Niš is one of the oldest cities in Europe and in the Balkans, and because of its geopolitical status it has been considered a gateway between the East and the West. Niš is the third largest city in Serbia and the administrative center of the Nišava District in southern Serbia. During its long and rich history, Niš was conquered by Romans, Bulgarians, Ottomans and more. It was the birthplace of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor and the founder of Constantinople, and Constantius III and Justin I.
After several centuries under the Byzantines, Niš finally became a pillar of Serbian culture. Considering its great strategic and geopolitical status, in the 12th century it was a capital city of Serbia during the reign of Stefan Nemanja. Once again, in WWI Niš became the capital and a host for Serbian Government and National Assembly in war years. Niš was, as the most of Serbian territory nowadays, under the Turks for 5 centuries. It was liberated by the Serbian Army in 1878 during the Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78). Today, Niš is an important industrial, administrative and cultural center of Serbia.
The town has saved many monuments from all these periods:
- Mediana - Archeological site, an Imperial villa, from the late Roman period which gives us important culture discoveries.
- Skull Tower (Ćele Kula) - A monument to the Serbian revolutionaries (1804–13); a tower made out of skulls of Serbian uprisers, killed and decapitated by the Ottomans.
- Niš Fortress - The remaining fortification was built by the Turks, and dates from the first decades of the 18th century.
- Crveni Krst concentration camp – One of the few preserved Nazi concentration camps in Europe.
Despite from its tremendous historical significance, Niš has many more to offer. Since 1981. Niš is the host of Nišville International Jazz music festival which shows its full potential to be one of the best jazz festivals in Southern Europe.
However, music festivals can not pass without amazing food and hospitality that Niš is famous for. Typical meals in Niš are grilled meat (barbecue) and Niš’s specialty „burek“. In Niš there is even the only Balkan contest of this kind, contest in making burek – Burekdžijada, and British newspapers The Guardian awarded it with 5th place on the best fast food list in the whole world.
Niš is the only city except for Belgrade which has an international airport named Constantine the Great Airport. Check transportation to Niš for more information.