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_________

country

_________

Serbia

Capital Belgrade
Continent Europe
Code +381
Currency Serbian Dinar (RSD)
Languages Serbian

Description

Serbia is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, at the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkans, bordering Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest, and claiming a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia has a population of almost 7 million, with Belgrade as its capital and largest city.

Continuously inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, the territory of modern-day Serbia faced Slavic migrations in the 6th century, establishing several regional states in the early Middle Ages at times recognised as tributaries to the Byzantine, Frankish and Hungarian kingdoms. The Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by the Holy See and Constantinople in 1217, reaching its territorial apex in 1346 as Serbian Empire. By the mid-16th century, the Ottomans annexed the entirety of modern-day Serbia; their rule was at times interrupted by the Habsburg Empire, which began expanding towards Central Serbia from the end of the 17th century while maintaining a foothold in Vojvodina. In the early 19th century, the Serbian Revolution established the nation-state as the region's first constitutional monarchy, which subsequently expanded its territory. Following casualties in World War I, and the subsequent unification of the former Habsburg crownland of Vojvodina with Serbia, the country co-founded Yugoslavia with other South Slavic nations, which would exist in various political formations until the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia formed a union with Montenegro, which was peacefully dissolved in 2006, restoring Serbia's independence as a sovereign state for the first time since 1918. In 2008, representatives of the Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, with mixed responses from the international community while Serbia continues to claim it as part of its sovereign territory.

Serbia is an upper-middle-income economy, ranked 64th in the Human Development Index domain. It is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, a member of the UN, Coe, OSCE, PfP, BSEC, CEFTA, and is acceding to the WTO. Since 2014, the country has been negotiating its EU accession, to join the European Union by 2025. Serbia has been formally adhering to the policy of military neutrality. The country provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens.

History

The history of Serbia covers the historical development of Serbia and of its predecessor states, from the Early Stone Age to the present state, as well as that of the Serbian people and of the areas they ruled historically. The scope of Serbian habitation and rule has varied much through the ages, and, as a result, the history of Serbia is similarly elastic in what it includes.

Slavs settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries, out of which settlement the First Serbian Principality of the Vlastimirovići emerged. It evolved into a Grand Principality by the 11th century, and in 1217 the Kingdom and national church (Serbian Orthodox Church) was established, under the Nemanjići. In 1345 the Serbian Empire was established: it spanned a large part of the Balkans. In 1540 the Ottoman Empire annexed Serbia.

The Serbian realms disappeared by the mid-16th century, torn by domestic feuds and overcome by Ottoman conquest. The success of the Serbian revolution against Ottoman rule in 1817 marked the birth of the Principality of Serbia, which achieved de facto independence in 1867 and finally gained recognition by the Great Powers in the Berlin Congress of 1878. As a victor in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, Serbia regained Vardar Macedonia, Kosovo and Raška (Old Serbia). In late 1918 the region of Vojvodina proclaimed its secession from Austria-Hungary to unite with the pan-Slavic State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs; the Kingdom of Serbia joined the union on 1 December 1918, and the country was named the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Serbia achieved its current borders at the end of World War II, when it became a federal unit within the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (proclaimed in November 1945). After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in a series of wars in the 1990s, Serbia once again became an independent state on 5 June 2006, following the breakup of a short-lived union with Montenegro.

Geography

A landlocked country situated at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe, Serbia is located in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. Serbia lies between latitudes 41° and 47° N, and longitudes 18° and 23° E. The country covers a total of 88,361 km2 (34,116 sq mi) (including Kosovo), which places it at 113th place in the world; with Kosovo excluded, the total area is 77,474 km2 (29,913 sq mi), which would make it 117th. Its total border length amounts to 2,027 km (1,260 mi): Albania 115 km (71 mi), Bosnia and Herzegovina 302 km (188 mi), Bulgaria 318 km (198 mi), Croatia 241 km (150 mi), Hungary 151 km (94 mi), North Macedonia 221 km (137 mi), Montenegro 203 km (126 mi) and Romania 476 km (296 mi). All of Kosovo's border with Albania (115 km (71 mi)), North Macedonia (159 km (99 mi)) and Montenegro (79 km (49 mi)) are under the control of the Kosovo border police. Serbia treats the 352 km (219 mi) long border between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia as an "administrative line"; it is under shared control of Kosovo border police and Serbian police forces, and there are 11 crossing points. The Pannonian Plain covers the northern third of the country (Vojvodina and Mačva) while the easternmost tip of Serbia extends into the Wallachian Plain. The terrain of the central part of the country, with the region of Šumadija at its heart, consists chiefly of hills traversed by rivers. Mountains dominate the southern third of Serbia. Dinaric Alps stretch in the west and the southwest, following the flow of the rivers Drina and Ibar. The Carpathian Mountains and Balkan Mountains stretch in a north-south direction in eastern Serbia.

Ancient mountains in the southeast corner of the country belong to the Rilo-Rhodope Mountain system. Elevation ranges from the Midžor peak of the Balkan Mountains at 2,169 metres (7,116 feet) (the highest peak in Serbia, excluding Kosovo) to the lowest point of just 17 metres (56 feet) near the Danube river at Prahova. The largest lake is Đerdap Lake (163 square kilometres (63 sq mi)) and the longest river passing through Serbia is the Danube (587.35 kilometres (364.96 mi)).

