Serbian Travel Destinations – Serbian Culture for kids

Tourists enjoy the villages and mountains of this country.  There are many mountain resorts and spas to visit.  The larger cities like Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis attract visitors. The rural areas are also highly visited as tourist love to see the volcanic wonder of Davolja varos or the many Serbian monasteries across the country.  Cruises on the Danube or one of the other main rivers are popular.  There are many festivals to enjoy including a trumpet festival where over two million people come and enjoy the music each year.  These are some top travel destinations:

Initially when the fortress was built in Belgrade in the first century, it functioned as a Roman military camp.  The capital of Serbia had been destroyed 40 times!  Belgrade is one of the most ancient European cities.  Today it rivals the most modern cities in the world.

The Tara National Park with close to 20,000 hectares of land is located in the western part of Serbia.  It is home to a few mountains and the Drina River which forms the natural borderline with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Drina River Gorge is a favorite place for boating and rafting. The park has thick forests, deep caves, picturesque waterfalls and a large diversity of flora and fauna. The rare Pancic Spruce dates back to pre-historic times.

Devil’s Town (Djavolja Varos), designated as a national monument, is located on the southern part of Serbia on the banks of the Tuta River (Yellow River).  These formations are caused by erosion which helped form 202 stone pyramids, each 2 to 15 meters high.

This important building is near the present Tasmajdan Park, the place where liberty was given back to the Serbians. The National Assembly was officially opened in 1936 to the public so they can see, understand and appreciate the legislative body of Serbia.

Gamzigrad – Romuliana is a Roman palace (3rd and 4th century) and memorial complex located in the eastern region of Serbia. The palace is named after the Emperor Caius Valerius Galerius Maximianus’ mother, Romula, Felix Romuliana.

Subotica is located in the northern parts of Serbia, 180 kilometers from Belgrade. It is a modern city with architecture from the 19th and 20th century.  The Synagogue, City Hall, the Raichle Palace and the library are examples of this architecture. The buildings in the center of the city have colorful Zsolnay ceramics. There is also a neoclassical 19th-century theater with six columns. Today, drama performances can be enjoyed in the languages of Serbian and Hungarian.

The Petrovaradin Fortress was raised by the beginning of the 18th century by Austro-Hungarian engineers. It is a real architectural achievement with 16 kilometer-long hallways. The Clock Tower is noticeable form great distances. It now serves as an art hub with more than 88 studios.

The popular Lake Palic is near Subotica. The lake is quite large (8 kilometers long, almost 1000 meters wide and 2 meters deep). In the 19th century, a spa opened and many people were healed by the waters of the lake. Today, the lake is a recreation place with many hotels, restaurants, sports facilities, beaches and a zoo.

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Serbian Etiquette – Serbian Culture for kids

It is always polite to bring a small gift like flowers, wine or chocolate when asked to dinner at a Serbian’s house.  It is also appropriate to remove your shoes when entering the house.  If you are asked to dine out, the host pays the entire bill and it is not polite to ask to pay.  However, it is expected that you offer to pay at the next dinner outing.

Three kisses are common on the cheeks by alternating cheeks.  It is done by shaking hands at the same time. The same procedure is used when you say goodbye.  Younger women will exchange one kiss only.  Looking people in the eyes when you speak is very important.

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Serbian Fashion – Serbian Culture for kids

Serbian folk costumes are still worn on national holidays and during celebrations throughout Serbia, but especially in rural areas. Traditional Serbian female clothing consists of embroidered woolen socks that reach to the knees and nazuvice, skirts that are gathered or pleated and made out of embroidered linen with a tkanice serving as a belt. Aprons (pregace) decorated with floral motifs are worn.  Shirts that look like tunics are decorated with silver thread. Scarves and caps bordered with cords are worn. Women wear collars, or a string of gold coins around their throats, earrings, bracelets, and their caps are decorated with metal coins or flowers. Coats are lined with fur. Peasant shoes (opanci) made of leather without laces are also worn.

The men’s typical Serbian folk costume includes a shirt and trousers, a vest called a jelek, a regular coat of wool or velvet socks, belts and head-gear, often called oglavja. The men’s coat is made from wool or velvet. Men often carry a walking stick and wear a shepherd’s black, fur hat.

Today, there are many fashion schools and high fashion stores that rival the world’s fashion industry.  Fashion designers from Serbia are showing their recent designs at fashion shows throughout the world.  The western influence of dress is evident every day in the Serbians’ dress. Styles are fresh and modern with vibrant colors, textures and designs.

