Posted on February 15, 2014
When I was a kid, I dearly loved doing map jigsaw puzzles. I loved our family globe, and I pored over it, trying to make out the names of all those squished-together European nations. I was a whiz at geography games and quizzes.
But I had never heard of Serbia. You see, when the textbooks I'd read were being written and the puzzles and globes I'd loved were being created, the Serbs were part of a country called Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia broke apart in 1992, and even though it was only about as large as the United Kingdom, it broke up into five (and later six) separate nations. Serbia is one of those nations, what is sometimes called the heart of the old Yugoslavia.
Serbia is known for plums—because, small though the nation is, it is the world's #2 producer of plums—and raspberries—and this time, it's #1 in the world!
(I read that 95% of the world's raspberry exports came from Serbia!)
Serbia is known for one of the top tennis players in the world, Novak Djokovic, and for the scientific genius Nikola Tesla (who was a Serb who was born in what is now Croatia and who eventually moved to the U.S.).
Serbia is also known for being on the border between “the East” and “the West.” It is one of the only nations to celebrate two Christmases (one on December 25, like Western nations, and one on January 7, like Eastern Orthodox nations) and two New Years Days (January 1 and January 14). Serbs also use two alphabets—the Roman alphabet, like Western nations, and the Cyrillic alphabet, like Russia.
Last but not least, Serbia is known for Europe's largest gorge, the Djerdap Gorge, through which the beautiful Danube River flows, and for Davolja Varos, or Devil's Town, an area filled with rocky spires.
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