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Skull Tower, Nis, Republic of Serbia

Serbia has been under Ottoman yoke for about 300 years (1459-1809). In 1809 Serbs started a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. One of the most historical battles of this period was on 31 May 1809. The Serbian army that consisted of 3000 rebels and was led by the brave general Stevan Singelic fought against the Ottoman army that exceeded their number 5 times. There was no any chance for Serbs to win the battle: when general Singelic realized that he blew up the powder magazine. No one survived.

According to the order of Hursid Pasha of Nis, the dead Serbian soldiers were beheaded: the scalps were packed with cotton and sent to Istanbul, and the skulls were used as bricks to construct a tower. It was meant to warn the other rebels about the consequences. A total number of 952 skulls was used for the tower. It was named Skull tower (Serbian- Cele-Kula).

In 1892 owing to the contributions of local residents a chapel was built around the tower. The majority of the skulls was buried by the relatives of the dead soldiers. There are only 58 skulls left on the site now.

In 1937 a monument to Stevan Singelic was built in front of the chapel. Starting from 1979 the tower is registered as a Government Protected Archaeological Site.

By Sona Gasparian,


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