One of the most interesting countries that I ever traveled to was Serbia. I remember arriving in Belgrade, from where we rented a car and drove around in circles all over the city because we were confused.
We ended up going to an offbeat mountain destination that was paradisical and we had to use the Google translate app to speak with the locals. In today’s day of internationalization, it is amazing when one arrives in a city with hardly any English speakers!
If you look at the map, you will notice that Serbia is in Southeast Europe and is a landlocked country in the Balkans with five national parks. The countries around Serbia are Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Its capital Belgrade, is often called the white city and is one of the oldest cities in the world! Belgrade was destroyed and then rebuilt 40 times.
Serbia is also the location of the famous Exit Festival, which takes place in Novi Sad. Yes, the above things are some basic facts about Serbia that I didn’t include on my list because I wanted this to be a “fun facts” list.
Anyway, my fascination for Serbia grew and I ended up looking for some fun facts about Serbia over the last few months. Based on that, I have compiled a list of the most interesting facts out of the many that are all over the internet. And some of them aren’t on the internet … yet.
1) Vrello in Serbia is the Shortest River in the World
River Vrello or Vrelo in Serbia is the shortest in the world! Ever heard of it? River Vrello is just 365 meters long.
When we visited Tara National Park in Serbia, the park tourism office people told us to see “River Vello”, the shortest river in the world.
It is a tributary of the river Drina, and I was wondering why it isn’t called a stream when it is so short. It is all because of the technicality.
It actually comes out from a spring, makes a waterfall, and then flows into Drina. The length in meters is exactly the same as the length of a year, so it is called “Godina”, one year long. Within the 365 meters, it goes through the entire life cycle of a river.
2) Hollywood of the Balkans
Serbia is a popular filming location because of its beautiful natural and historical sites. Moreover, there is an absence of crowds. This is why Serbia is often called the Hollywood of the Balkans.
The famous Netflix movie “Glass Onion: Knives Out Mystery” which received many Academy awards was shot in Serbia. Also worth mentioning are “The Expendables 3”, “Hellraiser”, “Extinction”:, “Pappilon”, and “Underworld” which are some of the famous movies that were shot in Serbia.
3) Birthplace of Nikola Tesla
We all know the amazing scientist Nikola Tesla. His birthplace was a Serb-Croatian village Smiljan. He was born on 10 July 1856, and that day has been declared as the Day of Science in the Republic of Serbia.
Not just Nikola Tesla but Serbia is the birthplace of many scientists such as Mihajlo Pupin (the physicist). Milutin Milanković, Tihomir Novakov, Petar Gburčik, and Jovan Cvijić to name a few.
4) Belgrade has its own Silicon Valley
The capital of Serbia, Belgrade has a street in Belgrade called Strahinjica Bana, which is also called Silicon Valley. The reasons for this name are different than the Silicon Valley in California.
There was a criminal organization called “the Mafia” where the members dated mostly blonde women. Most of these women had silicon breast implants hence the name.
For me, this is a funny fact about Serbia because I didn’t expect it to turn out like this when I heard of the
“Silicon Valley in Belgrade”.
5) Serbia has a Wooden village – Drvengrad
There is a little village that’s made entirely of wood and is called Drvengrad. It even had wooden lamp posts and playground rides. It is near Mokra Gora.
Drvengrad is also called Küstendorf and it was made for a movie by Emir Kusturica – Life is a Miracle. Küstendorf Film and Music Festival is often held here.
For me, my favorite part was a small church on the edge of a little hill with views. I also liked the cozy restaurants and cafes inside.
6) Stone village of Gostuša
Gostuša is a small village with a population of 140 people. The old-fashioned houses of Gostuša are entirely made of stone and natural materials.
The stone house of Gostuša are protected natural site. In today’s date, Gostuša village comes under Stara Planina National Park and is near Zavojsko Lake.
7) Belgrade has an underground network of tunnels and chambers
Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia and beneath its streets are hundreds of cellars, bunkers, caves, passages, and tunnels. It is unbelievable that they are hidden under the parks and the streets of the capital city.
It is called the “secret underworld of Kalemegdan” and has a spider network of tunnels that dates back to the Neolithic period. There is also a wine vault hidden under Karadjordjeva Street from the early 19th century.
There are a few tours that one can take to glimpse of the cave network.
8) Iron Gate Gorge is the largest Gorge in Europe
Iron Gate Gorge is between Serbia and Romania and is the largest Gorge in Europe. It is a part of Đerdap National Park. It is also sometimes called the Derdap Gorge.
Iron Gate Gorge is formed by the Danube River and is 130 kilometers long. It is also called the Iron Gates of the Danube River, or sometimes just the “Gates of Danube”. It features 180 feet high rock sculpture of Decebalus.
9) The Vratna Gates are the Tallest Stone Gates
If you want to see a place that’s like the mystical city of Valeria from Game of Thrones, then you need to see the Vratna River Gorge because there’s something unusual here.
There are three gigantic stone rocks acting as gates at the Vratna River Gorge – the Small Gate, the Large Gate, and the Dry Gate. The river sinks under the Dry Gate! They are not far from the Vratna monastery.
10) The word vampire is Serbian
Do you like vampire movies? The word Vampire is Serbian, and that’s the only Serbian word that came to English. It was originally written as “VAMPIR”.