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Serbian Traditional Music and Musical Instruments – Serbian Culture for kids

Serbia has had a long tradition in music.  This music includes a variety of bagpipes, flutes, horns, trumpets, lutes, psalteries, drums and cymbals.  The kolo is a traditional folk dance.  The singing of epic poetry has been a part of the Serbian music for hundreds of years.  Usually a fiddle is played while someone sings the songs about history or mythology.

The gusle is a stringed musical instrument with a round wooden back and a skin belly. It has one horsehair string at the top of the neck held to a peg. It is played in a vertical position, with a deepl curved bow. The gusle has no fingerboard. The string’s vibration is stopped by the sideways pressure of the player’s fingers.

The frula is a Serbian flute which looks like a small recorder.  But, it is held vertically. It is usually made of wood with six holes and it is held vertically. The frula is a traditional instrument of shepherds and farmers who would play this instrument while tending their flocks.  The double frula is made of two connected instruments – pipes, made parallel of one piece of wood. Each frula has a mouthpiece for blowing air inside and holes for fingers.

The zurla is an oriental wooden instrument which most likely came to the area from Turkey and Persia. The pipe is shaped like a cylinder but it is very wide at the end.  Zurlas are often played in pairs with the accompaniment of large traditional drums.  The sound from a zurla is very loud and so the instrument is usually played outdoors.

Shargia is a plucked string instrument of 4-12 strings. The name comes from the Turkish word sarki which means “The East”. The tune is played on the highest string and the other strings are used for the accompaniment. This instrument was used for folk songs and folk dances.

The kaval is a flute that is open from both sides. It is usually made of one piece of decorated ash wood and is played by blowing on the sharpened edge of one end. Once only played by shepherds, it is now used as an instrument for folk songs and for folk dances.

The gaida is an instrument that uses reeds that you blow to build air up in a bag. The gaidunitsa is a kind of a pipe with eight holes for the fingers. The instrument is held under the arm (the bag should be inflated from time to time). The gajda is used during special occasions for folk songs and dances.

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Serbian Words and Phrases – Serbian Culture for kids

Hi!                                       Zdravo!

Good morning                      Dobro jutro

Good evening                       Dobro vece

Welcome                             Dobrodosli (pl.), Dobrodosla (f), Dobrodosao (m)

How are you?                       Kato Ste?  (polite) Kako Si? (informal)

I’m fine.  Thanks.                 Dobro. Hvala.

Good/So-So.                        Dobro/Kako-tako.

Thank you very much.          Havala puno!

What’s new?                        Sta ima novo?

Nothing much                      Nista

Good night                          Laku noc

See you later                       Vidimo se kasnije

Good Bye                            Dovidenia

Nice to meet you                 Drago mi je

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The Serbian Alphabet and Language – Serbian Culture for kids

Serbian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia by about 9 million people. It is the official language in Serbia and the language used by most Serbians.  This language is similar to Croatian, Bosnian and Monenegrin.

The Glagolitic alphabet was used to write Serbian from the 11th century on. It was later replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet. In 1814, the modern Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was developed. Serbian is now written mainly with the Cyrillic alphabet, though the Latin alphabet is sometimes used. Serbian contains many Greek and Turkish words and continues to add new words from various languages.

Up to the middle 19th century there was no standard written form of Serbian, but there was extensive literature. In 1850 a group of Serbian and Croatian writers and linguists (those who study languages) decided to create a standard written form based on the widely-used Štokavian dialect. The modern Serbian literary standard developed from this written form, which was the official language of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, between 1918 and 1991. After Yugoslavia broke up in 1991, separate written and spoken languages began to emerge in the different countries that made up the former Yugoslavia

The Serbian Alphabet

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Serbian Cooking and Sports – Serbian Culture for kids

Serbian cooking is a mixture of all of the people who have lived in this country.  Each of the regions in Serbia has its own specialties.  Traditional Serbian foods include cevapcici (the national dish of grilled and seasoned meat eaten with raw onions and warm bread), pljeskavica, sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls), pasulj, burek, gibanica and ajvar.  Pelmeni is a popular dish of meat-filled dumplings. Grilled meats are served in almost every dish.   A national drink is Slivovitz which is a plum brandy. Serbians love their coffee, especially strong dark Turkish coffees.  Historically, the Serbian diet included many animal products such as meat, fats, dairy, and eggs.

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Serbian Theater, Museums, and Painting – Serbian Culture for kids

The country has a long tradition of theater.  The National Museum of Serbia founded more than 150 years ago has over 400,000 exhibits, over 5,500 paintings and 8,400 drawings and prints.  Icon-painting is part of Serbia’s cultural heritage.  For over 800 years, various buildings, churches and monasteries were built in a certain style and had thousands of portraits showing the important parts of the New Testament of the Bible.

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