Belgrade ( /ˈbɛlɡreɪd/; Serbian: Београд / Beograd; ; names in other languages) is the capital and largest city of Serbia, and ranks among the oldest European cities. Belgrade is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. Its Serbian name Beograd translates to White city. Belgrade city proper has a population of over 1.1 million, whereas its metropolitan area reaches 1.64 million people, making it one of the largest cities in East Central Europe.
One of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region, and after 279 BC Celts conquered the city, naming it Singidūn. It was conquered by the Romans during the reign of Augustus, and awarded city rights in the mid 2nd century. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times between Franks, Byzantines and Hungarians before it became the capital of Serbian King Stephen Dragutin (1282–1316). In 1521 Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and became the seat of the Sanjak of Smederevo. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars. Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841. The north of Belgrade remained a Habsburg outpost until 1918, when it was merged into the capital city. As a strategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia (in various forms of governments) from its creation in 1918, to its final dissolution in 2006.
Belgrade has a special administrative status within Serbia and it is one of five statistical regions of Serbia. Its metropolitan territory is divided into 17 municipalities, each with its own local council. It covers 3.6% of Serbia's territory, and 22.5% of the country's population lives in the city. The city has been awarded many titles, including the nomination for European Capital of Culture 2020.