If you are interested in learning the Serbian language the first step is understanding everything about Serbian people. But not many people know the true side of Serbs! The people of Serbia and their country are among the oldest ones in the whole continent of Europe.
Serbian people belong to the Slavs, actually, south Slavs, and that’s why Yugoslavia existed. So ‘Yugo’ or how Serbs say ‘Jug’ which means ‘South,’ and ‘Slavia.’
Serbia today is a small country with about 9,000,000 people living in it. Their capital, Belgrade, is also their biggest city, with about 2,500,000 people living in it. It is said to be the New York of Balkan. Not only does it look like New York in some parts, but it is also a well-known Balkan Metropolis with many tourists coming from around the globe.
In addition, you should know that Serbia has a lot of minorities. If we exclude Russia, it is the country with the largest minority groups in the whole European continent.
The biggest minorities living in Serbia are the Albanians, which mostly live on the territory of Kosovo, and Metohija, Hungarians, which live in the northern part of Serbia, called ‘Vojvodina.’
These are only some little facts, to begin with, to familiarize yourself with Serbian People. Let’s get to know more about the subject and discover facts that you have probably never heard of.
Serbian History And Culture
As we have mentioned earlier, the Serbians are a South Slavic ethnicity tribe and nation native to the Balkans. The majority of Serbs live in their mother country of Serbia, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia, and Montenegro(former countries of Yugoslavia).
There is a major Serb diaspora in West Europe and outside Europe, and there are significant communities in North America and Australia. The interesting fact is that about 500,000 Serbs live in Chicago, and among Serbian people, there is a joke that it is the second-largest Serbian city, right after Belgrade.
Serbs are mostly Eastern Orthodox Christians according to their religion. However, there is also something unique when it comes to their religion, and it is called ‘Slava’ or ‘Patron Saint Day.’ Every family has its Patron Saint, and they love to celebrate and enjoy that day with their friends and families.
The interesting fact is that the Temple of Sveti Sava(Hram Svetog Save) is the biggest orthodox church in whole Europe.Everyone is pretty religious, and if you respect them and their religion, then they will respect yours too. That is something you must know, if you ever visit Serbia, or you are just interested in their culture.
The toughest time for Serbia and their people where definitely those 90’s. Yugoslav war is still something that everyone talks about, and those wounds will hardly pass in some near time.
So if you ever visit Serbia or talk with someone who is Serbian or is from countries like Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, or anywhere from the Balkans, you shouldn’t mention the 20th century and this topic because everyone is still sensitive about it.
Serbia And Ottoman Empire
There is a deep connection between Serbia and Ottoman Empire. The Serbs were under Turkish occupation(Ottoman Empire) for about 500 years! Yup, that’s right. It doesn’t sound very good, and actually, it was.
That’s why Serbian and Turkish languages have 5000 words in common, and Serbian culture was influenced pretty much, which is probably something everyone would expect among all those years. But their tradition and religion remained still the same, although, in south Serbia, you can still see a lot of mosques. There are also Muslim Serbs who took that religion, and now they call themselves Bosniaks.
As I said, they mostly live in the south or southwest Serbia, and the biggest Muslim city in Serbia is called Novi Pazar.
8 Things You Need To Know About Serbian People
Everything you need to know about Serbian people or things you should or shouldn’t mention, you can check in the text below. There will also be some interesting facts about Serbian culture you probably didn’t know about, so we hope you are going to enjoy this part of the text.
1. Serbian Food
Just food, food, and food. If you ever visit Serbia, then you must try some of their traditional meals. They are delicious, and you’ll enjoy every bite.
The most popular ones are definitely ‘ćevapi, burek, sarme, prebranac’ and other delicious meals. You probably don’t know what they are, but trust me, when you try them your first time, the water will come right down through your mouth if you ever hear these words again!
If you have a Serbian friend and you visit his home, be prepared you are gonna eat a lot. And, also it is always important to eat everything, or they will get pretty offended.
They are sensitive when it comes to food, so if you even don’t like it(which is impossible!), you should always say how great it was.
