Belgrade – Serbia, Europe
Belgrade (Serbian:Београд or Beograd) is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It islocated at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the PannonianPlain meets the Balkans. According to the latest census conducted in October2011, the city has a population of 1,667,291 people, making it the largest cityin the former Yugoslav region. Its name in English translates to White city.
One of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinčaculture, prospered here in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, the areawas held by Thraco-Dacians, and after 279 BC the Celts conquered thecity, naming it Singidūn. It was conqueredduring the reign of Augustus, and awarded city rightsin the mid 2nd century. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s,and changed hands several times before it become the capital of King Stephen Dragutin (1282–1316). In1521 Belgradewas conquered by the Ottomans and became the seat of a Sanjak. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburgrule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Turkish wars. Belgradewas again named the capital of Serbiain 1841. NorthernBelgrade remained an Austrian outpost until the breakup of Austria-Hungaryin 1918. As a strategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars andrazed to the ground 44 times. Belgrade was thecapital of Yugoslaviafrom 1918 to 1989.
Belgrade has a special administrative status within Serbia. Itsmetropolitan territory is divided into 17municipalities, each with its own local council. It covers 3.6% of Serbia’sterritory, and 22.5% of the country’s population lives in the city.
Belgrade lies 116.75 metres (383.0 ft) above sea leveland is located at confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, at coordinates 44°49’14” North,20°27’44” East. The historical core of Belgrade, Kalemegdan,is on the right bank of the rivers. Since the 19th century, the city has beenexpanding to the south and east, after World War II, NewBelgrade was built on the Sava’s left bank, merging Belgrade with Zemun. Smaller,chiefly residential communities across the Danube,like Krnjačaand Ovča, alsomerged with the city. The city has an urban area of 360 square kilometres(140 sq mi), while together with its metropolitan area it covers3,223 km2 (1,244 sq mi). Throughout history, Belgrade has been acrossroads between the West and the Orient.
On the right bank of the Sava, central Belgrade has a hilly terrain, while thehighest point of Belgrade proper is Torlak hill at 303 m (994 ft). Themountains of Avala(511 m (1,677 ft)) and Kosmaj (628 m (2,060 ft)) lie south of the city.Across the Sava and Danube, the land is mostlyflat, consisting of alluvial plains and loessial plateaus.
Belgrade’sclimate exhibits influences of oceanic,humid continental and humid subtropical zones, with fourseasons and uniformly spread precipitation. Monthly averages range from 0.4 °C(32.7 °F) in January to 21.8 °C (71.2 °F) in July, with an annualmean of 12.2 °C (54.0 °F). There are, on average, 31 days a year when thetemperature is above 30 °C, and 95 days when the temperature is above25 °C. Belgrade receives about 680 millimetres (27 in) ofprecipitation a year, with late spring being wettest. The average annual numberof sunny hours is 2,025. The sunniest months are July and August, with anaverage of about 10 sunny hours a day, while December and January are the gloomiest,with an average of 2–2.3 sunny hours a day. The highest officially recordedtemperature in Belgrade was +43.1 °C (110 °F) on 24 July 2007, while onthe other end, the lowest temperature was −26.2 °C (−15 °F) on 10 January1893.
Belgradehas had many different names throughout history, and in nearly all languagesthe name translates as “the white city”. Serbian name Beogradis a compound of beo (“white, light”) and grad (“town, city”),and etymologically corresponds to several other city names spread throughoutthe Slavdom: Belgorod,Białogard,Biogradetc.
Belgradehosts many annual cultural events, including FEST(Belgrade Film Festival), BITEF (Belgrade Theatre Festival), BELEF (Belgrade Summer Festival), BEMUS (Belgrade MusicFestival), Belgrade Book Fair, and the Belgrade BeerFestival. The Nobel prize winning author IvoAndrić wrote his most famous work, The Bridge on the Drina, in Belgrade. Otherprominent Belgrade authors include Branislav Nušić, MilošCrnjanski, Borislav Pekić, Milorad Pavić and Meša Selimović. Most of Serbia’sfilm industry is based in Belgrade; the 1995 Palme d’Orwinning Underground, directed by EmirKusturica, was produced in the city.
Thehistoric areas and buildings of Belgrade are among the city’s premierattractions. They include Skadarlija, the National Museum and adjacent National Theatre, Zemun, Nikola Pašić Square, Terazije, Students’Square, the Kalemegdan Fortress, KnezMihailova Street, the Parliament, the Church of Saint Sava, and the OldPalace. On top of this, there are many parks, monuments, museums, cafés,restaurants and shops on both sides of the river. The hilltop Avala Monument offers views over thecity. Josip Broz Tito’s mausoleum, called KućaCveća (The House of Flowers), and the nearby Topčiderand Košutnjakparks are also popular, especially among visitors from the former Yugoslavia.
Belgradehas an extensive public transport system based on buses (118 urban linesand more than 300 suburban lines), trams (12 lines), and trolleybuses(8 lines). It is run by GSP Beograd and SPLasta, in cooperation with private companies on various bus routes.Belgrade also has a commuter rail network, Beovoz, now run bythe city government. The main railway station connects Belgrade with otherEuropean capitals and many towns in Serbia. Travel by coachis also popular, and the capital is well-served with daily connections to everytown in the country.