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Serbia and Montenegro
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Serbia and Montenegro is a country that was part of Yugoslavia. It is in the Balkans, in Southern Europe. It has a coastline on the Adriatic Sea in the southwest, and is surrounded by Albania to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, Bulgaria to the southeast, Croatia to the northwest and southwest, Hungary to the north, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the south, Romania to the northeast.
Ports and harbors
In the north, continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall); central portion, continental and Merranean climate; to the south, Adriatic climate along the coast, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland
Extremely varied; to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills; to the southwest, extremely high shoreline with no islands off the coast. A natural hazard is destructive earthquakes.
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941 was resisted by various paramilitary bands that fought themselves as well as the invaders. The group headed by Marshal TITO took full control upon German expulsion in 1945. Although Communist, his new government successfully steered its own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. In the early 1990s, post-TITO Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines: Slovenia, Croatia, and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia all declared their independence in 1991; Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (FRY) in 1992 and, under President Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Serbia led various military intervention efforts to unite Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." All of these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. In 1999, massive expulsions by FRY forces and Serb paramilitaries of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo provoked an international response, including the NATO bombing of Serbia and the stationing of NATO and Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo. Federal elections in the fall of 2000, brought about the ouster of MILOSEVIC and installed Vojislav KOSTUNICA as president. The arrest of MILOSEVIC in 2001 allowed for his subsequent transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity. In 2001, the country's suspension was lifted, and it was once more accepted into UN organizations under the name of Yugoslavia. Kosovo has been governed by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) since June 1999, under the authority of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. In 2002, the Serbian and Montenegran components of Yugoslavia began negotiations to forge a looser relationship. These talks became a reality in February 2003 when lawmakers restructured the country into a loose federation of two republics called Serbia and Montenegro. An agreement was also reached to hold a referendum in each republic in three years on full independence.
Getting into Serbia and Montenegro does not constitute a problem for most European nationals. You don't need to obtain a visa for entering Serbia and Montenegro.
Belgrade - If you want go by taxi to the city center of Belgrade, don't take one of the taxis that are offered by men in and around the airport. They are much too expensive. Just take one that arrives with new travellers. They will be happy if they don't have to go back on their own. The average trip is between 550 and 800 Dinars (January 2005: 1400 Dinars)
Make sure that the taximeter is switched on. Tarif 1 is the correct one Monday to Saturday from morning till 10 am. Or better take one of the several bus lines, check the Belgrade section.
You can change money at the airport. There is an ATM in the luggage collection area which accepts most major banking and cr cards.
Pristina (Kosovo) - Several airlines fly to Pristina airport (PRN), including British Airways, Austrian Airlines and Alitalia. The airport is located about 20 km from the city itself, in the direction of Pe?. The only way to get to the city is a taxi. The drivers may ask as much as 30 EUR for the ride, but the normal price is about 15 EUR.
Several international trains from Belgrade to Budapest-Vienna and Zagreb-Ljubljana-München/-Zurich. Usually, they should not be too late (seldom more than 1 hour), and I (frequent traveller on those trains) was never reported about security problems, made bad experiences or saw strangers having problems (unexperienced travellers may get their money stolen in France or Germany as likely as in Serbian trains...). The night train to Budapest was very regularly overcrouded in summer 2005 (only 1 sitting car). Furthermore, there are direct (day or night) trains from Belgrade to Skopje - Thessaloniki. Trains to Sofia and Bucuresti however seem to be often very late (several hours). Trains to Macedonia-Greece, Bulgaria and Romania are allegedly reported to be unsure; however the author never was reported concrete problems. For international travelling in Europe, see timetables on www.reiseauskunft.bahn.de.
Be sure your Green Card has an uncancelled "YU" or "SCG" box.
Pristina (Kosovo) - Bus terminal is located about 2 km from the city center. It serves several connections in Kosovo as well as international ones (Skopje, Belgrade). Buses are fairly cheap - for example, 80 km trip to Skopje, which takes 2-2.5 h is 5 Euro.
Hungary: When you take an international bus from Belgrade towards Germany, be not surprised when a collection is hold inside the bus for paying the Hungarian border guards a fee to let the bus go faster over the border. This is what you would call a bribe. On your way into Serbia it seems 'cheaper'.
Generally, it is easy to hitch-hike through Vojvodina and it's much more difficult to hitch a ride from Belgrade to south, both Macedonia and Montenegro directions.
In Kosovo, the spoken language is almost entirely Albanian, although Serbian is usually understood. You should generally try to avoid using it though except in areas populated by Serbs, Roma or Bosniaks. Due to the high number foreign aid workers and NATO soldiers, English is also spoken quite well especially by younger people.
The so-called "Serbian" language is identical with Croat, Bosnian or Bosniak. Before the era of aggressive nationalist cultural and linguistical policies in former Yugoslavia, it was known as Serbo-Croat, although today people in former Yugoslavia do not use any more this general expression for their common language.
When ordering a burger ask for 'pljeskavica' (fonetically: plyeskavitza), and ask for cheese curd (fonetically: kaymak) it tastes better than it sounds. Also try ?evape (fonetically: tyevape), they are small parcels of minced meat, grilled with hot spices. It is considered a local fast food delicacy. Highly recommended to carnivores.