Cultural Heritage sites
History of Serbs
History of Serbia
Muslims by ethnicity
Serbs (Serbian: Срби / Srbi, pronounced [sr̩̂bi]) are a
South Slavic ethnic group that formed in the Balkans. The majority of
Serbs inhabit the nation state of
Serbia (with a minority in disputed
Kosovo), as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Croatia and Montenegro.
They form significant minorities in Macedonia and Slovenia. There is a
Serb diaspora in Western Europe, and outside
Europe there are
significant communities in
North America and Australia.
Serbs share many cultural traits with the rest of the peoples of
Southeast Europe. They are predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christians
by religion. The
Serbian language is official in Serbia, co-official
Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is spoken by the plurality
2.1 Middle Ages
2.2 Early modern period
2.3 Modern period
5.1 Art, music, theatre and cinema
5.3 Education and science
5.7 Traditions and customs
6 See also
10 External links
The modern identity of
Serbs is rooted in
Eastern Orthodoxy and
traditions. In the 19th century, the
Serbian national identity
Serbian national identity was
manifested, with awareness of history and tradition, medieval
heritage, cultural unity, despite living under different empires.
Three elements, together with the legacy of the Nemanjić dynasty,
were crucial in forging identity and preservation during foreign
Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian language, and
Kosovo Myth. When the Principality of
Serbia gained independence
from the Ottoman Empire, Orthodoxy became crucial in defining the
national identity, instead of language which was shared by other South
Croats and Bosniaks). The tradition of slava, the family
saint feast day, is an important ethnic marker of Serb identity,
and is usually regarded their most significant and most solemn feast
The origin of the ethnonym is unclear (see
Names of the Serbs and
Genetic studies on Serbs
Genetic studies on Serbs show that they have close affinity
with the rest of the Balkan peoples and especially those within former
Yugoslavia; Y-DNA results show that haplogroups I2a and R1a together
stand for roughly two thirds of the makeup (as of 2014). Serbia
has among the tallest people in the world, after
Netherlands, with an average male height of 1.82 metres (6 ft
History of the Serbs
History of the Serbs and History of Serbia
Nemanjić dynasty members, most important dynasty of
Serbia in the
Slavs invaded and settled the
Balkans in the 6th and 7th
centuries. Up until the late 560s their activity was raiding,
crossing from the Danube, though with limited Slavic settlement mainly
through Byzantine foederati colonies. The
was overwhelmed by large-scale Slavic settlement in the late 6th and
early 7th century. What is today central
Serbia was an important
geo-strategical province, through which the
Via Militaris crossed.
This area was frequently intruded by barbarians in the 5th and 6th
centuries. The numerous
Slavs mixed with and assimilated the
descendants of the indigenous population. The history of the early
medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the 10th-century work De
Administrando Imperio, which describes the
Serbs as a people living in
Roman Dalmatia, subordinate the Byzantine Empire.
Numerous small Serbian states were created, chiefly under
Vlastimorović and Vojislavjević dynasties, located in modern Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. With the decline of
the Serbian state of
Duklja in the late 11th century, "Raška"
separated from it and replaced it as the most powerful Serbian
Stefan Nemanja (r. 1169–96) conquered the
neighbouring territories of Kosovo,
Duklja and Zachlumia. The
Nemanjić dynasty ruled over
Serbia until the 14th century. Nemanja's
older son, Stefan Nemanjić, became Serbia's first recognized king,
while his younger son, Rastko, founded the
Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church in
the year 1219, and became known as Saint
Sava after his death.
Over the next 140 years,
Serbia expanded its borders, from numerous
minor principalities, reaching to an unified Serbian Empire. Its
cultural model remained Byzantine, despite political ambitions
directed against the empire. The medieval power and influence of
Serbia culminated in the reign of Stefan Dušan, who ruled the state
from 1331 until his death in 1355. Ruling as Emperor from 1346, his
territory included Macedonia, northern Greece, Montenegro, and almost
all of modern Albania. When
Dušan died, his son Stephen Uroš V
With Turkish invaders beginning their conquest of the
Balkans in the
1350s, a major conflict ensued between them and the Serbs, the first
major battle was the
Battle of Maritsa
Battle of Maritsa (1371), in which the Serbs
were defeated. With the death of two important Serb leaders in the
battle, and with the death of Stephen Uroš that same year, the
Serbian Empire broke up into several small Serbian domains. These
states were ruled by feudal lords, with Zeta controlled by the
Balšić family, Raška,
Kosovo and northern Macedonia held by the
Branković family and
Lazar Hrebeljanović holding today's Central
Serbia and a portion of Kosovo. Hrebeljanović was subsequently
accepted as the titular leader of the
Serbs because he was married to
a member of the Nemanjić dynasty. In 1389, the
Serbs faced the
Ottomans at the Battle of
Kosovo on the plain of
Kosovo Polje, near
the town of Pristina. Both Lazar and
Murad I were killed in
the fighting. The battle most likely ended in a stalemate, and
Serbia did not fall to the Turks until 1459.
