Third largest city in Serbia – Niš – is famous as a birthplace of Roman emperor Constantine the Great but even more for it’s relaxed atmosphere, good food and friendly people with lots of energy and hot southern blood. Niš is very popular among tourists, most of them visit it on their way to Sofia, Skopje or further to Athens and Istanbul and thanks to it’s location on the main roads city is often called “the gate of east and west”. If you find yourself in Niš there are a few things you simply have to see and do so you can really feel this city
Visit the Skull tower
If you want to understand Serbian mentality Skull tower is something you should see. It’s one the city’s most famous landmark, THE symbol of Serbian resistance against Turks. It was built by Turks using skulls of Serbian soldiers who died in the battle on the hill Čegar near Niš in 1809. Serbian army was outnumbered and their leader, duke Stevan Sinđelić saw they had no chance but didn’t want to let Turks kill him and his people. He decided that about their destiny, took his gun and shot a barrel full of gunpowder. After the battle Turks used their skulls and made a tower hoping to scare Serbian people so they wouldn’t rebel any more. There is only 55 skulls left today but this monument is still a great example of Serbian pride and spite.
|“My eyes and my heart greeted the remains of those brave men whose cut-off heads made the cornerstone of the independence of their homeland. May the Serbs keep this monument! It will always teach their children the value of the independence of a people, showing them the real price their fathers had to pay for it.”|
Alphonse de Lamartine
This round pie made of thin crusts and usually filled with cheese or meat is very typical breakfast food in Serbia and Niš is the first place that started making it. In September Niš is a home of burek festival. Every person this city will tell you they know where they sell the best burek so choose your spot, get burek and enjoy. Just don’t forget to buy yoghurt too!
Relax at the Spa of Niš
Get on the city bus number 1, drive until the last stop and you will find yourself surrounded with nothing but peace and fresh air. Niška Banja is a municipality of Niš famous thermal springs and mineral mud. Thermal water of Niška Banja reaches the temperature of about 37 degrees and has healing effect on people with rheumatic pains and heart problems. Go for a massage, have a spa treatment, swim in warm water or go for a walk in the nature and you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Listen to music of Šaban Bajramović
What can tell you more about the soul of one city than music of people who lived there? Šaban Bajramović is the most famous singer from Niš, king of Gypsy music, jazz and blues. His monument in the amphitheater by the river is a gather place for young locals and tourists during summer nights. They often joke that they are going “to have a beer with the legend”. Night in a kafana, traditional Serbian restaurant, can’t pass without at least one of his hits. Sila kale bal, Pira mange korkoro, Opa cupa, Geljen dade, Bele ruže, choice is yours, all of them are true examples of Balkan beat mixed with the sound of emotional Serbian soul.
Have a long coffee break somewhere in the center
Like a friend of mine once said “Cafe culture in Niš is great.” There are so many coffee shops in the city that it’s hard to choose where to sit and all of them are full ALL-THE-TIME. Having a coffee is a real ritual that can last for hours if you have good company.