of Serbia, like other South Slavic peoples, is the Kolo , a round dance in 3/4 time with an origin from the rural area. Since 1948 the Serbian National Ensemble KOLO ( "Nacionalni Ansambl Kolo" ) has been cultivating the tradition of numerous regional variants in professional training. Art dance in Serbia goes back to the work of Russian emigration after the First World War. In the Belgrade National Ballet, the Bolshoi trainee and soloist in the ballet troupe Anna Pavlova , Nina Kirsanova (1898–1989), became a prima ballerina in 1924 and established the classical repertoire of French and Russian ballet with other Russian emigrants. As a ballet teacher, she worked in the further training of the national theater. The generation around Jovanka Bjegojević (1931–2015) shaped the “golden age of ballet” of the 1950s and 1960s in Serbia after the Second World War. Since 2003, Belgrade has also been a festival meeting point for international ensembles presenting contemporary choreographies (Beogradski Festival igre).


Gračanica Monastery - sacral masterpiece of the late Byzantine Renaissance, first half of the 14th century
Plan of the fortified monastery and burial site of the despot Stefan Lazarević, Manasija
Golubac Castle, first half of the 14th century
A jewel of Bulgarian sacred architecture, the Donja Kamenica Church of Our Lady near Knjaževac, early 14th century

The architecture in Serbia is just as diverse as the history of the country . Byzantine architecture is significant , especially in the numerous Serbian monasteries, some of which have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List .

The most important patrons of architecture were the members of the Nemanjid ruling dynasty. Since the establishment of the Holy Sepulcher by the dynastic founder Stefan Nemanja in the Studenica Monastery, all other Serbian kings have acted as patrons of the arts and especially of religious architecture. This patronage reached a peak under Stefan Uroš II Milutin . Not only did the Serbian-Byzantine style in the main work in the Gračanica Monastery develop into a balanced synthesis of the central structure of a Byzantine cross- domed church and vertical accentuation and dynamics, as was previously unknown in Byzantine art , but also a spatially extensive building activity in which the Serbian medieval state took over the artistic pioneering role in the Byzantine culture. In quick succession, new monastery churches ( Staro Nagoričane , Banjska , Royal Church of Studenica Monastery, Katholikon of Hilandar Monastery and the city cathedrals Bogorodica Ljeviška , Exonarthex of the Church of St. Sofia in Ohrid, etc.) were built, which were lavishly decorated with corresponding paintings. The most important buildings were reserved for the grave churches of the rulers, including the largest late medieval religious building in Serbia, the Visoki Dečani monastery or the imperial tomb of Stefan Dušan, the Archangel monastery .

With the courtly art of the Lazarevići , a striking new style within this style developed through the elaborate facade design, the Morava School , which matured to perfection as the epilogue of Serbian medieval architecture in the Kalenić Monastery .

For the Serbian architecture from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, the defense architecture is also striking. This includes castles, fortified monasteries, fortresses and fortified towns. Early castles were mostly built on strategic stretches of road and rivers (including Maglić Castle, Zvečan Castle , Golubac ), later also as the nucleus of localities and residences of the rulers and fortifications of localities (Kalaja Prizren Castle, Kruševac Castle, Novo Brdo Castle, city wall from Kotor). With the advance of the Ottomans, the important monasteries were also surrounded by ramparts, some with multiple towers, or designed as defensive monasteries ( Manasija , Ravanica , Archangel monasteries ). The fortifications became more complex from the 14th century ( Smederevo ). The fortress of Belgrade , which was built up from three interlocking defensive rings and was the only one to withstand the first great Ottoman onslaught , became the benchmark for Serbia's late medieval defense architecture . Typical of the Serbian fortifications of the Middle Ages were a donjon as the core of the defense system (the best known was the Donjon Nebojša in Belgrade Castle, destroyed in 1688) and the open floors of the fortified towers on the inside.

Through Austrian mediation, the baroque reached the north of the country in the 17th century. South of the Sava and Danube, the oriental architectural style became dominant (Sanjak and Kosovo). Above all in the capital Belgrade there are also numerous buildings from the interwar period in the style of historicism, neo-Byzantine architecture ( St. Sava Cathedral ), modernism and art deco . After the Second World War, Novi Beograd with its block buildings was designed according to Le Corbusier's urban planning ideology . In addition to socialist realism as the basic scheme for public buildings, the monumental architecture of numerous buildings was also noteworthy, especially in the capital (including the Great Hall of the Belgrade Fair, Palata Srbije , Gazela Bridge ).

