Belgrade is the capital of Serbia. It is located in Southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. More precisely, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. With the waters of these rivers surrounding it on three sides, it really deserves to be called ’The Gate’ of the Balkans and ’The Doors’ of Central Europe. Belgrade is the place where the roads of Eastern and Western Europe meet and cross. The Vinča culture, one of the most important European prehistoric cultures, was created in Belgrade’s immediate vicinity, in the 6th millennium B.C. In ancient history, these lands were inhabited by Thracian-Dacian tribes. When the Celts took over the settlement that used to exist in the place where Belgrade sits today, they gave it the name Singidunum. During the reign of the emperor Augustus, Romans conquered the town and gave it the status of a municipium, around the half of the 2nd century. Slavs settled in the town in c. 520.
Belgrade was conquered many times, by the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia. The Ottoman Empire won Belgrade in 1521 and later moved the seat of its sandjak (province) here. Belgrade became the capital of Serbia in 1841. The northern part of Belgrade would remain a Habsburg borderland until 1918. Due to its strategic position, more than 115 wars were fought over this city and it was destroyed 44 times.
Belgrade is the cultural, administrative and educational center of Serbia. Its population is more than 1,6 million. The city is divided into 17 districts. Belgrade is also one of Europe’s greenest capitals.
Belgrade has a humid continental climate with all four seasons. Autumn lasts longer than spring, with frequent sunny and warm intervals known as the Miholj Summer. Winters are not too severe. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 0.1 °C. Springs are short and rainy. Summer comes suddenly. A characteristic of Belgrade’s climate is košava, a strong southeastern or eastern wind, which brings clear and dry weather.
A number of cultural, sports and other types of events take place in Belgrade. The city has many museums, galleries and cultural centers. Belgrade has three state universities and several private institutions for higher education. The origins of the University of Belgrade can be traced to the Belgrade Higher School, founded in 1808. The first Serbian university was formally established on February 27, 1905. Belgrade has a reputation as a capital with a vibrant nightlife, and many clubs across the city are open till dawn every day of the week. The most striking clubs are situated in floating boats along the riverbanks of the Sava and Danube. Belgrade has recently been the host of a number of major sports events.
The official language is Serbian and the official script is Cyrillic.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Serbia; more precisely, Orthodox Christianity. According to the latest 2011 population census, around 85% of the population are Orthodox Christians. Smaller percentages are taken up by Catholics (4.97%), Muslims (3.1%) and Protestants (0.99%). In Belgrade, there are several Roman Catholic churches, a synagogue, a mosque and several other places of worship for other religions.
Belgrade’s dwellers are known as friendly and hospitable. They have a cheerful disposition and like to joke and rejoice in any situation. One of the reasons behind this is their peculiar sense of humor, which is an integral part of everyday communication. Belgrade’s women are very beautiful and care about their appearance. The work day finishes at approximately 5 P.M., after which people flock to local cafes and bars to meet up with friends. There is always something going on in the city, and a night out usually ends in the early hours of the morning. Belgrade’s dwellers are also gourmets and hedonists, so places serving delicious food can be found on every corner.
Despite its turbulent history and the fact that its residents have often been dealt a bad hand, we can freely say that Belgrade is a city of happy people and certainly one of the most exciting European capitals.