Serbia's capital and biggest city, Belgrade, is located on the Danube River. In addition to being positioned at the junction of the Sava and Danube rivers, it also serves as a crossroads between the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula, among other things. The City of Belgrade has a population of almost 1.7 million people who reside inside its administrative boundaries.
Belgrade is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, and it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. The Vina civilization, which is considered to be one of the most significant prehistoric cultures in Europe, developed in the Belgrade region around the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, the territory was occupied by the Thraco-Dacians, and in 279 BC, the Celts established a settlement in the area, which they named Singidn. It was taken by the Romans during the reign of Augustus and granted Roman city powers in the middle of the second century AD. Founded by Slavs in the fifth century, it passed through the hands of several empires, including the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary, before becoming the capital of Serbia in 1284, when King Stefan Dragutin established himself as the country's ruler. During the tenure of Stefan Lazarevi, Belgrade served as the capital of the Serbian Despotate, and later during the rule of his successor, ura Brankovi, it was restored to the Hungarian monarch in 1427. The ringing of noon bells in support of the Hungarian troops against the Ottoman Empire during the siege of Budapest in 1456 has survived to this day as a popular church practise. In 1521, the Ottomans captured Belgrade, which was then transformed into the seat of the Sanjak of Smederevo. In the course of its history, it has alternated between Ottoman and Habsburg authority, which resulted in the destruction of most of the city during the Ottoman–Habsburg wars.
In the years after the Serbian Revolution, Belgrade was re-designated as the capital of Serbia, which occurred in 1841. Because former Austro-Hungarian regions became part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes during World War I, northern Belgrade remained the southernmost Habsburg station until 1918, when it was annexed to the city. From the time of Yugoslavia's founding in 1918 until its disintegration in 2006, Belgrade served as the country's capital. Because of its strategically advantageous location, the city has been fought over in 115 battles and demolished 44 times, as well as bombarded five times and besieged several times.