The current architecture corresponds to the international style of office buildings with anonymous glass facades ( Beograđanka , Ušće), which shows a change from the post-socialist period to the market economy-oriented urban architecture. In large-scale urban development projects in Belgrade, since 2014 in particular, property developers from international investment companies have emerged whose flagship projects indicate the arrival of neoliberal trends. Luxury apartments and hotels, shopping malls and high-rise buildings that occupy entire districts ( Belgrade Waterfront ) were awarded to financially strong investors outside the guidelines of valid urban master plans, without a public tender and to "anonymous" architects.


Annunciation of Mariae, fresco in the first half of the 13th century, Master of Mileševo

middle age


Medieval Serbian painting developed from the dominant influence of Byzantine painting since the 12th century. The first painters of the monastic tombs of the Nemanjids came from the Greek cultural sphere. The artists remained completely unknown due to the lack of signatures. It was not until the beginning of the 14th century that some fresco authors were first handed down in the so-called Milutin School of Painting. Monumental painting reached its first high point in the Studenica Church of Our Lady (1207) at the beginning of the 13th century. Large-format frescoes on a blue background dominate. The development culminated in the middle of the 13th century in the antiquing frescoes on a gold background of the monasteries Mileševa ( Beli Anđeo , German: The White Angel) and Sopoćani . The large-figure, free and plastic representations in the Trinity Church of the Sopoćani Monastery (1263–1268) are among the highlights of Byzantine art and, with their humanistic representation, reach far ahead of the Renaissance. In addition to the antique style of these courtly frescoes, more narrative fresco programs were carried out by monastic artists. They are most purely developed in the Apostle Church of the Patriarchate of Peć (around 1250).

Under the patronage of King Milutin , a celebration of piety committed to the Byzantine influence became noticeable for the development of ancient Serbian art, especially since King Milutin in the Nemanjid dynasty saw himself as a continuer of the Byzantine imperial tradition. From this, the fresco painters developed a special style and a specific content, which is visibly differentiated both from the subject matter in the Serbian churches of the 13th century and from the iconographic content of the large ensembles that emerged around the middle of the 14th century. In the so-called Palaiologische Renaissance belonging Milutinschen school of painting a whole army worked of painters, from which the name of the Greek court painter Mikhail Astrapas and Eutychios have narrated on the frescoes design of numerous foundations Milutin in Serbia, Thessaloniki , Konstantin Opel , the Mount Athos and Jerusalem . They completed, among other things. the frescoes of Bogorodica Ljeviška (1310-1313), the royal church in Studenica (1314), Staro Nagoričano (1317) and in the Gračanica monastery (1321). The fresco painters were supposed to transfer a very learned piety, which had been taken over from Constantinople, into the pictorial programs of the churches. A new wealth of scenery, colorful diversity and figurative liveliness as well as general innovations in the narrative representation of traditional themes such as in the painting programs of the Assumption of Mary , in the judgment of Pilate but also in the emergence of the genealogical representation of the Namnjiden dynasty in the roots of the Nemanjids ( Loza Nemanjiča ) step forward.

With the largest surviving medieval Serbian fresco cycle in the Visoki Dečani monastery (1335-1350), mainly artists from the Dalmatian coast were commissioned (probably from the Kotor School of Painting). It is the only completely preserved Byzantine fresco decoration in the Balkan Peninsula from the 14th century. The execution of the Dečani frescoes, which is largely characterized by an increasingly overloaded variety of scenes and a strong, as well as static painting style, can be found until around 1370. The frescoes in Lesnovo and the Markov Manastir (1371) near Skopje also belong to this type.

After that, Gothic influences gradually began to make themselves felt, which are characterized by elongated, delicate figures, finer lines and greater intimacy. The main works now originated in Morava Serbia and the Šumadija. The highlight are the frescoes by Kalenić (1407) and Resava (1421), which in the founder portrait by Stefan Lazarević and the depictions of the holy warriors and the wedding of Kanaa (Kalenić) are major works of Serbian painting thanks to their intimate representation in differentiated characterization and subtle coloring form.

