26 interesting facts about Serbia

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From a town still haunted by vampires to a gruesome tower made of skulls, these are the most interesting facts about Serbia.

Golubac Fortress at sunset – one of the most interesting facts about Serbia
Interesting facts about Serbia include the picturesque Golubac Fortress (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Serbia
Population: 6.7 million
Area: 77,474 sq km
Capital city: Belgrade
Major languages: Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Romani
Major religions: Christianity
Time zone: UTC+1 (Central European Time)
– Source: CIA World Factbook

Interesting facts about Serbia

1. Serbia is a landlocked country located in southeastern Europe bordering seven countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro.
– Source: Britannica

2. From the 15th century to the 18th century, Serbia was part of the Ottoman Empire. It was then an autonomous principality until it became part of the former state of Yugoslavia in 1918.
– Source: BBC News

3. After Yugoslavia’s break up in 1992, Serbia was part of a union between Montenegro and Serbia known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until 2006.
– Source: BBC News

A map of Serbia showing its modern borders
Serbia’s current borders (Shutterstock)

4. Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia, was once the former capital of the Roman empire AKA Sirmium. As many as 18 Roman emperors were born in the territory of what is now Serbia.
– Source: BBC News

5. Arguably the greatest tennis player who’s ever lived is from Serbia. As of 2023, Novak Djokovic has won 22 Grand Slams (tied with Rafael Nadal) but he has won more career titles and is currently ranked as the world number one.
– Source: The Week

6. Serbia’s flag is red, blue and white horizontally striped with the Serbian coat of arms located off-centre near the hoist. The colours are inspired by the Russian flag of the 19th century.
– Source: DK Publishing (2008) Complete Flags of the World. DK: London

Serbia's flag flying against a blue sky
Serbia’s flag (Shutterstock)

7. Between 1992 and 1999, under the leadership of President Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia was involved in a series of bloody wars in Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo leaving an estimated 200,000 dead. In 2001, Milosevic was arrested and tried for war crimes after launching an ethnic cleansing campaign against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians. He died in prison in 2006.
– Source: History Channel

8. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Kosovo is now recognised by over 100 countries although Serbia still refuses to.
– Source: The Guardian

9. Golubac Fortress is one of the most remarkable sights in Serbia. Located on the Danube, the fortress has 10 towers and dates from around the 14th century.
– Source: Lonely Planet

Golubac Fortress seen from the Danube
Golubac Fortress is located on the Danube (Shutterstock)

10. Vampires originated in Serbia. The legendary vampire Sava Savanović dates from the early 18th century and pre-dates Dracula which originated in the 19th century. There are also reports from the same time that Serbians in the region would exhume the bodies of the dead in order to kill them again, referring to the corpses as ‘vampires’. Even today, there are still reports that Savanović haunts an old mill in the town of Zarožje.
– Source: The Guardian, National Geographic

11. Serbian is the only digraphic language in Europe, meaning it is written in two alphabets: Cyrillic and Latin.
– Source: Magner, T (2001) Digraphia in the Territories of the Croats and Serbs. International Journal of The Sociology of Language. 2001. 11-26.

12. Ćele Kula (Skull Tower) in Niš was once made from 952 skulls of Serbian soldiers who defeated the Turks in the 1809 Battle of Čegar. Today, only 58 remain.
– Source: Lonely Planet

Skulls in a wall of Ćele Kula
Skulls in Ćele Kula (Shutterstock)

13. Dating from the 12th to 16th centuries, the UNESCO-listed Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards are a series of over 4,000 medieval monolithic stone tombstones spread across Serbia as well as Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro.
– Source: UNESCO

14. Milunka Savić, the decorated female combatant in the recorded history of warfare, was from Serbia. Savić ought in the Balkan Wars and in World War I and received numerous awards including the French Légion d’Honneur twice and the French Croix de Guerre; the Russian Cross of St. George; the British medal of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael; and the Serbian Miloš Obilić medal.
– Source: Milunka Savić: Heroine of the Great War (2013), In Your Pocket

15. The name of Belgrade (Beograd), Serbia’s capital, means “white fortress” or “white city” and dates back to the 9th century and the white fortress wall that used to encircle the city.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

The old city walls of Belgrade
Belgrade is Serbia’s capital (Shutterstock)

16. Serbia is home to one of Europe’s shortest rivers. At just 365m long, the Vrelo River is nicknamed Godina (year) River dues to its unique length.
– Source: Telegraf

17. In 2018, a power grid dispute between Serbia and Kosovo caused millions of clocks in Europe to run six minutes late. A political spat caused a frequency deviation in the electricity supply which in turn made certain electric clocks lose time.
– Source: National Geographic

18. Acclaimed inventor Nikola Tesla was Serbian (although technically, he was born in modern-day Croatia). Among other inventions, Tesla discovered and patented the rotating magnetic field, the principle behind alternating-current machines.
– Source: Smithsonian

19. Mt Rtanj, a mysterious pyramid-shaped mountain in Serbia, attracted attention in 2012 when apocalypse believers flocked to the mountain. Locals claim the mountain has mystical powers ever since it swallowed a castle owned by a sorcerer while others claim it was built by aliens.
– Source: Reuters

The pyramidal peak of Mt Rtanj
Mt Rtanj in Serbia (Shutterstock)

20. Pule, a crumbly white cheese from Serbia, is thought to be the world’s most expensive cheese fetching over $1,300 USD per kilogram.
– Source: Forbes

21. It’s possible to see the endangered brown bear in Serbia, particularly in Tara National Park which is home to the country’s largest population of around 50 bears as well as foxes, lynx, otters and over 130 bird species.
– Source: Lonely Planet, The Guardian

22. The UNESCO-listed Studenica Monastery is one of Serbia’s most sacred sites. It was founded in 1196 by the founder of the Serbian empire, and future saint, Stefan Nemanja.
– Source: Lonely Planet, UNESCO

Studenica Monastery with a blue sky in the background
Studenica Monastery (Shutterstock)

23. Serbia is the world’s second-largest producer of plums (after China) and the second-largest of raspberries (after Poland).
– Source:

24. Even though Serbia is landlocked, the country has a Blue Flag beach. Ada Ciganlija, an island on the River Sava in Belgrade, has a sandy beach that is particularly popular in the summer.
– Source: Rough Guides

25. Seven Serbs worked on the 1969 NASA Apollo 11 mission, the American spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon.
– Source: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, NASA

26. Finally, one of the more obscure facts about Serbia is that in 2013, the world’s largest sausage coil was produced in Turija, Serbia. Measuring 3.97m (13ft) in diameter and weighing around 340kg (750lb) it took over seven hours to cook.
– Source: Guinness World Record

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Serbia using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.