Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. The urban area of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while nearly 1.7 million people live within the administrative limits of the City of Belgrade (which encompasses almost all of its metropolitan area), a quarter of the total population of Serbia.
One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinca culture, evolved within the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region and, after 279 BC, Celts settled the city, naming it Singidūn. It was conquered by the Romans under the reign of Augustus and awarded Roman city rights in the mid-2nd century. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary before it became the seat of the Serbian king Stefan Dragutin in 1284. In 1521, Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and became the seat of the Sanjak of Smederevo. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars. Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841. Northern Belgrade remained the southernmost Habsburg post until 1918, when it was attached to the city, due to former Austro-Hungarian territories becoming the part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes after World War I. In a fatally strategic position, the city has been battled over in 115 wars and razed 44 times. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918 to its dissolution in 2006.
Being Serbia’s primate city, Belgrade has special administrative status within Serbia. It is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies, and government ministries, as well as home of almost all of the largest Serbian companies, media, and scientific institutions. Belgrade is classified as a Beta-Global City.
Chipped stone tools found in Zemun show that the area around Belgrade was inhabited by nomadic foragers in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras. Some of these tools are of Mousterian industry – belonging to Neanderthals rather than modern humans. Aurignacian and Gravettian tools have also been discovered near the area, indicating some settlement between 50,000 and 20,000 years ago.
The first farming people to settle in the region are associated with the Neolithic Starcevo culture, which flourished between 6200 and 5200 BC. There are several Starcevo sites in and around Belgrade, including the eponymous site of Starcevo. The Starcevo culture was succeeded by the Vinca culture (5500–4500 BC), a more sophisticated farming culture that grew out of the earlier Starcevo settlements and also named for a site in the
Belgrade region (Vinca-Belo Brdo). The Vinca culture is known for its very large settlements, one of the earliest settlements by continuous habitation and some of the largest in prehistoric Europe. Also associated with the Vinca culture are anthropomorphic figurines such as the Lady of Vinca, the earliest known copper metallurgy in Europe, and a proto-writing form developed prior to the Sumerians and Minoans known as the Old European script, which dates back to around 5300 BC. Within the city proper, on Cetinjska Street, a skull of a Paleolithic human was discovered in 1890. The skull is dated to before 5000 BC.
Evidence of early knowledge about Belgrade’s geographical location comes from a variety of ancient myths and legends. The ridge overlooking the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, for example, has been identified as one of the places in the story of Jason and the Argonauts. In the time of antiquity, too, the area was populated by Paleo-Balkan tribes, including the Thracians and the Dacians, who ruled much of Belgrade’s surroundings. Specifically, Belgrade was at one point inhabited by the Thraco-Dacian tribe Singi; following Celtic invasion in 279 BC, the Scordisci wrested the city from their hands, naming it Singidūn (d|ūn, fortress). In 34–33 BC, the Roman army, led by Silanus, reached Belgrade. It became the Romanised Singidunum in the 1st century AD and, by the mid-2nd century, the city was proclaimed a municipium by the Roman authorities, evolving into a full-fledged colonia (the highest city class) by the end of the century. While the first Christian Emperor of Rome – Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great – was born in the territory of Naissus to the city’s south, Roman Christianity’s champion, Flavius Iovianus (Jovian), was born in Singidunum. Jovian reestablished Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, ending the brief revival of traditional Roman religions under his predecessor Julian the Apostate. In 395 AD, the site passed to the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. Across the Sava from Singidunum was the Celtic city of Taurunum (Zemun); the two were connected with a bridge throughout Roman and Byzantine times.
In 442, the area was ravaged by Attila the Hun. In 471, it was taken by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, who continued into Italy. As the Ostrogoths left, another Germanic tribe, the Gepids, invaded the city. In 539 it was retaken by the Byzantines. In 577, some 100,000 Slavs poured into Thrace and Illyricum, pillaging cities and more permanently settling the region. The Avars, under Bayan I, conquered the whole region and its new Slavic population by 582. Following Byzantine reconquest, the Byzantine chronicle De Administrando Imperio mentions the White Serbs, who had stopped in Belgrade on their way back home, asking the strategos for lands; they received provinces in the west, towards the Adriatic, which they would rule as subjects to Heraclius (610–641). In 829, Khan Omurtag was able to add Singidunum and its environs to the First Bulgarian Empire.
