Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is the third largest city in South-eastern Europe after Istanbul and Athens. Just over 1,700,000 people live in it. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. The river waters surround it from three sides, and that is why, since ancient times, it has been the guardian of river passages. Because of its position it was properly called "the gate" of the Balkans, and "the door" to Central Europe. During its long and turbulent history, Belgrade has been conquered by 40 armies, and 38 times it has been raised up from the ashes. Its name in English translates to White city.
Belgrade is the financial centre of Serbia, and it is the home to the country's National Bank. Many notable companies are based in Belgrade, including Jat Airways, Telekom Srbija, Telenor Serbia, Delta Holding and regional centers for Société Générale, Intel, Motorola, Kraft Foods, Carlsberg, Microsoft, Zepter, Japan Tobacco and many others.
Belgrade hosts many annual cultural events, including FEST (Belgrade Film Festival), BITEF (Belgrade Theatre Festival), BELEF (Belgrade Summer Festival), BEMUS (Belgrade Music Festival), Belgrade Book Fair, and the Belgrade Beer Fest. Started in 2003, Belgrade Beer Fest is held annually over 3-4 days at the foot of Belgrade's Kalemegdan fortress as a showcase event for various beer producers. In addition to domestic and foreign brews at affordable prices, the festival features live music performances each evening. Following the victory of Serbia's representative Marija Šerifović at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, Belgrade hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008.
One can often meet European, World and Olympic champions in the streets of Belgrade. It's nice when a small country can say that it is a superpower in sports. This region is a true exporter of top class basketball, football, volleyball, water polo and handball players... The first basketball match in Belgrade took place in 1923. Today, if we exclude North America, the best basketball in the world is played right here in Belgrade. There is no gold medal we didn't win even more than once. Vlade Divac, Sasa Djordjevic, Predrag Danilovic, Pedja Stojakovic and the other (usually) "golden boys" have conquered the world starting from Belgrade.
Although Belgrade is the main spot for all kind of sports, in 2009 the 25th Summer Universiade was celebrated in Belgrade. On that occasion more then 15.000 people came to capital city of Serbia. There were 145 participating nations and more then 10.000 athletes. The mascot of the 2009 Summer Universiade is a sparrow bird. Sparrow bird is the trademark of Belgrade.
In January 2012, European Men’s Handball Championship was held in Belgrade, this time Serbian national team won silver medal. At almost the same time The 2012 Men's European Water Polo Championship took place at the same country. But this time, national team won golden medal. Sport that wasn’t so common in Serbia was tennis, but few years ago everything changed. Tennis players from Serbia have acomplished greatest results and that’s why all people in Serbia support them.
In Belgrade you can taste some of the purest organically produced food and drink. Traditional cuisine means that almost everything is home-grown - and it tastes that way. With a penchant for locally smoked ham, grilled meat, stuffed vegetables, specialist breads, salads, pickles and soft “kajmak” cheese, most Serbs eat enormous amounts and yet stay enviably slender.
One thing is for sure - IT’S NEVER BORING in Belgrade! Almost every day some meeting, event, festival, tournament, exhibition, concert, match, or performance take place. The local ones - for friends from the neighborhood, as well as the great ones - of international importance. Belgrade has character in spades. Other places might have a lead in exoticism, but for the real beguiling Balkan spirit, it has to be Belgrade. It is a city where you can dance until sunrise seven nights a week, where hospitality crackles in the air, and where looking good is a birthright and a religion in one.
A lot of nightclubs, bars and restaurant-boats along the riverbanks make Belgrade nightlife some of the most exuberant in Europe. Spectacularly beautiful young women who look as if they have stepped from the fashion pages of Cosmopolitan, students, young men in sports clothes, musicians and writers link arms in camaraderie as they wander the cobbled streets of the nineteenth-century Skadarlija Bohemian quarter, the pedestrians Knez Mihailova Street teeming with luxury shops or Republic Square with its dozens of pavement cafes. Most Serbs go out for the evening after 10pm and most nightspots are open until at least 2am - yet there is rarely any sign of drunkenness or offensive behavior. The atmosphere is usually of people having a benignly good time enjoying everything from Procol Harum to Electric Six, Sinatra ballads to Serbia’s home-grown brand of high-energy pop music.
To summirize, Belgrade is the city of youth. More than 40% of its citizens are between 15 and 44 years of age. But all citizens of Belgrade love to talk of the spirit of the city. Open and ever ready for fun, many Belgraders will claim to be true hedonists – and many of them really are - knowing all there is to know about good food, wine and music. The citizens of Belgrade like all sorts of things: pleasant conversations and long walks, drinking their morning coffee or days off work. They also love it when they find freshly baked warm bread in the local bakery. They like being in motion and therefore the streets, walkways, cafes and restaurants are always filled with peeeople.
More importantly, Belgraders like everyone, so get to know Belgrade by getting to know Belgraders!