|Last night I arrived in Niš (pronounced "Neech") on a train from Beograd (Belgrade).
Today, I wandered the streets of Niš, learning about it's long history. I had never heard of Niš before this trip.
The only tourist sights within walking distance of my hotel are the pedestrian-only downtown, the fortress and a museum.
The only photo from today that needs any explanation is the gas station. Notice that the lowest gas price is 142.40. Is that expensive? Let's do the math. One Serbian Dinar is currently 0.01012 US Dollars, which means 142.40 Dinar equals $1.45. But, they sell gas by the liter here. So, gas costs $5.50 per gallon, which is expensive but not outrageous.
The archeological museum exists here because people have lived in this area for thousands of years. We're not very far from Mesopotamia, the “cradle of civilization”. This museum had artifacts found nearby from the bronze age and earlier. There were displays with many pre-Roman coins. But, most of the museum is devoted to Roman history because many of the Roman emperors where born in Serbia, resulting in many Roman cities and fortresses in Serbia.
The fortress seen today in Niš was built by the Ottomans in the 18th century. However, archeological digs inside the fortress walls found 4th century ruins and a 5th century Byzantine street, demonstrating that this site near a bend in the river has had multiple uses over the centuries.
It's amazing to me how much history is contained in a area that I knew so little about.