Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It's located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. Its name translates to "White city". The urban area of the City of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while over 1.65 million people live within its administrative limits. Its metropolitan territory is divided into 17 municipalities, each with its own local council. Belgrade is classified as a Beta- Global City.
One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region, and after 279 BC Celts conquered the city, naming it Singidūn.
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 the city was reunited. As a strategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed 44 times. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918.
During the post-war period, Belgrade grew rapidly as the capital of the renewed Yugoslavia, developing as a major industrial center. 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.
Belgrade hosts many annual international cultural events, including the Film Festival, Theatre Festival, Summer Festival, Music Festival, Book Fair, Eurovision Song Contest 2008, and the Beer Fest. The Nobel Prize winning author Ivo Andrić wrote his most famous work, The Bridge on the Drina, in Belgrade.Other prominent Belgrade authors include Branislav Nušić, Miloš Crnjanski, Borislav Pekić, Milorad Pavić and Meša Selimović.
Most of Serbia's film industry is based in Belgrade. FEST is an annual film festival that held since 1971, and, through 2013, had been attended by four million people and had presented almost 4,000 films.
The city was one of the main centers of the Yugoslav new wave in the 1980s: VIS Idoli, Ekatarina Velika, Šarlo Akrobata and Električni Orgazam were all from Belgrade. Other notable Belgrade rock acts include Riblja Čorba, Bajaga i Instruktori and Partibrejkers.
There are many foreign cultural institutions in Belgrade, including the Spanish Instituto Cervantes, the German Goethe-Institut and the French Institut français, which are all located in the central pedestrian area of Knez Mihailova Street. Other cultural centers in Belgrade are American Corner, Austrian Cultural Forum, British Council, Chinese Confucius Institute, Canadian Cultural Center, Hellenic Foundation for Culture, Italian Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Iranian Culture Center, Azerbaijani Culture Center and Russian Center for Science and Culture. European Union National Institutes for Culture operates a cluster of cultural centres from the EU.
Belgrade has a reputation for offering a vibrant nightlife; many clubs that are open until dawn can be found throughout the city. The most recognizable nightlife features of Belgrade are the barges (splav), spread along the banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers. Many weekend visitors prefer Belgrade nightlife to that of their own capitals, due to a perceived friendly atmosphere, plentiful clubs and bars, cheap drinks, the lack of language difficulties, and the lack of restrictive night life regulation.
The city is home to Serbia's two biggest and most successful football clubs, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade. Red Star won the 1991 UEFA Champions League (European Cup). The two major stadiums in Belgrade are the Marakana (Red Star Stadium) and the Partizan Stadium. The rivalry between Red Star and Partizan is one of the fiercest in world football.