Monday, August 13, 2018

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kosovo

Kosovo become one of the favorite countries to be visited by bloggers and journalists, who are writing recommendation why to travel to this country.
Here is a blog from Anita Hendrieka, who is listing 8 reasons, why you should visit Kosovo. 
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I knew that the second I stepped foot in Kosovo I would love it, and I was right. Kosovo is such a unique place for many reasons and honestly, it was one of my favourite countries I visited at the beginning of this year.


So, let’s get into the reasons why you should visit Kosovo!

1. IT’S EUROPE’S NEWEST COUNTRY
Yes, you read that right! In 2008 Kosovo declared independence making it the newest country in Europe. Unfortunately, not everyone still to this day recognizes Kosovo as a country. Spain, Greece, Russia and many more still consider Kosovo as a part of the country of Serbia. I recognize Kosovo’s independence as an independent country from Serbia. If you have anything negative to say about Kosovo’s independence, then please don’t bother. This is not a place for political arguments and any negative comments will be removed. I am not looking to have a debate on this issue. I recognize Kosovo as an independent country and in my opinion, everyone else should too.


2 TO TRY THE SUJUK
I couldn’t count on both hands how many times I had Sujuk (spicy sausage). It’s honestly the most flavorsome meat I have ever had. To my surprise, it can be spicy. I wasn’t expecting it to be as in Albania spicy food is not popular at all. So, if you come to Kosovo make sure you try Sujuk.


3 THE PEOPLE ARE EXTREMELY FRIENDLY
Every single person I encountered in Kosovo was friendly. Everyone is willing to have a conversation about your travels or if they don’t speak English, they will happily smile at you. If I ever needed any help with directions, there was always someone asking me if I was okay. They are very hospitable people!

4 NATURE IS OUT OF THIS WORLD
From snowcapped peaks to rolling countryside, canyons and caves, the nature and views in Kosovo blew me away. It was one of the prettiest places I have been to. One of my favourite places was Peja. The views from the mountains above will blow your mind – trust me!

5 IT’S AFFORDABLE
As a tourist, travelling in Kosovo is extremely affordable. You can grab a full meal for under a few euro. It’s one of the most affordable countries in Europe. Therefore, Kosovo is very attractive to backpackers. If you want your money to go a little further, then visit Kosovo!

6 THE RAKI
If you have never tried raki before then you’re in for a shock. Raki is a distilled alcohol normally made from grapes, peaches or any other type of fruit. It’s extremely strong – it can range from 20-60% (no one really knows the strength). The raki, in my opinion, was very different from the one I’m used to in Albania. It’s a lot smoother, I liked it a lot!

7 FASCINATING HISTORY
As mentioned above, Kosovo has had a damaging past. From civil war to newly founded independence, there is lots to learn about the history of Kosovo. It’s no secret that Kosovo has had a stormy past. As mentioned, in the 90’s international relations had to intervene.
It’s not a history you can learn overnight either. You will hear many stories of first-hand encounters from locals.... 

8 THEY HAVE THE BEST MACCHIATO IN THE WORLD!

I never knew this before visiting but just out of Pristina in a town called Gjilan they claim to have the best macchiato…in the world! Yes, you read that right. Make sure you visit a bar called Papaku to try. It’s famous for having the best. I can confirm that the macchiato was delicious, was it the best? I actually have no clue as that was my first every macchiato, but others have claimed that it is, in fact, the best, even better than Italy! Now that’s a big claim.

See the original article here

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lonely Planet: Prizren among 10 European cities to visit in 2018


The largest travel guide book publisher in the worldLonely Planet” has listed Prizren of Kosovo among 10 European cities to visit in 2018. Lonely Planet highlights the beautiful Ottoman architecture of Prizren, dramatic landscapes and burgeoning wine region of Rahovec.

“Continually mentioned as an on-the-cusp destination, tiny Kosovo, wedged between two mountain ranges in the heart of the Balkans, has somehow stayed below the radar of most travellers. But with the country celebrating 10 years of (albeit disputed) independence in 2018, that looks set to change. Coursing with energy, the world’s second-newest nation also boasts Europe’s youngest median population – and it’s their verve fuelling its development. 

The Kosovan section of the Balkans-spanning Via Dinarica hiking trail showcases the country’s peak-laden landscape to dramatic effect; more film fans each summer flock to Dokufest, an acclaimed festival in the sublime Ottoman-era city of Prizren; and when the trekking and movie-going ends, the burgeoning wine region of Rahovec beckons with more than a dozen vineyards.”

