Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a sovereign state situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. It borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the west and claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia numbers around 7 million residents. Its capital, Belgrade, ranks among the oldest and largest cities in southeastern Europe. Other major cities are Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac.
Following the Slavic migrations to the Balkans postdating the 6th century, Serbs established several states in the early Middle Ages. The Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by Rome and the Byzantine Empire in 1217, reaching its peak in 1346 as a relatively short-lived Serbian Empire. By the mid-16th century, the entire modern-day Serbia was annexed by the Ottomans, at times interrupted by the Habsburg Empire, which started expanding towards Central Serbia from the end of the 17th century, while maintaining a foothold in modern-day Vojvodina.