Iconostasis and chorus in Visoki Dečani, around 1350
Icon of Christ Pantocrator, Hilandar around 1260

Similar to fresco painting, panel painting established itself in the form of icons from the formative influence of Byzantium. From the first decade of the 13th century, the import of Byzantine icons and icon painters as well as the cult of icons in general were established in the construction of the new Serbian church organization initiated by Saint Sava on the basis of Orthodoxy . The icons made in the area of ​​the medieval Serbian Empire between the 13th and 17th centuries come from two origins, the Greco-Byzantine as exemplary and the inner-Balkan imitating and often idioms that follow their own. Icons as moving cult images carried new representational tendencies and innovations of the Byzantine art centers in the Serbian province even earlier than this.

After 1262, when the Byzantine Empire was reestablished in Constantinople, the artistic impulse in icon painting flourished. The great icon of Christ in Hilandar Monastery, one of the main works of Byzantine panel painting, dates from this period. Due to its location, Serbia itself was also more exposed to the currents of the Adriatic coast and the Serbian Peter and Paul icon from the possession of Queen Beloslava (wife of King Vladislav ), which is now in the treasury of St. Peter's Basilica , shows strong western influences and was probably painted in Kotor. With the increasing importance of the icon, the iconostasis took on an ever greater role in the decoration of Serbian churches. From the 14th century onwards, icons became an essential element of church decoration. The type of "big icons" that were now placed on the left and right of the altar barrier, now emerged as half-length portraits that were adorned with precious fabrics. As festival icons, they were also carried out of the churches on the major holidays. A completely preserved iconostasis from the middle of the 14th century, which is also the most important work of medieval panel painting in Serbia because of its authentic preservation of all its stylistically outstanding icons, can be found in the Dečani Monastery. The icons here are close to the Maniera graeca type , show independent interpretations of Constantinople models and are accompanied by the finest nuances of color. The Dečani icons were probably made by Greek-born artists from Kotor. After the Ottoman conquest, panel painting flourished briefly with the re-establishment of the Patriarchate of Peć (1561). The most important icon painter of the era was Zograf Longin (including icon Stefan Uroš IV. Dečanski).

The most important Serbian icon collection today is in the Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos, where icons from the 12th to 19th centuries are kept.


Petar Lubarda - "Guslar", 1952. The "Guslar" from Lubarda's cycle on the mythological past evokes the national mythological past. The figure of Guslaren is the central symbol of the male figure of death. It is considered one of the most significant works of modern Yugoslav painting. Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade

Originally only the north of Serbia in the area of ​​Vojvodina had connection to the artistic currents of Europe. Since the 18th century the baroque prevailed here. In the second half of the 19th century, Vienna and Munich took over the academic training of painters from the region of today's Vojvodina, in which Uroš Predić and Paja Jovanović in particular determined the artistic peak of realism in painting in Serbia. At the beginning of the 20th century and after the First World War, the contemporary trends in Paris also shaped expressionist and abstract painting for Nadežda Petrović and Peter Lubardas . After the Second World War, socialist realism temporarily became the guideline of painting, from which, after Yugoslavia's political break with the Soviet Union, the visual arts broke away with Petar Lubarda's solo exhibition in 1951 in the Ulus gallery in Belgrade. Modern Yugoslav painting, especially after Lubarda's award at the São Paulo Biennale in 1953, received more international attention, as was the group of Yugoslav naive who, based on a specifically regional direction, became the best-known interpreters of recognizable Yugoslav painting.


The first film was shown in Serbia only six months after the first public cinema screening by the Lumière brothers (December 28, 1895 in Paris) on May 25 (June 6, 1896) by a French film team in Belgrade. The first film recorded in Serbia was the coronation of Peter I. Karađorđević in 1904 ( "Krunisanje kralja Petra I. u Beogradu 1904. godine" ) by the Englishman Arnold Muir Wilson , who, after the filming of the coronation ceremony, also made documentary material from the Raška, the Sanđak and the Adriatic coast delivered. The first cinemas opened in Belgrade around 1900. After the filmmakers were initially interested in documentary scenes from everyday life, Svezozar Božović recorded the first Serbian art film with a dramaturgical plot in 1911 ( Karađorđe , 1911). During the First World War, the Serbian army in Corfu was sent a cinematographic section in 1916 to document the events of the war. From this section Mihailo Mihailović shot the films Proboj solunskog fronta i napredovanje srpske vojske and Oslobođenja Beograda on the occasion of the breakthrough of the Salonikifront in 1918 . Between the world wars, around 10 film productions were made in Serbia, the film industry remained at a modest level. A three-part film from Kosta Novaković's "Proslava 550. godišnjice bitke na Kosovu" was ordered for the 550th anniversary of the Battle of the Blackbird Field , but it was not finished until the outbreak of the World War and was reconstructed in 1994 on the basis of the existing film material.

