Skull Tower: Dark and Bloody Side of History
There is an interesting monument in Niš, Serbia. The Skull Tower, made of the skulls of Serbian rebels, is one of the monuments where the dark and bloody side of history is exhibited.
The story of the Skull Tower is that it was intended to serve as a lesson against the Serbs who wanted to secede from the Ottoman Empire and who revolted (First Serbian Uprising) during the Battle of Chegar in 1809. The Grand Vizier Hurşit Pasha collected the heads of the dead Serbs and sent some of them to Istanbul, where Sultan Mahmud II lived, and the remaining skulls were used in the construction of this tower, which is used as a monument today.
More than 2000 of the skulls of about 3000 soldiers were sent to the Sultan. With the remaining 952 skulls, this 3 meter high tower was built. The skull kept in a glass case next to the tower belongs to Stevan Sindzelic, the leader of the rebellion.
The main purpose of the tower was to show the people of the region the power of the Ottomans and the fate of those who opposed the Ottomans. According to Serbs, this tower is one of the symbols of Serbia and has been included in Serbia’s Cultural Heritage list because it tells the story of the struggle for freedom and independence.
The tower remained unprotected until the end of the 19th century. Some of it was damaged by the weather. Some of the skulls were taken by relatives. Until 1892 when it was covered over. Today, only 58 skulls remain and the tower can be visited inside a church.
What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of Kelle Tower?
You can visit Kelle Tower between 10:00 – 19:00 every day except Monday.
Where is Kelle Tower and how to get there?
The entrance to the area where the tower is located is from the east of the Kelle Tower shown on the map. If you try to enter from the west, you will enter a military area and have to deal with Serbian soldiers. If you are coming by private car, there is a parking lot right in front of the entrance, you can leave your car there.