2. Serbs Love To Celebrate
Yes, Serbs love to celebrate and think it’s in their blood. There are a lot of festivals in Serbia like ‘Exit,’ ‘Beerfest,’ ‘Gucha,’ which you would definitely want to visit if you ever come to Serbia or Belgrade. There is always an excellent occasion to celebrate. Belgrade is most famous for its nightlife, and there are a lot of clubs, which work all night.
The most famous ones are on the River Sava where you can party all night long. Serbs call them ‘splavovi,’ which means ‘rafts.’ It sounds pretty awkward, but there are famous rafts, and it’s like a club on the river. This is pretty unique, and this is something you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
Also, we have mentioned ‘Slava’ or ‘Saint Patron’s day.’ This is also pretty unique, and only Greeks have something similar like this. This is mostly an event for families and friends, so you should be pretty honored if someone invites you there.
3. Serbs Like Rakia
As we said, Serbs like Rakia, it’s their unique alcohol drink made from fruit. The most popular one is called ‘Shljivovica,’ and it’s made from plum.
There are also rakias made from other fruit like apples, pears, apricots, and even honey(my favorite one!). That one is called ‘medovacha,’ and it is so sweet, but if you drink too much of it, they’re probably going to be some problems. So be careful with it.
4. Great Sense Of Humor And Hospitality
Hospitality is definitely something that characterizes Serbian people. They are all warm and kind, and everyone who has ever been to Serbia says the same.
You can talk to everyone on the street, and they are always kind and glad to help you. They like to smile and make jokes all the time. Also, the like to gather themselves in a larger group of friends and go to coffee shops, bars and clubs.
So it won’t be hard to find a Serbian friend who is going to make you laugh all the time. As I said, they love to make jokes, and they have a pretty amazing sense of humor. So when they gather around, they always love to tell jokes and laugh.
5. Serbs Are Handsome
Yes, they are! You are definitely going to fall in love so many times on the street or wherever you go. They are one of the tallest nations in the world, they mostly have a little bit darker skin tone and dark hair, but there are also a lot of blondes.
They don’t look like other slavs, which are pretty, most all blonde with blue eyes. Serbs were 500 years occupied by Turks, so that’s probably the reason why are they a little bit darker than the others. Greeks are probably the nation most similar to them, and there are many similarities, besides the language, which is the whole difference.
6. Serbs Don’t Play Well With Authority
Serbs don’t like authority, and that is something that comes with Serbian ‘inat’. That is something like ‘proud,’ and yes, Serbs are pretty proud people. They never like their political leaders because they didn’t have enough luck with them in the past years.
Also, if you don’t respect their religion, church, and nation, you probably won’t get much respect either. So much pride for such a small country, but there were a lot of wars and battles which made them so tough.
7. You Should NOT Talk About Kosovo
This is something which is probably the most unpleasant topic of all, and it comes pretty much with the ‘proud’ and ‘inat’ we talked about earlier. Serbs will never admit that Kosovo is a country because it has always been a part of Serbia.
That is just something you could get pretty offended about, so you don’t want to mention this one. Their ancestors have fought for it in the year 1389 when medieval Serbs have beaten the Ottoman Empire.
As I said, a lot of history, so this is the topic we should leave for some other occasions.
8. Respect The Church
You should always respect their church and tradition, and in return, you’ll get admired and respected equally or even more. Even if you don’t find yourself a believer, this pretty much comes with nice behavior.
They are pretty religious, and you have to respect that, and that’s because they are orthodox since the medieval period.
Always respect your host or friend and be nice to them. Respect their pride and tradition, also their orthodox church, and you’ll definitely become their friend.
That’s how it goes with Serbian people, pretty much—a lot of traditions and pride.
Who Are The Most Famous Serbs?
We can’t say who is the most popular because there are definitely a lot of them, belief or not. Some of them you must be heard, but there are also some of them you probably didn’t know are Serbians.