It was only after the Second World War that the actual Serbian film industry developed, for which several training and archival facilities were set up. Including: Faculty dramskih umetnosti (1948 as Akademija za pozorišnu umjetnost), Jugoslavenska kinoteka (1949) and Institut za film (1960).

The best-known Serbian director was the Bosnian Emir Kusturica as a master of bizarre comedies ( Dom za vešanje ). In Underground he addressed the disintegration of Yugoslavia in a fictional narrative of an underground society that lived far away from world events and reflected the social change in Yugoslavia between the Second World War and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. His films won both the Golden Palm and the Golden Lion. Other important directors who also dealt with the contemporary events of the Balkan Wars are Goran Paskaljević ( Anđeo čuvar ), Ljubiša Samardžić ( Jesen stiže, Dunjo moja ) and Zdravko Šotra ( Zona Zamfirova , Pljačka trećeg Rajha ... ).

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The religious family festival of the Slava is accompanied by special rituals and spiritual customs

4 cultural sites of Serbia are listed in the UNESCO list of world heritage.

In addition, the Slava and the Serbian Kolo are part of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind as part of the world cultural heritage.

There are also three entries in the Memory of the World Register:

  • 2003: Nikola Tesla Archive (Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade)
  • 2005: Miroslav Gospel (Serbian National Museum in Belgrade)
  • 2015: Telegram from Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia on July 28, 1914 (Serbian State Archives in Belgrade)



Pirot kilime as a central component of traditional Serbian and Balkan living culture (Ethnographic Museum Belgrade)
Historical bridal costume from Prizren, 19th century (Belgrade Ethnographic Museum)
Opanken are part of the Serbian folk costume

Customs are part of the cultural diversity and intangible heritage of Serbia. Regional customs as part of folk culture are maintained by associations across Serbia. The customs include various traditional forms of expression in music , dance , folk poetry and traditional handicrafts. A large number of local customs and rites are related to the religious feast days.


Opanken workshop (Belgrade Ethnographic Museum)

Traditional handicrafts had a long tradition in Serbia. Individual craft forms and products are part of Serbian folk customs. At the time of the Ottoman Empire, handicrafts in the larger Serbian Čaršijen and Şehern were also organized in closed guilds, so-called Esnafs. Due to the widespread use of the former craft trades, the Turkish terms have been preserved to this day. In the 1960s, there were still over 60 different craft trades in individual cities in Serbia. The filigree silver jewelry incorporated into the folk costumes of Balkan women, for example, has been preserved for the craft of Prizren in Kosovo to this day in a concentration of so-called filigree shops that is conspicuous for the cityscape of the old town. The traditional carpet weaving in Pirot was also able to develop further after the liberation from Ottoman rule.

Individual handicraft products of particular artistic quality also achieved the rank of status symbols in the interior of the townspeople or were traditional bridal gifts. In the case of the Pirot kilim , it also had a representative function as a “quasi” state insignia comparable to that of French tapestries .

The craft professions are divided according to their processing raw materials: clay, stone, wood, leather, metal, glass or textile fibers. The crafts - zanat - which have gained greater importance in the Serbian folk tradition include:

  • Grnčarski zanat ( pottery , especially ceramic centers in clay-rich mountain areas such as in Ponišavlje around Pirot - Pirotska grnčarija )
  • Opančarski zanat (Leathercraft for the preparation of the traditional opanak -Schuhwerks)
  • Kazandžijski zanat (metal crafts for household items made of copper, bronze and tin)
  • Ćilimarstvo (Kilim weaving from sheep's wool on vertical roller looms around Pirot)
  • Mutavdžijski zanat (goat wool weaving for the household needs of the rural population)

Individual objects typical of traditional folk culture such as the čutura as a vessel for storing the Šljivovica or the testija as a vessel for water or wine were also made from different materials or a combination of clay, porcelain, copper sheet or wood.