Early modern period
Serbs had taken an active part in the wars fought in the Balkans
against the Ottoman Empire, and also organized uprisings; because of
this, they suffered persecution and their territories were devastated
– major migrations from
Serbia into Habsburg territory ensued.
After allied Christian forces had captured Buda from the Ottoman
Empire in 1686 during the Great Turkish War,
Serbs from Pannonian
Plain (present-day Hungary,
Slavonia region in present-day Croatia,
Banat regions in present-day Serbia) joined the troops of
the Habsburg Monarchy as separate units known as Serbian Militia.
Serbs, as volunteers, massively joined the Austrian side.
The Great Serb Migrations, led by Patriarch Arsenije III Carnojevic,
In 1688, the Habsburg army took
Belgrade and entered the territory of
present-day Central Serbia. Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden
called Serbian Patriarch
Arsenije III Čarnojević
Arsenije III Čarnojević to raise arms
against the Turks; the Patriarch accepted and returned to the
liberated Peć. As
Serbia fell under Habsburg control, Leopold I
granted Arsenije nobility and the title of duke. In early November,
Arsenije III met with Habsburg commander-in-chief, General Enea Silvio
Piccolomini in Prizren; after this talk he sent a note to all Serb
bishops to come to him and collaborate only with Habsburg forces.
A large migration of
Serbs to Habsburg lands was undertaken by
Patriarch Arsenije III. The large community of
in Banat, southern
Hungary and the Military Frontier included
merchants and craftsmen in the cities, but mainly refugees that were
Serbian Revolution for independence from the
Ottoman Empire lasted
eleven years, from 1804 until 1815. The revolution comprised two
separate uprisings which gained autonomy from the
Ottoman Empire that
eventually evolved towards full independence (1835–1867).
During the First Serbian Uprising, led by Duke Karađorđe Petrović,
Serbia was independent for almost a decade before the Ottoman army was
able to reoccupy the country. Shortly after this, the Second Serbian
Uprising began. Led by Miloš Obrenović, it ended in 1815 with a
compromise between Serbian revolutionaries and Ottoman
Serbia was one of the first nations in the
Balkans to abolish feudalism.
In the early 1830s
Serbia gained autonomy and its borders were
Miloš Obrenović being recognized as its ruler. The
last Ottoman troops withdrew from
Serbia in 1867, although Serbia's
independence was not recognized internationally until the Congress of
Berlin in 1878.
Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Franz Ferdinand, which triggered the
start of World War I.
Serbia fought in the
Balkan Wars of 1912–13, which forced the
Ottomans out of the
Balkans and doubled the territory and population
of the Kingdom of Serbia. In 1914, a young
Bosnian Serb student named
Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria,
which directly contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In the
fighting that ensued,
Serbia was invaded by Austria-Hungary. Despite
being outnumbered, the
Serbs subsequently defeated the
Austro-Hungarians at the Battle of Cer, which marked the first Allied
victory over the
Central Powers in the war. Further victories at
the battles of Kolubara and the Drina meant that
unconquered as the war entered its second year. However, an invasion
by the forces of Germany, Austria-
Hungary and Bulgaria overwhelmed the
Serbs in the winter of 1915, and a subsequent withdrawal by the
Serbian Army through
Albania took the lives of more than 240,000
Serbs. Serb forces spent the remaining years of the war fighting on
Salonika Front in Greece, before liberating
Austro-Hungarian occupation in November 1918.
Stone Flower, a monument dedicated to the victims, including Serbs, of
Jasenovac concentration camp
Serbs subsequently formed the Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes
with other South Slavic peoples. The country was later renamed the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and was led from 1921 to 1934 by King Alexander
I of the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty. During World War II,
Yugoslavia was invaded by the
Axis powers in April 1941. The country
was subsequently divided into many pieces, with
Serbia being directly
occupied by the Germans.
Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia
(NDH) experienced persecution at the hands of the Croatian
ultra-nationalist, fascist Ustaše, who attempted to exterminate the
Serb population in death camps. More than half a million
killed in the territory of Yugoslavia during World War II.
occupied Yugoslavia subsequently formed a resistance movement known as
the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland, or the Chetniks. The
the official support of the Allies until 1943, when Allied support
shifted to the Communist Yugoslav Partisans, a multi-ethnic force,
formed in 1941, which also had a large majority of
Serbs in its ranks
in the first two years of war. Later, after the fall of Italy
(September 1943), other ethnic groups joined Partisans in larger
At the end of the war, the Partisans, led by Josip Broz Tito, emerged
victorious. Yugoslavia subsequently became a Communist state. Tito
died in 1980, and his death saw Yugoslavia plunge into economic
turmoil. Yugoslavia disintegrated in the early 1990s, and a series
of wars resulted in the creation of five new states. The heaviest
fighting occurred in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose Serb
populations rebelled and declared independence. The war in Croatia
ended in August 1995, with a Croatian military offensive known as
Operation Storm crushing the
Croatian Serb rebellion and causing as
many as 200,000
Serbs to flee the country. The
Bosnian War ended that
same year, with the
Dayton Agreement dividing the country along ethnic
lines. In 1998–99, a conflict in
Kosovo between the Yugoslav Army
Albanians seeking independence erupted into full-out war,
resulting in a 78-day-long NATO bombing campaign which effectively
drove Yugoslav security forces from Kosovo. Subsequently, more
Serbs and other non-
Albanians fled the province. On 5
October 2000, Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosević was overthrown in
a bloodless revolt after he refused to admit defeat in the 2000
Yugoslav general election.
There are nearly 8 million
Serbs living in their autochthonous region
of Western Balkans. In
Serbia (the nation state), around 6 million
people identify themselves as Serbs, and constitute about 83% of the
population. More than a million live in Bosnia and Herzegovina
(predominantly in Republika Srpska), where they are one of the three
constituent ethnic groups. The ethnic communities in
Montenegro number some 186,000 and 178,000 people, respectively, while
another estimated 146,000 still inhabit the disputed area of
Kosovo. Smaller minorities exist in
Slovenia and Macedonia, some
36,000 and 39,000 people, respectively.
Outside of Western Balkans,
Serbs are an officially recognized
Hungary (7,000), Albania, the Czech
Republic and Slovakia. There is a large diaspora in Western Europe,
particularly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Sweden.
Outside Europe, there are significant Serb communities in the United
States, Canada, Australia,
South America and Southern Africa.
Main article: Serb diaspora
Geographical distribution of the diaspora
There are over 2 million
Serbs in diaspora throughout the world,
although some sources put that figure as high as 4 million. The
existence of a large diaspora is mainly a consequence of either
economic or political (coercion or expulsions) reasons. There were
several waves of Serb emigration:
The first wave took place since the end of 19th century and lasted
World War II
World War II and was caused by economic reasons; particularly
large numbers of
Serbs (mainly from peripheral ethnic areas such as
Herzegovina, Montenegro, Dalmatia, and Lika) emigrated to the United
The second wave took place after the end of World War II. At this
time, members of royalist
Chetniks and other political opponents of
communist regime fled the country mainly going overseas (United States
and Australia) and, to a lesser degree, United Kingdom.
The third wave, and by far the largest wave, was economic emigration
started in the 1960s when several Western European countries signed
bilateral agreements with Yugoslavia allowing the recruitment of
industrial workers to those countries, and lasted until the end of the
1980s. Main destinations were West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland,
and to a lesser extent
France and Sweden. That generation of diaspora
is collectively known as gastarbajteri, after German gastarbeiter
("guest-worker"), since most of the emigrants headed for
The most recent emigration took place during the 1990s, and was caused
by both political and economic reasons. The
Yugoslav wars caused many
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina to leave their countries
in the first half of the 1990s. The economic sanctions imposed on
Serbia caused an economic collapse with an estimated 300,000 people
Serbia during that period, 20% of which had a higher
Main article: Serbian language
Linguistic map of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and
Serbian language in yellow
Vuk Karadžić, reformer of modern Serbian language
Serbs speak Serbian, a member of the South Slavic group of languages,
specifically the Southwestern group. Standard Serbian is a
standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian, and therefore mutually
intelligible with Standard Croatian and Standard Bosnian (see
Differences in standard Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian), which are all
based on the Shtokavian dialect.
