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*TOURISAM N CULTURE*

Tourism in Serbia is mostly focused on the villages and mountains of the country. The most famous mountain resorts are Zlatibor, Kopaonik, and the Tara. There are also many spas in Serbia, one the biggest of which is Vrnjačka Banja. Other spas include Soko Banja and Niška Banja. There is a significant amount of tourism in the largest cities like Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, but also in the rural parts of Serbia like the volcanic wonder of Đavolja varoš, Christian pilgrimage across the country and the cruises along the Danube, Sava or Tisza. There are several popular festivals held in Serbia, such as the EXIT Festival (proclaimed the best European festival by UK Festival Awards 2007 and Yourope, the European Association of the 40 largest festivals in Europe) and the Guča trumpet festival. 2,2 million tourists visited Serbia in 2007, a 15% increase compared to 2006.

Serbia is one of Europe's most culturally diverse countries. The borders between large empires ran through the territory of today's Serbia for long periods in history: between the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; between Kingdom of Hungary, Bulgarian Empire, Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium; and between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire (later Austria-Hungary). As a result, while the north is culturally "Central European", the south is rather more "Oriental". Of course, both regions have influenced each other, and so the distinction between north and south is artificial to some extent.

The Byzantine Empire's influence on Serbia was perhaps the greatest. Serbs are Orthodox Christians with their own national church—the Serbian Orthodox Church. They use both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, as a result of both Eastern and Western influences. The monasteries of Serbia, built largely in the Middle Ages, are one of the most valuable and visible traces of medieval Serbia's association with the Byzantium and the Orthodox World, but also with the Romanic (Western) Europe that Serbia had close ties with back in Middle Ages. Most of Serbia's queens still remembered today in Serbian history were of foreign origin, including Hélène d'Anjou (a cousin of Charles I of Sicily), Anna Dondolo (daughter of the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo), Catherine of Hungary, and Symonide of Byzantium.

Serbia has eight cultural sites marked on the UNESCO World Heritage list: Stari Ras and Sopoćani monasteries (included in 1979), Studenica Monastery (1986), the Medieval Serbian Monastic Complex in Kosovo, comprising: Dečani Monastery, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and Patriarchate of Pec- (2004, put on the endangered list in 2006), and Gamzigrad - Romuliana, Palace of Galerius, added in 2007. Likewise, there are 2 literary memorials added on the UNESCO's list as a part of the Memory of the World Programme: Miroslav Gospels, handwriting from the 12th century (added in 2005), and Nikola Tesla's archive (2003).


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