See also

Portal: Serbia  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Serbia


  • Peter Becker : 1914 and 1999. Two wars against Serbia. On the way to democratic peace? Nomos, Baden-Baden 2014, ISBN 978-3-8487-1473-5 .
  • Katrin Boeckh: Serbia and Montenegro. History and present. (= Eastern and Southeastern Europe - history of countries and peoples). Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7917-2169-9 .
  • Konstantin Jireček : History of the Serbs. 2 volumes. Hakkert, Amsterdam 1967 (1911).
  • Konstantin Jireček : State and Society in Medieval Serbia: Studies on the Cultural History of the 13th – 15th Centuries Jh. Parts 1–4, Hölder, Vienna 1912–1919.
  • Malte Olschewski : The Serbian Myth: The Belated Nation. Herbig, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-7766-2027-7 .
  • Steven W. Sowards: Modern History of the Balkans. The Balkans in the age of nationalism. Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2004, ISBN 3-8334-0977-0 .
  • Holm Sundhaussen: History of Serbia: 19. – 21. Century. Böhlau, Vienna and others 2007, ISBN 978-3-205-77660-4 .
  • Gordana Ilic Markovic (Ed.): Veliki Rat. The First World War as reflected in Serbian literature and the press. Promedia, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-85371-368-6 .

Web links

Wikimedia Atlas: Serbia  - geographical and historical maps
Commons : Serbia  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Serbia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikisource: Serbia  - Sources and full texts
Wikivoyage: Serbia  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. population, total. In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed April 18, 2021 .
  2. Population growth (annual%). In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed April 18, 2021 .
  3. ^ World Economic Outlook Database October 2020. In: World Economic Outlook Database. International Monetary Fund , 2020, accessed April 18, 2021 .
  4. Table: Human Development Index and its components . In: United Nations Development Program (ed.): Human Development Report 2020 . United Nations Development Program, New York 2020, ISBN 978-92-1126442-5 , pp. 344 (English, [PDF]).
  5. - Линкуј као што говориш! German: link as you speak (Serbian)
  6. Article 10 of the Serbian Constitution. In: Retrieved on August 2, 2018 (rs).
  7. EU enlargement process: Country information Serbia ( Memento from February 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Official note on the website of the UN ( Member States of the United Nations ): “In a letter dated 3 June 2006, the President of the Republic of Serbia informed the Secretary-General that the membership of Serbia and Montenegro was being continued by the Republic of Serbia, following Montenegro's declaration of independence. "See United Nations: UN Member States - On the Record: Serbia .
  9. ^ Economic growth - Serbia. Arndt Management Consulting, May 2010 (PDF; 279 kB)
  10. Visa requirement has been abolished - The Serbs are coming ! ( Memento from December 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Serbia applies for EU membership
  12. March 1, 2012: Serbia receives EU candidate status
  13. Karst Srbije
  14. ^ Serbia and Montenegro: Country Environmental Analysis. (PDF) Site du ministère de la Protection de l'environnement de la République de Serbie, March 7, 2007, archived from the original on June 21, 2007 ; Retrieved June 10, 2014 .
  15. Bureau of Ecological Studies (2007): Map 8 on the European Green Belt ( Memento from June 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) [PDF]
  16. ^ U. Schwarz: Balkan Rivers - The Blue Heart of Europe, Hydromorphological Status and Dam Projects. Report. 2012. (PDF; 6.4 MB)
  17. Prime Butterfly Areas: A tool for nature conservation in Serbia - Deliblato Sands ( Memento from September 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Dragana Ostojic, Marina Vukin: Protection of Serbian spruce ( Picea omorika ) habitats in Serbia. In: Abstracts of the 5th Balkan Botanical Congress, Belgrade 7-11th September 2009. Belgrade 2009, p. 133.
  19. Vladimir Stevanovic, Jasmina Sizar-Sekulic: Important plant area country reports - Serbia. In: Radford, Ode (Ed.): Consverving important plant areas - Investing in the green gold of South East Europe. Plantlife international, Salisbury 2009.
  20. Novosti, January 5, 2008 Božur povezao junake
  21. RTS, May 15, 2013 Krivi vir raj za kosovske bozure
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  265. Gusta mi magla padnala (Ensemble Belo Platno)
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  297. Nema više Abadžija i mutavdžija
  298. Pirotski cilim po narudzbini odbrane
  299. Jin i Jang na Balkanu
  300. Grncarstvo
  301. Živeli, kume! Po piroćanski
  302. Opancarski zanat
  303. Kazandžijski zanat
  304. Ćilimarstvo
  305. Mutavdžijski zanat
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  307. Izložba grnčarije u Muzeju "Ponišavlja"

Coordinates: 43 ° 57 '  N , 20 ° 56'  E