See original article here!


Monday, April 30, 2018

10 facts about Kosovo-Blick newspaper promotes Kosovo


From Kosovo’s world famous artists, to natural attractions and culture, “Blick", a Swiss German-language daily newspaper lists 10 interesting facts about Kosovo.
Natural gems of Kosovo are: Miruesha Waterfall, Gjeravica Mountain (Kosovo’s highest peak), Brezovica Ski Resort. You are most likely to admire also the cultural heritage of Kosovo: beautiful architecture of monasteries, mosques and castles. Blick also highlights the coffee culture in Kosovo writing: “Sorry, Italy, but the best coffee is in Kosovo. Everywhere you will find pretty little coffees with silvery glossy espresso machines.”
Mirusha Waterfalls
Credits: Kosovo Holidays 

The youngest country on the European continent has left the war turmoil behind. The Kosovars are proud of their homeland and welcoming visitors so far. The small Balkan state has its own special charms. If you are looking for a different adventure, you will find it here.

Kosovo’s Pop Artist 
Just now she stormed the charts again: The 27-year-old British pop singer Rita Ora (born Rita Sahatçiu) is a daughter of Kosovo. She was born in the Pristina capital of Kosovo in 1990 and fled to London a year later with her parents and siblings. The Kosovars are nevertheless proud of their "successful" and beautiful music export. And Rita Ora is also interested in her roots - since 2015 she is honorary ambassador of the country.
Rita Ora-Kosovo's famous Pop Artist


Mirusha waterfalls
The Mirusha Falls (in Albanian Ujëvarët e Mirushës) are one of the most impressive natural spectacles in Kosovo. Mirusha Waterfalls is a chain of waterfalls found in the Mirusha River, situated on the south of the Gremnik Mountains; on the way to Gjakova at an altitude of 572 meters. Its distance from the capital city is approximately one hour.
Mirusha River engraved a 10 km long canyon and created 13 river lakes with 12 waterfalls between them. The waterfall with the biggest height is the one between the sixth and seventh lake, and it is 22 meters high.
Those waterfalls between the lakes, together with the stunning landscape, and rocks and caves around the waterfalls, form an overwhelming sight and present a special tourism attraction. Although the water temperature is usually quite cold, throughout summer when the temperature is high, swimming there can be incredibly pleasant.

Novo Brdo: castle ruins as in «Game of Thrones»
From a distance, the castle ruins of Novo Brdo look like one of the rundown castles from the cult series "Game of Thrones". The structure towers powerfully on the extinct volcano, after which it is named, the Novo Brdo (which means "new hill"). The fortress was built in Byzantine times. In the 13th century it was pimped up by Serbian kings and served to secure the numerous mines, which were primarily looking for silver.
Novo Brdo

Coffee Culture
Sorry, Italy, but the best coffee is in Kosovo. Nowhere is the black brew prepared with more love than in the small Balkan state - say connoisseurs. Everywhere you will find pretty little coffees with silvery glossy espresso machines. One of the most famous is the Café Soma near the pedestrian zone "Nënë Tereza" in the center of Pristina. If you want to do it like the Kosovars, do not order an espresso or cappuccino, but a "macchiato" (espresso with milk froth).
Soma Cafe
Photo source


The first Kosovar on Everest
When the mountaineering group in Nepal's Everest Basecamp announced that they would not take them to the summit because it was all too hard for women, Utah Ibrahimi (34) only spurred on. The former marketing woman and successful tourism organizer grabbed her Sherpa and climbed alone with him the highest peak in the world. She was the first Kosovar on Everest - now she wants to climb the remaining thirteen 8000er. If you want to go climbing or hiking with the lively young woman or do yoga with her outdoors, you can visit her homepage for her outdoor activities.
Kosovar National Theater
The National Theater in the capital Pristina is the only theater in the country. It was founded in 1946 and declared "National Theater" after the end of the War of Independence against Serbia in 1999. Over 400 in-house productions have been performed in the venerable house, including politically extremely courageous and controversial productions - sometimes even under police protection. Slightly less controversial are the performances of the Kosovar National Ballet, which also take place here.

