With the secession of Montenegro in June 2006, the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved, leaving Serbia an independent country. The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was all that remained of an old Yugoslav federation that once included Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia.

Now, Serbia strives to bury a tumultuous past associated with the name Yugoslavia. The name was first used in 1929 when the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was changed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to represent the kingdom's geographical location in Europe; literally translated, Yugoslavia means "Land of the Southern Slavs." (Yug means "south.")

However, forgetting the past will be difficult. The bitter wars for independence were followed by fighting in Serbia's former Kosovo province and by a NATO bombing campaign aimed at ending Serbian attacks on the Kosovo Albanians.

Today, the country is a nonviolent place. Additionally, former Yugoslav politicians and military leaders are on trial for war crimes. Anyone wanting to visit the region should visit the city of Belgrade and/or arrange an organized tour of the region with experienced tour operators.

Travelers will find that Serbia offers a variety of scenery, including low mountains and highlands. A range of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and baroque, dot the landscape. Ruins, fortresses, Byzantine-style basilicas, churches and various other monuments all attest to the complexity of the region's history.

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