The Republic of Serbia is a democratic state of all of its citizens who live in its territory. The political system is based on the multi-party parliamentary democracy. I also includes two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo – Metohija. Serbia has the National Parliament, Government and the President. Local administration is run on the principle of local government, through municipal or city assemblies, administrations and administration authorities. The capital of Serbia is Belgrade, the economic, cultural and administrative center of the country.
Serbia is situated in the central part of the Balkan peninsula, with main road routes connecting Europe and Asia, and its area is 88.361 square kilometres.
Serbia is the crossroad of Europe and geopolitically very important territory. International roads and railway, running along its river valleys represent the shortest link between Western and Central Europe on one hand and the Middle East, Asia And Africa on the other. These roads follow the route of the Morava river valley, which parts in two legs near Nis. One leg follows Juzna Morava (South Morava) and the Vardar valley to Salonica, and the other follows the Nisava river to Sofia and Istanbul.
The rivers of Serbia belong to the river basins of the Black, Adriatic and Aegean seas. Three of them are navigable: Danube, Sava and Tisa. The longest river is Danube, flowing through Serbia for 588 Km, out of its total 2.857 Km long flow. Since1992, when the canal Rhine-Main-Danube was opened, the Black Sea and the ports of the Middle and Far East became much closer to Europe. The connection with the Adriatic and Montenegro is by the Belgrade-Bar railroad.
Northern part of Serbia, Vojvodina, is mostly a plane, while the central and southern parts are areas of mountains and hills. The lowlands in the Panonian Plane along its rim: Macva, Posavina, Pomoravlje, Stig and Negotinska krajina in Eastern Serbia. Serbia has 55 % of arable land, while 27% is covered by forests. 15 mountain peaks reach over 2000 m and the highest top is Djeravica in the Prokletije mountains (2656 m).
Serbian state borders are 2114.2 Km long. In the east Serbia borders with Bulgaria, in the north-east with Hungary, in the west with Croatia and Bosnia, in the south-east with Montenegro and in the south with Albania and Macedonia. ▲ Top
Serbia is within Western European Time Zone (GMT+1). Its climate is moderate continental with slight transition between the four seasons. It has the characteristics of the continental climate in the north (cold winter and hot, humid summer with evenly spread precipitation) and the Mediterranean climate in the south (hot, dry summer and autumn and moderate winter). ▲ Top
The Serbian population ethnic composition is very diverse, whish is the consequence of dynamic events in the region’s history. Majority population is Serbian, however, along with the Serbs there live 37 other nationalities. All citizens have the same rights and duties and enjoy full legal equality.
The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia guarantees the same rights to all of the national minorities, in compliance with the highest international standards. According to the last 2002 Census, Serbia has 7,498.001 inhabitants (no records from Kosovo and Metohija). Serbs make 82.86 %, Hungarians 3.91 %, Bosnians 1.81, Roma 1.44, Yugoslavs 1.08, Croatians 0.94, Montenegrins 0.92, Albanians 0.82, Slovakians 0.79, Vlachians 0.53, Romanians 0.46, Macedonians 0.34, Bulgarians and Bunyevtsi 0.27% each, Muslims 0.26%, Ruthenians 0.21%, Slovenians and Ukrainians 0.07%, Goranians 0.06%, Germans 0.05% and Russians and Czechs 0.03% each.
The official language is Serbian and Cyrillic is the official script but Latin scrypt is also used. National minorities have the legal right to official use of their language in the areas where they live.
Most of the population in Serbia is Christian Orthodox. Serbian Orthodox Church has been autonomous (self-ruling) since 1219 and it palyed a very important role in preserving the national identity. Apart from the Orthodox church there are other religious communities in Serbia : Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, Judaist and other. ▲ Top
There are many national minorities living in the republic of Serbia. The most numerous are Albanians, Hungarians, Bosnians. According to 2002 Census, in Serbia, excluding Kosovo and Metohija, live 1.135.393 people who belong to national minorities. Most of them live in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina - Hungarians (290.207), Croatians (56.645), Slovakians (56.637), Romanians (30.419), Roma (29.057), Bunyevtsi (19.766), Ruthenians (15.626), Macedonians (11.785), Ukrainians (4.635), Germans (3.154), Czechs(1.648) and others. In Central Serbia there are 59.952 Albanians, 135.670 Bosnians, 18.839 Bulgarians, 39.953 Vlachians, 3.975 Goranians, 14.062 Macedonians, 15.869 Muslims, 79.136 Roma, 14.569 Croatians and others.
In the southern province of Kosovo and Metohija lives the majority of Albanian national minority. Considering the fact that the last census which included Albanians dates from 1981 (Albanians boycotted the census in 1991 so the records are obtained by an estimate) and that the armed conflicts, exodus of a large number of Serbs and the additional settlement of tens of thousands of Albanians from Albania have definitely changed the ethnic picture of Kosovo and Metohija, we cannot confirm with certainty how many Albanian citizens of Serbia belonging to the ethnic minority live in the Province.
The Treaty on human and minority rights and civil freedoms of the Republic of Serbia guarantees equality of citizens despite of their nationality, religion or language, as well as the constitutional freedom of declaration of nationality or refraining from such declaration.
The Treaty prescribes ban on discrimination of national minorities, forced assimilation, initiation of racial, national or religious hatred. This document also provides special rights to preservation of particularity, association and cooperation with the people of same nationality in other countries and the Republic of Serbia was and is obliged at all times to promote the full and efficient equality and the spirit of tollerance accordingly.
As for the legal status of the national minorities in the republic of Serbia, the most important provisions thereof, as well as the provisions of the Law on protection of national minorities’ rights and freedoms guarantee not only the individual but also the collective rights of those minorities.
According to provisions of aforementioned documents, the collective rights include that national minorities take part in decision-making or decide regarding the issues related to their culture, education, information and use of language and script in accordance with the Law. For the purpose of self-government in the areas of culture, education, information and use of language and script, national minorities have the right to elect their own national councils in accordance with the Law.
By implementation of this right, ten national minorities have constituted their national councils (Bunyevtsi, Bulgarians, Bosniani, Hungarians, Roma, Romanians, Ruthenians, Slovakians, Ukranians and Croatians) and those national councils are included in the process of collaboration with competent government authorities. ▲ Top