The Niš fortress is an artillery fortification, built by the Ottoman Turks between 1719 and 1723 on the area of a previous ancient and mediaeval fortification. Nowadays, it is among the best preserved fortresses of that type in Serbia and in the Balkans. Niš is the biggest city in south-eastern Serbia and the centre of the Niš region. With the population of 170,000 it is the fourth city in the country. In its long history, Niš was also the administrative, military and commercial centre in all the previous states and empires. Through the centuries, Niš saw the Dardanians passing through, the Thracians, the Illyrians, the Ancient Greeks, the Celts, the Romans, the Huns, the Byzantines, the Serbs, the Bulgarians, the Ottoman Turks, the Hungarians, the Austrians. In 1878 it was liberated from the Turks and has been a part of Serbia ever since.
The city got its name from the river Nišаva, which the Celt called the “River of Nymphs” (Navissos).
RELIGION AND TRADITION
Christianity came early to the Roman town of Nаissus. As early as in the 4th century, an eparchy was founded in Naissus and a 4th century basilica is one of the earliest Christian monuments in the world. The actual Serbian Patriarch Irinej had been the Niš bishop for years.
At 250 km to the south-east from Belgrade, on Nišаva river, not far from its confluence with the Јužna Моrаva, Niš is a crossroads of both land and air Balkan routes.
In the Roman town of Naissus, Emperor Constantine The Great was born; in the Byzantine Nаissоs, Nеmаnjа met with Frederick Bаrbаrоssa; at Ottoman Niš, Voivode Sinđеlić and the Serbian rebels died a heroic death – the sculls of the Scull Tower reminding us of the event today; in Serbian Niš, the Declaration of uniting the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was signed. in Serbian Niš, on 7 Mаy 1999, 15 civilians got killed by cluster bombs in the NATO bombardment.