Politics

Serbia is a parliamentary republic, with the government divided into legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. Serbia had one of the first modern constitutions in Europe, the 1835 Constitution (known as the Sretenje Constitution), which was at the time considered among the most progressive and liberal constitutions in Europe. Since then it has adopted 10 different constitutions. The current constitution was adopted in 2006 in the aftermath of the Montenegro independence referendum which by consequence renewed the independence of Serbia itself. The Constitutional Court rules on matters regarding the Constitution.

The President of the Republic (Predsednik Republike) is the head of state, is elected by popular vote to a five-year term and is limited by the Constitution to a maximum of two terms. In addition to being the commander in chief of the armed forces, the president has the procedural duty of appointing the prime minister with the consent of the parliament and has some influence on foreign policy. Aleksandar Vučić of the Serbian Progressive Party is the current president following the 2017 presidential election. The seat of the presidency is Novi Dvor.

The Government (Vlada) is composed of the prime minister and cabinet ministers. The Government is responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies. The current prime minister is Ana Brnabić, nominated by the Serbian Progressive Party.

The National Assembly (Narodna skupština) is a unicameral legislative body. The National Assembly has the power to enact laws, approve the budget, schedule presidential elections, select and dismiss the Prime Minister and other ministers, declare war, and ratify international treaties and agreements. It is composed of 250 proportionally elected members who serve four-year terms.

Economy

Serbia has an emerging market economy in the upper-middle-income range. According to the International Monetary Fund, Serbian nominal GDP in 2018 is officially estimated at $50.651 billion or $7,243 per capita while purchasing power parity GDP stood at $122.759 billion or $17,555 per capita. The economy is dominated by services which accounts for 67.9% of GDP, followed by industry with 26.1% of GDP, and agriculture at 6% of GDP. The official currency of Serbia is the Serbian dinar (ISO code: RSD), and the central bank is the National Bank of Serbia. The Belgrade Stock Exchange is the only stock exchange in the country, with a market capitalisation of $8.65 billion and BELEX15 as the main index representing the 15 most liquid stocks. The country is ranked 52nd on the Social Progress Index as well as 51st on the Global Peace Index.

The economy has been affected by the global economic crisis. After almost a decade of strong economic growth (average of 4.45% per year), Serbia entered the recession in 2009 with negative growth of −3% and again in 2012 and 2014 with −1% and −1.8%, respectively. As the government was fighting the effects of crisis the public debt has more than doubled: from a pre-crisis level of just under 30% to about 70% of GDP and trending downwards recently to around 50%. The Labour force stands at 3.2 million, with 56% employed in the services sector, 28.1% in industry and 15.9% in agriculture. The average monthly net salary in May 2019 stood at 47,575 dinars or $525. Unemployment remains an acute problem, with a rate of 12.7% as of 2018.

Since 2000, Serbia has attracted over $40 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI). Blue-chip corporations making investments include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Siemens, Bosch, Philip Morris, Michelin, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg and others. In the energy sector, Russian energy giants, Gazprom and Lukoil have made large investments. In the metallurgy sector, Chinese steel and copper giants, Hesteel and Zijin Mining have acquired key complexes.

Serbia has an unfavourable trade balance: imports exceed exports by 25%. Serbia's exports, however, recorded a steady growth in the last couple of years reaching $19.2 billion in 2018. The country has free trade agreements with the EFTA and CEFTA, a preferential trade regime with the European Union, a Generalised System of Preferences with the United States, and individual free trade agreements with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey.

Culture

For centuries straddling the boundaries between East and West, the territory of Serbia had been divided among the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; then between Byzantium and the Kingdom of Hungary; and in the early modern period between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire. These overlapping influences have resulted in cultural varieties throughout Serbia; its north leans to the profile of Central Europe, while the south is characteristic of the wider Balkans and even the Mediterranean. The Byzantine influence on Serbia was profound, first through the introduction of Eastern Christianity in the Early Middle Ages. The Serbian Orthodox Church has many monasteries built in the Serbian Middle Ages. Serbia was influenced by the Republic of Venice as well, mainly through trade, literature and romanesque architecture.

Serbia has five cultural monuments inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage: the early medieval capital Stari Ras and the 13th-century monastery Sopoćani; the 12th-century Studenica monastery; the Roman complex of Gamzigrad–Felix Romuliana; medieval tombstones Stećci; and finally the endangered Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (the monasteries of Visoki Dečani, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and Patriarchal Monastery of Peć).

There are two literary works on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme: the 12th-century Miroslav Gospel, and scientist Nikola Tesla's archive. The slava (patron saint veneration), kolo (traditional folk dance), singing to the accompaniment of the gusle and Zlakusa pottery are inscribed on UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. The Ministry of Culture and Information is tasked with preserving the nation's cultural heritage and overseeing its development, with further activities undertaken by local governments.

Images

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Nikola Tesla Museum in Serbia

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Tara National Park in Serbia

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