Niš

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Niš is the second largest city in Serbia of more than 250.000 inhabitants, and the centre of the Southeastern region of the country. City of Niš is the crossroads of the most important Balkan and European traffic routes. The territory of the City is intersected by three important directions of international road and railway traffic – several roads that connect the Balkans with Central and Western Europe, and the axis which connects the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Sea intersect the territory of City of Niš.

These roads have been widely known from the ancient times, because they represented the beaten tracks along which peoples, goods and armies moved. Known as Via Militaris in Roman and Byzantine periods, or Constantinople road in the Middle Ages and the period of the Turkish rule, these roads still represent major European traffic arteries. Thus, the City stands at the point of intersection of the roads connecting Asia Minor and Europe, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, for its location is a favorable one.

 

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Niš is also notable as the birthplace of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor and the founder of Constantinopol, as well as two other Roman emperors, Constantius III and Justin I. It is home to one of Serbia's oldest Christian churches, dating to the 4th century in the suburb of Mediana. The city was destroyed by Attila in 443. Attila the Hun conquered Naissus with battering rams and rolling towers—military sophistication that was new in the Hun repertory. Years later, river banks outside the city were still covered with human bones as a reminder of the devastation the Huns had inflicted. The founder of the Justinian Dynasty, Justin I, was born in Naissus in 450, and his nephew Justinian I did his best to restore the city, but Naissus never recovered its 4th century urbanity. The Slavs, in their campaign against the Byzantium, conquered Niš and settled here in 540. About 987, the town was taken by the Bulgarian Emperor Simeon. In the 11th century Byzantium took control over Niš and the surrounding area again. In 1072, the town was raided by the Hungarians (Ugri). Manojlo I fortified the town, but his successor, Andronik, could not hold it, so Niš was seized by the Hungarian king Bela III. The town was in Greek hands for some time, and then, in 1185, it was under Serbian control, but not for long. In 1196, Isak Angelos defeated Stefan Nemanja and it was not until 1241 that Niš was in Serbian hands again. The gates of Niš saw in several well-known dignitaries of Europe. In 1096 the Crusade leader Walter visited Niš, and in 1189 Niš welcomed Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in his campaign against Byzantium. He was greeted here by his ally, Serbian Despot Stefan Nemanja.

 

 

The OttomanTurks conquered Niš for the first time in 1386, three years before the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Niš succumbed to Turkish rule again in 1448 and remained thus for the following 245 years.

Immediately before World War I, the National Parliament and the Government of Serbia moved to Niš, which was proclaimed the war capital of Serbia. was here that the well-known Niš Declaration was made - the constitution of the unified State of the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians. In October 1915, Niš was occupied by the Bulgarian army, and remained thus till the end of the war. On October 12th 1918, the first Serbian Army led by voivoda Petar Bojović liberated Niš. During World War II, from 1941-1945, Niš was again a vital strategic point on the communication lines to Thessalonica and the Black Sea. On October 14th 1945, after a long and exhausting battle, the 7th German SS Division 'Prince Eugene' was defeated and Niš was liberated.

The most important historical sites are:

 

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City of Niš is one of the most important industrial centres in Serbia, well-known for its industry of electronics and mechanical engineering, and the textile and the tobacco industry. Statistics show that the system of education is quite elaborate in our city: there are 50 000 pupils/students attending 32 primary and 21 secondary schools. There are 14 000 students at City of Niš University composed of 10 faculties. Health facilities in the City are modern and very well developed: there are 30 clinics, medical centres and institutes which are, on the one hand, open to students of the Faculty of Medicine and their obligatory training programs, and, on the other hand, offer the citizens of City of Niš and the Southeastern Serbia a wide range of modern methods and services for the prevention and treatment of their health problems.

City of Niš has celebrated 100 years of having established its first Grammar School, National Theatre, Public Library, and the local literary magazine.

The cultural life of City of Niš is shaped by the numerous institutions - the National Theatre, the Public Library, the National Museum, the Symphony Orchestra, the Puppet Theatre, Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the University Library, the City Archives, the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Culture Club, the Centre for Culture and Education, several publishing houses, and many amateur organizations in arts and culture. Several famous cultural events have already become part of tradition of City of Niš: the Festival of Actors' Achievements, Nisville Jazz Festival, Choral Festival, the international festival of amateur choirs, as well as the Art Colony in Sićevo, the oldest of its kind in Serbia.

City of Niš has a lot to offer to tourists. In Niška Banja (Spa of Niš) there are many facilities that can be used for the purposes of recreation or convalescence, as well as for organizing congresses and conferences, or various sports and cultural events. Moreover, there are several popular picnic sites in near the City.

 

(taken from the website http://www.ni.rs)