Serbia was independent kingdom since middle ages. Seventeen Roman Emperors were born here, including Constantine the Great. Double-headed white eagle in the coat of arms is Roman heritage.
The defeat in a battle at Kosovo in 1389 and the fall of Constantinople half a century later caused that for 400 years, Serbia was part of the Ottoman Empire. Today there are only a few mosques and majority of the people belong to the Orthodox Church.
In Asia, Islam was spread by clerics, whom people respected; in Europe it was spread by sword during the Ottoman raids. That might explain the different interpretations of the same religions. People are impacted mainly by the way they are treated, not the content of the teaching.
Belgrade was on the border between two different civilizations: Ottoman south of the Danube and Sava rivers and Austria-Hungary in the north. The difference is still visible in architecture.
Serbian food is influenced by Ottoman Cuisine from the Middle East and Hungarian in the north. Lot of meat and sausages, eaten with bread and veggies. Actually, Serbians invented hamburger, called pljeskavica: mix of pork and beef, prepared on the grill and served in bread patty.
Average salary in Serbia is around 300 – 400 Euro. One beer in a bar in Belgrade is between 100 – 200 dinars, which is about 0.80 – 1.50 Euro. (1 EUR = 123 dinars) Prices are significantly lower than in the Western Europe, even lower than in central Europe. Economy was his by the wars and the country is still picking up, slowed down by investors who sell out the depreciated stock.
Government is oscillating between making unions with Russia and trying to get to the EU. Actually, they have to take every opportunity to obtain finances. One of the city parks was renewed from money donated by Azerbaijan. Impact of communist era is still visible in the architecture and artifacts sold on the streets. Putin bar is a must.
Serbia is not a part of the EU and you can feel. The rules are loose and law enforcement is low. You can never be sure about the delivery of the services as the bus driver decided to leave without taking the passengers or a excavator cuts its road short across the pavement.
On the other hand, Serbia is full of inventive ideas, using he old school technology to fuel modern ideas. When I was a child, I was also dreaming of driving my own car. Alternative electric current developed by Nikola Tesla is still used in modern computing and technology.
Nikola Tesla: ‘harnessing the forces of nature to serve human needs.’
Drinking in the streets is tolerated. On the other hand, the anti-migration policy is very strong and the police interrogate, even abuse every suspicious traveller on the train – careful if you have beard or darker skin. Obtain the confirmation of registration of residence (at a police station) if you stay in the country for more than 24 hours.
Orthodox Church had strong influence. St Sava started the rebellion against the Ottomans. The biggest Orthodox church is named after him.
Serbians use both Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. They also have some unique characters, for example ć , similar to sh in shoor and Đ [dj] in names Đorđe. It is the Serbian equivalent of George. Picture of St Đorđe harnessing the dragon. National legends overlap.
Declaration of World War I. after the attack in Sarajevo.
King Peter of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia formed after WWI.
After World War I, Serbia was united in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia under the king Alexander. He was an outspoken opponent of the Nazism and lost his life in an attack in Marseile in 1934. Reportedly, he was assassinated by a radical group that listened to the orders of Nazis.
Building destroyed during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 over the independence of Kosovo. The war in the 1990 hit Serbia only economically.
Serbian people are a mix Slavonic, Ottoman and southern European culture. Quite open and festive but they know how to drink. Rakija is the most popular type of strong alcohol, usually distilled from Plums or other fruits.
We were often served kefir and bakery for breakfast. Kefir, sold with the inscription ‘elixir of youth’ is a milk product, full of good bacteria that improve immunity and digestion.
For me, Serbia takes the life more easily than the Western Europe, you just pay and leave and no one cares about the change. On the other hand, the lack of deeper system is visible in the economic power and slow development.