The first record of the name Belograd appeared on April, 16th, 878, in a Papal missive to Bulgarian ruler Boris I. This name would appear in several variants: Alba Bulgarica in Latin, Griechisch Weissenburg in High German, Nándorfehérvár in Hungarian, and Castelbianco in Venetian, among other names, all variations of “white fortress”. For about four centuries, the city would become a battleground between the Byzantine Empire, the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, and the Bulgarian Empire. Basil II (976–1025) installed a garrison in Belgrade. The city hosted the armies of the First and the Second Crusade, but, while passing through during the Third Crusade, Frederick Barbarossa and his 190,000 crusaders saw Belgrade in ruins. King Stefan Dragutin (r. 1276–1282) received Belgrade from his father-in-law, Stephen V of Hungary, in 1284, and it served as the capital of the Kingdom of Syrmia, a vassal state to the Kingdom of Hungary. Dragutin is regarded as the first Serbian king to rule over Belgrade.
The northern sections of what is now Serbia persisted as the Serbian Despotate, with Belgrade as its capital. The city flourished under Stefan Lazarevic, the son of Serbian prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic. Lazarevic built a castle with a citadel and towers, of which only the Despot’s tower and the west wall remain. He also refortified the city’s ancient walls, allowing the Despotate to resist Ottoman conquest for almost 70 years. During this time, Belgrade was a haven for many Balkan peoples fleeing Ottoman rule, and is thought to have had a population ranging between 40,000 and 50,000 people.
In 1427, Stefan’s successor Djuradj Brankovic, returning Belgrade to the Hungarian king, made Smederevo his new capital. Even though the Ottomans had captured most of the Serbian Despotate, Belgrade, known as Nándorfehérvár in Hungarian, was unsuccessfully besieged in 1440 and 1456. As the city presented an obstacle to the Ottoman advance into Hungary and further, over 100,000 Ottoman soldiers besieged it in 1456, in which the Christian army led by the Hungarian General John Hunyadi successfully defended it. The noon bell ordered by Pope Callixtus III commemorates the victory throughout the Christian world to this day.
Seven decades after the initial siege, on 28 August 1521, the fort was finally captured by Suleiman the Magnificent, 250,000 Turkish soldiers, and over 100 ships. Subsequently, most of the city was razed to the ground and its entire Orthodox Christian population was deported to Istanbul to an area that has since become known as the Belgrade forest. Belgrade was made the seat of the Pashalik of Belgrade (also known as the Sanjak of Smederevo), and quickly became the second largest Ottoman town in Europe at over 100,000 people, surpassed only by Constantinople. Ottoman rule introduced Ottoman architecture, including numerous mosques, and the city was resurrected – now by Oriental influences. In 1594, a major Serb rebellion was crushed by the Ottomans. Later, Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha ordered the relics of Saint Sava to be publicly torched on the Vracar plateau; in the 20th century, the Temple of Saint Sava was built to commemorate this event.
Occupied by the Habsburgs three times (1688–1690, 1717–1739, 1789–1791), headed by the Holy Roman Princes Maximilian of Bavaria and Eugene of Savoy, and field marshal Baron Ernst Gideon von Laudon, respectively, Belgrade was quickly recaptured by the
Ottomans and substantially razed each time. During this period, the city was affected by the two Great Serbian Migrations, in which hundreds of thousands of Serbs, led by two Serbian Patriarchs, retreated together with the Austrian soldiers into the Habsburg Empire, settling in today’s Vojvodina and Slavonia.
Principality of Serbia
At the beginning of the 19th century, Belgrade was predominantly inhabited by a Muslim population. Traces of Ottoman rule and architecture – such as mosques and bazaars, were to remain a prominent part of Belgrade’s townscape into the 19th century; several decades, even, after Serbia was granted autonomy from the Ottoman Empire.
