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Statue of TitoSerbia is all that remains of the former Yugoslavia following the independence of Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. During WWII, the former Yugoslavia was united under the strong leadership of Josip Tito. Although a communist, he was much revered by his people and ruled with a more benevolent hand than other communist leaders. In fact he was a bit of an enigma, with strong supporters in the west as well. We visited the Tito Memorial in Belgrade. His home was destroyed but the grounds where he lived and is buried is now a museum. Tito's baton collectionThere is an extensive collection of his batons and other gifts from people around the world.

In the 1990's, post Tito's Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines. Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia declared their independence in 1991; Bosnia and Herzogovina in 1992. Serbia and Montenegro formed a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992 and under President Milosevic, Serbia led many military interventions in an effort to unite Serbs in neighboring countries. Croatia and Bosnia were particularly hard hit. In 1999, in an effort to curb the violence and oust Milosevic, NATO bombed Serbia. In 2006, Montenegro became an independent state.

Fortress KalemegdanBelgrade is the capital of Serbia and home to about 2M people. Artillary from WWIIWe visited the old Fortress Kalemegdan that overlooks the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. The fortress has a long history, dating back to the Roman times. Belgrade was conquered by the Turks in 1521 and there were still Turkish garrisons in the fortress during the early 1900's. It now houses a museum with old tanks and guns from WWII.



Bombed out BuildingBelgrade is a city of contrasts.You can still see the effects of the bombings that occurred in Belgrade during WWII and during the NATO bombings. Pedestrian Shopping AreaBut we also drove by the wealthy area of Belgrade with its beautiful, modern homes. And the main pedestrian shopping area has many famous designer stores.



After dinner, we were visited by three Serbian university students for a question and answer session about life in Serbia. If all the young people in Serbia are as intelligent and articulate as these, Serbia will have a great chance at becoming a stable and viable country in the future. To view additional photos from Belgrade, go to the Serbia Photo Gallery.

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