Serbia officially the Republic of Serbia is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central part of the Balkans. Relative to its small size, history and culture, it is a very diverse country distinguished by a transitional character. Serbia is landlocked and borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west; also, it borders Albania through the disputed region of Kosovo. The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, is among the largest cities in East-Central Europe. Following their settlement in the Balkans, Serbs established several states in early Middle Ages. Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by Rome and Constantinople in 1217, which was raised to Serbian Empire in 1346.