Capital | Belgrade
Population | 7,310,555 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 102,350 SQ KM
Official Language | Serbian
Holidays | National Day, 15 February
Currency | Dinar (RSD)
Time Zone | UTC +1
Best Time to Visit | August to October (summer)
Connecting with the Culture | Dancing at dawn in Novi Sad’s baroque citadel during the Exit music festival. Wandering around the Old Town in Kotor’s walled medieval city. Taking in the stunning views of Kotor Fjord on the hairpin drive to Cetinje. Sunbaking with the beautiful people on any of Budva’s fine beaches. Basking in views of the Danube from Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Citadel.
Read | Tim Judah’s The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, a comprehensive and thoroughly readable account of Serbia’s part in Yugoslavia’s demise. Ivo Andric’s novel Bridge on the Drina foresaw the region’s disasters of the 1990s.
Listen | to Blehmuzica- brass music influenced by Turkish and Austrian military music. Darkwood Dub provides more contemporary electro- fusion styles.
Watch | Emily Kusturica’s Underground- a heady, chaotic film dealing with Yugoslavia’s history. Danis Tanovic’s superb satire No Man’s Land spotlights the absurdity of Yugoslavia’s internal warring.
Eat | a mešano meso (mixed grill- a mountain of grilled meat for carnivorously inclined. It comprises evapii (mini sausages made from minced pork, beef or lamb), plejskavica (large, spicy hamburger steak) and ražnjii (pork or veal shish kebab with onions and peppers).
Drink | the terribly good Montenegrin beer brew, Nikšiko Pivo. Local cognac, vinjak, and the ubiquitous plum brandy, šljivovica, are good for stripping your throat lining.
In a Word | Nema problema (No problem)
Characteristics | Piano accordions; eastern-bloc hairstyles; nationalist fervor; meat… meat and more meat; Soviet fashion; war-torn countryside.
Surprises | Europe’s deepest fjord; widespread Turkish (Ottoman) influences; loads of jazz; gorgeous beaches; superb lakes and National Parks.
NEWS ABOUT SERBIA:
Hague drops 1 genocide charge against Radovan Karadzic; keeps 10 others
(HN, 6/28/12) - The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal dropped 1 genocide charge against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic on Thursday while maintaining 10 other charges against the jailed warlord. In dropping the charge, the court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that he intended to wipe out other ethnic groups in the early stages of Bosnia's 1992-95 civil war. The ruling, posted on the UN-sponsored court's website, comes as Karadzic prepares for the defense phase of the case against him in The Hague, Netherlands. The remaining charges include 1 other count of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre - where about 7,000 Muslim men & boys were separated from their families & gunned down by firing squads, allegedly on the orders of Karadzic & Bosnian Serb army commander Gen. Ratko Mladic who are also thought to have committed murder, repression, deportation & other war crimes. (Read more at the LA Times)
Serbian President Tadic resigns early; plans re-election run
(HN, 4/1/12) - One of the most popular politicians in Serbia, President Boris Tadic announced his resignation Wednesday - 10 months before his 5-year term was to end. A pro-Western politician & a strong supporter of Serbia's EU integration, Tadic is now expected to stand for re-election in early presidential polls on May 6th; the same day parliamentary & local elections are scheduled to take place. His Democratic Serbia party is the lead in Serbia's ruling coalition, & Tadic's focus has centered on bringing Serbia to be recognized as an official EU candidate country - which happened March 1st. Tadic's main opponent in May's election is likely to be Tomislav Nikolic's a populist leader & head of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNP).
The 2 faced each other in presidential runoffs in the 2004 & 2008 elections. Kosovo remains 1 of the most contentious issues in Serb politics & Tadic's opponents claim he is ready to give away the Kosovo issue in exchange for EU membership. Tadic says he or his party will not recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo-a former Serb territory which declared independence in February, 2008. Belgrade has already announced that the May 6th municipal & parliamentary elections will include parts of northern Kosovo, which identifies with Serbia & recently held a referendum to denounce Pristina's authority. Kosovo officials have pledged to use force, if needed, to stop Serbia from conducting an election in its borders. (Read more at RIA Novosti)