Name a particular period of history and the city of Nis will make sure to take you there within no time. This Serbian southern city has been through a lot, but the biggest influence is that of the Ottoman Empire, as Nis was their important administrative center in the past. There is a nostalgic alley in Nis, called Kazandzijsko Sokace (Tinkers Alley,) an ancient downtown, and an old epicenter of events, situated in the middle of urban Serbia. In old times, the street sprawled with tinkers’ and other craftsmen’ stores, traditional restaurants and crowds of people. At the present time, the whole Tinkers Alley street is lined with restaurants and cafes, so that visitors can party like it’s the 18th century, in the middle of Nis.
The craftsmen houses are a derivative of the Ottoman era, and still give an authentic atmosphere. Most of them fell victims of the passing time, but local authorities restored one of the houses. It was carefully preserved to resemble the original look, and it was made a main building structure on the whole alley. You can even book a place to stay in the ancient streets of Tinkers Alley, if you want to taste history at first hand.
The easily recognizable spot, and a favorite one for taking photos, is a monument to Stevan Sremac, a Serbian writer from Nis and a protagonist of his novel "Kalca". The amusing monument places the writer, his fictional character and a dog at the same table, drinking some rakia and enjoying the bohemian lifestyle. There is also one empty chair at the table, and many visitors sit there and take the photo with the duo of Nis symbolic figures.
As you may know, the traditional Serbian restaurant, offering an authentic food, live local music, and cheap alcohol is called “kafana”. While strolling through Tinkers Alley, beautiful music makes you stop for a second, tap your feet in the rhythm and join the dance.
One such a place, offering tasty traditional Serbian food, old sounds and lots of rakia is “Kafana Kod Rajka.” Another place, striving to bring a piece of the old spirit and the true soul of Nis bohemian lifestyle is “Galija.” In any case, you won’t make a big mistake even if you join one of the other kafanas or bars. If you ask a local for a recommendation, they may even take you to their favorite one, and join you for the night.
The city of Nis has a laid-back appeal with the immense historical importance that will lure you towards it. It's becoming more and more popular destination on the touristic map of Europe, as it offers a lot of sightseeing, affordable accommodation and food, and very generous, warm-hearted people. While maintaining old traditions and beliefs, Nis also follows the trends and offers a lot of modern amenities and places of interest for the young. It’s possible to reach the city by taking a bus from Sofija, Skopje or Belgrade. The city of Nis also has the airport connected with many European cities, and all via budget airlines.
Who wouldn’t want to escape from the monotony of life and join a party in the style of the 18th century, in Tinkers Alley in Nis? It’s a real holiday feeling to dance and gawk at the historical place while sipping freshly brewed coffee and enjoying local delicacies.
Photo credits Nevena Vicentic
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