The fortress apart, Niš does suffer from a surfeit of rather grim sights. The first, to your right as you leave the fortress, is the miniature blue-domed memorial chapel perched on the lawn, which commemorates the local people killed in the NATO bombings. East of the centre on Brače Taskoviča, Ćele Kula is more gruesome still. It dates from 1809, when Stevan Sinđelić, commander of a nationalist uprising, found his men surrounded by the Turkish army on nearby Čegar Hill and took drastic action against his adversaries, firing into his gunpowder supplies and blowing up most of the Turks and all the Serbs around him. Following the battle, to deter future rebellion the ruling Pasha ordered that the heads of the Serbian soldiers killed in the battle be stuffed and mounted on the tower; 952 went into the making of this macabre totem pole, though today only 58 remain.

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