During the summer tourists enjoy visiting Belgrade and enjoy the many national parks across the nation. In winter, they are cordially welcomed to mountain resorts (one of the most popular being Kopaonik, showcased on British television as one of the premier ski stops in Europe). There are many spa resorts: Sokobanja, Niška Banja, and Vrnjačka Banja.
Serbs are cordial people, particularly towards newcomers. They are accommodating towards vacationers, of which there are not many since the nation’s full potency has yet to be grasped. Most Serbs converse in English and are eager to practice it (seniors, however, are more likely to speak German or French), so it won’t be difficult to get around by asking directions. Most visitors come to Serbia in the summertime, and you can often catch German, Italian, French and English in Belgrade’s streets, since Slovenian, German, Austrian, Bosnian, and Hungarian travelers stream in for New Year festivities.
Yugoslavia was such a gorgeous country with so many diverse and attractive areas that somehow, Serbia was uncared-for and it is still to be refound not only by visitors but by many Serbs. It is also a multifaceted and beautiful place despite the fact that it is landlocked. From the plains of Vojvodina, which in winter, bring to mind scenes from Dr. Zhivago, to mountains, lakes or reservoirs and ski resorts of outstanding beauty.
Nis’ Skull Tower
Stacking piles of skulls formerly used by your foes is the zenith of barbaric warlord tradition.
In Nis Serbia, Turkish general Hurshi Pasha built the ‘Skull Tower’ out of the skulls of defeated Serb rebels. Built in 1809 during the clash marking the turning point for the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire.
Over 950 skulls were collected for the tower which reached over 14 feet high and 12 feet wide. Organized in more than 55 rows, the skull of opposition leader Stevan Sindelic was set on top.
Following the tower’s construction, family members of dead revolutionaries started chiseling away the skulls so they could provide for appropriate burial.
Today, 58 skulls rest in the monument.
In Belgrade’s center, a villa houses the planet’s largest collection of memorabilia related to inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla.
Tesla, the inventor of the AC (alternating current) electrical transmission and the transmission coil, has a complicated heritage.
Tesla was an ethnic Serbian, an Austrian citizen and born in what is now Croatia. Before moving to America, Tesla lived in Budapest and Paris.
Later, after his death in New York City in 1943, his nephew moved his personal effects and life history to the museum in Belgrade. In 2003, the collection was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World program and the museum is currently digitizing Tesla’s documents.
Tesla’s ashes are contained in a golden sphere in the third of seven rooms, and his death mask is in the 7th.
Yugoslav Army Headquarters
The decade ending in 1999 was a turbulent ten years on the Balkan spit. Since then a lot has improved, and Serbia has re-entered Europe’s society. Vestiges of the wars are difficult to find except for the ex-Yugoslav/Serbian Army post.
The structure, hit numerous times throughout the fighting, was mainly symbolic. All essential functions had been previously removed to a more secure location. When the hostilities ended, what was left was determined too damaged for repair and continues in the bombed-out state.
The continued disrepair is symbolic as well. For countless Serbs, the destruction has converted to a memorial to the lost war and a gruesome tourist draw for international visitors.
Red Cross Concentration Camp
At sundown on February 12, 1942, things seemed normal at the Nazi Concentration Camp at Nis. With sun up, things were different. Overnight 105 prisoners had escaped.
It was a turning point, and a rare defeat of the crushing control guards had over their prisoners.
The daring prison break, never matched before or since in World War II Europe, triggered a cruel response. The German troops executed over 1,000 prisoners to punish the remaining population.
The concentration camp was operated for four years. Over 35,000 Serbs, and other nationalities passed through the camp’s gates.
Today, the Red Cross managed a memorial museum on the grounds. It’s name, “12. Februar” Memorial Museum, remembers the day prisoners struck back at their captors.
U.S. Bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
In May 1999, two American B-2s, stealth bombers, bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and killed three Chinese citizens.
America’s then president, Bill Clinton, apologized and called it an accident. The Chinese government called the attack “barbarian.”
The impetus for the bombing has been disputed since that day when death fell from the sky. China’s outrage continues, and Western media still forgets the event happened.
The building still stands but in ruins. A plaque was installed commemorating the bombing and translates, “In gratitude of the People Republic of China’s support and friendship in the Republic of