Tuesday, June 1

David Samuels

Local Color

"I arrived in Nis midmorning. The highway leading into town was empty and lined with stores selling motorbikes and diet supplements. The city felt far removed from Belgrade, with its Austro-Hungarian facades and well-ordered criminality. Nis was wilder, and had more of an ethnic mix: Albanians, Macedonians, Gypsies. The city's most famous landmark is the Skull Tower, which was built by the Turks, in 1809, out of quicklime, sand, and nine hundred and fifty-two skulls of Serbian fighters. On the uneven sidewalks, girls in heavy makeup tottered along in high heels, their loutish boyfriends following closely behind."

--David Samuels

fr. "The Pink Panthers: A tale of diamonds, thieves, and the Balkans"

in The New Yorker [April 12, 2010]

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