Don't Miss Places In Kosovo
The Republic of Kosova or Kosovo is an Independent State accompanying the deterioration of Yugoslavia. Under Slobodan Milosevic's initiative, Serbia organized another constitution in 1989 that wrongfully evoked Kosova's status as a self-governing region of Yugoslavia. Kosova Albanian pioneers reacted in 1991 by arranging a national election that pronounced Kosova free.
The country is rich with forests and alternative mineral resources. Its beautiful mountains and coastal scenery continues to amuse and attract tourists from around the world.
These top ten attractions are the not to be missed places when in Kosova.
Ethnographic Museum (Muzeu Etnologjik Emin)
The Ethnographic Museum (Muzeu Etnologjik Emin) shows a magnificent collection of traditional costumes and the rich history of Kosova. The upper floor tells the war years in a very effective and informative manner. Downstairs, you can find antiquities and a collection of traditional clothes and national costumes. The place where it is housed is totally adorable and full of history. It is an old Ottoman house whose owners and caretakers left behind after an intense political situation and threats from the government during the 1990’s. Transformed into gallery, it houses great cases of Kosovo society and their workmanship, outfits, customary floor coverings and adornments.
There is no charge for viewing all of the artifacts proudly displayed here. However, for the staff, taxes, and maintenance a small donation is expected but it is not really compulsory. The resident Kosovar guide and museum curator named Valon provides an excellent presentation and explanation of the most important part of the museum and gave an insightful overview of how Yugoslavia was split into separate nations. Even if the museum is hidden and quite difficult to locate, it is considered one of Pristina’s best attractions that are truly worth a visit.
Half a political statement and half work of art is what "NEWBORN" and of the most original monuments in Pristina City. The oversized letters form part of a work and perhaps not a new idea but it symbolizes the plausible historical background of Kosovo. The NEWBORN letters are accessible and can be scribbled on by the population, which is also very frequent and makes the monument receive good recognition by the receptive Kosovars.
While the inscribed letters can already be considered in itself as a statement in an attempt to express the state of Kosovo after independence, they are by the other doodles written on it by the Kosovo people - quasi democratic –and expanded with further statements. Thus the work of art is in a changing and evolving process of what the current state-building process of the young state aptly symbolizes.
The Newborn Monument is very important for anything or anyone that has been part of the history of this country in the last 20 years since its independence. It is the symbol of the freedom of Kosovo. It marks the end of the occupation on the Kosovo territory. This monument is painted with flags of all countries of the world.
It is the typical tour that you should not miss seeing if you want to see people in their best element. You can go by bus or drive a rented car or any transport service which you reach an agreement on well paved roads to get to Germia Park. The pool (gigantic pool) is special, and the grounds are pretty and covered in lush emerald green. In the morning it is almost empty and only full of families and groups of teenagers as any summer pool from noon until night. Families with children can have a good time for strolling in the park or visit the Esplanade restaurant where children can play while enjoying a serving of the downright delicious Albanian cuisine.
It is near the city and anyone who is seeking for relaxation should just go on Germia Park. It is located near the center on the outskirts of Pristina. You pay 1 euro for the entrance fee to see the other features of the attraction like; miles of nature trails, well-marked biker paths, pure nature, the green meadows, mountains and wildlife. Enjoy exploring the huge nature park as it is one of the great riches of the city. Discover the Balkan forest and the row of typical restaurants because it’s a true delight for the eyes and the mouth.
Statue of Mother Teresa
Standing in the main street of Pristina, a small statue is dedicated to the saint from Kosovo. Mother Teresa was born in Macedonia (Skopje) to Kosovar (Prizren) parents who are also both Albanian and Catholic. The Statue of Mother Teresa is revered and holy at the same time especially for the Macedonians, Kosovars, and Albanians. It greatly symbolizes and represent how this land is an area of transit of ethnicities and religions. Respected and honored for her noble missionary work done for the poor people in India, she is equally famous in her homeland because she has provided health care and acts of charity during the ten-year occupation of Serbia where it was difficult to get the Albanian Kosovars.
This explains the statue in the city center, which in itself is smaller than what anyone would expect fro someone who has touched many lives not only in Kosovo but the rest of the world. A cathedral (Mother Teresa Cathedral) is currently built in her honor a few meters away from this statue. Although it is dwarfed by renovated government structures and high rise modern buildings it is a highly symbolic point to visit, to offer prayers, and take a picture when visiting the capital city of Kosova.
Fatih Mosque (Xhamia e Mbretit)
The Fatih Mosque is a place of contemporary Islamic worship with a modern clergy. It is one of the last remaining Ottoman inspired architectural monuments in a country like Kosovo. This ancient mosque has a modern reading room that is located and easily accessible in its spacious courtyard. It is fully decorated with Arabic inscriptions on its stained glass, altar, and pulpit. In 2010, it was restored and most portions have gone reconstruction to preserve its important role in Kosovo’s religious and cultural history. This imposing structure is one of the living evidence that Christians, Muslims, and other religions can co-exist and live in total peace and harmony.
