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Belgrade
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Belgrade

For other uses see Belgrade (disambiguation)

Belgrade (Serbian, Београд, Beograd), (population 1.2 million, 1,717,800 including the suburbs by census of 2002) is the capital of Serbia (since 1404) and Yugoslavia (1918-2003). The city lies on the outfall of the Sava river to the Danube river in northern central Serbia, at 44.83° North, 20.50° East (The World Gazetteer)

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Climate
4 Architecture
5 Sightings
6 Names
7 Miscellaneous topics
8 See also
9 External links
10 Quotations

History

For a quick overview of its history see Timeline of Belgrade

Originally (from the 3rd century BC) the Celtic and later Roman settlement of Singidunum, the site passed to the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, experienced occupation by successive invaders of the region - Huns, Sarmatians, Ostrogoths and Avars - before the arrival of the Serbs around 630 AD. Next recorded in 878 as Beligrad ("white fortress" or "white town") under the rule of the Bulgarian kingdom, it passed again to Byzantine and Bulgarian rule before emerging as a city of the medieval Serbian kingdom.

The first Serbian king to rule Belgrade was Dragutin (1276-1282), who received it as a present from the Hungarian king.

Subsequently occupied by Hungary and in 1521 captured by the Ottoman Turks, Belgrade remained under Ottoman rule for nearly three centuries. Thrice occupied by Austria (1688-1690, 1717-1739, 1789-1791), the city was briefly held (1806-1813) by Serbian forces during the first national uprising against Ottoman rule, and in 1817 became the capital of an autonomous principality of Serbia (except in the period from 1818-1839, when Kragujevac was the country's capital city).

With the departure of its Turkish garrison (1867) and Serbia's full independence (1878) and elevation to a kingdom (1882), Belgrade became a key city of the Balcans. But despite the opening of a railway to Niš, Serbia's second city, conditions in Serbia as a whole remained those of an overwhelmingly agrarian country, and in 1900 the capital had only 69,000 inhabitants.

After occupation by Austro-Hungarian and German troops in 1915-1918 during World War I, Belgrade experienced faster growth and significant modernisation as the capital of the new kingdom of Yugoslavia during the 1920s and 1930s, growing in population to 239,000 by 1931 with the incorporation of the northern suburb of Zemun, formerly on the Austro-Hungarian bank of the river.

On April 6, 1941, Belgrade was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe (killing thousands of people) and Yugoslavia was invaded by German, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian forces. City remained under German occupation until October 20, 1944, when it was liberated by Yugoslav Partisan forces and the Red Army. In the post-war period Belgrade grew rapidly as the capital of the renewed Yugoslavia, developing as a major industrial centre. Sarajevo was a short period of time considered as a candidate for the capital.

In March 1972, Belgrade was at the centre of the last major outbreak of smallpox in Europe. The epidemic, which was contained with enforced quarantine and mass vaccination, was over by late may. See: 1972 outbreak of smallpox in Yugoslavia.

On March 9, 1991 massive demonstrations were held against Slobodan Milosevic in the city. Two people were killed and tanks were deployed in the streets in order to restore order.

Belgrade was bombed by NATO aviation during the Kosovo War in 1999 which caused substantial damage. Among bombed sites where the ministeries of defense, interior and finance, the presidential residency, few television and radio broadcasting stations ("Pink", "Kosava", "Radio S", "ELMAG") including National Television (Radio Television of Serbia) killing 17 technicians, hospital "Dragisa Misovic", private houses in "Zvezdara" comunity, Socialist Party headquarters, a hotel "Jugoslavija" and the Chinese embassy. The NATO officials claimed that the latter was bombed because NATO planners used outdated maps.

After rigged elections in 2000 Belgrade was the site of major demonstrations which caused the ousting of president Slobodan Milošević.

Belgrade was under some form of attack some 54 times since 1 A.D, or every 37 years on average. This means that, statistically, every citizen of Belgrade has seen two attacks on the city in his/her life.

Zoran Djindjic was the first democratically-elected mayor of Belgrade. Current mayor is Radmila Hrustanovic.

Geography

Belgrade is in northern central Serbia, on the outfall of the Sava river to the Danube, surrounded from three sides by autonomous province of Vojvodina. Old part of city with the Kalemegdan fortress is on a rock ridge between Sava and Danube, directly at the outfall and was thereby protected by three sides. The center of Belgrade lies on the right bank of Danube, and on the left bank begins Banat plain with not too dense inhabited suburbs. Between Danube and Sava is the new city Novi Beograd and a bit upstream of Danube lies Zemun, at times of the Turk wars a habsburg outpost and today a part of Belgrade.

Climate

The climate of Belgrade is generally not particularly pleasant. In the winter a very cold wind, the Kosava, blows from the northeast, which lets the blood in the veins freeze even if the thermometer indicates only few degrees under the freezing point. On the other hand, the summer is usually very hot, with temperatures over thirty degrees Celsius. Actually the only pleasant months are May, September and October. But it seems that Belgraders fall in love with their city, and hold that these most diverse variations make the most beautiful city in the world.

Architecture

Various parts of Belgrade have wildly variying architecture, from the center of Zemun, which is a typical one for a Vojvodina town, via still remaining Turkish-styled buildings and street layout of the centre of Belgrade, to modern architecture and layout of New Belgrade.

Some distinct buildings in Belgrade are:

Some notable streets and squares are:

Sightings

tourist and historical sites from Belgrade include the Avala mountain, the Kalemegdan, the Dedinje ward and the Tito's mausoleum, called Kuća cveća (The House of Flowers).

Names

Following is a list of names of Belgrade through history:

NameExplanation
Singidūn(on)so named by the Celtic tribe of the Scordisci; dūn(on) means 'lodgment, enclosure', Singi is still unexplained but there are some theories; 279 BC
SingidūnumRomans latinized Celtic name
BeogradSlavic name; first mentioning in 878 in the letter of Pope John VIII to Boris of Bulgaria
Alba Graecatranslation in Latin
Fehérvártranslation in Hungarian
Weissenburgtranslation in German
Castelbiancotranslation in Italian
NandoralbaIn medieval Hungary since XIV century
NandorfehérvárIn medieval Hungary
LandorfehérvárIn medieval Hungary
VeligradonByzantine
VeligradaOttoman
Belogrados poleos

Miscellaneous topics

See also

External links

Quotations

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