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Panoramic view of Belgrade and the confluence of the Sava River and the Danube

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A World War I poster; two soldiers on the right wear Šajkačas

The Šajkača (Serbian Cyrillic: шајкача), the Serbian national hat, originated in the 18th century. It was originally worn by the Serbian river fleet in the service of the Habsburg Empire (known as the šajkaši) around the Danube and Sava Rivers. These men conducted small-scale raids against the Turks, thus allowing Serb refugees from the Ottoman Empire to safely flee to the Habsburg Empire. The refugees copied the design of the hat and spread it widely within the Serbian community.

The distinctive hat is recognisable by its top part that looks like the letter V or like the bottom of a boat (viewed from above), after which it got its name. It gained wide popularity in the early 20th century as it was the hat of the Serbian army in the First World War. It is still worn everyday by some villagers today, and it was worn among Bosnian Serb military commanders during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

During the 1999 Kosovo War, the Belgrade branch of the American fast food chain McDonald's used the hat to promote itself (somewhat improbably) as an authentically Serbian entity, by distributing posters and lapel buttons showing the famous golden arches written in Cyrillic alphabet and surmounted by a šajkača.

Further information: Šajkača

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Did you know

... that Lazar, a Serbian monk, built the first mechanical clock in Russia in 1404, one of the first in Europe, at the request of Vasily I of Moscow?

... that Jadarite, a new mineral discovered in Jadar in 2006, has almost the exact same chemical formula as Kryptonite?

... that a one-armed Russian military officer became a monk in Praskvica Monastery and built a 3-kilometre (1.9 mi) stone road from Sveti Stefan to the monastery?

... that, based on the research of historian Momčilo Spremić, it is possible that Vuk Branković really betrayed his Serbian allies during the Battle of Kosovo in 1389?

... that the medieval Church of the Holy Mother of God in Donja Kamenica, Serbia, features unusual towers on either side of the entrance?

... that Dragan Velić is the current President of the Union of Serbian Districts and District Units of Kosovo and Metohija of North Kosovo?

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Population statistics of Serbia (2011 census)
  • Serbia 7186862
    • Belgrade region 1659440
    • Vojvodina region 1931809
    • Šumadija and West Serbia region 2031697
    • South and East Serbia region 1563916

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Ana Ivanović

Ana Ivanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Ана Ивановић, born November 6, 1987, in Belgrade) is a Serbian professional tennis player. She is currently ranked World No. 2 and is the top ranked Serbian player, just in front of compatriot Jelena Janković. At the 2007 French Open, Ivanović reached her first Grand Slam singles final, losing to Justine Henin. She also reached the semifinals of Wimbledon and the Women's Tennis Association Tour Championships in 2007. At the 2008 Australian Open final, she was defeated by Maria Sharapova.

Ivanović is an offensive baseliner. Her game relies heavily on the power, depth and placement of her forehand strokes, producing lots of winners through penetrating, flat shots, with the occasional spice of topspin. Her net play is not used as often, but her volleys are generally well executed, as are her drop shots.

Ivanović picked up a racket at the age of 5 after watching Monica Seles, a fellow Serbian, at Roland Garros on television. She started her promising career at the age of 5, after memorizing the number of a local tennis clinic from an ad on TV. During her training she encountered the NATO bombings in 1999, where she would have to train in the morning to avoid them.

Further information: Ana Ivanović

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Largest cities of Serbia (2011 census)

Belgrade - 1,731,425
Novi Sad - 335,701
Niš - 257,867
Pristina- 198,000
Kragujevac - 177,468
Leskovac - 143,962
Subotica - 140,358
Kruševac - 127,429
Kraljevo - 124,554
Zrenjanin - 122,714
Pančevo - 122,252
Šabac - 115,347
Čačak - 114,809
Smederevo - 107,528
Sombor - 97,263
Valjevo - 95,631

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