On the way to Europe
Kosovo and the EU, so far a rather unfortunate love story. The Kosovars hardly want anything more than to finally belong to the EU. Twenty-three out of the 28 EU Member States have even recognized the country (all but Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Cyprus). For years, the EU's Eulex Mission has been trying to help Kosovo build the rule of law. Nevertheless, the road to Europe is even further for the Kosovars. Together with the Belarusians they still need a visa if they want to enter the Schengen area.

Cultural metropolis Peja
The city on the "White Drin", the largest river in the country, abounds with cultural historical monuments. Not only the World Heritage Monastery Visoki Dečani of the 100,000-inhabitant city attracts visitors. The Red Mosque (built in 1173), the Bajrakli mosque also have beautiful ornaments and a lot of history. The Church of St. Catherine is the spiritual center of the region's Catholic Albanians. On a themed trail, the religious sites can be explored in about two hours.

Brezovica: Kosovo's ski resort

Just 68 people live in the small, Serbian-dominated village in the south of Kosovo. As a winter sports resort Brezovica is probably the most important spot in the country. The approximately 80-kilometer-long mountain range that extends between Kosovo and Macedonia, reaches heights of over 2000 meters. In the ski center (one of three winter sports facilities in Kosovo), nine prepared tracks and several powder snow slopes await skiers and snowboarders. Once they were to serve as evasive slopes for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.


Gjeravica: Kosovo's highest peak
With 2566 meters, the Gjeravica is the highest mountain in Kosovo - officially, at least. For a few years ago, when the border with Macedonia was redrawn, the "Maja e Njerit" suddenly stood on Kosovar territory. At 2568 meters, the summit is a whopping two meters higher than the Gjeravica. He is not yet officially recognized. Nonetheless, the "smaller" mountain in the west of the country remains one of the most popular hiking destinations.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Pristina: A visit to Europe's youngest capital

‘Travelers Insight’ -a travel blog of Munich Airport has dedicated an article to Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. The author Matthias Derhake writes about his tour in Pristina which was offered by Kosovo Holidays, a Destination Management and Tour operator company in Pristina . Derhake is impressed by the culture in Pristina, by the positive vibe of young people who live and study in the capital. “Pristina is moving. You can really feel the updraft pulling through the streets.”
You will be surprised by the culinary in Pristina: “Whoever strolls down the city promenade from Skanderbeg Square - this is where the theater is located - should do so on an empty stomach. Because here are numerous stalls with Albanian, oriental and international delicacies. Especially between April and October, this food mile is a real culinary highlight.
Read more about his trip below in English, or the original article in Dutch.  

National Museum of Kosovo

Visit to Pristina - departure mood and coffee culture
In the youngest country of Europe proportionately, most young people live, much of them in Pristina. On the one hand, the city with its old buildings still has the Yugoslavian charm, on the other hand, one encounters more and more hip and modern cafes, theater and art.
People in the Balkans are passionate coffee drinkers, as you can see in Pristina. Many politicians and members of parliament are attracted to this because the seat of government of Kosovo is right around the corner.
If you like to work on a laptop or mix with the locals, you should make yourself comfortable in the Soma Book Station , which by the way is run by a cat. Well, not quite. The cat belongs to the owner. She spends most of the day in the café and is very sociable with the guests. Also recommended are the Cup o Tea, Tartines , Tiffany , MIQT Pub , Kadare Bar Books and the Mana Board Game Bar, which offers a wide variety of board games for their guests.
Visit to Pristina's city promenade: Delicacies galore

Interpretation desired - the National Library of Kosovo
Pristina is not too big, the city center can be explored on foot. Here you will also find the most beautiful buildings, attractions, museums and mosques.
Among the most impressive sights in Pristina I would count the National Library of Kosovo, which was unfortunately named by the English Telegraph as one of the ugliest buildings in the world and located on the campus of the University. Nonetheless, it is the most visited attraction in Kosovo. There are many different and controversial interpretations about the symbolic meaning of the 99 white, glass domes with the large grid-like metal net. If you're traveling to Pristina, you can find out about what the Serbs and Albanians are discussing here as part of the Kosovo Holidays Walking Tour 
A few meters away is the Mother Teresa Cathedral. Muslims and Christians live peacefully together in Kosovo and have been for a long time. For one euro, my tour guide Armend and I take the elevator up the cathedral. From the top you have a breathtaking view over the city and the nearby mountains.
National Library of Kosovo

