Niš is a big city with a unique charm of a small town, the third largest city in Serbia, birthplace of Constantine the Great, and a must for history buffs. It is also a great base to meet southern and eastern Serbia.
During Roman times, the city flourished, and many monuments from this era remain in the fortress, the National museum and the Mediana archaeological site, where Constantine’s heirs built a palace.
Inside the impressive Niš fortress there are also monuments and memories of Byzantine, Turkish and Austrian rule, such as the Bali Bey mosque and a hammam (Turkish bath) from the XVI century, the oldest one preserved in Serbia, some powder magazines from the XVIII century and many scattered remains, tombstones etc. In the fortress there’s also an open air theater, several art galleries and souvenir shops. Just outside the fortress is a green market. Events such as Nishville – the most popular jazz festival in this part of Europe and Nisomnia are held in the fortress.
The central Kralja Milana square is located across the Nišava river from the main fortress gate. It features a series of tiny colorful buildings from the turn of the century, the City hall, and hotel Ambasador, the tallest hotel in Niš. Nearby is the magnificent Banovina palace, an architectural blend from the 19th and early 20th century, nowadays University of Niš.
Not far away are Kazandžijsko sokače, a charming street full of traditional restaurants and kafanas, the shopping centers Kalča and Gorča, which are architectural curiosities of their own, the orthodox cathedral of Niš, and the beautiful secessionist Palace of Justice with a clock tower.
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A bit further is Čair park with the football stadium and sports hall of the same name, and 5 minutes from there is probably the most famous monument of Niš – Ćele kula (the Skull Tower), a terrifying monument built by the Turks from the skulls of the defenders of Niš during the Serbian revolution.
At the eastern rim of the city is the memorial park Bubanj, with it’s famous three fists in the center symbolizing resistance to the Nazis. North of the fortress is WWII Crveni Krst concentration camp, one of the best preserved facilities of this type.
Niška Banja (Niš spa)
Niška Banja was throughout it’s history one of the most popular spa towns in this region, known since the time of roman emperor Hadrian. Besides healing several illnesses and conditions, the spa is a popular recreational destination.
If you are into active holiday, the surroundings of Niš won’t let you down. From the spectacular Suva planina (Dry mountain), to the Čegar monument, Sićevo canyon nature reserve and several churches and monasteries nearby, there are plenty of possibilities for hiking, cycling and mountaineering. Several hills offer spectacular views of the city and the Nišava river valley.
Niš is the center of South-Eastern Serbia and an important transportation hub, located at the intersection of European highway corridors E-75 to Thessaloniki (Greece) and E-80 to Sofia (Bulgaria) and Istanbul (Turkey), just two hours from Belgrade. Niš airport Constantine the Great is the second largest in Serbia, so it is also possible to get here by plane. Getting to Niš by train is an adventure that takes a lot of time, but is worth it if you have time to spare.
Learn more about Niš at Visitnis.com