The word “Vampir” was first recorded in written documents dating back to 1725 near Požarevac when the first vampire was ever documented. These documents explain the condition of someone named Petar Blagojević, who had allegedly risen from the dead.
11) Most Serbian last names end with “ic”
I found this to be an interesting fact about Serbia that most of the Serbian names end with “ic”. It means “the offspring of”, in a similar way in English we have “Jackson, Peterson, Robertson.. etc”.
12) Most raspberries in the world come from Serbia
Serbia is one of the largest raspberry exporters in the world. Some websites say that 95% of raspberries in the world are from Serbia but that’s no longer true.
Yes, a few years back is was the largest exporter of Raspberries but today that spot has been taken by Poland.
13) The Serbian Language is written both in Cyrillic and Latin Script
It can be understood whether it is written in Cyrillic alphabet or Latin Script, and it is just a matter of preference. Also, it is one of the few languages where it is written exactly how it is supposed to sound. It has “phonetic precision“.
14) The Serbian clock-making industry is older than the Swiss
Which country comes to your head when I mention clocks? Most likely Switzerland.
Now comes one of the most surprising facts about Serbia – the Serbian clock-making industry is older than the Swiss one. I was shocked to know this.
15) Pule – the most expensive cheese comes from Serbia
If someone asked me today where the most expensive cheese comes from, I would have thought of French or Swiss Cheese but no.
The most expensive cheese in the world is called Pule, and it doesn’t come from France but it comes from Serbia. It is made of 60% Balkan donkey milk and 40% goat’s milk.
16) “Serbo 7” & the First Moon Landing
The first moon landing was done by the USA’s Appolo 11, but the Serbs had an important role to play. “Serbo 7” was a group of seven Serbs who were engineers, and data analysts and it was a part of the Apollo Spacecraft Launch Team.
One of the most surprising facts about Serbia is that one of the founding members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became NASA is Mihajlo Pipin, a Serbian.
17) Serbia and the Oppoman Empire
Serbia became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1540, after which it was ruled for almost 5 centuries by them.
The Serbian aristocracy was persecuted by the Serbians as they wanted to remove the Serbian social elites. It gets worse – Christian Serbs lived as virtual bond servants and were exploited and humiliated.
The liberation of Serbia started in 1804 but took many years and phases. Finally, in 1878 Serbia won full independence from the Ottoman Empire.
18) Serbian Festival Slava
Serbia has a rich culture and Slava is an important holiday honoring the patron saint, Slava. It is celebrated only in Serbia by Orthodox Christians.
The celebrations include a ritual offering of a “bloodless” sacrifice. There is also a lavish feast held for relatives, friends, and neighbors.
A Slava Cake is prepared on which the hostess pours wine. The cake-cutting ceremony is performed by the host along with the oldest and most important guests.
Honestly, I love knowing about cultures and festivals of the world that we normally don’t see on television in popular culture.
19) Serbian Waterpolo Team
Water polo is the most popular sport in Serbia. The Serbian national water polo team is the most successful national team in the country.
They have won more titles than all other Serbian national teams combined.
20) The world’s number 1 Tennis Player is a Serbian
Novak Djokovic has been ranked as the number 1 tennis player in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals for a record total of 391 weeks in a record 12 different years.
We all know of Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi but more people need to know about Novak Djokovic who is regarded by many coaches and observers as the greatest tennis player of all time.
21) 18 Roman emperors were born on the territory of today’s Serbia
The ruins of the capital of the former Roman empire – Sirmium lie under the streets of Sremska Mitrovica. Out of the 70 Roman emperors, 18 of them were born in today’s territory of Serbia.
22) The Mysterious Pyramid of Mount Rtanj
Mount Rtanj is a 500,000-year-old pyramid in Serbia. It is believed that Mount Rtanj houses a pyramid-shaped mothership left behind by aliens thousands of years ago.
Some scientists say that it is actually an ancient pyramid, while others say that it is a work of extraterrestrial forces.
23) Large Stone Balls in Nature – the Povlen Globes
Polven Globes are large stone balls on the Polven Hillside that are believed to make your wishes come true. Put both hands on the globe, close your eyes, and make a wish! The origin of the Polven Globes is under debate.
There are people who believe that these stone globes were created by aliens! Some claim that these massive globes of stone scattered around are a wonder of nature and that they have magic healing powers. Scientists say that they are a result of volcanic activity.
24) Serbia Has a “Devil’s Town”
I love rock formations and Serbia has some really strange ones with 200 towers or “earth pyramids” that are called Devil’s Town.
Devil’s Town or Đavolja varoš (it is written in Serbian Cyrillic as Ђавоља варош) is in Kuršumlija on the Radan Mountain, which is southern Serbia. Honestly, if I see the photos, it just looks like Cappadocia in Turkey and that’s also a strangely beautiful travel destination.
25) The Highest Point of the Western Balkan Mountains is in Serbia
Midžor Mountain is 2,169 meters high and is the highest point in not just Serbia but also the Western Balkan Mountains. The Balkan Mountain range borders between Serbia and Bulgaria. Interestingly, a peak in Antarctica has been named after this – the Midzhur Peak in Antarctica.
Fun Facts about Serbia – Closing Thoughts
I have mentioned just some of my favorite facts about Serbia but there is so much more about this amazing country that obviously can not fit one post.
I urge you to go over some of my Serbia travel content and consider traveling to this offbeat destination in Eastern Europe.
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