During the First Serbian Uprising, Serbian revolutionaries held the city from 8 January 1807 until 1813, when it was retaken by the Ottomans. After the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815, Serbia achieved some sort of sovereignty, which was formally recognised by the Porte in 1830.
The development of Belgrade architecture after 1815 can be divided into four periods. In the first phase, which lasted from 1815 to 1835, the dominant architectural style was still of a Balkan character, with substantial Ottoman influence. At the same time, an interest in joining the European mainstream allowed Central and Western European architecture to flourish. Between 1835 and 1850, the amount of neoclassical and baroque buildings south of the Austrian border rose considerably, exemplified by St Michael’s Cathedral, completed in 1840. Between 1850 and 1875, new architecture was characterised by a turn towards the newly-popular Romanticism, along with older European architectural styles. Typical of Central European cities in the last quarter of the 19th century, the fourth phase was characterised by an eclectic style based on the Renaissance and Baroque periods
In 1841, Prince Mihailo Obrenovic moved the capital of the Principality of Serbia from Kragujevac to Belgrade. During his first reign (1815–1839), Prince Milos Obrenovic pursued expansion of the city’s population through the addition of new settlements, aiming and succeeding to make Belgrade the centre of the Principality’s administrative, military and cultural institutions. His project of creating a new market space (the Abadzijska carsija), however, was less successful; trade continued to be conducted in the centuries-old Donja carsija and Gornja carsija. Still, new construction projects were typical for the Christian quarters as the older Muslim quarters declined; from Serbia’s autonomy until 1863, the number of Belgrade quarters even decreased, mainly as a consequence of the gradual disappearance of the city’s Muslim population. An Ottoman city map from 1863 counts only 9 Muslim quarters (mahalas). The names of only five such neighbourhoods are known today: Ali-pasina, Reis-efendijina, Jahja-pasina, Bajram-begova and Laz Hadzi-Mahmudova.
On 18 April 1867, the Ottoman government ordered the Ottoman garrison, which had been since 1826 the last representation of Ottoman suzerainty in Serbia, withdrawn from Kalemegdan. The forlorn Porte’s only stipulation was that the Ottoman flag continue to fly
over the fortress alongside the Serbian one. Serbia’s de facto independence dates from this event. In the following years, urban planner Emilijan Josimovic had a significant impact on Belgrade. He conceptualised a regulation plan for the city in 1867, in which he proposed the replacement of the town’s crooked streets with a grid plan. Of great importance also was the construction of independent Serbian political and cultural institutions, as well as the city’s now-plentiful parks. Pointing to Josimovic’s work, Serbian scholars have noted an important break with Ottoman traditions. However, Istanbul—the capital city of the state to which Belgrade and Serbia de jure still belonged—underwent similar changes.
Kingdom of Serbia
With the Principality’s full independence in 1878 and its transformation into the Kingdom of Serbia in 1882, Belgrade once again became a key city in the Balkans, and developed rapidly. Nevertheless, conditions in Serbia remained those of an overwhelmingly agrarian country, even with the opening of a railway to Nis, Serbia’s second city. In 1900, the capital had only 70,000 inhabitants (at the time Serbia numbered 2.5 million). Still, by 1905, the population had grown to more than 80,000 and, by the outbreak of World War I in 1914, it had surpassed the 100,000 citizens, disregarding Zemun, which still belonged to Austria-Hungary.
The first-ever projection of motion pictures in the Balkans and Central Europe was held in Belgrade in June 1896 by André Carr, a representative of the Lumière brothers. He shot the first motion pictures of Belgrade in the next year; however, they have not been preserved.
World War I
The First World War began on 28 July 1914 when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Most of the subsequent Balkan offensives occurred near Belgrade. Austro-Hungarian monitors shelled Belgrade on 29 July 1914, and it was taken by the Austro-Hungarian Army under General Oskar Potiorek on 30 November. On 15 December, it was re-taken by Serbian troops under Marshal Radomir Putnik. After a prolonged battle which destroyed much of the city, starting on 6 October 1915, Belgrade fell to German and Austro-Hungarian troops commanded by Field Marshal August von Mackensen on 9 October of the same year. The city was liberated by Serbian and French troops on 1 November 1918, under the command of Marshal Louis Franchet d’Espèrey of France and Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. Belgrade, decimated as a front-line city, lost the title of largest city in the Kingdom to Subotica for some time.