The kind Imam welcomes everyone and keeps all doors open. There is a room that is assigned to showcase some original Islamic manuscripts, prayer beads, an old Koran, and handmade craftsmanship work. Be sure to check out this biggest mosque and admire the artistic frescoes and paintings that can be found on its ceiling. The preservation work commissioned by the Turkish government was able to protect the originality and the mystical charm of this grand mosque. Taking pictures is allowed and wearing modest clothes and the ladies covering the head when they enter the mosque is strictly enforced.
This beautiful statue of the Albanian hero is strategically built in the center of a pedestrian avenue of Pristina. The Skanderbeg Statue is dramatically located and acts as a symbol of unity and freedom of the people of Kosovo. All around are the most important monuments of the city, with small sheds of chestnut stores that are for sale in winter and cool in summer ice. The scene is when the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg led the brave fight against the Turks. In any Albanian community (even in Italy) there are statues or streets dedicated to the hero of Kosovo.
This one is in the city center just across and in front of the theater. It stands next to a couple of ministries, the government palace, business establishments, and the Parliament. Overall it is impressive and a bit' scruffy with its steps and sidewalks damaged. In the summer, even the guys go up to the edges of the statue and keep them in balance. It is worthwhile to visit and you can take a couple of pictures of this giant landmark dedicated to the Albanian and Kosovar people. There is a fountain and playground for children, coffee shops, and modern malls, in front of this famous statue.
The beautiful Gracanica Monastery of King Milutin, represents the Orthodox faith of Vercingetorix origin. This monastery is a bit difficult to find in the region of Gracanica, but the effort is truly rewarding. The interior of the church is painted up at the top with rows of pictures of medieval frescoes. A gracious nun takes the trouble to explain it just as the whole checkered history of the monastery and how it came to be. In totality it is a monastery with and adjacent old church, both of which have survived the conflicts wrought by 1459 and the 1900’s territorial disputes.
In this area today, the UN KOFOR troop is stationed. There are still live seven nuns that serve on this very well preserved monastery. The frescoes are still in good condition. The complex has a well-stocked gift shop with monastery products, mainly icon replicas, rosaries, crosses, and holy water. If you are lucky you can have a chance to meet the priest assigned to take care of the church and hear him celebrate an Orthodox Mass. They let everyone in but strict rules are implemented to please the Orthodox monks and nuns who join the public in observing the solemn atmosphere of the Holy Mass.
The Fortress of Kalaja
If you raise your eyes to heaven and see the Kalaja Fortress that stands on the hill of Prizren be sure to visit and check out its marvelous importance to Kosova. Bring enough water though to hydrate yourself while climbing its trail. The road that leads to the top of the fortress is located next to the Sinan Pasha Mosque (which you should definitely visit before the climb), and then take as a reference the minaret (the highest) and its dome. The first part of the climb is paved with large pieces of porphyry and in the second part begins the steps that will help you reach the top.
Along The trail you can find benches if you feel a little crumbling to stop. Going in the right side there is a ruined building that is closed and looks like an old Orthodox monastery. Arriving at the top, the show is wonderful but make sure you can climb over the walls and enjoy the views of the entire city. The fort was abandoned but if you think that only 15 years ago this country had been devastated by war, finding a couple of workers with the scraper trying to fix "something" may still come as a bit surprising.
A walk all around the walls is a must even if the back and the front is reduced to mere ruins. Standing at the entrance of the fort is fantastic as the fresh air, the shade, and the view make you feel on top of the world. The back is all downhill and a much easier descent to get back in town.
The Sinan Pasha Mosque
After seeing a historical fortress it is imperative to walk the streets of Prizren to find and visit this enchanting mosque. Walk as long as 50 meters before strolling along the bank of the river and the clear image of this mosque become quite splendid. Behind the classic Ottoman bridge you could see the minaret and the dome of the mosque. Outside the mosque, a fountain of fresh drinking water is a real boon for the warm day. The interior is very well lit and you can see the details of the colors, blue red, yellow blue and so on. You can silently marvel at the fantastic decorations of the walls and aisles. To the right of a gallery, the mosque is fully adorned with finely decorated columns. Anyone who visits Prizren must pass by and stop to see the Sinan Pasha Mosque to see its marvelous charm and wonder.
One of the most beautiful destinations in Kosovo is undoubtedly the Mirusha Waterfalls. The waterfalls are within an hour's drive from Pristina, and very near the city of Klina. From the parking lot of the waterfall it takes about half an hour's walk to reach this natural attraction.
In the summer, this is one of the places where the locals come to bathe and picnic. During out of season, it is quite possible that you're here as the only visitor. The remote waterfall is an absolute must for hikers and adventurers. The trails are quite challenging but it is all worth the time and effort.