44 | resentedby thewidely popular Nišville International Jazz Festival. Held within the wallsofNiš Fortress, Nišville is acclaimedas one of the top European events of its kind, attracting big-name jazz, R&B, soul, funk and reggae acts from around the world to Serbia every August. Fans of pop, rock or electronic dance music are sure to have some fun at the city’s other festivals: Nisomnia and Naissus Fest. Adding to its‘merak’credentials, Niš was also the hometown of legendary Roma singer ŠabanBajramović, hailed across the Balkans as the ‘King of Romanymusic’. The latemusician is today honoured with a monument on the quay beside the River Nišava, which is a popular place for strolling or simply chilling over drinks with friends. CAPITAL OF GOOD FOOD According to an old saying, you can’t put apriceonmerak, and that’s something that anyone visiting Niš will quickly learn. ComparedtoBalkancapitalsandotherpopular cities in the region, the culinary o er in Niš is exceptionally tasty and incredibly cheap. With dozens of charming Serbian taverns (kafana), the city’s Kazandžijsko sokače (Tinkers’ Alley) is a must for both food lovers and party-goers. If you’re already familiar with local meat favourites ćevapčići and pljeskavica, don’t miss the famous grilled ribs with kajmak (creamymilk curd) or try pork knuckle baked in cabbage and topped with bacon. Add to the list a large portion of šopska or moravska salad on the side and a pint of a cold local beer (hint: there’s even a beer calledMerak). For Balkan basics, any fan of ‘burek’ (a greasy pie withvarious llings) probably knows there are a few versions of this mega-popular pastry. The round burek, which is usually cut into quarters, is the all-time-favourite across most of the region. Fun fact: it’s believed burek was actually created in Niš in the mid-15th century! NIŠ KIND OF ADVENTURE Merak isn’t theonly thing thatmatters in Niš. The surrounding area is a paradise for all sorts of outdoor activities. The Sićevo and Jelašnica gorges provide the perfect setting for some adventure inpristine nature. Adrenaline junkies can choosebetween free climbing on the gorges’ limestone rocks and paragliding. If you’re not a fan of heights, try venturing deep into the Earth by visiting the impressive, more than 6km-long Cerje Cave, located some 14km from Niš. Over two million years old and rich in ornamentation (including seemingly gravity-defying helictites), this massive cave has only been partially explored and is still not regularly open for tourists. Niš is also known as the home of Niška Banja. This mild-climate spa has ve mineral springs with healing waters that were even transported all the way toMediana Palace back in the days of Constantine the Great. It’s located just 10km from the city centre, so hop on a local bus for a dose of oriental massages or soothing choco-mint rubs. And everything detailed above can be summedupwithoneword –merak! glajdingu. Ako niste obožavatelj visina, možete da se spustite duboko ispod površine i posetite impresivnu Cerjansku pećinu, koja se nalazi na 14 kilometara odNiša. Stara dva miliona godina, sa bogatimukrasima (heliktiti) koji prkose gravitaciji, ova pećina je samo delom istražena i nije u celosti otvorena za sve posetioce... Niš jetakođepoznat ipoNiškojbanji.Čuvena po umerenoj klimi, ova banja ima pet mineralnih izvora, sa kojih je u vreme KonstantinaVelikogvodanošena svedoMedijane. S obzirom na to da se nalazi svega deset kilometara od centra grada, do banje se može stići gradskim prevozom, pa ne propustite priliku da uživate u orijentalnoj masaži ili čoko-tretmanima. I sve gore navedeno stane u jednu reč – merak! iStock / Djordje Mustur