We had been living in Sofia, Bulgaria for over 8 months when we drove for the first time to Serbia, one of Bulgaria’s neighboring countries. If you had told me back in the beginning of 2016 that I would be moving to Bulgaria and that I would visit Serbia, I wouldn’t have believed you. For me, it was just one of those countries bombed in the 90’s that no one is interested in visiting. On the 22nd of March, we drove from Sofia to Nis, Serbia’s 3rd largest city and I didn’t take long to fall in love with the country’s culture and gastronomy.
Below, I will present you my personal Top 5 Things to do in Nis:
1 – Crveni Krst Concentration Camp
Literally translated Red Cross Concentration Camp, it is one of the best-preserved fascist camps in Europe. It was used to hold Serbs, Romani and Jews, during World War II, between the years of 1941 and 1944. It is believed that more than ten thousand people were killed. On February 12, 1942 105 there was a massive escape of prisoners. Out of 147 prisoners, 105 managed to escape, 42 were killed. The boulevard where the camp is located, on the north bank of Nisava River, had its name changed to February 12 in memory of this event. There is an admission fee of 150 RSD (Approx. 1.25€). If you purchase a 200 RSD ticket (Approx 1.70€) it grants you access not only to the camp but also to the Archaelogical Hall of Nis, the Mediana and the Skull Tower.
2 – Skull Tower
The Skull Tower, or as the locals call, “Ćele kula”, is a structure embedded with real human skulls. It was built in the beginning of the 19th Century. Originally, it had 952 skulls from Serbian rebels. It was constructed by the Ottoman Empire as a warning to future Serbian rebels. You can visit this monument made out of skulls for the admission fee of 150 RSD (Approx. 1.25€) and just like the Red Cross Concentration Camp, if you purchase a 200 RSD ticket (Approx. 1.70€) you’ll be granted access to the 4 objects of National Museum, the Skull Tower, the Archaelogical Hall of Nis and the Mediana.
3 – Nis Fortress
Being one of the symbols of the city, it was built in the 18th Century and it has been used for different purposes since its construction. On my personal opinion, it is one of the places that everyone who visits Serbia should consider. It is located on the north bank of the Nišava River. Inside you can find a touristic train, archaeological sites, the Bali-bey Mosque, the Lapidarium, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants. The perfect place to enjoy a sunny afternoon in Serbia’s 3rd largest city.
4 – Nis Market
It is impossible to miss the Market, located right next to the fortress, it is one of the largest bazaars I recall visiting. There is plenty to see and plenty to buy, whether you’re looking for clothes, toys or food, this is the place. You’ll have dozens of stalls where you can buy vegetables and fruits for some really good prices.
5 – Bubanj Memorial Park
Just like the name says, the Bubanj Memorial Park, is an holocaust memorial located on the Bubanj Hill, south from the city center. During World War II, prisoners of the Crveni Krst Concentration Camp were brought here to be executed. According to different sources, it is believed that over 12,000 people were shot and killed on this site. In the year of 1963 three giant fists were erected to honor all men, women and children who were killed. Each fist has a different size depicting men’s, women’s and children’s hands.