Pristina's story - shocking, but with a happy ending
The history of the country is reflected in almost all the sights of the city. So also on the Ibrahim Rugova, the Skanderbeg Square and the  National Museum of Kosovo. While finds of early history are shown on the ground floor of the museum, on the first floor you will find the very interesting but also disturbing exhibition on the Kosovo War from 1998 to 1999.
After a 60-minute history lesson, it's time to go outside again. Actually, I'm more of an outdoor and nature lover, but the story of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia has captivated me so much that I try to go to any museum and talk to people about it as soon as I'm in the area.
Right next to the museum is the Great Mosque of Pristina. Armend begs me in, we take off the shoes before. A very warm, peaceful and above all welcoming atmosphere surrounds us.
Bonding with the West - Bill Clinton and the Symbolic Lego Stone
So many impressions and information. And we were not even in the city center. The large yellow Lego stone on Ibrahim Rugova Square symbolizes not only the six regions of Kosovo, but is also seen as a missing puzzle or Lego piece of the EU.
Kosovo is pro EU and America, as the UN and some big politicians strongly supported the Kosovars during the war. As a sign of their attachment, they not only created Bill Clinton Avenue, but also erected a statue in honor of the former US president. Many parents have called their sons Bill or Bill Clinton. I had to ask twice when I heard that.
From Suxhuk to Kifle - Pristina's culinary surprises
Whoever strolls down the city promenade from Skanderbeg Square - this is where the theater is located - should do so on an empty stomach. Because here are numerous stalls with Albanian, oriental and international delicacies. Especially between April and October, this food mile is a real culinary highlight.
Be sure to try the pastries in the small bakeries.

On the huge bazaar Armend shows me the hidden alleys and the traders, who besides fruits, vegetables and textiles also offer oriental delicacies, spices and traditional garments. Anyone who wants to buy something here should definitely negotiate or have a local with them, as communication problems can arise.
Add caption

#NewBornMonument - Pristina's creative monument
At the southern end of the promenade you suddenly find yourself in front of a monument that you want to revisit every year once you've been in Pristina: The NewBorn Monument is redesigned annually by the creative minds of the city, so it always looks different - but always full of meaning and inspiration!
If you do not have time to visit Pristina every year, check the Instagram #NewBornMonument hashtag or the NewBorn Monument Pristina hashtag. Last year, the monument contained the message "No Walls" and this year the country's tenth anniversary. I am very curious to see what next year will be like.
 
NewBorn Monument

Monday, March 26, 2018

Visiting Kosovo:from Pristina, a city on the move to Peja and Prizren

Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, is very impressive city with busy streets, numerous small shops and shops, cafes and restaurants, which are all well visited. This is how a Dutch tourist describe its impressions about Kosovo. Matthias is a travel blogger from Holland, and recently he visited Kosovo and wrote a blog about it. He goes from Pristina, a city on the move, to Peja, the city by the green mountains and Prizren, Ottoman architecture and oriental flair.

Pristina- a city on the move
You find Pristina very impressive with busy streets, numerous small shops and shops, cafes and restaurants, which are all well visited. The people here are very western. Especially the women are dressed up nicely, wearing short dresses, high heels and lots of makeup.
Eating out is very cheap in Pristina. A big burger for just € 1, for babs there's the vegetarian option (ie without meat patty) for only 50 cents.
New Born Monument of Independece

Pristina on a walking tour
We visit the Great Hammam, over the extensive local market, to various mosques, to the Skanderberg place, to the architecturally unique library and of course to the Newborn monument.
Three days in this lively and eclectic city come to an end. From the inconspicuous Pristina station, our trip to Kosovo continues to the extreme west of the country, very close to the Montenegrin and Albanian borders, to Peja. For 3 euros you can travel comfortably by train for two hours through the beautiful landscape.
National Library of Kosovo

Peja - city by the green mountains
In Peja you can do a lot. In addition to the Patriarchal Monastery Peć worth a trip to the Rugova Gorge. There is a Zipline, you can climb and hike very well. I would even go so far as to say that the region is a real Eldorado, especially for abseiling and via ferrata fans. Peja is also the perfect starting point to go on the long-distance hiking trail Peaks of the Balkans. The mountains here are really beautiful. You can also just try to hitchhike and, with luck, have a local take you up to the mountains like we did.
Old Bridge in Peja region


