Located in the south of Serbia and often used as a change-over point for buses to Bosnia, Nis has a character and history of its own to share. The city is rough around the edges… not tourist driven and more authentic because of it. You can feel a stronger Mediterranean atmosphere here – cafe culture abounds and much of the life is centered around the river area. Don’t expect a pristine place but give Nis a chance and you may find you like it. If your stopping over, be sure you make the most of your visit.
Bakeries sell burek, breads and other treats at under €1. Dining out is less expensive than other Serbian cities, so look for a cafe or small restaurant where the locals go. Even a mid range restaurant is decent value. If all else fails, there is a Mcdonalds in the Centre with the usual menu.
The bus station is quite a run down affair but does its job and is close to the centre and the Fortress. Walking is the best way to see the city, with all facilities reasonably near each other. Most of the sights can also be walked to, although buses are cheap if you prefer. Nis is connected to all surrounding countries by bus as well as Turkey and Greece. The railway station is 30 minutes walk from the centre with cheap tickets but slow trains to Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Belgrade.
• Go to Scull Tower – an intriguing if macabre place to visit, the tower contains the skulls of Serbian soldiers who died at the hands of the Turkish rulers hundreds of years ago.
• Visit the Roman ruins of Mediana – The former home of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, it is 1700 years old and many original mosaics are still visible. Mediana is still being excavated, so new artefacts continue to be unearthed.
• See Nis Fortress – Near the centre of the city ; inside the walls is a large park area with places to grab something to eat. It’s free and makes a good place to relax. In September, the small Nisomnia music festival is held here.
• Look around the former nazi concentration camp – it was used to house Jews and Serbs who opposed the nazi regime. Thousands of people from the camp were murdered and visiting is a sobering experience. Bubanj Hill was the scene of the executions and is now a memorial park. The two sites are around a mile apart for those who want to remember the lost lives.
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