NISH, Nrscri, or NISSA, the ancient Naissus, a city of the Balkan peninsula, which at one time was the capital of Servia, and after being the chief town of a Turkish eyalet in the vilayet of the Danube, and (1877) of the new vilayet of Kossovo, was again in 1878 restored to Servia, where it is now the administrative centre of a circle containing a population of 117,000. The town is a thriving place of 12,800 inhabitants, the see of a Greek bishop, the headquarters of a militia corps, and an important centre in the Servian railway system. It is situated at the east end of a plain, and is traversed by the Nishava, a tributary of the Morava and sub-tributary of the Danube. Fortifications on the heights, buildings well massed together, numerous minarets, and abundant foliage in the suburbs render the outward appearance of the town both pleasant and imposing ; but the interior, with its narrow and ill-kept streets, is utterly disappointing. About a quarter of an hour to the north of the citadel is the Voinik (war) hill, where the Turkish army encamped in 1689.
Naissus, best known as the birthplace of Constantine the Great, was destroyed by Attila, but restored by Justinian. The chief facts in the history of the modern town are its capture by the Turks in 1375 and by John Hunyady in 1443; the victory of Louis of Baden over the Turks in 1689 ; the recovery by the Turks in 1690 ; the capture by the Austrians and the subsequent surrender by General Dochat in 1737; and finally the siege by the Servians in 1809. On this last occasion Stephen Singelitch blew up his redoubt, to the destruction at once of his Turkish assailants and himself.