The Skull Tower


Ćele-kula in Serbian, and the Skull Tower in English is a monument unique in the world, visited by more than 30.000 people each year. It is the tower made of human skulls, built after the battle for liberation of Nis in 1809. This horrific monument was built as a warning to anyone rising against the Ottoman Empire. Originaly there were 952 skulls built into the tower , today there are 59 skulls remain and they still illustrate all the horror of the original tower.

ADDRESS: Bulevar Dr Zorana  Đinđića , Phone:  +381 18 222 228

OPENING HOURS: Tuesday-Friday 09.00 AM - 07.00 PM, Saturday-Sunday 09.00 AM - 05.00 PM, Monday: 10.00 AM - 03.00 PM

TICKET PRICE:  Adults 150,00 rsd (1.2 eur), children 130,00 rsd (1 eur),  group ticket for all objects of National museum – 200,00 rsd (1.6 eur)                                


The Serbian rebels organized the First Serbian Uprising (1804-1813), attacking Ottoman army in the territory of the then Serbia. The liberation of Niš, as a strategically important location, was one of the main goals of the uprising.

Although the Ottomans defeated the insurgents, they were revolted with the way the Serbian insurgents finished the battle, as well as with the fact that much greater number of Ottoman soldiers got killed in this fight. (see also the STORY ABOUT A HERO)

Ottoman commander of the city, Hurshid Pasha, ordered his soldiers to cut off the heads of the Serbian soldiers fallen at Čegar and to bring them to Niš. Then they gathered all skinners from the city and ordered them, under threat of death, to skin the heads of all the Serbian soldiers. The skins were filled with straw and sent to the sultan in Constantinople, and the Turks started to build the tower out of the skulls.

The construction of the tower lasted for several days. They had to build in 17 skulls in fourteen rows on the four sides of the tower, 952 skulls in total. The anger and mercilessness of the Ottoman Pasha is shown in the fact that at the end of the construction, just in order to fill the last row, he ordered 30 Serbian captives to be killed, and their heads were built in the tower without skinning. The sight was terrifying, but the effect was the opposite of what was expected, and the Skull Tower has become a symbol of resistance and struggle for freedom.