There are a lot of scientists, writers, and of course, basketball players like Nikola Jokić, Boban Marjanović, Vlade Divac, and other NBA players, which we won’t mention this time, unfortunately.
Check our list of famous Serbians!
7 Most Famous Serbs
1. Nikola Tesla
One of the biggest minds and inventors that have ever lived. He was born in Croatia, but in a Serbian village and his father was an Orthodox priest(Croatian people are Catholics).
The United States also takes a lot of admiration for this Serb, but they definitely should because they helped him pretty much in everything he did.
There are a lot of rumors and disagreements if he was Serbian, but he definitely was although he was born and raised in Croatia.
Everyone knows about him so there is nothing else we could possibly say.
2. Novak Djokovic
This guy definitely deserves a second place, and he is the hero of modern Serbian history. Best tennis player ever and also a great guy and proud Serb.
Also known as ‘Nole’ this guy holds a record with over 16,950 points earned in ranking history. All Serbs adore him, but not only them. He has a lot of fans all over the world and he proudly wears the Serbian flag whenever he wins a Grand slam.
Way to go our dear Nole!
3. Rade Šerbedžija
This Hollywood actor, or the guy who is well known for always acting some Russian villains. He represents himself both as Serbian and Croatian. He was born in Croatia, but for one part of his life, he’s been living in Belgrade.
There are a lot of movies he was acting in like ‘The Saint’, ‘Taken 2’, ‘Mission Impossible, ‘The Dark Knight’ and other Hollywood blockbusters. Like Nikola Tesla, as we said, he was born in Croatia where Serbs took the majority.
Another Serb everyone knows about!
If you are more interested in movies, especially Serbian ones, then you should check this article her
4. Mihajlo Pupin
Another great mind and amazing scientist coming, well, as you may know, Serbia of course! He was a physicist and physical chemist and he also lived in the United States.
This Serbian physicist’s most famous invention was extending the range of long-distance telephone communication by placing loading coils (of wire) at predetermined intervals along the transmitting wire.
Big applause for this Serbian fella.
5. Duško Popov(James Bond)
Everyone knows about James Bond right? But did you know he was Serbian? Yes, James Bond was a real guy called Duško Popov and he’s been working for the MI6.
Real tough guy, who’s been hiding in the shadows all those years. Only a couple of years ago everyone found out that James Bond was an actual guy, and it was Duško.
When it comes to movies you can check another blog post about Serbian films.
6. Mileva Einstein
We cant talk only about Serbia guys, right? There is also one lady called Mileva Einstein and you definitely heard about her too.
She was the wife of one of the world’s most famous physicians Albert Einstein. There are a lot of rumors these days about Albert, and actually, it looks like that all the official inventions he has ever made, was actually made by Mileva.
We don’t know if that is a rumor or truth but the time will show us all.
7. Ivo Andric
This guy has earned a Nobel prize, and he was the only Serb who did that. He was a writer, and his books are well appreciated. If you want to learn Serbian, or you already know it but you want to spread your vocabulary then you should read some of his books.
We recommend ‘Na drini Ćuprija'(Bridge on the Drina) or ‘Seobe'(Migration). There are also others that will spread your knowledge not only about vocabulary but also about Serbian culture as well.
Want To Know More Serbian Vocabulary? Try The Ling App!
So today you learned a lot when it comes to Serbian Culture, Serbia, Serbian people, and their official language, culture, history, family, and even war. We have also mentioned another country from the Balkans region, where Serbs live as well, and we tried to tell you something new about Serbian traditions and nation as well. The best way to learn Serbian is to explore more about who they are and what they are like.
Generally, some things you have already known but you must admit that there were some things you heard for the first time, especially about Serbian culture. We are always here, and we are glad to help you, especially when it comes to learning a new language, and that is something of which Ling app is most proud of.
Don’t hesitate to check our other blog posts about some other nation or their language, not only from the Balkans region but also from other parts of the world. With our app, you can find a lot of interesting texts and lectures about the language and culture you are interested in. Keep learning by yourself by downloading the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store and enjoy the whole journey!