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Belgrad History, Serbia

Belgrade, romantically named the ‘White City’, is the largest and most populous city in Serbia. Belgrade is at a crossroads between the East and the West, between the Balkans and Pannonia, at the confluence of the Danube and River Sava. Belgrade is one of the several capitals and large cities scattered on the trail of the Danube, such as Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Osijek. The city is chock full of historical sights, buildings and monuments that serve as a reminder of the city’s long and troubled history. Despite its past, Belgrade has recently become more aware of its touristic potential, and it is quickly developing into a popular holiday destination. Discover the heart of Eastern Europe and learn more about its exciting past with the help of this Belgrad History Guide.

Belgrad History - Foundation and early history

Belgrade is one of the oldest capitals in Europe. Even before the arrival of the Romans in the first century AD, various Thracian tribes inhabited the area. In ancient times, Belgrade was already a cultural and ethnic mix of Dacians, Thracians, Celts and Romans. The Romans occupied the Celtic city of Singidun, rechristened it Singidunum and made it a colony. Some of the most famous emperors of the late Roman Empire were born in Belgrade, for example Constantine I, the first Christian Roman emperor. After the split of the Roman Empire in 476, Singidunum became part of the Byzantine Empire. Being quite far from the capital city of Constantinople, the city was ravaged repeatedly by Huns, Avars, Ostrogoths and Gepids, until it was finally taken over by the Slavs at the beginning of the 7th century. Until well into the middle ages, Belgrade was passed back and forth between the great powers of the time. Bulgarians, Byzantines, Hungarians and Slavs captured, destroyed and pillaged the city. Belgrade, as the city was called beginning with the 8th century, lapsed into a relative peace after the Serbs took control of it on the 13th century. However, the respite did not last long; in the 14th century the city was invaded by Hungarians, who ruled it until the 16th century.

Belgrad History - Middle ages until present day

The history of Belgrade followed the same pattern as other cities Eastern Europe. The Ottomans and the Austrian tried passed Serbia back and forth between them until 1806, when the Serbs took control of the city and made it the capital of Serbia. The Austrians briefly invaded the city during World War I, and during World War II Belgrade was occupied by Nazis until the Red Army freed it in 1944. The first Yugoslav Republic lasted until 1991, and it was followed by the second one until 2003. The 1990’s were a time of internal strife in Yugoslavia, and in 2003 the country split into several pieces. In 2006, Belgrade was proclaimed the capital of independent Serbia. Nowadays, Belgrade is a city that obviously relishes its well-deserved peace and it is rapidly becoming an emblem of Central Europe.

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Belgrad City Ratings

  • Rating65%
    City Rank266
  • History & Culture: rated for 70%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 60%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 40%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 80%
  • Food: rated for 90%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 70%
  • Shopping: rated for 50%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 70%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 60%
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