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
After the war, Belgrade became the capital of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. The Kingdom was split into banovinas and Belgrade, together with Zemun and Pancevo, formed a separate administrative unit.
During this period, the city experienced fast growth and significant modernisation. Belgrade’s population grew to 239,000 by 1931 (with the inclusion of Zemun), and to 320,000 by 1940. The population growth rate between 1921 and 1948 averaged 4.08% a year.
In 1927, Belgrade’s first airport opened, and in 1929, its first radio station began broadcasting. The Pancevo Bridge, which crosses the Danube, was opened in 1935, while King Alexander Bridge over the Sava was opened in 1934. On 3 September 1939 the first Belgrade Grand Prix, the last Grand Prix motor racing race before the outbreak of World War II, was held around the Belgrade Fortress and was followed by 80,000 spectators. The winner was Tazio Nuvolari.
World War II
On 25 March 1941, the government of Regent Crown Prince Paul signed the Tripartite Pact, joining the Axis powers in an effort to stay out of the Second World War and keep Yugoslavia neutral during the conflict. This was immediately followed by mass protests in Belgrade and a military coup d’état led by Air Force commander General Dusan Simovic, who proclaimed King Peter II to be of age to rule the realm. As a result, the city was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe on 6 April 1941, killing up to 2,274 people. Yugoslavia was then invaded by German, Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian forces. Belgrade was captured by subterfuge, with six German soldiers led by their officer Fritz Klingenberg feigning threatening size, forcing the city to capitulate. Belgrade was more directly occupied by the German Army in the same month and became the seat of the puppet Nedic regime, headed by its namesake general. Some of today’s parts of Belgrade were incorporated in the Independent State of Croatia in occupied Yugoslavia, another puppet state, where Ustashe regime carried out the Genocide of Serbs.
During the summer and fall of 1941, in reprisal for guerrilla attacks, the Germans carried out several massacres of Belgrade citizens; in particular, members of the Jewish community were subject to mass shootings at the order of General Franz Böhme, the German Military Governor of Serbia. Böhme rigorously enforced the rule that for every German killed, 100 Serbs or Jews would be shot. The resistance movement in Belgrade was led by Major Zarko Todorovic from 1941 until his arrest in 1943.
Just like Rotterdam, which was devastated twice by both German and Allied bombing, Belgrade was bombed once more during World War II, this time by the Allies on 16 April 1944, killing at least 1,100 people. This bombing fell on the Orthodox Christian Easter. Most of the city remained under German occupation until 20 October 1944, when it was liberated by the Red Army and the Communist Yugoslav Partisans. On 29 November 1945, Marshal Josip Broz Tito proclaimed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia in Belgrade (later to be renamed to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 7 April 1963). Higher estimates from the former secret police place the victim count of political persecutions in Belgrade at 10,000.
When the war ended, the city was left with 11,500 demolished housing units. During the post-war period, Belgrade grew rapidly as the capital of the renewed Yugoslavia, developing as a major industrial centre. In 1948, construction of New Belgrade started. In 1958, Belgrade’s first television station began broadcasting. In 1961, the conference of Non-Aligned Countries was held in Belgrade under Tito’s chairmanship. In 1962, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport was built. In 1968, major student protests led to several street clashes between students and the police.
Breakup of Yugoslavia
On 9 March 1991, massive demonstrations led by Vuk Draskovic were held in the city against Slobodan Milosevic. According to various media outlets, there were between 100,000 and 150,000 people on the streets. Two people were killed, 203 injured and 108 arrested during the protests, and later that day tanks were deployed onto the streets to restore order. Many anti-war protests were held in Belgrade, while the most massive protests was dedicated to solidarity with the victims from the besieged Sarajevo. Further anti-government protests were held in Belgrade from November 1996 to February 1997 against the same government after alleged electoral fraud in local elections. These protests brought Zoran Djindjic to power, the first mayor of Belgrade since World War II who did not belong to the League of Communists of Yugoslavia or its later offshoot, the Socialist Party of Serbia.
