Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. The city is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. Its name in English translates to White city. The city proper has a population of over 1.1 million, while its metropolitan area has over 1.6 million people, making it one of the largest cities in Southeast Europe.
One of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved around the area Belgrade in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region, and after 279 BC Celts conquered the city, naming it Singidūn. It was conquered by the Romans during the reign of Augustus, and awarded city rights in the mid-2nd century. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times before it became the capital of King Stephen Dragutin (1282–1316). In 1521 Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and became the seat of the Sanjak of Smederevo. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars. Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841. The north of Belgrade remained a Habsburg outpost until 1918, when it was merged into the capital city. As a strategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia (in various forms of governments) from its creation in 1918, to its final dissolution in 2006.
Belgrade has a special administrative status within Serbia. Its metropolitan territory is divided into 17 municipalities, each with its own local council. It covers 3.6% of Serbia's territory, and 22.5% of the country's population lives in the city.
Belgrade's climate exhibits influences of oceanic, humid continental and humid subtropical zones, with four seasons 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 annual mean of 12.2 °C (54.0 °F). There are, on average, 31 days a year when the temperature is above 30 °C, and 95 days when the temperature is above 25 °C. Belgrade receives about 680 millimetres (27 in) of precipitation a year, with late spring being wettest. The average annual number of sunny hours is 2,025.
Belgrade is fast becoming one of the "must visit" European destinations. It has a wealth of Museums and interesting Architecture, coupled with some great Festivals and a vibrant nightlife. You will never be short of things to do in this City!
A host of Belgrade's most popular attractions for visitors are concentrated on the rocky ridge of Kalemegdan, site of the original fortified city, which overlooks the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The neighbourhood is now maintained as a park, containing the ancient fortress, zoo, art pavilion, observatory, planetarium, a Roman well, the Military Museum and some lovely walks.
The Royal Palace of Serbia's Obrenovic dynasty has become a popular attraction, with its elegant salons, crammed with important artworks and magnificent décor, open for public tours. The palace was built in the 1880s, designed by Aleksandar Bugarski, who set out to outdo all former Royal residences in the country. Today it houses the City Assembly of Belgrade, and is regarded as a national architectural treasure.
Dominating Belgrade's cityscape is the massive Temple of Saint Sava, the largest Orthodox Church in use in the world and still not quite completed although building has been going on for more than 50 years. This remarkable domed building, with its white marble and granite facade, is dedicated to the medieval Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and its construction has been financed exclusively by donations. Visitors are welcome to view the church, which is set in lovely gardens.
Skadarlija Street is the Belgrade's equivalent of Paris' famous Bohemian Montmartre neighbourhood, and one of the most popular places to visit for tourists in Belgrade. Lined with restaurants and pubs, their tables and festivity spilling onto the pavements, it is a colourful spot to soak up the traditional Serbian scene, with strolling gypsy musicians mingling with artists and local revellers. It is the venue to sample the local specialities, washed down with beer and good conversation, perhaps pick up some souvenirs, art and antiques and promenade along the cobbled pedestrianized precinct.
A must for any art lover, the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade houses a remarkable collection of more than 400,000 items, from Old Masters to medieval and modern art, numismatics and a sprinkling of archaeological exhibits. The artefacts are split into 34 archaeological, numismatic, artistic and historical collections to form the most complete picture of Serbian culture and history you'll ever see.
Built between 1829 and 1831 as a private residence for the wife of Prince Milos, the stately home of Princess Ljubica is now the Belgrade City Museum, demonstrating the unique Balkan architectural style and incorporating some Baroque elements. The interior has been preserved to showcase the lifestyle of well to do Belgrade homes in the 19th century and is an important cultural heritage icon in the city.