Niš - What to see

Cultural and historical attractions 

The most important cultural and historical attractions in Niš are the Mediana – a large 4th-century Roman estate; Niš Fortress – the best-preserved Turkish fortress in the central Balkans, built in 1723 and containing the remains of Roman Naissus in its foundations; the Skull Tower; Čegar, symbolizing the battle between Stevan Sinđelić and the Turks with an intimidating monument;  Also the monuments that make every local proud to be from Nis: monument to the Liberators of Niš – erected in 1937 in memory of the fight for the liberation of Niš; the Red Cross concentration Camp – a Nazi  camp; and Bubanj Memorial Park – one of the largest Second World War execution sites in Southeastern Europe. 

Mediana 

A grand Roman residence from the time of Constantine the Great and the best-preserved part of the ancient city of Naissus. The site was accidentally discovered during the building of a local shopping mall. When the importance of the diggings was noted, the building had to be abandoned until further restoration and archaeological discoveries were carried. It’s an important archaeological site that is still being explored and restored. The museum is now open for visitors showing the most important amenities found at the place. Visitors are even able to see excellent examples of the original floor mosaics discovered at this sight. 

Archaeological Hall of The National Museum 

It may not be the most exciting museum out there, but for an hour stroll, and very modest ticket price, it exceeds the expectations. The Archaeological Hall of The National Museum is a large room with a collection of replicas of important statues and other artifacts found in the Nis region. It gives you a good sense of how long this land has been occupied. The most important discoveries from Mediana are also shown here. 

Skull Tower 

If you love epic fantasy, you will love The Skull Tower in Nis. The large tower was made from almost 1000 skulls of Serbs killed during a battle in 1809 with Ottoman forces who controlled Nis. It was put on the road into town in order to frighten  Serbian people and prevent any future rebellion. The act itself was counter-productive as Serbs felt bitter, and their rebel spirit accumulated over time and reached a peak in the mid-19th century when the country was finally liberated from the Ottoman rule. Now there are just 58 skulls remaining and a chapel has been built over the tower, but the sight is still very intimidating and quite emotional. Definitely, a must visit, a unique occurrence in the world, and looking like it came straight from the George R.R. Martin books.  

Red Cross Concentration Camp 

With so much attention on the famous concentration camps like Auschwitz and Dachau, the Nazi horrors in the Balkans are often shadowed and overlooked. The Red Cross Concentration Camp had about 30,000 people brought through its chambers during the war and it’s estimated about 12,000 of those were killed.  
The place carries a lot of the original artifacts and is even unique for some properties like it’s the only concentration camp in the world, where the captives successfully breached the walls and escaped. The escape was tried three times, but only one succeeded.  

Bubanj Memorial Park 

The executions of the inmates from the Red Cross Concentration Camp took place at a nearby hill called Bubanj. Several memorials have been built there to honor the victims of one of the largest execution sites in former Yugoslavia. The most striking element is the statue representing three fists – a man’s, a woman’s and a child’s. The site is not easy to get to without a car but is somewhere you should try to visit and acknowledge the importance of its historical and international heritage. 

Attractions near Niš 

Picnic sites 

Picnic sites in the surroundings of Niš include the Sićevačka Klisura gorge – a 16 km-long protected natural feature with rare plants and animals; the Jelašnička Klisura gorge – a special 2 km-long nature reserve with waterfalls amazing scenery; the Bojanine Vode holiday resort; Kamenički Vis – a holiday resort with winter sports facilities; and Cerjanska cave, 4 km long, with spacious chambers beautifully decorated in cave formations (stalagmites, stalactites, etc.) 

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