Written by: Milica Bokšan

When someone tells you about Serbia, you can often hear how it is a small country in the Balkans from which some great people originate.

Without any false modesty, we can confirm that this is indeed true!

And so that it does not seem like an empty story, in this text we will introduce you to some of the most famous Serbians.

Famous Serbian People: Serbian Scientists

Serbian scientists left such a significant mark in our history that their achievements and research are responsible for much of what we know about the world today.

Although there are incomparably more of them, here we will single out only four so that you can become familiar with the Serbs who changed the world.

#1 Nikola Tesla

You will probably find it difficult to meet a person who has not heard of Nikola Tesla. And considering what he has done for humanity, it is not surprising.

famous serbian people nikola tesla cartoon
One of the greatest minds of all time.

Source: Science Shot

In addition to the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, Tesla is credited with over 1,000 inventions and patents.

Tesla’s transformer, the rotating magnetic field, his contribution to the modulation of radio signals, and his work in the field of X-rays, are just some of his works that scientists are still working on today and that serve as a basis for discoveries.

His selfless wish was that all his inventions be free and benefit the entire human civilization!

#2 Mihajlo Pupin

Mihajlo Pupin is another Serbian scientist who is responsible for a large number of inventions. Among them are Pupin’s coils of wire which extend the range of long-distance telephone communication.

He was a member of NASA and won a Pulitzer prize for his autobiography Od pašnjaka do naučenjaka (= From Immigrant to Inventor).

#3 Milutin Milanković

The calendar we still use today is the result of the work of Milutin Milanković and is the most accurate calendar ever made.

He studied the ice age, astronomy, and celestial mechanics and came up with numerous discoveries that were initially contested but then widely accepted worldwide!

#4 Mileva Marić Ajnštajn (Einstein)

Mileva Marić (married surname Einstein), was the wife of one of the greatest scientists of all time.

famous serbian people mileva maric albert einstein
From A Wonder Woman to Einstein’s Shadow

Source: Medium

But that is not why she’s on this list. Like Einstein, she was an outstanding physicist and mathematician who unofficially influenced her husband’s discoveries.

When it was obvious that Einstein would win the Nobel Prize, he said that the prize money would go to Mileva.

Today, many consider it to be a confirmation of their common work.

Famous Serbian People: Serbian Writers

Serbian literature can boast of an exceptional diversity and wealth of themes, genres and, of course, the number of writers who participated in its creation.

In the following, we introduce you to three Serbian writers who can be an excellent starting point in getting to know Serbian literature.

#5 Ivo Andrić

Ivo Andrić received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. So far, he is the only Yugoslav and Serbian Nobel laureate.

His most famous works are Na Drini ćuprija (= The Bridge on the Drina), Travnička hronika (= The Days of the Consuls) and Prokleta avlija (= The Damned Yard).

famous serbian people bridge Bosnia
The bridge of Mehmed Paša Sokolović

Source: Wikipedia

His wish was that every year the Andrić Award would be given to the author of the best story or poem written in the Serbian language.

#6 Vasko Popa

Vasko Popa is one of the most translated Serbian poets, and he also worked as a translator.

His poetry defies rules and surprises everyone who reads it with its innovation and originality.

He is the author of one of the most beautiful Serbian love songs – Očiju tvojih da nije (= If Not For Your Eyes). Some of the most famous collections of Popa’s poetry are Kora (= Bark), Nepočin-polje (= Field of no Rest) and Uspravna zemlja (= Earth Erect).

#7 Desanka Maksimović

Desanka Maksimović is one of the most translated Serbian authors.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, and she excelled in writing poetry and prose for children and youth.

Some of her well-known songs are Krvava bajka (= A Bloody Fairytale), which tells about the suffering of innocent people during the war, Strepnja (= Quivering), Opomena (= Warning), Tražim pomilovanje (= I Am Seeking for Pardon).

Famous Serbian People: Serbian Artists

Art has an important place in Serbian culture. And Serbs like to visit theatres, cinemas and exhibitions.

Although art has many branches and even more famous Serbian representatives within them, this time we present you three Serbian artists.

#8 Nadežda Petrović

Nadežda Petrović was a Serbian painter and the founder of Serbian modern painting. She painted over 300 pictures and at least another hundred sketches.

Her works depict her compatriots exactly as they were in reality, as well as Serbian landscapes.

She has received numerous awards for her unique artistic expression.

#9 Emir Kusturica

Emir Kusturica is a Serbian movie director and author of a large number of films. Just some of them are Sećaš li se Doli Bel (= Do you remember Dolly Belle), Dom za vešanje (= Hanging House), Crna mačka beli mačor (= Black Cat White Cat) and many others.

He is the winner of the most important awards in the film world, and when we talk about Emir, we must not forget to mention Drvengrad.

famous serbian people drvengrad mecavnik
A small wooden city near Zlatibor

Source: Wikipedia

It is a charming small town in ethnic style where you can often see some of Emir’s creations, so if your trip takes you to Serbia, don’t miss visiting this real attraction!

#10 Milena Dravić

One of the most famous and talented women in Serbian acting is certainly Milena Dravić. Her charisma is very easy to remember, so it’s no wonder that she starred in a huge number of Serbian and Yugoslav films and series.

To familiarize yourself with her work, we suggest you watch Gospođa ministarka (= Mrs Minister), Ljubavni život Budimira Trajkovića (= The Love Life of Budimir Trajković) or perhaps Metla bez drške (= The Broom without a Handle) series.

She met her husband, also a famous actor, Dragan Nikolić, on the set of the movie Kako su se volele dve budale (= How Two Fools Loved), and they used one of the breaks in the filming to go and get married!

Famous Serbian People: Serbian Athletes

Many Serbian athletes achieved great success in their disciplines, and if we were to look at the entire history of Serbian sport, it would take us days to list those who left an indelible mark.

So in this blog post, we will highlight two current athletes that you would hardly miss even if sports are not your field of interest!

#11 Novak Đoković

The best tennis player in the world, and someone who best represents numerous human values, is certainly Novak Djokovic.

famous serbian people novak djokovic playing tennis
Novak Djoković and his art

Source: Britannica

In addition to his incredible successes, he is also known for numerous anecdotes, and we will tell you that when Novak plays in Serbia, everything stops. The only thing that is followed is the moves of the tennis ball.

#12 Nikola Jokić

Nikola Jokić is currently the best basketball player in the world. He comes from a small place in Serbia that he always proudly points out – Sombor.

At the moment, he plays in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets! Besides spending time with his family and playing basketball, he prefers to devote his time to horse racing.

Let’s Sum up!

This list could be much longer but it is impossible to list all important persons of a country in just one blog post.

So if you want to learn more, now is the right time to schedule your first Serbian online lesson!

With the effort and time invested, it is only a question of when you will be able to read in Serbian, so you will easily explore the famous Serbian people who left the biggest impression on you!