On another day we grabbed the two bicycles from the hostel (5 Euro per person) and cycled to the White Drin Waterfall. The waterfall itself is very impressive and offers a welcome cooling off on hot days. In the cave we did a guided tour and climbed 90 meters down for 7 euros per person with helmet and lamp. Pretty exciting. For this warm clothes are recommended, as it is just 10 degrees in the cave.
Landscape in Peja

Prizren - Ottoman architecture and oriental flair
After the beautiful and intense time we had in Peja, every place would have had a hard time to please us. The first night in Prizren we spend in the city hostel, which we unfortunately not recommendable, as it from the - admittedly very nice - roof terrace at night incredibly loud. Then we switch to Driza's House. This hostel is tucked away and exudes a family charm.
Prizren stands out for its Ottoman architecture. The fortress, the Sinan Pasha Mosque and the stone bridge offer perfect photo opportunities, but also attract many other tourists. That's why it's enough for us to spend just one day in Prizren.
Stone bridge in Prizren

Mitrovica - the divided city
Unfortunately we did not make it to Mitrovica. Above all, the city is so interesting because the small northern part, bordering on Serbia, is predominantly Serbian-speaking and the larger southern part is Albanian-speaking. Administratively, the city divided by the river Ibar forms independent municipalities.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Kosovo's medieval monuments among 15 destinations to visit before they disappear forever


The Independent has recently published an article listing 15 destinations to visit before they disappear, and among them are 4 medieval monuments in Kosovo.
Church of Holy Saviour

‘Kosovo boasts plenty of medieval architecture, however, those structures endured quite a bit during the unrest in the Balkans in the 1990s.
Patriarchate of Peć Monastery 


According to Condé Nast Traveler, the churches and monasteries in the region contain Balkan art from 13th through 17th centuries and still need more work to stabilize them after the war.”
Kosovo has four cultural monuments protected by UNESCO.
Dečani Monastery

‘The four edifices of the site reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture, with its distinct style of wall painting, which developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Dečani Monastery was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski and is also his mausoleum. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevisa represent the appearance of the new so-called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the Western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art.
Our Lady of Ljevis Prizren


Read original article here!


Friday, February 16, 2018

US Media: 10 Things you didn’t know about Kosovo

Kosovo is celebrating the 10th anniversary of independence on February 17th. The newest state in Europe is recognized actually by 116 countries, where 112 are part of UN. Still the Government of Serbia does not accept the fact the Kosovo is now an independent state, but for the sake of its integration in EU, Serbia started to normalize the relations with the Government of Kosovo, in accordance with Brussels Agreement.
US news published an article about “10 things you didn’t know about Kosovo” as listed below:



1. Kosovo is the second-youngest country in the world, declaring its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, 2008. The only country to declare its independence recently is the island country of Barbados officially recognized the Republic of Kosovo on February 15th 2018, becoming the 116 country to do so.
2. While Serbia and a handful of other countries – including Russia and China – do not recognize Kosovo's independence, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo is a sovereign nation in 2010.
3. Kosovo, a landlocked country slightly larger than Delaware, is the smallest Balkan nation. About 40 percent of its land is covered by forest, and slightly more than half of its land is agricultural.
4. With a median age of 29.1 years, Kosovo has among the youngest populations in Europe. More than 40 percent of the population is under 25.
Visar Kryeziu/AP

5. Kosovo is one of the poorest European nation, with a per capita gross domestic product of about $10,400 in 2017.
6. The majority of Kosovo's population of nearly 1.9 million is Muslim, with Albanian and Serbian serving as the country's official languages. Kosovo means "field of blackbirds" in Serbian.
7. The Ottoman Empire ruled Kosovo from the mid-15th century to the early 20th century, during which Islam grew in prominence and the number of Albanian speakers significantly increased, leading to tensions between the new Muslim ethnic Albanian majority and Eastern Orthodox Serb minority.
8. Tensions boiled over into conflict in the 1990s, when Albanians opposed both Serbs and the government of Yugoslavia – then a recently dissolved federal state – in Kosovo. Hundreds of civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced before NATO intervened to resolve the conflict, though several thousand peacekeepers remain in the country today.
9. A statue of former U.S. President Bill Clinton stands on a street that also bears his name in Pristina, the capital. Clinton helped end the conflict in the late 1990s, and former President George W. Bush, who also has a street named for him in the capital, recognized Kosovo's independence in 2008.
10. Pristina is also home to a Roman Catholic cathedral named for Mother Teresa, who was Albanian and lived in a small village in Kosovo as a teenager.

See here the original article!