Serbian is an official language in
Serbia and Bosnia-
is a recognized minority language in
Montenegro (although spoken by a
plurality of population), Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Czech
Republic and Slovakia. Older forms of literary Serbian are Church
Slavonic of the Serbian recension, which is still used for
ecclesiastical purposes, and Slavonic-Serbian—a mixture of Serbian,
Church Slavonic and Russian used from mid-18th century to the first
decades of the 19th century.
Serbian has active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin
Serbian Cyrillic was devised in 1814 by Serbian
linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created the alphabet on phonemic
Loanwords in the
Serbian language besides common internationalisms are
mostly from Turkish, German and Italian, while words of Hungarian
origin are present mostly in the north and Greek words are predominant
in the liturgy. Serbian word that is used in many of
the world's languages is "vampire" (vampir).
Literature, icon painting, music and dance and mediaeval architecture
are the artistic forms for which
Serbia is best known. Traditional
Serbian visual art (specifically frescoes, and to some extent icons),
as well as ecclesiastical architecture is highly reflective of
Byzantine traditions, with some Mediterranean and Western influence.
In the modern times (since the 19th century)
Serbs also have a
noteworthy classical music and works of philosophy. Notable
philosophers include Branislav Petronijević, Radomir Konstantinović,
Mihailo Marković, Svetozar
Art, music, theatre and cinema
Main articles: Serbian art, Music of Serbia, and Cinema of Serbia
Emir Kusturica, film director who won the
Palme d'Or twice
Kosovo Maiden (1919) by Serbian artist Uroš Predić.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, many icons, wall paintings and
manuscript miniatures came into existence, as many Serbian Orthodox
monasteries and churches such as those at Studenica, Sopoćani,
Visoki Dečani were built. The architecture of some
of these monasteries is world-famous. During the same period
Stećak monumental medieval tombstones were built.
Since the mid-1800s,
Serbia has produced many famous painters who are
representative of general European artistic trends. One of the
most prominent of these was Paja Jovanović, who painted massive
canvases on historical themes such as the Great Serb Migrations.
Uroš Predić was also very prominent in the field of Serbian
art, painting the
Kosovo Maiden, which was completed in 1919.
Jovanović and Predić were both realist painters, artist Đura
Jakšić was an accomplished Romanticist. Painters
Vladimir Veličković and
Ljubomir Popović were famous for their
Traditional Serbian music includes various kinds of bagpipes, flutes,
horns, trumpets, lutes, psalteries, drums and cymbals. The kolo is the
traditional collective folk dance, which has a number of varieties
throughout the regions. Composer and musicologist Stevan Stojanović
Mokranjac is considered one of the most important founders of modern
Serbia has produced many talented filmmakers, the most famous of whom
Dušan Makavejev, Živojin Pavlović,
Goran Paskaljević, Emir
Želimir Žilnik and Srdan Golubović.
Želimir Žilnik and
Stefan Arsenijević won the
Golden Bear award at Berlinale. Kusturica
became world-renowned after winning the
Palme d'Or twice at the Cannes
Film Festival, numerous other other prizes, and is a
Ambassador for Serbia. Several
Serbs have featured prominently in
Hollywood. The most notable of these are Academy-award winners Karl
Malden, Steve Tesich,
Peter Bogdanovich and actresses Milla
Jovovich and Stana Katic.
Main article: Serbian literature
Most literature written by early
Serbs was about religious themes.
Various gospels, psalters, menologies, hagiographies, and essays and
sermons of the founders of the
Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church were written.
At the end of the 12th century, two of the most important pieces of
Serbian medieval literature were created– the
Miroslav Gospels and
the Vukan Gospels, which combined handwritten Biblical texts with
painted initials and small pictures. Notable Baroque-influenced
Andrija Zmajević, Gavril Stefanović Venclović, Jovan
Zaharije Orfelin and others.
Dositej Obradović was the most
prominent figure of the Age of Enlightenment, while the most notable
Classicist writer was
Jovan Sterija Popović, although his works also
contained elements of Romanticism. Modern
Serbian literature began
with Vuk Karadžić's collections of folk songs in the 19th century,
and the writings of Njegoš. The first prominent representative of
Serbian literature in the 20th century was
Jovan Skerlić, who wrote
World War I
World War I
Belgrade and helped introduce Serbian writers to
literary modernism. The most important Serbian writer in the inter-war
period was Miloš Crnjanski.
