The Serbian culture starts with the South Slavic tribes who settled in the Balkan. Early on, Serbs have been influenced by the Paleo-Balkan people. In the upcoming period the Byzantine Empire had a great influence on the Serbian culture. Roots to the Serbian education system date back to 11th and 12thcenturies when first Catholic colleges were founded in Vojvodina(Titel, Bac). Medieval Serbian education however was mostly conducted through the Serbian Orthodox Monasteries(UNESCO) protected Sopoćani, Studenica,Patriarchate of Peć and more of 120 others raised across Serbia)starting from the rise of Raška in 12th century, when Orthodoxy prevailed Catholicism with Serbian people. It is generally considered that the nature and direction of the development of Serbian culture wa determined long ago by the medieval educator and founder of the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church, Rastko Nemanjić–St. Sava (1175-1235), who saw Serbia, in his speeches and writings, as a bridge connecting the eastern and western parts of the world. Time has confirmed the value of his ideas. During a period that lasted for many centuries, and under the influence of Byzantium, Turkey, Russia and countries of Central and Western Europe, a specific culture originated representing the bridge between the East and the West.This culture, however, does not represent a mere combination of different foreign traditions, but a new culture of great spiritual value recognized specifically through Serbian Orthodoxy(Svetosavlje),unique architectural style, unique Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, rich literature, distinctive philosophy of life within which elements of eastern collectivism and western individualism interlace, rich history of endowments, and a significant contribution to science and fine arts.
The culture flourished from 1718 in parts under the Habsburg Empire. 1778 – The first Serbian Faculty is established in Sombor, Habsburg Empire, under the name Teacher's College It is the oldest higher- education facility in the region.During the period 1804 and 1813, Belgrade officially became an educational centre of the country. The University of Belgrade is the biggest and most prestigious institution of higher education in Serbia, founded as the Belgrade Higher School in 1808. The Gymnasium Jovan Jovanović Zmaj was founded in 1810 and many important Serb cultural figures studied there. Socialist Realism was predominant in official art during the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but recent decades have shown a growing influence of Western and traditional Serbian art. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were 32 art galleries and 142 museums in Serbia.
Belgrade has many of the most significant like:The National Museum of Serbia,The Gallery of Frescoes featuring Orthodox Church art,The Ethnographic Museum and The Princess Ljubica's Residence. Novi Sad contains the Vojvodina Museum as well as the Petrovaradin fortress.There is a strong network of libraries with three national libraries, 689 public libraries, 143 higher education libraries and 11 non-specialized libraries. The National Library of Serbia is the most significant of these, with Project Rastko established in 1997 as Internet Library of Serbian culture.Over time, surfaced a cloudy, unclear and incomplete image of Serbs as a warrior nation, which managed to conquer a significant part of Byzantium and which, for centuries, defended Central and Western Europe from the Turkish conquerors. Contemporaries only recognize Serbs as being successful in sports, or as merchants, craftsmen, and workers. Only a few people know that the Serb people played a significant role in the fields of culture and science, while connecting different civilizations and their achievements.