Over the summer, we had a group of guys visit us. One of the things we did was take them to see some places around Serbia. In July, we went to Nis (Ni/Ниш). I’d never been there (and they certainly hadn’t been there). One of the things we saw was the Skull Tower, but we also just explored the town. Afterwards, we just went for a drive in the boonies. Below are some pictures of what we saw that day. If you want to see more, have a look at the flickr set.
From the fortress looking back towards the center of town.
There’s this mosque in town. I can’t tell if it is active or not. From the looks of the minerette, it isn’t…but who knows.
Here’s some roman ruins in the fortress in Nis
In Serbia, sometimes you see the oddest things for sale in the oddest places. Here’s an example. Not only did this lady have a table full of bras on the street, there were about 5 other people who were also selling bras on the street. Odd….
On our drive into the boonies, we came across this really nice conversion van. It looked so out of place.
It didn’t have US plates on it, but it would have looked at home in the states.
In July, I went to Nis (Ni/Ниш). One of the places I got to see was the Skull Tower. The picture to the left is of one of the skulls in the tower.
Back in 1809, the Serbs were fighting the Turks to drive them out of the area. They had a battle around Nis. From what I understand, the Serbs were loosing the battle and about to be slaughtered. The commander of the Serbs had his men blow up their remaining stores of powder. This, in addition to killing the Serbs, killed a large number of Turks too. In retaliation, the Turks took the bodies–specifically the skulls–and built the tower (about a 12 foot x 12 foot x 12 foot cube). They took the skin off the heads, stuffed them, and sent them back to turkey. The skulls were embedded into the tower as a threat to the Serbs.
Is it creepy? yes. However, when you see it, and realize it happened a few dozen years before the Civil War (and not 500 or 800 years ago), you get a different perspective on time and what is old and recent in Europe.
[Update 08-18-2009 08:09:03] You can go here to see more pictures of the skull tower.
Every year near Cacak, a sleepy little town is transformed. The population swells from the few thousands into the hundreds of thousands as people from all over the world come to hear trumpet music. What’s going on? It’s the Guca Trumpet Festival (warning…the link starts autoplaying music).
Last year, our Serb friends told us not to go…but, this year, I wanted to see what it was all about. I knew nothing other than what I had read on the internet. I was really worried it would be a big drunk fest; however, when I was there during the day, the atmosphere was more like a county fair or carnival.