Niš Fortress is a well-preserved Turkish fortress from the 18th Century situated at the very heart of the city of Niš, on the bank of the river Nišаva.
One of the most beautiful examples of Turkish medieval architecture in Serbia, it is also enriched with elements of Arabic architecture. Not far from the fortress there is a hammam, a 15th-Century Turkish bath.
The strong ramparts of the fortress were made of stone from the nearby Hum quarry, on the foundations of Roman, Byzantine and Serbian mediaeval forts. Some of the building materials that remained from the earlier periods were also used. The fortress was entered through four gates: the Stambol Gate, the Belgrade Gate, the Vidin Gate and the Large Gate, all of which remain exceptionally well-preserved to this day.
To provide maximum protection from enemies, a moat was dug around the fortress and filled with water from the nearby river. Parts of the moat still surround the northern part of the fortress, bearing witness to a bygone era.
Inside the walls there was once a thriving settlement, with a library, corner shops, barracks and other military facilities. Today, you can see the well-preserved Bali-Bey mosque, several gunpowder magazines and the arsenal.
The former mosque, with its square base and dome, is today an art gallery and the summer stage, inside the fortress, hosts numerous cultural events. The most famous among them is the Nišvil Music Festival, which attracts thousands of jazz lovers from Serbia and abroad every year.