Nis Fortress (Fortareata Nis)

Nis Fortress is located in Serbia, on the bank of the river Nisava. The citadel was built on top of the remains of a byzantine fortification and a Roman military base. It took five years to complete the edifice (from 1719 until 1723), which at present is one of the best kept monuments in the middle Balkan area.

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Among the edifices preserved intact are the armor room, the Turkish steam bath (built in the 15th century), the Bali mosque (dating from the 16th century), the lady’s room, and the prison.

Structure

Nis Fortress has an irregular polygonal structure which measures 22 hectares. The length of the walls reaches 2.100 m, with a height of 8 m and a thickness of 3 m. The fortification has 8 terraces and 4 massive gates: the Stambol Gate, located in the southern part of the citadel, the Belgrade Gate to the west, the Vidin Gate to the north and the Jagodina Gate in the south eastern part.

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The stone used to erect the edifice was brought from a nearby quarry called the Hum, but there were additional materials used in the construction of the monuments or mausoleums. The fortress has a trench dug around it for defense purposes. While in times of peace the trench was left empty, in wartime, it was filled with water taken from the Nisava River.

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The fortification contained various barracks and military structures, as well as several shops and a house of worship. But not all of these have survived the passage of time. The remaining edifices are several gunpowder deposits, the Bali-beg mosque and an arched structure.

Taking into account the fact that the Turks were the ones to erect the fortress, it is no wonder that Nis features characteristics of the Arab architectural style.

A wooden system and an additional structure were developed so as to fortify the wall of the citadel at the interior.

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If the fortress undergoes an ample restoration work, it will once again become an enclosed fortification, mirroring the original plan of the edifice. But even if this construction work is not initiated by the government, there are still many things to see at the site. Nis Fortress has been declared a national monument, a place where history and culture blend.

Since 1966, the city of Nis organizes on an annual basis a Film Festival at the fortress so if you intend to visit the place, you ought to schedule your trip so as to be able to participate at the event.