In 1999, during the Kosovo War, NATO bombings caused damage to the city. Among the sites bombed were various ministry buildings, the RTS building, hospitals, Hotel Jugoslavija, the Central Committee building, Avala Tower, and the Chinese embassy. After the Yugoslav Wars, Serbia became home to highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Europe, while more than third settled in Belgrade.
After the 2000 presidential elections, Belgrade was the site of major public protests, with over half a million people on the streets. These demonstrations resulted in the ousting of president Milosevic as a part of the Otpor! movement.
In 2014, Belgrade Waterfront, an urban renewal project, was initiated by the Government of Serbia and its Emirati partner, Eagle Hills Properties. Aimed at improving Belgrade’s cityscape and economy, the project hopes to revitalise the Sava amphitheatre, a neglected expanse on the right bank of the Sava River between the Belgrade Fair and the former Belgrade Main railway station. Around €3.5 billion will be jointly invested by the Serbian government and their Emirati partners. The project includes office and luxury apartment buildings, five-star hotels, a shopping mall and the envisioned ‘Belgrade Tower’. The project is, however, quite controversial—there are a number of uncertainties regarding its funding, necessity, and its architecture’s arguable lack of harmony with the rest of the city. Apart from Belgrade Waterfront, the city is currently under rapid
development and reconstruction, especially in the area of Novi Beograd, where many apartment and office buildings are under construction to support the burgeoning IT sector, now one of Serbia’s largest economic players.
Belgrade lies 116.75 metres above sea level and is located at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. The historical core of Belgrade, Kalemegdan, lies on the right banks of both rivers. Since the 19th century, the city has been expanding to the south and east; after World War II, New Belgrade was built on the left bank of the Sava River, connecting Belgrade with Zemun. Smaller, chiefly residential communities across the Danube, like Krnjaca, Kotez and Borca, also merged with the city, while Pancevo, a heavily industrialised satellite city, remains a separate town. The city has an urban area of 360 square kilometres, while together with its metropolitan area it covers 3,223 km2. On the right bank of the Sava, central Belgrade has a hilly terrain, while the highest point of Belgrade proper is Torlak hill at 303 m. The mountains of Avala (511 m) and Kosmaj (628 m) lie south of the city. Across the Sava and Danube, the land is mostly flat, consisting of alluvial plains and loess plateaus.
One of the characteristics of the city terrain is mass wasting. On the territory covered by the General Urban Plan there are 1,155 recorded mass wasting points, out of which 602 are active and 248 are labelled as the ‘high risk’. They cover almost 30% of the city territory and include several types of mass wasting. Downhill creeps are located on the slopes above the rivers, mostly on the clay or loam soils, inclined between 7 and 20%. Most critical ones are in Karaburma, Zvezdara, Visnjica, Vinca and Ritopek, in the Danube valley, and Umka, and especially its neighbourhood of Duboko, in the Sava valley. They have moving and dormant phases, and some of them have been recorded for centuries. Less active downhill creep areas include the entire Terazije slope above the Sava (Kalemegdan, Savamala), which can be seen by the inclination of the Pobednik monument and the tower of the Cathedral Church, and the Vozdovac section, between Banjica and Autokomanda.
Landslides encompass smaller areas, develop on the steep cliffs, sometimes being inclined up to 90%. They are mostly located in the artificial loess hills of Zemun: Gardos, Cukovac and Kalvarija.
However, the majority of the land movement in Belgrade, some 90%, is triggered by the construction works and faulty water supply system (burst pipes, etc.). The neighbourhood of Mirijevo is considered to be the most successful project of fixing the problem. During the construction of the neighbourhood from the 1970s, the terrain was systematically improved and the movement of the land is today completely halted.
