Serbia, located in a very favorable position in the center of the main waterways of the Balkans, has always been strategically important and has seen numerous dominations and cultures pass through its territory. This position has favored the cultural and artistic exchanges that today are reflected in the historical and archaeological evidence of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman dominations. For this reason, there are many tourist attractions in Serbia.
The capital of the country, Belgrade, is generally the first place visited by tourists who come to Serbia by plane. This city, which is among the oldest in Europe, was founded in fact in the 4th century BC. in a highly strategic position at the confluence of the Sava in the Danube. Despite the destruction suffered during the Second World War and its modern appearance, Belgrade still retains enchanting corners of its historic center called Stari Grad.
ROMAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS
Among the most interesting Serbian cities to visit is ancient Niš, an ancient city located in southern Serbia and the birthplace of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. Near Niš, the ruins of Mediana are worth visiting, an interesting archaeological site with the remains of a large imperial villa with mosaic floors.
To the north-east of Niš is an important Roman archaeological site, Gamzigrad, the ancient Felix Romuliana. Here the emperor Galerius, who was originally from the area, built a magnificent palace. The building was built starting from 298 AD. and today preserves magnificent mosaics and frescoes. The entire site is inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Other Roman archaeological excavations are located in Viminacium, near today’s Kostolac along the Danube, and in Sirmium, along the Sava river, near the city of Sremska Mitrovica. Along the Danube, at the so-called Iron Gates, there is the Tabula Traiana, a Roman inscription carved in the rocky wall. Not far away are the remains of the fortifications leading to the Roman bridge built by Trajan on the Danube, while underwater there are some bridge pillars.
To the north of ancient Gamzigrad, near the Danube, near the town of Donji Milanovac is the prehistoric site of Lepenski Vir. Here a large prehistoric settlement and ten satellite villages were discovered.
THE BYZANTINE MONASTERIES
Byzantine art is one of the attractions of Serbia. Among the masterpieces of Byzantine art in Serbia the most important is the Studenica Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This monastery located in central Serbia near the city of Kraljevo, is one of the tourist attractions of Serbia. Founded in the 12th century, it preserves wonderful Byzantine style frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries. In the vicinity of Kraljevo there is another interesting Orthodox monastery, that of Žiča dating back to the 13th century.
Towards the border with Montenegro there are other Orthodox monasteries, among these the most beautiful are those of Sopoćani and Mileševa. In the monastery of Mileševa near the town of Prijepolje, there are frescoes of great value from the 13th century. The Sopoćani monastery, located near the town of Novi Pazar, was built in the 13th century and probably retains the most beautiful medieval frescoes in Serbia. This particularity has earned it its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with the nearby ruins of the medieval city of Stari Ras.
In Central Serbia there are other Orthodox monasteries worthy of a visit. In the surroundings of Ćuprija in the Kučaj mountains is the 14th century Ravanica monastery. While near Trstenik is that of Ljubostinja, and near Kruševac is the monastery of Lazarica. Another important 15th century monastery is that of Manasija, located halfway between Belgrade and Niš.
Along the Danube there are suggestive medieval fortresses, such as those of Golubac, Smederevo, and Ram. The most beautiful is undoubtedly that of Golubac built in the 14th century and which dominates the Danube river from a cliff. This fortress is also one of the attractions of Serbia.
Serbia is also known for its many spa resorts. Among these the best known are the thermal baths of Vrnjačka Banja. A town located in the valley of the West Morava river in central Serbia, near which there are also the thermal baths of Mataruška Banja. Other spas are Niška Banja, located about ten kilometers east of the city of Niš, and the Sokobanja spa located in central-eastern Serbia, towards the border with Bulgaria. The oldest spas in the country are those of Banja Koviljača in the Drina valley on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
RUGGED MOUNTAINS AND SKI STATIONS
The natural beauty of Serbia is mainly formed by the rugged and wild mountains of the Balkans, the Dinaric Alps. The country also has mountain stations where winter sports can be practiced. Among these, the most popular are those of Kopaonik in southern Serbia near Kosovo, and of Zlatibor in western Serbia on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A SERIES OF NATURAL WONDERS
Particular natural places are found all over Serbia. Among the most curious, in the south of the country, in the Radan mountains, on the border with Kosovo, the Djavolja Varos (Devil’s City) a series of rocky pinnacles formed by erosion on land composed of inconsistent material. The Natural Reserve of Deliblatska Pescara, in Vojvodina, where in an environment composed of forests and steppes there are the remains of a vast prehistoric desert formed by sand dunes. On the border with Romania, the Djerdap Gorge, known as the Iron Gates, is a long canyon excavated by the Danube over the centuries which at its narrowest point is 150 meters wide.
The climate of Serbia.