The first Serb authors who appeared after
World War II
World War II were Mihailo
Lalić and Dobrica Ćosić. Having become the cultural center of
the region, other notable post-war Yugoslav authors such as Ivo
Andrić and Meša Selimović, a Bosnian Croat and Bosniak
respectively, were assimilated to Serbian culture, and both identified
as Serbs. Andrić went on to win the
Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature in
1961. Danilo Kiš, another popular Serbian writer, was known for
writing A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, as well as several acclaimed
novels. Amongst contemporary Serbian writers, Milorad Pavić
stands out as being the most critically acclaimed, with his novels
Dictionary of the Khazars, Landscape Painted with Tea and The Inner
Side of the Wind bringing him international recognition. Highly
Europe and in South America, Pavić is considered one of
the most intriguing writers from the beginning of the 21st
Petar II Petrović-Njegoš
Petar II Petrović-Njegoš is considered one of the best poets of
Ivo Andrić, a novelist, poet and short story writer who won the Nobel
Prize in 1961.
Miloš Crnjanski, a poet of the expressionist wing of Serbian
modernism and writer.
Borislav Pekić was a major writer and dramatist of the second half of
the 20th century.
Education and science
Serbs have contributed to the field of science and technology.
Serbian American scientist, inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer
and electrical engineer
Nikola Tesla is regarded as one of the most
important inventors in history. He is renowned for his contributions
to the discipline of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and
early 20th century.
Physicist and physical chemist
Mihajlo Pupin is best known for his
landmark theory of modern electrical filters as well as for his
numerous patents, while
Milutin Milanković is best known for his
theory of long-term climate change caused by changes in the position
of the Earth in comparison to the Sun, now known as Milankovitch
Mihailo Petrović is known for having contributed
significantly to differential equations and phenomenology, as well as
inventing one of the first prototypes of an analog computer. Roger
Joseph Boscovich was a Ragusan physicist, astronomer, mathematician
and polymath of paternal Serbian origin     (although
there are competing claims for Bošković's nationality) who produced
a precursor of atomic theory and made many contributions to astronomy
and also discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon. Jovan
Cvijić founded modern geography in
Serbia and made pioneering
research on the geography of the Balkan Peninsula,
Dinaric race and
Josif Pančić made contributions to botany and discovered more
than 100 new floral species including the Serbian spruce. Biologist
Ivan Đaja performed research in the role of the
adrenal glands in thermoregulation, as well as pioneering work in
Valtazar Bogišić is considered to be a pioneer
in the sociology of law and sociological jurisprudence. Gordana
Vunjak-Novakovic is a
Serbian American biomedical engineer focusing on
engineering human tissues for regenerative medicine, stem cell
research and modeling of disease. She is one of the most highly cited
scientists of all times. 
Nikola Tesla, inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer,
physicist, and futurist.
Mihajlo Pupin, physicist and physical chemist and a founding member of
NACA which later became NASA.
Jovan Cvijić, geographer, geologist, human geographer and
Milutin Milanković, mathematician, climatologist and geophysicist.
Main article: Serbian naming customs
There are several different layers of Serbian names. Serbian given
names largely originate from Slavic roots: e.g., Vuk, Bojan, Goran,
Zoran, Dragan, Milan, Miroslav, Vladimir, Slobodan, Dušan, Milica,
Nevena, Vesna, Radmila. Other names are of Christian origin,
originating from the bible (Hebrew, through Greek), such as Lazar,
Mihailo, Ivan, Jovan, Ilija, Marija, Ana, Ivana. Along similar lines
of non-Slavic Christian names are Greek ones such as: Stefan, Nikola,
Aleksandar, Filip, Đorđe, Andrija, Jelena, Katarina, Vasilije,
Todor, while those of
Latin origin include: Marko, Antonije, Srđan,
Marina, Petar, Pavle, Natalija, Igor (through Russian).
