The Former Yugoslavia

August 29, 2018

The map of Yugoslavia

> Play a map quiz on the countries of Yugoslavia.

As an official country, Yugoslavia was relatively short-lived. For most of the period between 1918 and the end of World War II, the country was known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but it was reorganized as a Socialist Federal Republic following the Allied victory in 1945.

From the end of the war until 1992, it consisted of six socialist republics and two autonomous regions. Just before it broke up, Yugoslavia had a population of over 21 million, and was one of the more prosperous countries in Eastern Europe. Today those six republics have split into independent countries, with Serbia being the largest. Yugoslavia was best known for its ethnic and religious diversity, which still characterizes the Balkan region today even after border shifts and nationalist conflicts of the 1990s.


Belgrade, the capital of modern-day Serbia, was also the capital of Yugoslavia. Set along the famous Danube River, it remains the largest city in the region, and is known for its bustling nightlife and welcoming atmosphere towards tourists.

Novi Sad, Serbia’s second city, has also gained international interest for hosting the annual Exit Festival, which attracts nearly 200,000 visitors. One little known but important fact about Serbia is that it is one of the world’s most important producers of raspberries. Despite being far smaller by area, only Russia, Poland, and the United States produce more.



With a population of around four million, Croatia is the second largest state to come from former Yugoslavia. In 2013 Croatia joined the European Union, and in 2018 finished as the runner-up at the FIFA World Cup.

In recent years, Croatia has become an important tourist destination, with millions of people coming to see its impressive beaches and old Roman architecture. Many of those tourists go to places on the Dalmatian Coast, which shares its name with the famous dog breed. Interestingly, the Croatian town of Split is home to an ancient Egyptian sphinx, which was brought over by a Roman Emperor around 300 AD.


Slovenia was one of the smaller republics to come from Yugoslavia, but it is also the most prosperous. The country joined the EU in 2004, and has since gained a reputation as one of Europe’s hidden gems, both for its exceptional wine and ski resorts.

Along with Scandinavian countries, Slovenia also ranks among the most environmentally friendly countries in Europe. That is, in part, because the country is known for its pristine nature, as over half of the land area is covered in forest. There is even a coastal area that borders Italy, although it is only 46 kilometers long.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina, or BiH as it is known in the region, is one of the most complex modern countries in Europe. After Yugoslavia fell apart, the countries three main ethnic groups began fighting over control of territory in what became Europe’s most serious conflict since World War II.

As part of the peace agreement, today Bosnia operates as two countries with two separate governments. Before the war, Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 and gave the world a favorable impression. Like neighboring Croatia and Montenegro, Bosnia has a coastline on the Adriatic Sea, but it only extends for 20 kilometers.


With a population of around two million, Macedonia is one of the smaller states in Europe. In 1963, when it was still part of Yugoslavia, a massive earthquake struck Skopje, its capital, and took out a large percentage of the buildings.

The city was rebuilt through international collaboration, giving it an interesting mix of architectural styles. Macedonia is also home to Lake Ohrid, which is one of oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. The city of Ohrid is sometimes referred to as the Jerusalem of the Balkans because of its hundreds of churches and monasteries, some of which date back to the earliest Christians in Europe.


Montenegro, known in the local language as Black Mountain, is the smallest country to come from former Yugoslavia. Its population of 620,000 also makes it one of the smallest countries in Europe.

After Yugoslavia fell apart, Montenegro was the last remaining country to continue a voluntary political union with Serbia, but chose to break away as well in 2006 despite sharing significant linguistic and cultural similarities. The country is known for its rugged terrain, including Tara Canyon, the largest in Europe by volume. Montenegro is also home to one of the only remaining old growth forests Europe.


Although still officially claimed by Serbia, Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 after a military struggle with Serbia and has since been recognized by over half of the United Nations member states.

For those that recognize it, Kosovo is known as Europe’s youngest country. Even though it is not yet known as a major tourist destination, Kosovo has several attractive ski resorts and has become a popular climbing destination among those looking for adventure. While its status with Serbia continues to be negotiated, Kosovo officially played a UEFA qualifying match for the first time in 2017. Kosovo also has direct flights to several countries in Western Europe from its capital of Pristina