Visit Serbia

Serbia - the jewel in the Balkan cultural-historical treasure chest

January 1, 2018
Sacha Vigeant
San Issue 11 - Winter/Зима 2018

Serbia is perhaps the most fascinating, and at the same time the most misunderstood, of the jewels in the Balkan cultural-historical treasure chest. Its people have survived a troubling and dynamic sequence of events - from the age of the first European Slavs all the way to the present - filled with tragedies that led to romanticized pain and inspiring determination.  Along the way, Serbia has accumulated, honoured, and added to a cultural database that has no parallel: it is an irreplaceable gem from a unique people living in a naturally spectacular and relatively unknown region of the world.

Caught between the Holy Roman Empire and Byzantium, and then later between the Hapsburgs and the Ottomans, Serbia’s inhabitants have always found themselves sitting on the fault-line of the historical clash between East and West.  The Serbian landscape is dotted with the remains of the earliest civilizations known to Europe, ruins from the Roman Empire, and fortresses and monasteries from the later Byzantine and Serbian medieval states.  To this are added layers and artifacts from the Turkish and Austro-Hungarian occupations. And finally nineteenth century’s emergent Serbia, followed by Yugoslavia and its unfortunate demise, reshaped that past into what we see today. 

Each of these periods has left its mark on Serbia and its inhabitants in indelible ways.  Out of the ashes of this difficult journey has emerged a land and a people bursting at the seams with culture and history, filled with traditions and customs handed down through the centuries, and in many instances playing an essential role in shaping Europe’s reality today. In a modern age, the names of Nikola Tesla and Novak Djoković stand out, but they overshadow a host of world-cultural contributors whose unique perspectives have a lot to do with their Serbian experience. 

In the country’s capital, Belgrade, you will find some of the highest-rated restaurants in the world proudly serving everything from local cuisine to fusion experiments. Well-fed adventure seekers will afterwards discover vibrant nightclubs buzzing with an energy that has earned the city a reputation as the party centre for Eastern Europe.  But above all, you will find that the people of Serbia are warm and hospitable, and eager to share their cultural wealth.

Dive in and discover Serbia’s many layers of beauty and excitement… you certainly won’t regret it!

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