Most Serbian surnames are paternal, maternal, occupational or derived
from personal traits. It is estimated that over two thirds of all
Serbian surnames have the suffix
-ić (-ић) ([itɕ]), a Slavic
diminutive, originally functioning to create patronymics. Thus the
Petrović means the "son of Petar" (from a male progenitor,
the root is extended with possessive -ov or -ev). Due to limited use
of international typewriters and unicode computer encoding, the suffix
may be simplified to -ic, historically transcribed with a phonetic
ending, -ich or -itch in foreign languages. Other common surname
suffixes found among Serbian surnames are -ov, -ev, -in and -ski
(without -ić) which is the Slavic possessive case suffix, thus
Nikola's son becomes Nikolin, Petar's son Petrov, and Jovan's son
Jovanov. Other, less common suffices are -alj/olj/elj, -ija, -ica,
-ar/ac/an. The ten most common surnames in Serbia, in order, are
Jovanović, Petrović, Nikolić, Marković, Đorđević, Stojanović,
Pavlović and Milošević.
Serbian Orthodox Church
Left: Patriarchate of Peć in Kosovo, the seat of the Serbian Orthodox
Church from the 14th century
Right: Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest Orthodox churches in
Serbs are predominantly Orthodox Christians. The autocephalous Serbian
Orthodox Church, established in 1219, is led by a Patriarch, and
consists of three archbishoprics, six metropolitanates and thirty-one
eparchies, having around 10 million adherents. Followers of the church
form the largest religious group in
Serbia and Montenegro, and the
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The church has
an archbishopric in Macedonia and dioceses in Western Europe, North
America and Australia.
The identity of ethnic
Serbs was historically largely based on
Orthodox Christianity and on the Serbian Church in particular, to the
extent of the claims that those who are not its faithful are not
Serbs. The conversion of the
South Slavs from paganism to Christianity
took place before the Great Schism, the split between the Greek East
and the Catholic West. After the Schism, those who lived under the
Orthodox sphere of influence became Orthodox and those who lived under
the Catholic sphere of influence became Catholic. Some ethnologists
consider that the distinct Serb and Croat identities relate to
religion rather than ethnicity. With the arrival of the Ottoman
Serbs converted to Islam. This was particularly, but not
wholly, the case in Bosnia. Since the second half of the 19th century,
Serbs converted to Protestantism, while
Serbs were Catholics (especially in Dalmatia; e.g.
Serb-Catholic movement in Dubrovnik). The remainder of Serbs
Serbian Orthodox Christians.
See also: National symbols of Serbia
Among the most notable national and ethnic symbols are the flag of
Serbia and the coat of arms of Serbia. The flag consists of a
red-blue-white tricolour, rooted in Pan-Slavism, and has been used
since the 19th century. Apart from being the national flag, it is also
used officially in
Republika Srpska (by Bosnian Serbs) and as the
official ethnic flag of Croatian Serbs. The coat of arms, which
includes both the
Serbian eagle and Serbian cross, has also been
officially used since the 19th century, its elements dating back to
the Middle Ages, showing Byzantine and Christian heritage. These
symbols are used by various Serb organisations, political parties and
institutions. The Three-finger salute, also called the "Serb salute",
is a popular expression for ethnic
Serbs and Serbia, originally
expressing Serbian Orthodoxy and today simply being a symbol for
Serbs and the Serbian nation, made by extending the thumb,
index, and middle fingers of one or both hands.
Serbian national colours
Traditions and customs
Main article: Serb traditions
Traditional clothing varies due to diverse geography and climate of
the territory inhabited by the Serbs. The traditional footwear,
opanci, is worn throughout the Balkans. The most common folk
Serbia is that of Šumadija, a region in central
Serbia, which includes the national hat, the Šajkača.
Older villagers still wear their traditional costumes.
The traditional dance is the circle dance, called kolo.
Slava is the family's annual ceremony and veneration of their patron
saint, a social event in which the family is together at the house of
the patriarch. The tradition is an important ethnic marker of Serb
Serbs usually regard the
Slava as their most significant
and most solemn feast day.
Serbs have their own customs regarding Christmas, which includes the
sacral tree, the badnjak, a young oak.
On Orthodox Easter,
Serbs have the tradition of Slavic Egg decorating.
Serbian folk attire from
Old Silent dance from Glamoč.
Slava, a family feast in honour of its patron saint.
