Nis is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and with around 250,000 residents is the third largest in Serbia and the capital of the Nisava District. It is located in southern Serbia, at the crossroads of the most important Balkan and European routes connecting Europe with the Middle East.
In Niš, the main road, which runs from the north via the Morava valley, forks southward via the South Morava-Vardar valley (towards Thessaloniki and Athens), while the east road runs through the Nišava-Marica valley towards Sofia, Istanbul and the Middle East. In the Roman period, the second road was called the Via militaris, whereas in the Middle Ages it was called the Constantinople Road.
The most important cultural and historical attractions in Niš are the Mediana – a large 4th-century Roman estate; Nis Fortress – the best-preserved Turkish fortress in the central Balkans, built in 1723 and containing the remains of Roman Naissus in its foundations; the Skull Tower (Cele Kula); Cegar, where a monument stands on the site of the battle between Stevan Sindjelic and the Turks; the Monument to the Liberators of Nis – erected in 1937 in memory of the fight for the liberation of Niš; the Red Cross Camp – a Nazi concentration camp; and Bubanj Memorial Park – one of the largest Second World War execution sites in Serbia.
Picnic sites in the surroundings of Nis include the Sicevacka Klisura gorge – a 16 km-long protected natural feature with rare plants and animals; the Jelašnička Klisura gorge – a special 2 km-long nature reserve with waterfalls and rare plants and animals; the Bojanine Vode holiday resort; Kamenicki Vis – a holiday resort with winter sports facilities; andCerjanska Pecina cave, 4 km long, with spacious chambers beautifully decorated in cave formations (stalagmites, stalactites, etc.).