What to See
Many of the most important sites in Novi Pazar can be reached by foot from the city square, Gradski Trg, in the center of the city. To find Gradski Trg, look for the sebilj at the base of the pedestrian street (28. Novembra) or look for the Hotel Vrbak, which straddles the banks of the Raška river. In Gradski Trg you can also find a helpful tourist map with descriptions of major sites and a brief history of the city.
Church of Saint Peter (Petrova crkva): The oldest standing church in Serbia, the Church of St. Peter was founded in the 4th century and was initially the seat of the Orthodox See of Raška, playing a key role under the Nemanjić dynasty. The church was expanded upon through the 9th century, and today it features frescoes added from the 10th century onward and a notable surrounding graveyard. Alongside Sopoćani Monastery and Đurđevi Stupovi, the Church of St. Peter is one of the region’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The church is located about 3 km from the city center and can be accessed by car or taxi, driving just a few minutes north out of the city, or by foot, walking about 20-30 minutes north from the city center.
Amir-Agin Han: Dating back to the 17th century, Novi Pazar’s Ottoman han once served as a resting place for travelers and merchants passing through the Sandžak region. Novi Pazar provided an ideal resting point between the major trading centers in Bosnia and Dubrovnik in the west and Thessaloniki and Istanbul in the east, so the Han was a popular place to seek accommodation. Located directly off Gradski Trg, the Han formerly offered room for guests upstairs, while the downstairs provided space for livestock. Today it provides a home for a collection of small stores and an event space.
Altun-Alem Mosque: Altum-Alem mosque is located in the heart of downtown Novi Pazar, just a few minutes walk down 1. Maja south from Gradski Trg. The mosque, which is one of the most important buildings in the city from the Ottoman period, was built by Muslihudin Abdul Gani in the 16th century. It is said that the mosque was named after one of the three daughters of a local paša named Altuna, who did not marry and chose to donate her property to the construction of the mosque, leaving behind her name as a tribute.
Ras Museum (Muzej Ras): The city’s only museum, the Ras Museum features historical exhibits from Novi Pazar and the local region. Included in the museum’s collection are archaeological artifacts from ancient times, World War II memorabilia, and traditional clothing and home furnishings from the region. The museum provides a good overview of the city’s dynamic and far-reaching history and the many people who have lived here. In addition, the museum sometimes offers special exhibitions and events. Entrance to the museum, which is located on Stevana Nemanje just north of Gradski Trg, costs 100 dinar.
Sopoćani Monastery and Stari Ras: Located around 15 km from the city center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sopoćani Monastery is one of the most important sites in Serbia and a prime example of the style of the Raška School. Founded by King Uroš I in the 13th century, Sopoćani has a long and complex history and is still a functioning monastery. The Church of the Holy Trinity was built in the Romanesque style and is the highlight of the monastic complex, offering largely complete frescoes from the 13th century. On the way to the monastery are the archaeological ruins of Stari Ras, the heart of the ancient Nemanjić dynasty. To get to the monastery and Stari Ras, you can either take a taxi (the ride should take about 15 minutes and cost €12-15 for a trip there and back) or catch a bus from the city station (buses leave at 10:30 and 16:00 and return at 11:50 and 17:20)
Arab Mosque (Arapska džamija): One of the city’s oldest buildings, the Arab Mosque occupies a picturesque location in the heart of the city, with the mosque’s minaret signaling the beginning of the old town. Not much is known about the history of the mosque today, but it is said that the builder of the structure was an Arab, thereby providing the name of the mosque. The mosque dates back at least to the 16th century but was burned and later renovated in the late 17th century. The Arab Mosque is located directly across the Raška river from Gradski Trg on 1. Maja.
Đurđevi Stupovi: Originally created by Stefan Nemanja as a promise he made to St. George if he were to be freed from captivity and the third UNESCO World Heritage Site in the region, Đurđevi Stupovi was founded in the 12th century and sits atop a picturesque hill in the outskirts of Novi Pazar with commanding views of the region. Despite damage to the church during WWII, the building has been mostly restored, although many frescoes have been moved to Belgrade. The church can be reached by foot, walking from the city center in about 60 minutes, or by taxi in about 10 minutes, costing around €10 for a trip there and back.
Turkish Fort and City Park: Occupying an advantageous location in the heart of the city, the Turkish fort overlooks Gradski Trg and offers attractive views of the city and the surrounding hills from its walls. Initiated by Isa-Beg Isaković in the 15th century, the fort was the epicenter of the Ottoman Sanjak of Novi Pazar. The fort was originally a wooden structure built conveniently on the Raška river, but today’s stone construction replaced the original and was continually expanded and fortified through the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Much of the fort remains intact today, including the notable octagonal watchtower, although parts of it were destroyed during World War I. Inside the fort today is the City Park, which offers a café, benches, the city library, and pleasant green spaces to walk around or sit.
Isa-Beg Hammam: Commissioned by Isa-Beg Isaković in 15th century, the Isa-Beg Hammam is located in the heart of the old town, just a few steps from 1. Maja. The Turkish bath is built on a symmetrical plan providing space for bathing for both men and women separately. During the summer, a café is located inside, where you can enjoy a drink with a distinctly Ottoman ambiance.
Market: The city’s central green market (zelena pijaca) is located behind the city’s municipal building, to the east of Gradski Trg at the confluence of the Raška and Jošanica rivers. Although the main market day is Sunday, the market is open all week and offers fresh produce from local farmers alongside everything from slippers to garden tools to kitchen supplies. For clothing in specific, try the northern part of the market.
Recreational Center: Novi Pazar’s recreational center is located by the Hotel Vrbak, just downhill from the city park. It features a track for jogging and walking, a pool, tennis courts, a skatepark, exercise equipment, and more for anyone interested. During the summer, the center also holds a carnival with rides and games, and over the winter it includes a skating rink.
Novi Pazar Spa: Located about 4 km north outside of the city center in the direction of Raška, Novi Pazar’s ancient spa was first discovered by the Roman inhabitants of the territory. During the Ottoman period, the spa was built up in the 17th century and gained renown. Nearby, the city also has a modern spa facility, which includes swimming areas and therapeutic treatments.