An Orthodox priest places the badnjak on a fire during
Main article: Serbian cuisine
Christmas table is often made with pork and Russian salad
Ćevapi, or Ćevapčići, the national dish of Serbia, served with
Serbian cuisine is largely heterogeneous, with heavy Oriental, Central
European and Mediterranean influences. Despite this, it has
evolved and achieved its own culinary identity. Food is very important
in Serbian social life, particularly during religious holidays such as
Easter and feast days, i.e., slava. Staples of the
Serbian diet include bread, meat, fruits, vegetables, and dairy
products. Traditionally, three meals are consumed per day. Breakfast
generally consists of eggs, meat and bread. Lunch is considered the
main meal, and is normally eaten in the afternoon. Traditionally,
Turkish coffee is prepared after a meal, and is served in small
cups. Bread is the basis of all Serbian meals, and it plays an
important role in
Serbian cuisine and can be found in religious
rituals. A traditional Serbian welcome is to offer bread and salt to
guests, and also slatko (fruit preserve). Meat is widely consumed, as
is fish. Serbian specialties include kajmak (a dairy product similar
to clotted cream), proja (cornbread), kačamak (corn-flour porridge),
and gibanica (cheese and kajmak pie). Ćevapčići, caseless grilled
and seasoned sausages made of minced meat, is the national dish of
Šljivovica (Slivovitz) is the national drink of
Serbia in domestic
production for centuries, and plum is the national fruit. The
international name Slivovitz is derived from Serbian. Plum and
its products are of great importance to
Serbs and part of numerous
customs. A Serbian meal usually starts or ends with plum products
and Šljivovica is served as an aperitif. A saying goes that the
best place to build a house is where a plum tree grows best.
Traditionally, Šljivovica (commonly referred to as "rakija") is
Serbian culture as a drink used at all important rites of
passage (birth, baptism, military service, marriage, death, etc.), and
Serbian Orthodox patron saint celebration (slava). It is
used in numerous folk remedies, and is given certain degree of respect
above all other alcoholic drinks. The fertile region of
Serbia is particularly known for its plums and
Serbia is the largest exporter of Slivovitz in the
world, and second largest plum producer in the world.
Main article: Sport in Serbia
Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Serbs are famous for their sporting achievements, and have produced
many talented athletes.
Over the years
Serbia has been home to many internationally renowned
football players such as
Dragan Džajić (officially recognized as
"the best Serbian footballer of all times" by Football Association of
Serbia; 1968 European Footballer of the Year third place) and more
recent likes of Dejan
Stanković (Serbia's most capped player),
Nemanja Vidić (
Premier League Player of the Season
Premier League Player of the Season and member of
FIFPro World XI, both awards for 2008–09 and 2010–11 seasons
Branislav Ivanović and Nemanja Matić.
developed a reputation as one of the world's biggest exporters of
A total of 22 Serbian players have played in the NBA in the last two
decades, including three-time NBA All-Star Predrag "Peja" Stojaković
and NBA All-Star and
FIBA Hall of Fame
FIBA Hall of Fame inductee Vlade Divac. Serbian
players that made a great impact in
Europe include four members of the
FIBA Hall of Fame
FIBA Hall of Fame from the 1960s and 1970s –
Dražen Dalipagić, Radivoj Korać, and
Zoran Slavnić – as well as
recent stars such as
Dejan Bodiroga (2002 All-
Europe Player of the
Đorđević (1994 and 1995 Mr. Europa) and currently
Miloš Teodosić (2009–2010 Euroleague MVP) and Nikola
Jokić. The renowned "Serbian coaching school" produced many of the
most successful European coaches of all times, such as Željko
Obradović (a record eight Euroleague titles), Božidar Maljković
(four Euroleague titles),
Nikolić (three Euroleague
Dušan Ivković (two Euroleague titles), and Svetislav
Novak Đoković, twelve-time Grand Slam champion and 2011, 2014 and
2015 Laureus Sportsman of the Year, finished 2011, 2012, 2014, and
2015 as the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
Ana Ivanovic (champion
of 2008 French Open) and
Jelena Janković were both ranked No. 1 in
the WTA Rankings, while
Nenad Zimonjić and
were ranked No. 1 in doubles.
The most successful water polo players are Vladimir Vujasinović,
Aleksandar Šapić, Vanja Udovičić,
Andrija Prlainović and Filip
Other noted Serbian athletes, including Olympic and world champions
and medalists, are: swimmer Milorad Čavić, volleyball player Nikola
Grbić, handball player Svetlana Kitić, long-jumper
Jasna Šekarić and taekwondoist
List of Serb countries and regions
List of Serbs
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The Serbian Ministry for
Diaspora estimated 12.5 million in 2013.
The NIN Magazine estimated 12.1 million in 2011.
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