Belgrade has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), according to Köppen climate classification, with four seasons and uniformly spread precipitation. Monthly averages range from 1.4 °C (34.5 °F) in January to 23.0 °C (73.4 °F) in July, with an annual mean of 12.5 °C (54.5 °F). There are, on average, 31 days a year when the temperature is above 30 °C (86 °F), and 95 days when the temperature is above 25 °C (77 °F). Belgrade receives about 691 millimetres (27 in) of precipitation a year, with late spring being wettest. The average annual number of sunny hours is 2,112.
The highest officially recorded temperature in Belgrade was 43.6 °C (110.5 °F) on 24 July 2007, while on the other end, the lowest temperature was −26.2 °C (−15 °F) on 10 January 1893.
Belgrade is a separate territorial unit in Serbia, with its own autonomous city authority. The Assembly of the City of Belgrade has 110 members, elected on four-year terms. A 13-member City Council, elected by the Assembly and presided over by the mayor and his deputy, has the control and supervision of the city administration, which manages day-to-day administrative affairs. It is divided into 14 Secretariats, each having a specific portfolio such as traffic or health care, and several professional services, agencies and institutes.
The 2014 Belgrade City Assembly election was won by the Serbian Progressive Party, which formed a ruling coalition with the Socialist Party of Serbia. This election ended the long-time rule of the Democratic Party, which was in power from 2004 to 2013.
As the capital city, Belgrade is seat of all Serbian state authorities – executive, legislative, judiciary, and the headquarters of almost all national political parties as well as 75 diplomatic missions. This includes the National Assembly, the Presidency, the Government of Serbia and all the ministries, Supreme Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court.
The city is divided into 17 municipalities. Previously, they were classified into 10 urban (lying completely or partially within borders of the city proper) and 7 suburban municipalities, whose centres are smaller towns. With the new 2010 City statute, they were all given equal status, with the proviso that suburban ones (except Surcin) have certain autonomous powers, chiefly related with construction, infrastructure and public utilities.
Most of the municipalities are situated on the southern side of the Danube and Sava rivers, in the Sumadija region. Three municipalities (Zemun, Novi Beograd, and Surcin), are on the northern bank of the Sava in the Syrmia region and the municipality of Palilula, spanning the Danube, is in both the Sumadija and Banat regions.
According to the 2011 census, the city has a population of 1,166,763, while the urban area of Belgrade (with adjacent urban settlements of Borca, Ovca, and Surcin included) has 1,233,796 inhabitants, and the population of the metropolitan area (the administrative area of the City of Belgrade) stands at 1,659,440 people.
Belgrade is home to many ethnicities from across the former Yugoslavia and the wider Balkans region. The main ethnic groups are: Serbs (1,505,448), Roma (27,325), Montenegrins (9,902), Yugoslavs (8,061), Croats (7,752), Macedonians (6,970), and Muslims by nationality (3,996). Many people came to the city as economic migrants from smaller towns and the countryside, while tens of thousands arrived as refugees from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, as a result of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.
Between 10,000 and 20,000 Chinese people are estimated to live in Belgrade and, since their arrival in the mid-1990s, Block 70 in New Belgrade has been known colloquially as the Chinese quarter. Many Middle Easterners, mainly from Syria, Iran, Jordan and Iraq, arrived in order to pursue their studies during the 1970s and 1980s, and have remained in the city. Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, small communities of Aromanians, Czechs, Greeks, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Turks, Armenians and Russian White émigrés also existed in Belgrade. There are two suburban settlements with significant minority population today: Ovca and the village of Boljevci, both with about one quarter of their population being Romanians and Slovaks, respectively.
Although there are several historic religious communities in Belgrade, the religious makeup of the city is relatively homogeneous. The Serbian Orthodox community is by far the largest, with 1,475,168 adherents. There are also 31,914 Muslims, 13,720 Roman Catholics, and 3,128 Protestants.
There once was a significant Jewish community in Belgrade but, following the World War II Nazi occupation of the city and subsequent Jewish emigration, their numbers have fallen from over 10,000 to just 295. Belgrade also used to have one of the largest Buddhist colonies in Europe outside Russia when some 400 mostly Buddhist Kalmyks settled on the outskirts of Belgrade following the Russian Civil War. Most of them moved away after the World War II and their temple, Belgrade pagoda, was abandoned and eventually demolished.