A Nice Visit to Nis
Eight fun-filled days had passed in Belgrade and Zemun, but it was time to head south via bus to Nis. Nis is an ancient city that dates back thousands of years. It is also the birth place of Constantine. How freaking cool is that? The more I read about the city during my stay in Belgrade the more I knew I had to see the city for at least one night. I had also read about the city’s amazing fortress which is the main attraction in Nis. The fortress is actually one of the best preserved Ottoman period structures in the Balkans. You will notice many of my pictures are dark due to the rain. I can’t believe this, but I did not make it to the Skull Tower or Mediana. The rain was just too heavy and I had a limited time in Nis. Therefore, this post is focussed on the fortress. Hopefully I will be able and visit both the Skull Tower and Mediana. Until then, lets press on towards what I actually experienced.
Where I Stayed
I arrived late afternoon after a four hour bus ride from Belgrade. Once I arrived, I took a taxi from the bus station to my hostel due to the rain. Art Hostel is located in the center of the city; which is about a 10 minute walk to the fortress and about a 25 minute walk to the bus station. The hostel has a gorgeous garden where you can relax after a long day of walking around the town. Unfortunately, my time was limited, so I paid, put my bags away, and walked towards the fortress.
King Milan Square (above image) has many interesting shops and restaurants. The square is located on the banks of the Nišava River and is about 200 meters from the fortress.
Once you cross the bridge you will see the fortress’ gate. I was impressed on how well it was preserved. My opinion changed with I climbed to the top of the gate.
Once inside the gate you will see some restaurants and a large map of the fortress that gives you an idea of where to go and what to see.
I walked up the steps near the old Turkis baths and took several pictures of the fortress gate and well preserved walls. Sadly, the top of the gate is littered with graffiti.
I can’t understand how such a valued historical treasure can be allowed to be vandalized. Granted some may feel the graffiti is a form of art, which I agree but not on a 1000 year old fortress. I truly hope the graffiti is removed and that security is tightened in and around the fortress.
In the early 1960s, an ancient street was found in the fortress. An archaeological dig took place from 162-1963. Evidence of gilding were found during the dig which suggest the buildings were workshops.
From the ancient Byzantine street and workshops I made my way to the center of the fortress to view the old cathedral; which was found in 1982.
Another dig was conducted from 1982-1985. A vaulted building was discovered and more research still needs to be done in the area to find out it’s purpose.
From the vaulted building I made my way around the fortress taking pictures and simply enjoying the view. As mentioned earlier, my nice view didn’t last long due to the rain which soon came after taking the photo above.
The Lapidarium was an interesting site which has an ancient history. Some statues date back a thousand years with others dating back several thousand years.
My time in Nis was short, but I had a fun-filled day. The city is filled with history. Constantine was born in Nis and I really wish would have had more time to research his presence in the city. However, I am very happy with the time I had and what I experienced.
Where to eat: Nislijska Mehana (ethno tavern), Saloon (cafe bar), and La Strega (pizza & pasta).
Must See: The fortress, Mediana, The Skull Tower, and Bubanj (A hill where more than 10,000 civilians were executed during World War II by the Nazis. The park has three large concrete sculptures of fists. *Information taken from tourist brochure.
Where to stay: Art Hostel/www.art-hostel.co.rs
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