Niš

Imperial city


Carski gradNiš, the largest city in southeastern Serbia, is situated in a fertile plain surrounded by high mountains on three sides, on the river Nišava, near its confluence with the South Morava. These two rivers are parts of two major roads in the Balkans, which has always been on the crossroads - one leading to Sofia and Constantinople, and the other to Thessaloniki. They merge near Niš, continue to Belgrade and further to Central Europe. It is an important economic, academic, cultural, religious and political center of Serbia.

The territory of Niš has been inhabited since prehistoric times as evidenced by archeological sites Bubanj and Velika Humska Čuka. Conquered by the Romans in the first century, the city experienced a boom, and two Roman emperors were born here, and one near the city. Huns led by Attila destroyed it in 441. The treaty of alliance between the German Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and the Serbian Prince Stefan Nemanja was signed in Niš. The Turks occupied the city in 1386, and with several interruptions, held it until 1878, when it returned under the sovereignty of Serbia. In 1914, Niš became the capital of Serbia during the war.
Niš is a city where the famous Roman emperor and general Flavius Valerius Constantinus (Constantine the Great) was born in 274. He is known in world history as a visionary who issued the Edict of Milan on religious tolerance in 313, after which the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ceased. Constantine richly decorated his hometown, so that there are numerous objects from that period in Niš: villas and mosaics at the archaeological site Mediana, various items, coins and sculptures of great artistic value (a copy of the portrait - the head of Emperor Constantine in bronze), which are exposed in the Archaeological Hall of the National Museum.
The influence of the people who lived on the territory of present-day Niš can be observed in the cultural heritage of the city, particularly in its architectural diversity.