Read Around the World January 2021: Serbia
Map can be found here
And we are off – our first trip of 2021 takes us to Serbia. What did we learn?
Fun facts about Serbia from this website:
- 18 Roman rulers were born in this country and it accounts for a fifth of all Roman emperors.
- The tallest stone gates in Europe are located in Serbia. These gates, which are three in number, are called the Little Prerast, the Big Prerast, and the Dry Prerast. Contrary to what the names might suggest, Little Prerast is the biggest among the three. It measures 34 meters in height, 30 meters in length, and 15 meters in width.
- Serbia has its own Grand Canyon. The Temštice river canyon is a canyon in Serbia that strikingly resembles the Grand Canyon of the Colorado because of its red cliffs.
- The first vampire in the world who was also extensively written about in the Austrian press in 1725 was Petar Blagojević. In fact, the word vampire was derived from the Serbian word, Vampir.
- Insect dancing occurs during a phenomenon called the Blooming of the Tisza River. The Palingenia longicauda, which is an insect performs a romantic and melancholic dance of life and death as spectators watch in amazement for 12 minutes.
- Serbians played a major role in the first moon landing. Three Serbians took part in that project, which was known as Apollo. Also, a Serbian named Mihajlo Pipin is among the founders of National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) on 3 March 1915, which later became NASA.
- In Serbia, there are two lakes named Vlasina and Semeteš where islands float on the lakes’ surfaces.
- There are globes in Serbia that are filled with mystery. Firstly, nobody can tell for certain the origin of these globes named the Povlen globes. Scientists say that they originated from volcanic activity, while others claim that they were created by aliens. There are also those who claim that these globes posses healing and miraculous powers.
- The name “Serbia” comes from the Greek language, meaning “land of the Serbs.”
- For 500 years Serbia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (Turks).
- Serbia is ahead of the Swiss in clock making. They started doing this almost 600 years before the Swiss took over the industry heavily and made their name worldwide.
- Serbia is the largest exporter of raspberries in the world. It contributes 30% of all raspberries to the international market.
- Ivo Andric is the only Nobel Prize winner from Serbia. He won the esteemed award for literature in 1961.
- Nikola Tesla, regarded as one of the most important inventors in history, was born on July 10, 1856 in Serbia (now Croatia)
I chose to visit Serbia via The Bridge over the Drina by Ivo Andric. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a history of the bridge’s construction and usage up until 1914. The book also provides background information about what is going on in Bosnia & Serbia throughout the bridge’s history. It shows the different religions and cultures surrounding the bridge and how they interconnect and collide with the bridge as a central focal point.
Told in (almost) linear vignettes the reader is taken on a journey from the point when the bridge is first imagined to the shelling it suffered at the outbreak of WW1. My favourite vignettes are the ones that deal with superstitions surrounding events on the bridge which are also shown in a non-superstitious light allowing the reader to decide for themselves what the truth is.
One warning – there is an intense scene of torture near the beginning of the book concerned with sabotage to the bridge. I have to say this is not for the faint-hearted.
Overall a fascinating look at a place and culture I know little about 5 stars.
Other readers chose to visit Serbia in the following ways:
Simona on Litsy chose Garden, Ashes by Danilo Kis and rated this a pick.
Rockpools on Litsy chose An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army and rated this a pick.
TorieStorieS on Litsy chose The Tiger’s Wife and rated this a pick.
Did you join us on the first leg of 2021? Let us know what you read.
Next up Palestine – let us know your reading plans and suggestions.