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During the First Serbian Uprising, Serbian revolutionaries attempted to liberate Niš in 1809 when the famous Battle of Čegar took place.After the defeat of the Serbian forces, the Ottoman commander of Niš ordered that the heads of the killed Serbs were to be mounted on a tower to serve as a warning. In 1821, the Ottomans arrested the Bishop of Niš Milentija and 200 Serbian patriots on charges of preparing an uprising in the Niš area, in support of the Greek War of Independence.

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Byzantine Emperor Justinian I restored the town but it was destroyed by the Avars once again.

The Slavs, in their campaign against Byzantium, conquered Niš and settled here in 540.

The town was in Greek hands for some time again, then, in 1185, it came under Serbian control. After a 25-day-long siege the city fell to the Turks. In 1689, Niš was seized by Austrian army during Great Turkish War, but Turks regained it in 1690.

In 1737, Niš was seized again, but this time by the Austrian army, in their campaign against the Turks.

The town switched hands between the two, before being given by the Byzantines to the Serbs in the 12th century. It was conquered by the Ottomans in the 15th century, becoming the seat of a sanjak initially in Rumelia Eyalet (1385-1443, 1448-1846), laterly in Niš Eyalet (1846-1864) and finally in Danube Vilayet (1864-1878).

It was liberated by the Serbian Army in 1878 during the Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78).

Legend has it that Niš was founded by a Prince Nisa, who built it using the nearby Humska Čuka stone. The ethnogenesis of the Thracians started in the Iron Age, and one of their chief towns was Aiadava, the Roman Remesiana; specifically, the Triballi dwelled in this region, mentioned as early as 424 BC.

In 279 BC, during the Gallic invasion of the Balkans, the Scordisci tribe defeated the Triballi and settled the lands, at which time the city was known as Navissos.) was used as a base for operations.

During the People's Crusade, on 3 July 1096, Peter the Hermit clashed with Byzantine forces at Niš. In the period of Ottomans rule, Niš was one of the seats of Turkish military and civil administration.

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