Belgrade (Beograd) is the capital of Serbia and has a population of around 1.6 million. It is situated in South-Eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has since ancient times been an important focal point for traffic, an intersection of the roads of Eastern and Western Europe.
Belgrade is the capital of Serbian culture, education, science, and economy. As a result of its tumultuous history, Belgrade has for centuries been home to many nationalities, with Serbs of the Orthodox Christian religion making up the majority of the population (90%). The official language is Serbian, while visitors from abroad can use English to communicate.
Belgrade, a city of very tumultuous history, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Its history lasts full 7,000 years. The area around two great rivers, the Sava and the Danube, has been inhabited as early as the paleolithic period. Remains of human bones and skulls of Neanderthals, found in the stone-pit near Leštane, in a cave in Čukarica and near the Bajloni market, date back to the early Stone Age.
Remains of the late Stone Age culture have been found in Vinča, Žarkovo and in Upper Town, above the Sava and Dunav confluence. It indicates that the area of Belgrade has been continually inhabited and that the intensity of the settling has been getting higher and higher. Many of today’s settlements in Belgrade surroundings lie on cultural layers of earlier prehistoric settlements.
Vinča near Belgrade comes among the most important settlements and cultural sites of the prehistoric period. The presence of Illyrians is characteristic for the Bronze Age. The archaeological excavations at Rospi Ćuprija, Upper Town, Karaburma, Zemun and Vinča confirm hypotheses that the Belgrade area has been intensively inhabited and that its population has been engaged in plow agriculture and other supporting economic activities. Necropolises of the Bronze and Metal Ages as well as the evidence of different cultural influences have been discovered at these locations.
Belgrade is situated at the place where the Sava joins the Danube. Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and, besides Athens, the greatest urban whole of the Balkan Peninsula. The oldest archaeological artifacts from Belgrade area date back to the fifth millennium B.C. The members of a Celtic tribe founded Singidunum in the III century B.C., while the first record of the name Belgrade dates back to 878 A.D. During its long and tumultuous history, Belgrade has been conquered by 40 armies, and 38 times it has been raised up from the ashes.
Belgrade is the capital of Serbia, having around 1,6 million residents. In the field of traffic and transport, it is a city of the highest importance as a road and railway center, as a port for river and air traffic, and as a telecommunication center. It spreads over 3.6% of the territory of Serbia, and 15.8% of Serbian population lives in this city. Also, 31.2% of all employed workers in Serbia work in Belgrade.
Important economic and agricultural capacities are developed in Belgrade, especially metallurgy, metalworking industry, and electronic industry, then commerce and banking. The free trade zone is located in the wider area of Belgrade, Smederevo, and Pančevo, on the banks of the Danube river, covering 2,000 sqm of business space. Also, 30% of the national product of Serbia is made in Belgrade.
Belgrade is the capital of Serbian culture, education, and science. It has the greatest concentration of institutions of national importance in the field of science and art. There is the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, established in 1886 as the Serbian Royal Academy: the National Library of Serbia, established in 1832; the National Museum, established in 1841 and the National Theatre, established in 1869. The city is also the seat of the Belgrade University, founded in 1808 as the Great School, and the seat of the University of Art.
Belgrade has the status of a separate territorial unit in Serbia, having its own autonomous city government. Its territory is divided into 17 municipalities, having their own local governmental bodies.
Belgrade is the center of culture and art of Serbia. It is Belgrade where our most notable artists create, where over 11.000 theatrical performances, exhibitions, concerts, performance events, and other artistic programs are presented and where prominent authors in the world of art are hosted. Belgrade is the center of the highest state and national institutions of culture and art: Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Library of Serbia, the National Museum, the National Theatre and the University of Arts.
There are spots in Belgrade you must definitely see and feel. Streets, squares, monuments, parks, drinking fountains, archeological sites… and other sights that deserve a recommendation. Many of them have been given the status of cultural assets.
It is Belgrade where the most significant works of architecture are located, with Kalemegdan accommodating Belgrade Fortress, cultural monuments, and other immovable cultural treasures, numerous archeological sites with remnants of developed civilization and culture on Belgrade territory from prehistory until this day.
“The sky above Belgrade is wide and high, unstable but always beautiful; even during winter serenities with their icy splendour; even during summer storms when the whole of it turns into a single gloomy cloud which, driven by the mad wind, carries the rain mixed with the dust of panonian plain; even in spring when it seems that it also blooms, along with the ground; even in autumn when it grows heavy with the autumn stars in swarms. Always beautiful and rich, as a compensation to this strange town for everything that isn’t there, and a consolation because of everything that shouldn’t be there.
But the greatest splendor of that sky above Belgrade, that are the sunsets. In autumn and in summer, they are broad and bright like desert mirages, and in winter they are smothered by murky clouds and dark red hazes. And in every time of year frequently come the days when the flame of that sun setting in the plain, between the rivers beneath Belgrade, gets reflected way up in the high celestial dome, and it breaks there and pours down over the scattered town. Then, for a moment, the reddish tint of the sun paints even the remotest corners of Belgrade and reflects into the windows, even of those houses it otherwise poorly illuminates.”
Written about Belgrade by Ivo Andrić, Serbian Nobel prize laureate