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Serbia is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. A landlocked country in relative proximity to the Mediterranean, Serbia borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west; it also borders Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, is among Europe's oldest cities and one of the largest in Southeast Europe.

  • Geographical data

    • Located at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe, Serbia is found in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. Serbia lies between latitudes 41° and 47° N, and longitudes 18° and 23° E. The country covers a total of 88,361 km² (including Kosovo), which places it at 113th place in the world. Its total border length amounts to 2,027 km (Albania 115 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 302 km, Bulgaria 318 km, Croatia 241 km, Hungary 151 km, Macedonia 221 km, Montenegro 203 km and Romania 476 km).All of Serbia's border with Albania, and parts of the borders with Macedonia, Montenegro, are under control of the UNMIK.

      The Pannonian Plain covers the northern third of the country (mainly Vojvodina and Mačva) while the easternmost tip of Serbia extends into the Wallachian Plain. The terrain of central part of the country, with the region of Šumadija at its heart, consists chiefly of hills traversed by the rivers. Mountains dominate the southern third of Serbia. Dinaric Alps stretch in the west and the southwest following the flow of the rivers Drina and Ibar. Carpathian Mountains and Balkan Mountains stretch in north–south direction in the eastern Serbia.Ancient mountains in the southeast corner of the country belong to Rilo-Rhodope Mountain system. Elevation ranges from the Midžor peak of the Balkan Mountains at 2,169 m (highest peak in Serbia, excluding Kosovo) to the lowest point of just 17 m near Danube river at Prahovo./p>

  • Demographics

    • As of 2011 census, Serbia (excluding Kosovo) has a total population of 7,186,862 and the overall population density is medium as it stands at 92.8 inhabitants per square kilometer. The census was not conducted in Kosovo which held its own census that numbered their total population at 1,739,825, excluding Serb-inhabited North Kosovo, as Serbs from that area (about 50,000) boycotted the census.

      Serbia is in an acute demographic crisis since the beginning of the 1990s, as death rate has continuously exceeded its birth rate. It has one of the most negative population growth rates in the world, ranking 225th out of 233 countries and territories overall. The total fertility rate of 1.44 children per mother, is one of the lowest in the world. Serbia has a comparatively old overall population (among the 10 oldest in the world), with the average age of 42.2 years. The life expectancy in Serbia at birth is 73.9 years. A fifth of all households consist of only one person and just one-fourth of 4 and more persons.

      During the 1990s, Serbia used to have the largest refugee population in Europe. Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Serbia formed between 7% and 7.5% of its population – about half a million refugees sought refuge in the country following the series of Yugoslav wars, mainly from Croatia (and to a lesser extent from Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the IDPs from Kosovo. Meanwhile, it is estimated that 300,000 people left Serbia during the 1990s, 20% of which had a higher education.

  • Administrative divisions

    • Serbia is a unitary state composed of regions (including two autonomous provinces), districts, and municipalities/cities.

      Serbia is divided into five regions (regioni): Vojvodina, Belgrade, Šumadija and Western Serbia, Southern and Eastern Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija. In addition, the regions of Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija are also autonomous provinces (autonomne pokrajine). Belgrade is a separate territorial unit established by the Constitution and law, while Šumadija and Western Serbia and Southern and Eastern Serbia are directly subordinated to national authorities. Prior to 2010, Serbia used to be composed of the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo, and Central Serbia, which never had its own regional authority.

      Serbia (excluding Kosovo) is organized into 25 districts (okruzi). There are 9 in Southern and Eastern Serbia, 8 in Šumadija and Western Serbia and 7 in Vojvodina, while Belgrade constitutes a district of its own. They are regional centers of state authority, but have no powers of their own; they present purely administrative divisions.

      Serbia (excluding Kosovo) is further organized into 138 municipalities (opštine) and 23 cities (gradovi), which form the basic units of local self-government. There are 52 municipalities located in Šumadija and Western Serbia, 47 in Southern and Eastern Serbia and 39 in Vojvodina. Of the 23 cities, 10 are in Šumadija and Western Serbia, 6 in Southern and Eastern Serbia, 6 in Vojvodina, and 1 (Belgrade) has the status of separate territorial unit.

      Since 1999, the territory of Kosovo has officially been administered by UNMIK as per UNSC Resolution 1244 of the United Nations. The Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), has an assembly and a president. On 17 February 2008, representatives of the people of Kosovo, acting outside the UNMIK's PISG framework (not representing the Assembly of Kosovo or any other of these institutions), declared that Kosovo is independent from Serbia. Serbia does not recognize the declaration and considers the act illegal and illegitimate.

  • Economy

    • Serbia has an emerging market economy in upper-middle income range. According to the IMF, Serbian nominal GDP in 2013 is officially estimated at $43.7 billion or $6,017 per capita while purchasing power parity GDP was $80.467 billion or $11,085 per capita. The economy is dominated by services which accounts for 63.8% of GDP, followed by industry with 23.5% of GDP, and agriculture at 12.7% of GDP. The official currency of Serbia is Serbian dinar (ISO code: RSD), and the central bank is National Bank of Serbia. The Belgrade Stock Exchange is the only stock exchange in the country, with market capitalization of $8.9 billion (as of Q4 2013) and BELEX 15 as the main index representing the 15 most liquid stocks.

      The economy has been affected by the global economic crisis. After eight years of strong economic growth (average of 4.45% per year), Serbia entered the recession in 2009 with negative growth of -3% and again in 2012 with -1.7%. As the government was fighting effects of crisis the public debt has doubled in 4 years: from pre-crisis level of 29.2% to 61.5% of GDP.

      Labor force is 2.96 million, of whom 58.6% per cent are employed in services sector, 21.9% are employed in the agriculture and 19.5% are employed in industry. The average monthly net salary in August 2013 was 44,770 dinars (US$ 528). The unemployment remains an acute problem, with rate of 24.1% as of April 2013.

      Since 2000, Serbia has attracted over $25 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI). Blue-chip corporations making investments in Serbia include: FIAT, Siemens, Bosch, Philip Morris, Michelin, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg and others. In the energy sector, Russian energy giants, Gazprom and Lukoil have made large investments.

      Serbia has an unfavorable trade balance: imports exceed exports by a third. Serbia's exports, however, recorded a steady growth in 2012 and 2013. The country has free trade agreements with the EFTA and CEFTA, a preferential trade regime with the European Union, a Generalized System of Preferences with the United States, and individual free trade agreements with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey.

  • Culture

    • For centuries straddling the boundaries between East and West, Serbia had been divided among the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; then between the Kingdom of Hungary, Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium; and then between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire, as well as Venice in the south. These overlapping influences have resulted in cultural varieties throughout Serbia; its north leans to the profile of Central Europe, while the south is characteristic of the wider Balkans and even the Mediterranean. The Byzantine influence on Serbia was profound, firstly through the introduction of Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy) in the Early Middle Ages. The Serbian Orthodox Church has had an enduring status in Serbia, with the many Serbian monasteries constituting the most valuable cultural monuments left from Serbia in the Middle Ages.

      Serbia has four cultural monuments inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage: the early medieval capital Stari Ras and the 13th-century monastery Sopoćani; the 12th-century Studenica monastery; the Roman complex of Gamzigrad–Felix Romuliana; and finally the endangered Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (comprising the monasteries of Visoki Dečani, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and Patriarchate of Peć). There are two literary monuments on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme: the 12th-century Miroslav Gospel, and scientist Nikola Tesla's valuable archive.

      The Ministry of Culture and Information is tasked with preserving the nation's cultural heritage and overseeing its development. Further activities supporting development of culture are undertaken at local government level.

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